Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother

Feb
06
2014

When A Guy At The Gym Turns Creepy

HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT?

As a fitness lover who frequents the gym several times a week, I’ve become familiar with my fellow regulars.

There’s the extremely buff fitness competitor who is always quick to offer a warm smile, and the guy with the oversized muscles who might look menacing if you were to pass him on a dark street, but who, in actuality, is a gentle giant.

There are the BodyShred devotees and yoga lovers, the adrenaline-hooked spinning diehards.

Then there are the treadmill and weight-machine addicts, such as myself.

We all have a couple of things in common—we are dedicated to personal health, and we’ve come to recognize one another. We smile, say hello, sometimes have a quick chat.

This is a good and bad thing.

See, sometimes this familiarity and friendliness goes wrong. Creepy, even.

And one guy is definitely starting to creep me out.

How things went from a polite exchange of hellos to him asking about my sex life is quite confusing.

The man, an older regular whose name I don’t even know, seemed harmless enough, nervously polite even.

But somewhere between the occasional wave and him marveling at how cute my son is (my boy used to be a member of the gym daycare), the tone shifted.

“You’re very fit,” he said to me one day while I was using a leg weight machine.

“You work out hard,” he continued.

“I am too old for you, but if I was younger I’d ask for your phone number.”

Um, yes, the considerable age difference—that’s it. Oh and the small detail of my husband and son, I say to myself.

I say thank you, look away, and continue my reps.

He is undeterred.

“I can’t believe you have a one-and-a-half year-old. Are you working out in other ways too? With your husband?” he says, giving my body the creepy eyeball rundown.

“Make sure you are working out in other ways, too, and have another baby,” he says, indicating my groin.

What?

Seriously. What?

At this point my body language is completely closed off. My arms are crossed protectively across my chest and I am giving him a look that clearly says "OK, you can get the hell away from me now.”

The man is either oblivious or doesn’t care.

If you’ve wondered why so many gym goers blast their iPods and stare stone-faced straight ahead, well, now you know; they’re afraid to make eye contact with a crazy person.

The next time I see him, I am once again stationed at a machine, which I am convinced is his way of trapping me in conversation.

“It looks like you’re working out hard,” he begins. This must be his signature icebreaker.

“Yep, yep. I am,” I say curtly, reaching for my headphones.

“And have you also been working out in those other ways, too?”

Then he does it again—the full-body ogle!

Now I give him stink eye, cast a look of disgust, and dismissively wave him away as though he were nothing more than an irritating housefly.

He’s still talking when I slip my headphones back on, but he quickly leaves the gym, hopefully defeated.

Have you ever dealt with a lecherous gym member? If so, how did you handle it?

Are you interested in health and fitness? Click here to read my earlier post: A Daily Dose of Exercise Keeps Me Balanced