*I originally wrote this article was originally published on Elephantjournal.
From N.Y to L.A., I have been in and around gyms, either as a member, or an instructor for the last few decades. I truly do love a great gym atmosphere. Sadly, there are a few “douchebags” whose unenlightened, self-absorbed behaviors make it a little more difficult for the rest of us to enjoy our gym experience.
These are the Gym Douchebags to watch out for:
1. The “I-Don’t-Mind-Marking-My-Territory-And-Not-Cleaning-It-Up Douchebag.” Clean up your sweat-laden cardiovascular equipment when you are done using it! Everyone sweats, no big deal. Sweat contains salt, chloride, potassium and urea. It’s a natural response by your body to help you cool down. What is a big deal is the moisture from your sweat helps germs to grow. (Besides, you ever place your clean dry hand on a recently drenched Precor elliptical machine? Blech!)
When you’re done sweating out that fight you had with your boss, grab one of those sanitary wipes or your towel and wipe that sh*t clean! (FYI: if you used a tissue to blow your nose or spit in, please remember to take that with you too!).
2. The “Gym-Bully Douchebag.” Nothing is worse than a case of self-entitlement. Hundreds of people belong to the same gym you do and they all pay exactly what you pay, so chill out. No one thinks it’s impressive when you yell and shout like a two-year-old at a gym staff member. Whether it’s someone from the front desk or the cleaning crew, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to talk respectfully to someone else.
Also, pressuring people to finish their workout by hovering over them like a hungry patron at a restaurant is a totally douchey move. I know you’ve come to the realization that your workout is more important than theirs, but it’s not.
Gym bullies can also be found jumping rope in the middle of a walk-way preventing other members from passing out of fear! No one wants to risk getting head-whipped by their lethal lariat!
Like my father always said, ” When you want or need something, ask nicely. If that doesn’t work, that person is a douchebag.”
3. The “All-Singing-All-Dancing-While-Working-Out-Or-In-The-Shower Douchebag.” When I was little this nutty women with an enormous toothy grin used to walk up and down Washington Blvd wearing headphones and singing at the top of her lungs. She would throw her arms in the air like a drag queen trying to get noticed in the chorus. The rest of us would roll up the windows of our cars to shut out the noise.
It is quite feasible that not everyone around you thinks you can dance and sing as well as you think you can. Remember, you’re in a gym. Find your inner “Drag-Queen-Diva-Douchebag” self in a place we all don’t have to watch and listen to you!
4. The “Sorry, But-I-Dance-To-The-Beat-Of-My-Own-Drummer-In-A-Group-Fitness-Class Douchebag.” If you want to take a spin class and read your paper or listen to your headphones while taking a yoga class, don’t. It is not only rude to the instructor, but you are also distracting everyone else in the class who came there to enjoy themselves.
I am a big fan of people rebelling and bucking an unfair system but the group fitness class you chose to attend is not exactly one of them. You’re not James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause.” You’re more like the “Rebel-Without-A Clue-Douchebag.” Go do your own thing on your own time.
5. The “I’m-Going-To-Blow-Dry-My-Junk-For-Your-Viewing-Pleasure Douchebag. “ I’m still traumatized after walking into the locker and seeing a woman squatting, spread eagle over a hair dryer she aimed a few millimeters from her va-jay-jay. I also learned that men did the same thing with their little buddies below! Now, I can appreciate saving a few gallons of water instead of using too many towels but I doubt highly that you are even considering this as you blow-dry those love spuds!
Most of us use those hair dryers for our heads. We place that same nozzle you just aimed way too close to your private parts in our hands and scalps. What’s next, my “Genital-Hair-Styling-Douchebag” friend? You doing a handstand under the automatic hand dryer?
6. The, “Exhibitionist-In-The-Locker-Room Douchebag.” Reminder: The gym locker room is a shared bathroom and changing space. Therefore, we are subjected to everything you say, like that chick who rocked your world last night, or do, like standing naked in front of the mirror as you pluck hairs off your nipples.
Even though you love admiring your douchey self for long periods of time in front of the mirrors, the rest of us are really suffering.
7. The “Jacuzzi’s-And-Steams-And-Showers, Oh-My! Douchebag.” A) Jacuzzi’s are not extra large toilet bowls. So please don’t be a “Warm-Water-Stimulates-My-Need-To-Go-Potty-Douchebag.” Take the five second walk to the bathroom stall. B) Steam rooms are not for shaving, unless you’d like to risk a Staph infection.
Also, when steaming, sit on a towel. Even though there are signs all over the gym spa saying “Please shower before you use the spa”(which helps reduce the risk of spreading disease ), no one ever does.
Please remember “My-Pores-Feel-So-Open-Steam-Junkie-Douchebag,” that your dirty rear-end has to sit on the tile a 100 other people will use that day.
C) The “I-need-enough-towels-to-clean-a-brontosaurus-and-left-them-in-a-pile-on-the-floor-for-someone-else-to-clean-up Douchebag,” really deserves it’s own number on the list. (This douchebag was a repetitive offender to many gym members during my interviews). There is a fine balance between using a towel or two and being wasteful. Also, why can’t the uber fit take the moments walk to the towel bin and put them inside bin? As my mother would say, “You don’t live in a barn, Douchebag!”
D) Gym showers are not toilets and sinks. Therefore, spitting, masturbating and singing at the top of your lungs because you dig the acoustics is not okay. Oh, if you decide to shave your pubic area…do make sure your “cluster of curlies” are completely washed down the drain.
Please, please, please remember there are other gym members who may have to shower next to you or worse yet, use your shower when you’re finished! Keep it clean and friendly my ” Shower-Without-Boundaries-Douchebag”!
8.The, “I’m-A-Male Trainer-And-I-Only-Talk-To-Hot-Chicks-So-Don’t-Bother-Me-With-Your-Workout Douchebag.” Here is what one male gym member I interviewed said about many (not all) male trainers: “You could be pinned under 200 lbs on a weight bench and certain male trainers won’t even notice because they’re having some dumb conversation with a chick about her crazy Vegas weekend.”
Hey guys, I’m also entertained by some of those “Hoochie-Mama-Douchebag-Outfits” some women wear at the gym that would be better suited for a porn shoot, but fair is fair. Guys need love and attention too! Besides, another male gym member is probably paying for the girl you’re flirting with to be there and motivate his workout too!
9. The “I-Pay-A-Fortune-To-Be-A-Member-So-How-About-Some-Free-Perks Douchebag.” I know you’re thinking it’s just a hanger, a fitness ball or yoga block. I also know you’re thinking, “I helped pay for this item, so it’s okay.” News flash: It’s not. Stealing is a crime.
Imagine I came to your home for a fundraising party. I fell in love with your antique silver frame. I decide to take it with me on the way out. After all, I did pay to attend this fundraiser, right? My hard-earned money is going to the charity you’re sponsoring, so why not grab myself a thank you gift on the way out!
Good news, “Five-Finger-Discount-Douchebag!” The gym hasn’t caught you yet. Bad news is when they do (all gyms have video cameras), they’ll most likely call you a douchebag and cancel your memberhship.
Mylene Dane, of TRAIN west hollywood, tries to get her work out on.
10. The ” My-Hormones-Are-Raging-So-Give-Me-Your-Number Douchebag.” If you’re a gym regular, it’s best to think of your gym as an extended family or going to your favorite restaurant. In order to keep this a stress free environment for yourself and everyone involved, think twice before you ask another member (or a staff member) on a date.
Just in case your conquests don’t lead to “happily ever after,” remember that gyms are a breeding ground for gossip and douchebags. If something goes wrong, guaranteed you will be the douchebag talk of the town.