Creepers at the Gym

I know this has been done. I know this has been said, over and over again. Evidently, it’s my turn to say it:

Dudes: LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE AT THE GYM.

Stop staring. Stop walking up and making stupid comments. Stop your pathetic attempts at flirting.

I don’t care that “guys are always looking” and “that’s just how guys are.”

Nope. Nope nope nope. You’re not. Look around you. See all those other guys, busy lifting weights and running on the treadmills? They’re working out. That’s what you do at the gym. They’re busy building muscle and burning calories. In other words, they’re not looking. They’re not “flirting.”

You’re just being an asshole, and trying to convince me (but mostly yourself) that it’s a perfectly normal and okay thing to do, because everybody does it. They don’t. It’s not.

Mr. Creeper last night was, at first, simply annoying. “Man, ya’ll are working out your whole bodies, ain’t you?” Cue puzzled glances between me and my companions. We were, after all, only doing curls. “No we’re not,” one of my companions replies. “Yes you are,” Mr. Creeper insists, “I was watching you earlier over there on the elliptical.”

WHOA, WHAT.

Welcome to Creepytown, population you.

Cue us quickly wrapping up our business on the curl machine and making a beeline for the other side of the gym, to the leg machines. After we finished, we stretched, and we headed toward the locker room.

“Hey! Where are ya’ll going?! It’s time to do abs!” Mr. Creepy called out to us.

Normally, I would work out a bit longer while my companions tan, but I wrapped it up early last night.

I don’t mind chatting with regulars, encouraging one another as we push ourselves, or recommending machines.

I do mind, however, complete strangers behaving as if we’re old buddies, making obnoxious comments, and hollering at us as we are Getting The Fuck Away.

For the last time, just stop.

 

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About Brittany-Ann
Brittany-Ann is a proud, self-identified feminist with fictional tendencies. She currently writes for LouisvilleKY.com and moderates at My Fault I'm Female. She smokes camels, reads Dumas, and navigates a conservative state as "one of them darn liberals."

10 Responses to Creepers at the Gym

  1. So totally agree. What I liked when I used to belong to a gym was when a guy had to take weights OFF the machine when he came behind me. That maintained a pretty appropriate distance!

    • Brittany-Ann says:

      Haha, awesome. I can’t wait until I get to that point. Forty pounds is my standard right now, with a few exceptions (thighs, back, one ab machine that’s mimics a rowing motion)–but I’m in my second month(ish) of my gym membership.

      ’twas funny though, the other night a few guys were hogging said ab machine, in the circuit training section. I was mean mugging them because it was my turn (seriously, you want to work out on that machine, get out of the circuit training section! There’s one right over there you can hog!) and they proceeded to pretend they were serious and hard core, and you can wait your turn, little lady. As soon as the third douche was finished, I promptly appropriated the machine and easily did the eighty pounds they were all having such a hard time with. Whoops! Their swagger was gone. Very satisfying.

  2. falnfenix says:

    ugh, YES.

    there’s a creeper at my gym who will get on a treadmill next to a young woman (usually under 30) and just stare at her while slowly walking. he has been going to this gym longer than me and his (overweight) body shape hasn’t changed – his whole purpose for going is to ogle women. he’ll pretend to get on a weight machine here and there, but overall? ogling. he’ll even follow women out to see what car they drive. he’s been spoken to a few times by management, but his behavior hasn’t changed in the least.

    last time he picked a treadmill next to me i asked him if he wanted a confrontation, or if he just intended to be a creepy fucker (slightly extreme, i know, but this guy seriously gives me the heebies). he hasn’t come near me since then, thank goodness. i think he might get off on the idea that he’s creeping women out.

    • Brittany-Ann says:

      Whoa. That’s completely fucked. Management needs to ban him.

      I don’t think your reaction was extreme at all. It sounds perfectly appropriate, in my book. I’d do the same, then I’d probably flip out on management, especially if he’s following women out to their cars, for not doing anything about him. That shit is serious business.

      • falnfenix says:

        to my knowledge, he has one last warning before he gets das boot. and i work with another gymgoer who has felt his ocular undressing. she was equally creeped, and i’m trying to steer her towards complaining.

        i very nearly asked him if he wanted to get stabbed for that behavior. i restrained myself only because at the time i wasn’t sure if he was a cop – the folks at the front desk thought he might be one.

        mostly unrelated, but my state (Maryland) is going down the path of becoming shall-issue. not that this helps me right now, but it’ll be nice to know that sometime in the next 2 years i might actually be able to carry to protect myself against douchecanoes like this guy.

        • Brittany-Ann says:

          I’m amazed at how many chances people will give creeps like this. The first time he followed a woman to her car should have triggered the banhammer, in my book. I hope he’s not a cop–a badge inflates male entitlement by about four times.

          That’s good to hear. I hope Maryland does it soon. I work out in the middle of the night, but I don’t feel comfortable carrying to the gym–I don’t like the idea of leaving my weapon in a locker. If I have it with me, I want it on me. I feel pretty safe at my gym, however. If I were you, I’d carry a pocketknife–one with a clip so you can keep it right on your person. I’ve thought about doing that myself.

          • falnfenix says:

            my pocketknife never leaves my side…even when working out, it’s clipped somewhere on my pants. 😉 my Pepperblaster lives in the purse and *that* gets left in the locker.

            i think, were i able to carry, i’d invest in a safe for the car.

            my gym’s in Baltimore City, and while it’s not in a “bad” neighborhood, that’s merely saying the area where it’s located isn’t as bad as other areas. they’re all bad, really.

  3. Tori says:

    Ooh, I hate the coming over to make condescending creepy conversation even more than I dislike the staring. (Because if the creeper is just looking/staring at me but maintaining a non-in-my-space distance, I can at least entertain the delusion that they are not so creepy.)

    But I hate most the feigned innocent defense of “this is just what guys do” and/or “I was just being friendly” when called on their disrespecting boundaries. No you weren’t, asshat, and stop gaslighting.

    • Brittany-Ann says:

      I actually haven’t had a confrontation yet. One of my workout partners is a friendly sort, so she usually engages them first, while I seethe, because I have been interrupted.

      That’s the part that gets me. I take my training very seriously. I get in the Zone. I am completely focused on what my body is doing and feeling, and not paying attention to jack around me, because at the point, it doesn’t exist for me. Jerks like this interrupt my workout, drag me out of the zone, and demand I take my attention away from myself and give it to them. Now I’ve got to get rid of The Jerk, and focus my attention back on myself again. That makes training more difficult for me–it’s easier to push myself when I’m in the Zone. When someone drags me out of it, I’m suddenly aware of how tired I am, and it’s hard to stay motivated. That make sense?

      • Tori says:

        Totally. I hate getting dragged out of my Zone, too. I’m fortunate in that it generally takes someone actually talking to me to do that, but I do understand what you mean.

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