Gym vs. urinal etiquette

1 Apr

Those who know me know that calling me a creature of habit would be an understatement. I sat in the exact same seat in the cafeteria all throughout high school. When we moved offices at work, I took a picture of my old desk so that I could set up all my new desk decorations exactly the same way. So when I started going to Bally’s over a year ago, it was only a matter of time before an elliptical machine became “my” machine.

At first there was a bit of a trial period. I thought the fourth machine down in the first row would be the one, but then the cup holder fell off, leaving me no place to put my water bottle. The first and second machines are too close to the door and the third machine has a giant pole in front of it that blocks the TV screens. So I claimed the fifth and final front row machine as mine. Who cares if it’s missing a magazine rack, I never read and work out anyway.

Now that I exercise during the day (with all the retired and unemployed folk), someone else taking my machine is less of a problem. Although I still occasionally run into a problem. It happened today. The gym was virtually empty except for a few retirees walking on the treadmills and one lone guy in the sea of elliptical machines. He was exercising on the machine right next to the one I call mine. I had a dilemma. This is something I’ve been pondering for awhile: do urinal rules apply to gym equipment? As a woman, I’ve never been in a men’s bathroom, but I’ve heard stories about the general “rule”–when possible, leave an empty urinal between you and the other dude. But what about in a gym? During a crowded time I don’t think the rule should apply. The minute I abandon my machine for a more distant one, more people would likely arrive and fill in the gaps. But at noon on a Wednesday, no one else was likely to show. I stood at the cleaning station comtemplating my situation when I decided to go for it. There was always a chance someone else would come along, right? (No one did.) Plus, my machine was right in front of the TV playing Deal or No Deal. I had to go for it. The guy didn’t seem to mind and thankfully he didn’t smell, but I can’t help but wonder if he was thinking about the rule too.

(On a bizarre note, I woke up this morning craving Fleetwood Mac. I haven’t listened to them in years! So I worked out to “Say That You Love Me,” “Little Lies,” and “Hold Me.” I then switched to Sisters of Mercy, because nothing gets the taste of Stevie Nicks out of your head like gothic rock.

On a final note, Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Kill The Reaper” is consistently known as the iconic cowbell song (Thanks, SNL!), but “Hold Me” holds its own in the ring of cowbell-centric music. Just saying.)

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One Response to “Gym vs. urinal etiquette”

  1. j3ntan April 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    I think it’s one of those “unknown rules” at the gym. I know I’d feel weird if someone just HAD to take the machine next to mine. Esp if he was old or perverted-looking… if the person made it a point to look towards the tv’s then I guess no explanation needed but for no good reason… weird.

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