To the dude at my gym,
Yes, we were both working out this morning. It was relatively early for a Saturday, good on us for getting our butts to the gym. Cool.
And yes, you are a man and strut around like you seem to think that lifting weights is “your domain”. I am a woman; I sometimes feel awkward in there, but I turn up nonetheless and do my thing. We most likely have differing experiences in that place, there’s no question about that.
I go into that daunting weights area and wander around, doing the exercises and circuits my trainer dictates for me. You probably make your own up. Congrats.
You’re obviously fit and like to keep yourself in shape, despite your age. You’re not old by any means, maybe late forties. But you seemingly take pride in your appearance. I applaud you for that. That’s what we’re all there trying to do.
I see you look at yourself in the mirror multiple times and you appear to like what you see. That’s fantastic! I wish I could have your confidence.
I wonder what you see when you look at me; because you definitely looked. I saw you.
When I look in the mirror I see a woman in her early 30s doing her best. She’s not perfect and is trying to regain her fitness after growing a human and giving birth to said human.
I’m already a little below my pre-pregnancy weight, but it’s neither here nor there. I’m not here to reach a set number on the scales. It’s about strengthening my core after it being the size of a watermelon, working on that core in an effort to ease my lower back pain after carrying around a tiny human for ten months inside, now for ten months outside in my arms and on my hips.
It’s about trying to tone up all the parts of my body that lost definition while I was pregnant and fighting against the stores of fat that my body wants to keep because I’m still breastfeeding. It’s also about maintaining some form of mental health and getting out of the house for an hour, sans-child.
I’m not sure what you see when you look at me, but you definitely saw me. You saw me using that machine, no doubt with a weight that you would think was pathetic, but for me it was a struggle. Whatever. But you saw me using it. There’s another one three metres away. And yet when I move away from it for ten seconds to complete a set of the other exercise in my circuit, you swagger up to it and take over.
You then see me have to walk past you, that whole three extra meters (that you were apparently unable to make), and set up the other machine. Because I wasn’t finished my sets, I was only halfway through. And yet you couldn’t say anything to me. You couldn’t acknowledge me, or the fact you’d taken the machine I was using. There wasn’t the common courtesy eye contact and shrug to ascertain if I’d finished using it, nothing.
You took over that machine and used it with a sense of entitlement that apparently, I don’t deserve to have. I’m expected to be meek and just let you “men” rule the roost in that domain. Just submit to whatever you want because you seem to have ownership of every machine in that gym, whether I like it or not.
Your arrogance is annoying.
You’re not the first man to do this to me, in the gym or in life, and you certainly won’t be the last. I’m sure of that. But a little bit of courtesy doesn’t go astray. Even if you do it by accident, own up to it, instead of being a silent and entitled douche.
LISTEN: The gym is the new tinder, apparently. (Post continues...)
Because today you were a d*ckhead and it wasn’t appreciated.
Could I have said something? Sure, but what’s the point? I have more important things to concern myself with. But it still pissed me off.
What you did wasn’t the worst thing in the world; I know that. But it was the final straw for me of men at the gym treating women like second-class citizens, like they don’t belong there. I belong there as much as you do. I pay the same membership and have the same rights. I deserve my experience too, uninterrupted.
So when guys come and ask me to move, or if I could go and use a different machine, as opposed to the one I’m using, (while I’m in the middle of using it!), simply because they want to use it and are being impatient pricks, it makes me mad. It’s makes me incredibly f**king mad.
Because I wonder, would they ask another guy to move... or just wait their turn? It seems to me that I’m the one who gets asked to move, simply because they deem any exercise I’m doing not as important as theirs.
So men of the world; majority of you are gentlemen, for which I am most grateful. To those of you who are not, or who choose not to be at the gym, please remember that a little bit of courtesy and manners don’t go astray. We’re all there, trying to do the same thing. Let’s be a source of power to each other instead of discouragement.
And if all else fails, I don’t take that long… so wait your bloody turn!
Do you feel intimidated by men at the gym?