Inhabitants of the Gym

I go to a gym. I am not telling you this so I can drop subtle hints about the amount of pounds I lift or the reps that I do. Pounds and reps are not in my vocabulary. My gym experience is filled with things like the elliptical machine, the treadmill, the TV in the women’s locker room that always seems to be playing Basketball Wives, Zumba class, the spa. I’m not a professional gym goer.

Everyone always talks about girls that wear makeup to the gym. Everyone hates those girls. I didn’t really think they existed until this past week. They are a very very real thing. I go to the gym after work. And in the morning I use eyeshadow primer that makes my makeup miraculously stay on my eyelids for the entire day. So I walk into the gym at 6:30ish with whatever is still clinging to my face after a day of work and I feel weird about that amount of makeup. Apparently, not everyone shares my feelings. Let me walk you through a recent gym experience.

I walk into Zumba looking like a college student, because I don’t own t-shirts that don’t say Kappa on them. I haven’t figured out how to look like I graduated college. Anyway, into Zumba I go. I awkwardly stand. I don’t know how to stand naturally in a room of mirrors. I cross my arms and cross my right leg in front of my left. I pretend to stretch (harder than it sounds, by the way). I put my water and towel at the side of the room. I bring a towel, but I don’t really sweat enough to find it necessary, but I bring along to fit in.

So there I am, prepped to Zumba, and in walks the most curious of creatures. This seemingly normal girl has on bright fire engine red lipstick. Like recently applied, getting ready to go to an event of some grandeur, red lipstick. I was COMPLETELY distracted for the next hour. I could not figure out the lipstick’s purpose and in turn I could not figure out those pivot turns. I am not one to judge what makes you feel comfortable at the gym, I bring a security blanket towel, but full red lipstick? Really? Clearly I’m not a professional gym-er, but that seems like it should be against the rules. I watched lipstick girl for the majority of class. Her coordination was a curious as her lipstick. She seemed nice enough, but seriously, that lipstick. I’m still talking about it a week later.

Do you remember the episode of Friends with Phoebe’s artwork? The really creepy ones with the mannequins coming out of them? That’s sort of what that girl reminded me of. Is that mean? I’m sorry, but it’s the truth my friends.

I also discovered that Zumba is an excuse for women to dance really slutty in a very non-slutty environment. There is a lot of shaking, shimmying and and hip gyration. It’s encouraged in fact. As far as I can tell, Zumba is the only venue that slutty shaking and dancing is acceptable outside of a high school prom or a strip club. If you tried to Zumba on the streets someone would stick dollars in your yoga pants.

Inside the Locker Room.

Granted, I haven’t been into many men’s locker rooms so I don’t know what goes on in there. I assume a lot of sports chatter? Someone verify this please. But I have been in the women’s locker room and that s#%$ is cray. Let’s discuss.

Being naked is allowed in locker rooms. It’s a place to change clothes, I get it. Prancing around the place naked is a totally different story. There are women at my gym that are just naked walkers. I don’t know what their naked destination is. Walking to and from the shower doesn’t require you to be naked outside of the shower. And newsflash, I don’t want to see that. Ever. There’s a towel around half of you, just put it around all of you. This is not a nude beach or a nudist colony. Keep your nakedness to yourself.

I try to go to the gym and keep as low a profile as humanly possible, which is difficult when your arms flail while trying to pretend to be a Latin dancer in Zumba class, but I am baffled when my gym fundamentals are thwarted; naked and lipstick wearing is NOT low profile. (Is that complex-compound sentence? Can someone verify this? Is there a 4th grader reading this that is learning to diagram sentences or someone recently studying for the ACT?)

Men at the Gym

While a decent portion of my time is spent in the women’s locker room, watching Basketball Wives or on a girly machine (the elliptical), I do encounter dudes at the gym and dudes at the gym are the worst dudes of all. Here is a list.

1. You can’t support yourself on stair climber with your arms. That’s cheating.
2. I don’t care that you just purchased a killer protein shake.
3. I also don’t care that you are wearing your Chicago Marathon t-shirt.
4. Your calf tattoo is saying a lot about your personality. Although, probably not the things you want it to be saying.
5. I’ve seen you walking around more than I’ve seen you working out. Are you doing laps?
6. Two towels huh? You must be working out extra hard today.
7. Medicine balls are loud. Please stop slamming it on the ground.
8. Unless you are competing in the professional tennis circuit, please stop grunting.
9. You are at the gym. STOP holding hands with that girl. It’s germy enough in this place as it is.
10. Hey lady in my Zumba class! You aren’t Madonna and this isn’t the Super Bowl. Cool it. (Not man related, but worthy of the list nonetheless).

She was a Madonnabe. She had really poor space awareness. I hated her.


Just trying to get my flex on



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11 responses to “Inhabitants of the Gym

  1. Laughing out loud as I read this post! Just imagining these people, I have no real experience since I haven’t steppe foot in a gym in a while. Also thinking you might want to alter your bio to read “I believe you should wear lipstick at all times with the exception of the gym…”

  2. Jennifer

    I know what your talking about with the chicks that walk around naked in the locker room. At my gym a lot of the women will do their hair and makeup standing there naked in front of the mirror, or carry on conversations with each other while naked, or talk on their cell-phones for long periods of times while naked.

    I vividly remember one occasion at a local YWCA that my teacher at the time was walking around completely nude for a long time. My mother and I had gone swimming there, and we spotted my then teacher in the pool. We spoke with her for a few minutes in the pool, but then at the end of the session everyone headed for the locker room. The locker room had group showers, no stalls or dividers. So my mother and I are standing there showering off in our swimsuits, when my teacher comes walking over completely naked, picks the shower head right next to us, and starts talking about school functions and other stuff. Her locker was in the same row as our locker was, so when we got back to the lockers she still stood there naked and talking to us. We were finished drying off and changed back into our street clothes, and my teacher was still standing there naked chatting away with us.

  3. I never go to the gym. (My Kate does, but I suspect she only goes there to tan.) Anyway, I’m glad you filled me in. I don’t deal well with nakedness. Or people with poor space awareness. Put the two together — um, I’m staying away, thank you very much.

    By the way, next time you see wholesale female nakedness, I think you should feel free to announce: “Ladies! We are not men! We don’t walk around with our junk uncovered. You’ve got towels. Use them!”

    • geoff

      It’s no different in men’s locker rooms. The old men walk around naked like it’s their job. And take way too long to get dressed. Apparently they’ve never heard of towels.

  4. Jennifer


    I think that women may be bigger offenders of the walking around naked thing, in general?

    My husband says that he never sees guys walking around naked the way that I do with women in the locker room.

    Also, I remember in high school that I was one of the few girls in my gym classes that didn’t walk around naked in the locker room, whereas from what I heard the boys never allowed themselves to be seen naked by each other.

    I’m not like that. But I think that many women are much worse than guys with walking around with it all hanging out?

    • Tess

      I have gotten the same report from mine. Of course he is fascinated with the idea that women’s locker rooms are full of naked ones…and equally as disgusted at the thought of a men’s locker room full of guys naked other than to and from the shower. He says the general ‘man mode’ is not to look at another guy or show yourself naked other than in the shower and drying off.

      I also have two thoughts on the gym behaviors:
      Men – please just get in and work out quickly and efficiently instead of posing/watching yourself in the mirror and just hanging out in the gym.

      Ladies – Don’t complain about guys looking at you in disgusting ways when you wear barely any clothes or print things in places that attract stares on the little you do wear.

      Honestly I think that gyms are mostly full of insecure people. I’m kinda used to that with women and it’s bad enough; but insecurity/false self confidence in a guy…not attractive in any way.

      • Tessla

        Insecurity is the lifeblood of a gym. The mirrors all over the gym tell the story don’t they? I work out at home a good deal of the time and I don’t have a single mirror in that room or outside where I workout in nice weather. I also complete my entire workout in under an hour, usually 25 – 35 minutes. I just joined a gym for the first time in more than 10 years. It hasn’t changed. Well, one thing has changed…guys never really hung out naked way back but now I notice that a good number of them wear clothes into the shower stall (I think the common/open shower concept is gone) dry off inside the stall and emerge with some covering. I guess I’m still old school since I walk with my towel in front of me (mainly because it has never stayed up if I wrap it around) from locker to shower and back and quickly dress.
        Men don’t talk in locker rooms unless they already know each other (friends, not acquaintances). It’s considered gay if you do. I was actually surprised that rule still held given the widespread acceptance of gayness today. I think it has more to do with insecurity than gayness now though and I think the insecurity comes from fashion. In fact, the gay guy in the locker room at the gym I work out in doesn’t seem bothered by it either way. What I think it is is that If you dress like you feel a good number of men today feel like women and I don’t imagine that translates into manly confidence.

  5. Jennifer and Kate — I’M FASCINATED! Since I don’t go to the gym, I had no idea. So I must know . . . is it the surgical enhancements prompting this behavior? Or are there saggy women engaging in bravado nakedness?

  6. PS: Remember the naked men’s locker room scene in Crazy Stupid Love? I’ll take Ryan Goseling in a locker room anyday!

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