|Photo by Bethany Buchanan|
(Catch the audio.)
Without further ado, here's everything I've learned so far about how not to get hit on at the gym:
1. Go to a gym like mine. Avoiding well-lit, commercially-successful gyms such as the sleek and popular LA Fitness hub across the street from the apartment complex, choose instead to work out in the low-budget workout room off the side of the clubhouse of your low-rent apartment complex. That way, instead of being ogled by well-muscled workout gods in their snappy new Under Armour leggings and fitted short-sleeved crew shirts, you are instead more likely to be ogled by an entire Hispanic family who has come to the clubhouse to use the free computers and instead stays for the show. "The show" being the rare spectacle of you flailing around on the elliptical (see below). The point is that by working out in your apartment's free workout room, you are more likely if you do encounter people of the opposite sex to encounter those who are not likely to hit on you, since hitting on girls often leads to dates, and dates have been known to cost money. Furthermore, it is a well-established generalization that women have been known to use the gym to put themselves on display as ready and available for the pick up. If you don't believe me, just ask my friend Alissa, who often bemoans the prevalence at her gym of cutesy-cute girls in their Pink workout gear who come to the gym freshly made-up and manicured and who are obviously working very hard never to break into a sweat. I've even heard of women who join particular gyms across town--far from their own homes and jobs--because, since these gyms are in a more upscale area, the chances are higher that they will make themselves available to be picked up by wealthier men. None of these matters are an issue if you choose to work out in your low-rent apartment's free workout room instead of in a fancy gym.
2. When you do work out, give the impression that you actually might be Special Needs. I'm really not sure if this is something that you can fake. Fortunately, I've found that it's just something that comes naturally to me. There are few things less attractive than a woman whose appearance while using the elliptical puts one in mind of a mentally-distressed and mortally-injured seal pup going into the final throes of death. So if you can strike that impression--as I've discovered that I can--then that's one point in your favor. Furthermore, nothing turns a guy away sooner than a girl who cannot understand how to work the most basic tools (in this case, exercise equipment). And I'm not talking here about the standard malfunctions which would actually necessitate some adorable male assistance, such as, "Excuse me, do you know how to set this weight press on ten pounds instead of on--goodness! Someone set it on two hundred pounds! Whoever was using this machine last must have been so strong. Oh, wait. Wasn't that you?" No, what I'm talking about here is making mistakes so colossal and mind-boggling that the rational side of the male psyche is so horribly offended that he cannot even contemplate looking in your direction again, even if you are as hot as the sun's core. I'm talking about getting into the machines upside-down, backwards, or inside out, and continuing to use them that way despite obvious discomfort and confusion. I'm talking about mistaking the water fountain for a stationary bike or the soda machine for a Gravity Inversion Table, and then complaining loudly that the ones in the workout room are vastly inferior to the ones that you saw on the infomercial. That kind of thing.
3. Read books while working out. Apart from the sheer relief of having something to look at other than all of those mirrors, you will find that this is a natural repellent to a large percentage of the men at the gym (though this can backfire). The more weighty and ponderous the tome, the less likely that a male will use your reading material as a conversation starter. If I may be so bold to make a recommendation, I put forth the second edition of Millard J. Erickson's Christian Theology. Not only is it sufficiently off-putting as conversational material (except to a small demographic unlikely to show up next to you on the weight press), but at 1,312 pages it can also double as a free weight. Plus, it's actually both an interesting and an informative read. You'll actually be killing three birds with one stone: working out, repelling unwanted advances, and learning to navigate the intricacies of evangelical theology. Win-win-win.
4. Have hair like mine. First, get your curly hair cut into a wedge style that requires a sleek blow-out every day. Then, start to grow it out. (And I do mean out. Hair like mine doesn't grow down until far, far into the growing-out process.) Get it into that sweet spot in which your hair is too long to pass for a wedge, but not long enough to pull back into a pony-tail yet. Next, manhandle your hair back for workouts by dint of using a complicated system involving two separate banded curl bunches on the top, a motley assortment of bobby pins scattered across the front to hold back especially wiry curls that escape from the alien-ear bunches. Leave the hopeless and mullet-like neck fringe that you just can't do anything about--this is your saving grace. It alone has more potency than #1-3 combined.
You'll be happy to know that by employing the above methods, I've managed to achieve a 100% success rate in not getting hit on at the gym.
Ladies... good luck.