Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do not read this post if you are easily grossed out

Dear Internet,

I have a problem and I need your help. For the most part, I love my gym. It's full of cute little old men with names like "Mel" who chat with me and pick my sweatshirt up off the floor for me so it doesn't get all dirty. All the cardio equipment comes complete with personal televisions. (And let me tell you, it's much easier for me to force myself to sweat for 45 minutes 5 days a week if I can do it while watching America's Next Top Model. Wait, did I say that out loud?). Plus, I just give them my member number to get in, so I don't have to manage to actually bring a membership card with me. Do you know how many times I lost my Bally's card when I lived in DC? Well, neither do I, actually, but I'm pretty sure it was more than 3 and fewer than 10.

But there is this guy there that is just grossing me out and I don't know what to do about it.

So, let's call this dude the Sweater, because, well, he sweats more than I've ever seen any other human being sweat in my life. The Sweater works out for LONG periods of time. We're talking a couple hours on the bike at a go. (Why he doesn't just ride his bike outside if he has that long to dedicate to it is beyond me). And, as I said, the Sweater sweats. Copiously. Now, I'm not especially easily grossed out by stuff like this. I mean everybody sweats. (Isn't that the name of a book or something? Perhaps a sequel to Everybody Poops? If it's not, it totally should be).

But this goes beyond his shirt being soaked through (which it is) and all the way to puddles on the floor. You heard me right -- PUDDLES of sweat on the floor surrounding his bike. You almost need rainboots to walk around after he's been on the bike. Now, if the Sweater gets to the gym before me, this is not that big of a deal. I just pick a bike or elliptical that's far, far away from him. The problem arises when I am there first and then he comes and sits down next to me. Because did I mention that the PUDDLES of sweat really, really gross me out? Plus (and this is even grosser), if he sits next to me there is the imminent danger of sweat SPLASH. This is not just some irrational fear - it's actually HAPPENED to me! Eww, eww, and more eww.

So here is my gym etiquette question: If the Sweater takes the bike next to mine, is it rude for me to get up and move? Even if it is rude, is it okay if I do it anyway? And, by the way, shouldn't he be, like, wiping up the puddles of sweat when he's done, so I don't accidentally step in them on my way to the elliptical? Isn't that the polite thing to do? Is that REALLY asking so much?

And don't even get me started on the gym Grunter . . .


Miss Squirrel said...

Ewwww that's an unfortunate little gym buddy you got yourself there! I think that if he plops himself down next to you and you get up and move, it's about the same level of rudeness as getting up and moving if someone sits next to you on the bus, when there are other places they could have sat. i.e. probably a little bit rude but not that much because you'd probably both rather be sitting alone anyway. Although it may get a bit obvious if you get up and move every single time he sits down next to you. Maybe you could get up and move to another type of equipment though, so he thinks you're just finished that portion of your workout?

And yes if he sweats that much (ewwwww!) then he should be mopping it up after he's done with the bike. To be honest this is kind of petty of me but if it's a problem that occurs repeatedly, I would complain to the gym management and let them deal with it, either by speaking to him or cleaning up after him themselves. I don't think they would want their gym members being interfered with by a fellow gym member. Use the "health hazard/slippery floor hazard" angle if you must.

ChrisC said...

Ahh, miss squirrel, that moving on the bus thing is a good analogy. I might feel a little bit rude doing it, but that wouldn't stop me. Especially if the person who sat down next to me was gibbering to themselves maniacally, which happened to me with alarming frequency on buses when I lived in Chicago :-)

And I hadn't even thought of talking to the folks at the desk. I felt like a little bit of a jerk even whining about it, since the whole reason you go to the gym is to sweat. I just want him to sweat a little more politely :-)