I really seemed to throw the front door wide open with our first etiquette lesson. And maybe not even just the front door. All the doors. The back door. The garage door. Hell, even all the windows just wide open, airing out the truth that needs to be heard. If you missed it, check out Lesson 1 of Modern Etiquette. And ladies, please feel free to use it as a reply to any of those pictures you may receive in your future. I got you.
While the first post was very, VERY guy focused, I figured our second lesson should encompass both sexes. As much as I’d like to think that the female is the far superior sex… we do still have our shortcomings. So settle it down boys, us girls will get our time in the spotlight too. When thinking of what area of life needs some much needed southern truth thrown its way, I could think of nothing better than the gym.
If you are new to the gym. Welcome! A lot of gyms offer a free personal training session to get you oriented to where things are in the gym, specific rules to your gym and to show you how to work the machines. That last one is especially important. So, if your gym offers one, take it. If they don’t, you can always ask trainers in the gym to help explain how to work a machine. Why is this gym etiquette? Because Karen, while you’re starring in what’s sure to be the next viral video of “what-not-to-do at the gym”, you’re taking up a machine that someone wants to use appropriately. Those leg press machines aren’t for your arms and no matter how much you try, the bicep curl bench is not for your abs… Not only that, but you could really hurt yourself not using a machine properly. And if you’re embarrassed to ask, load up a YouTube clip of how to use something. Just make sure you’re not watching Karen trying to jazzercise the hell out of a rowing machine.
Don’t Be a Karen to Karen
Quick side note: If someone is pulling a Karen, don’t make fun of them. As hard as it will be, restrain yourself from taking that video. It could really embarrass someone to think they are killing it at a workout when they are in fact it’s about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. The best thing you could do is let a trainer know and they can direct them to a safer workout.
Do You Even Selfie?
Ah, yes. The wonderful world of gym life. Where all come in with goals and aspirations but most leave wondering why Muscle Milk Mike just took selfies of his mad gains in the mirror the whole time instead of actually working out. #gymfie. (gym selfies.) If you think I’m making this up, consider yourself one of the lucky ones who has never seen Triple M throw down a selfie photoshoot that would put a high school girl to shame. Just say no to the “gymfie.” By all means, take one if you’re feeling like one woke, hot tamale that you need to show off to the social media world. But take one. Two, maybe. Even three. But then move on and for Pete’s sake, actually work out. Selfie. Text. Selfie. Selfie. Text. Text. Text. If you aren’t using the bench or equipment, kindly step aside. Do you even lift, bro? Where’s the cardio happening? In yo thumb??? Doubtful.
The Gym Bubble
We are talking about more than personal space my friends. While I, like many others, don’t really have a personal bubble issue; I’m a hugger. I don’t mind someone getting closer than arm’s length to have a conversation with me. Get close, doesn’t bother me. Until, the gym. . . WHYYYYYYYY in god’s name in a row of 20 ellipticals, do you pick the one RIGHT NEXT TO ME? The bathroom stall rule applies here. You walk in, 50 are open, you pick the one AWAY from the occupied stall. You know how offended you get when you’re four hours into Netflix binge and that mother has the audacity to ask if we are still watching??? 1) Of-freaking-course we are. And 2) That’s how it feels when someone picks the workout station right next to you. No one wants to be mid-workout and get a stranger neighbor. It is one thing if you go in on the first Monday after New Year’s and only one treadmill is open, because you have no choice. You are occupying the last one available. Choosing to get all up in someone’s grill when you don’t have to is not okay. If you need to work out close to someone for motivation or competition, go take a class. There are tons of ‘em. Go getcha sweat on with bikes crammed in a room and give the rest of us a little rooooom.
Going on Safari
Speaking of room, let’s chat about the locker room. The room of way too much exposure and not enough Febreze. I can’t even imagine how bad the guys one is when y’all are way stinkier just in normal everyday life. The thing you need to know about this room is if you go into it, you’re gonna see bush. And not the band. The Full Monty. (Too many ‘90’s references?) The kibbles and bits. The holy grail. You get it.
There is always someone who is very comfortable with their nudity and lets it all out. Which is completely their right. If it offends you, don’t go in there. Just because they are turning the locker room into the Garden of Eden, sure doesn’t mean you have to join in if you don’t want to. But don’t stare and for all marshmallows in the Lucky Charms, don’t ever pull your phone out and take a picture. This isn’t selfie time nor is it okay to invade someone else’s privacy regardless of their “au naturel” state. For all those individuals who are very confident in just wearing their smile, you need to be respectful too. It’s one thing to change by your locker and be naked for 30 seconds… it’s another to walk around for a half-hour doing all the things before getting dressed. Just throw a towel around you. This isn’t a free for all, it’s a communal locker room. Be respectful of both parties.
24 Hour (Fitness) Party People
While I could go on and on about all the things you shouldn’t do at the gym, I will leave you with this last but very important rule. Gyms are for working out, relieving stress, getting a little “you” time in, etc. What it isn’t, is a place to find your next date. That’s right: leave your terrible pick-up lines to bars and swiping right on Tinder. This is going to seem a little more guy focused, but let’s get real. The majority of us are doing nothing more than eye-rolling at Muscle Milk Mike not wanting his number.
I understand wanting to date someone who has the same interests as you. But let’s be smart about hitting on us.
1) No catcalls. It’s gross. I didn’t wear this cute matching sports bra and yoga pants for you. I wore it for myself and because I spent about $300 more than I should have at Lululemon and by god, I’m gonna get some use out of it! (In addition to lounging through my Netflix binge marathons and long walks through Target aisles…)
2) No assuming. You have ZERO idea if the person you are hitting on is in a relationship. Few work out with jewelry on.
3) No mansplaining. Men, sometimes you think the right way to hit on a woman at the gym is to “help” her or show her how she “should” be doing a workout. *shaking my head* If you think that mansplaining ANYTHING to a woman is going to get her in your pants, you have so much to learn. While you think you are being cute, we would just like to punch you in the face. But instead, we will just lift more or out-cardio you to make you feel as stupid as you tried to make us feel. Buckle up, buttercup.
4) No stalking. You can always strike up a FRIENDLY conversation with someone but don’t interrupt someone’s workout or be a creep.
Acceptable: Head nod. A friendly hello. Inquire how they are. Talk about the weather. BE CASUAL.
Non-Acceptable: Catcalls. Ass slapping. Pick-up lines: “Hey girl, do you take the kickboxing class here because your body is kickin’!” Nope. Don’t even think about it.
Modern etiquette lesson #2 in a nutshell: let’s treat the gym with some overall life rules. Be kind, respectful, clean up after yourself and keep your distance. Ya know, think “stranger danger.”
Until next time, let’s keep the bush shows to a minimum.