As someone who goes to the gym a lot and also has conversations with women (due to being a physically strong and healthy person who is also socially well-adjusted) one thing I often hear from my women friends, who, again, I definitely have, is how tiresome it is to be approached by random men in the middle of a work out. Having observed this behavior in the wild myself on numerous occasions, via being at the gym a lot, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t understand how women manage to make it through any normal day without ripping every other dude who manifests his grim visage into your line of sight a new asshole, never mind when you’re contorted and sweaty and just trying to pound out a few reps or miles on the machine in order to transform your body into a more aesthetically pleasing shape just so more men will inevitably cold approach you elsewhere in the world. The whole thing sounds exhausting, to be honest. Life in general, I mean, but also the gym thing.
Still, despite thousands of data points of evidence to the contrary, a lot of men still haven’t gotten the idea that the vast majority of women don’t want to be hit on at the gym. For them, years of polite but curt patter or preemptive fuck-off-face aren’t a case for why they should just shut the hell up and let people go about their business, they’re an argument that they need to try harder, as if conquering the interaction with women hurtle is like beating a personal best on the squat rack, (although anyone who knows where the squat rack is, like me, the guy who works out the right way, probably isn’t wasting their time at the gym making it a social hour to be honest.)
The slightly more self-aware gym-trawlers have devised all manner of work-arounds to infiltrate the leave-me-alone glares and disinterested patter, all of which they seem to be convinced is unmitigated genius. Realizing that they can’t just roll up to someone in the middle of a work out and ask them out, they think that using a sort of psychological gym-talk-judo they can skirt around the defenses. Most often this comes in complimenting a woman’s form in the middle of an exercise. While this seems like it might be a successful gambit, it’s completely see-through. No woman in the history of gym-going has ever had her form complimented by a random dude and not seen it for the pick-up line that it is. It’s a sort of reverse gymsplaining in which the subtext is that the woman is supposed to be honored that you, the man, has deigned to approve of her routine. The even worse version of this is when you offer unsolicited advice and it’s not even couched in the form of a compliment. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen men do this. “Here, let me show you what you’re doing wrong. Aren’t I a knowledgable fella? Bet you’re thinking about my sweaty dick now aren’t you?”
None of which is to say that you can’t, under any circumstances, talk to a woman at the gym, my dude. But there are a very specific and limited set of circumstances in which you can do so. Committing these to memory will not only help you become a better person, a better man, but also make everyone else’s lives around you more enjoyable and free from stress.
Here then are the appropriate ways to talk to a woman at the gym:
1) Excuse me, are you using this machine?
2) Do you know if someone else is using this machine?
3) Hello [Nodding politely, then going about your business]
4) The gym is on fire, we have to get out of here right now.
5) Someone just shot the president. What the fuck? I’m out of here.
6) I’ve hurt myself very badly and am need of medical attention.
7) You look hot in those yoga pants.
8) Just kidding about that last one that was a test.
9) Was that guy hitting on you? What a skeeveball, unlike me, the guy who knows how to talk to women.
10) Can’t think of another one.