Dear gym oglers – DON’T

Sometimes when I drive home from work, I listen to the Cowhead Show, which is maybe my first mistake right there.  I like Galvin’s Open Letter, what can I say? Anyway, today I was listening to the show, and my five-minute commute happened to overlap with an exchange that made my skin want to crawl off my body.

The conversation had somehow wound its way to ladies with visible butt crack, then it moved on to, uh, quasi-visible front crack (like, through yoga pants).  Then the dudes started talking about how they liked to check out girls at the gym for this reason.  “Yeah, that’s why I go to Curves!” one guy joked.

You know what, dudes?  YOU SUCK.

Listen, I’m not an idiot.  I am aware that people – not just guys, but people, because that’s right, women have eyes, too – check out other people pretty much everywhere that other people are.  I am also aware that the gym is one of those places, and that it has the added benefit of being a place where people are likely to show a little bit of skin.

And for the most part I just deal with it. I put in my earbuds, I focus on my form and I don’t think about it too much.  I mean, I would never be able to complete a single deadlift if I thought too much about what people standing behind me might see, because I’d be paralyzed by self-consciousness.  (I think it also helps that I am tall and I get really intense when I lift, which is probably more likely to freak a dude out than anything else.  I suppose it’s only fun to leer at a woman when you think she couldn’t seriously hurt you?  I don’t know.)

But fuck, I’d appreciate it if those of you who do insist on treating the gym like your personal ladyparts smorgasboard could at least be a little discreet about it.  Don’t stare.  Don’t hover. Don’t follow us around from machine to machine.  Don’t lean over to watch as we walk by.  And for crying out loud, close your mouth.  We see what you do, and most of us are not flattered. We are just grossed out.

A lot of ladies already find the gym an intimidating place, and that’s without taking Creepy Dude Nation into account.  Having to bend over and do weird contortions while wearing shorts or tight pants in an area surrounded by guys is more than a lot of women are willing to deal with.

There’s a reason why there is not one, but two lady-only gym chains out there right now, and why one of those gyms, Shapes, has a commercial with a Creepy Dude leering at a woman’s butt as she does a yoga stretch.  Gym ogling is so prevalent that even capitalism recognizes it.

So please, Creepy Dudes of the world, give it a rest.  Don’t make me accidentally drop a twenty-pound dumbbell on your foot.

No love,
Caitlin

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