I know nobody at my gym, and yet they’re essentially the only people I know.
That’s what happens when you write from home and have no social life. I’m really only around people when uncomfortably lifting small weights for a short period of time, hoping nobody else is there because a cramped gym is hell.
Since my warped mind tells me I don’t belong anywhere, I have never truly felt like one of them. That’s 90 percent irrational inhibitions, and 10 percent expecting everyone to behave like functional members of society while sweating bullets in hopes of one day achieving a semblance of self-worth. (I’m mostly not like them because I have no self-worth).
Because schools oddly gloss over teaching Gym Etiquette during the 12 minutes of gym not devoted to changing, taking attendance, stretching and changing again, the same infractions occur far too often. Apologies for labeling each type of culprit as “Guy” in the subheads, but “Person” felt too chunky.
Also, if I’m being honest, it’s almost always a guy. Like, every single time almost.
Guy Who Doesn’t Re-rack Weights in Proper Spot
Picking up 70-pound dumbbells is hard. Matching the “70” numeral on each weight with the accompanying “70” label with a vacated spot for said dumbbells, on the other hand, is simple.
And yet people will constantly take the path of least resistance and place them wherever, oblivious to the rippling chaos caused by such callousness. Dropping them down in the 30 slot saves two steps for the violator, but causes a confounding dilemma for someone else. Does the person with those 30-pounders—look, it’s about form, not lifting the most weight possible… Shut up—cave to this lawless society and return those weights to the 70 position? Or is it worth rearranging the entire stand at the risk of others acting like you are the weirdo for preferring order?
Kids are taught matching games for a reason. It’s not for this reason, but still. Come on.
Guy Who Talks/Texts/Plays on Phone
If I made a gym, my first and only rule would be “No phones.”
OK, so that’s ridiculous. Nobody would frequent this gym, as many use their mobile devices for music or simply need to know the time or be reachable for their family. Also, there should probably be some more rules. Wipe down all equipment. Something about wearing sneakers (I almost made Guy Who Does Exercise Barefoot a Section, but maybe there’s some actual benefit to that I’m too lazy to research or ask anyone about.)
Anyways, Rule No. 1 of this gym that doesn’t stand a chance of attracting any customers is No Phones. This way nobody will waste 10 minutes texting on a bench others want to actually use. Or worse, forcing you to eavesdrop on one end of a loud conversation.
Is it really that hard to cut off all social and professional ties for an hour to give everyone else a slightly more pleasant gym experience?
Guy Who Takes Machine Right Next to You
Urinal rules also apply to a bench or cardio machine. Create the most distance possible from peers. If it’s at all avoidable, never go right next to someone else.
Maybe this does not matter for normal people. This might be a Curb Your Enthusiasm subplot I’m forgetting where nobody besides Larry David knew or cared about this unwritten law.
Fine. I will still wear this rant with a badge of honor in hopes of creating real, tangible change to society.
[Also, note to self: No matter what, don’t take the treadmill on the far left of the last row with the missing pad to control the TV stuck on Fox News. You’re here to burn calories, not crosses and Tiki torches.]
Guy Who Sings to Music from Headphones
Wearing headphones is an unalienable right of the gym-goer that even I would not dare to infringe upon. And that’s despite the fact that I probably couldn’t even name three songs released in the past four years.
Singing along to lyrics these magical devices have so wonderfully tucked away into your earbuds? Now that’s a deal-breaker.
This isn’t that car karaoke thing that apparently passes as comedy even though it’s literally just people singing in a car. (Get it? The joke is that… they’re songs? Wait no, maybe it’s just that celebrities are riding in poor-people cars like normal folk? Yeah, I don’t know.) This is a public setting with other people. They can hear you. You know they can hear you, right?
Also, the genre does not matter. This applies for rap, rock or [Insert relevant 2017 pop artist here]. Double also, not to go full Old Man Yells at Cloud, but that insufferable racket is too loud if I can hear it. Listening to earbuds at that volume will damage your hearing, pal.
Guy Who Takes Machine Right Next to You and Keeps Yelling ‘Woo’ During His Workout
I had gone 26 years without making a mortal enemy. At that rate, I’d assume I never would.
That all changed one rainy Tuesday night. Actually, it may have been a Monday. Or a Friday. Come to think of it, I might have went in the morning or early afternoon, and I don’t recall the weather.
But I remember the pertinent details. I went on a treadmill—or was it an elliptical?—at a time where every other cardio machine was vacant. That’s three rows with a well-rounded blend of equipment, so the guy who picked the treadmill—or stair-climber? In all seriousness, I’m 90 percent sure it was a treadmill—definitely had other options.
I tried to subside any uneasiness by reminding myself that we’d both block each other out from the world with headphones. Maybe he has a special attachment to that particular machine and gravitates to it instinctively. This theory has legs after seeing him at the same spot another day, but I contend that he still must adapt to the circumstances.
Sucks, but it was not the end of the world. Until he randomly yelled “Woo.” Moments later, another “Woo” followed. And then another. I glanced over to see he was not wearing a ‘Nature Boy” robe. I can say with 99.9 percent confidence that he’s not even related to Ric Flair.
And yet his wooing persisted. Take note of the two “o’s.” They were all short, impactful woos. Never an extended “Woooooooo.” I guess that would have been worse, but maybe some variance wouldn’t have hurt.
From that point forward, this man became by arch nemesis. He doesn’t know it, mostly because the only time we have spoken is when I held the door for him when going opposite directions in and out of the gym and he gave a seemingly sincere, “Thanks, bud.” I don’t even know his name. Does he receive Woo privileges if he happens to be a different Ric Flair?
I would say I’ve found my Joker. Yet if we ever encountered one another again, he would drive me to madness and precipitate my villain origin story. Unless we were near a door. Then I’d probably just hold it open again.
Guy Who Writes Article Judging Everyone Else to Mask His Own Insecurities
This guy is truly the worst of them all. I mean, can it get any more annoying than whining about other people’s imperfections just to avoid your own? Anyone who silently stews and derides everyone else’s actions probably has deeper problems than sometimes unintentionally causing a minor inconvenience in a public space.
These people with huge biceps and washboard abs must have no existence beyond the gym. He said to himself at the gym because he’s too much of an unmotivated weakling to optimize the same hobby and work as hard as them.
And of course, this loser would not politely address any of those concerns like a normal human. He has a better chance of doing an actual pull-up—to be clear, he has very little chance of doing an actual pull-up because he’s an uncoordinated dweeb—than talking to a stranger. He’ll just moan in a blog post nobody will ever read.
What an asshole.