The other day I told a male friend about an experience I had at the gym that reminded me of why I’m never completely at ease when I work out in public. As I was doing a back workout, a man caught my eye. Well, to be precise, we met eyes. At first I chalked it up to a coincidental stare — I looked up when he looked up and the eye contact was accidental. It’s awkward, but it happens. However, as I continued with my workout, he kept popping into my field of vision, and I realized that he was actually pacing about 10-15 feet in front of me. Staring.
I purposely met eyes with him several times in a non-confrontational attempt to let him know I knew what he doing and didn’t appreciate it, but he wasn’t getting the message. Not wanting to make a scene, I sped through my reps, then went to the second floor of the gym to get as far away from the creep as possible.
My male coworker told me I should feel complimented because the guy was obviously trying to muster up the courage to talk to me. I scoffed at this and started to argue, and my coworker went on to admit that going to the gym must be difficult for women because some men just don’t understand the finer art of ogling women. I couldn’t agree more. So for all of those men out there who don’t seem to realize there are right and wrong ways to ogle women at the gym, here are some tips to help you avoid being the creepy guy:
- Do not stare. Ever. Have a quick look, but do not stare.
- Wait until her back is turned or she’s looking the other way. But again – don’t stare. It takes a mere second for her to look back and notice you staring. Awkward eye contact. Awkward gym moment.
- Look out for mirrors. You may think she can’t see you admiring her glutes as she runs on the treadmill, but if she’s running in front of a set of wall-length mirrors, chances are she’ll notice you’re staring at her.
- Remember the personal space bubble. Working out extra close to her so you get sneak sidelong looks is just as creepy as staring if you don’t maintain a socially acceptable distance from her.
- If you’ve got a good view that’s not noticeable (and, therefore, making the object of your admiration uncomfortable), use the “scenery” as extra motivation to get a few more minutes of exercise in.