1…Put Away Your Dick
If we could all, somehow, obtain 5-7% of the confidence that exists within old men in locker rooms sporting 3-inch cocks, the mental health crisis would be over. The things I would do to be able to carry myself with the same level of poise that Jerry walks around with butt ass naked — pubes thicker than the Amazon rainforest — and a sad flaccid penis…His body may scream Harvey Weinstein, but his confidence says, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.
There's always going to be nudity in a locker room, but is it too much to ask that you don't sit on the bench butt ass naked? God only knows what's hiding in those asteroid sized craters covering the surface of the moon, which apparently, seconds as your ass. While you're standing there reading emails, balls-a-blazing, I'm trying to figure out a way to get to my locker directly under yours without catching a piece of history to my dome. I'm not saying I want you to lose that superhuman confidence; I'm just asking that you don't blow-dry your hair with your mini-meat missile hanging. Just, you know, be fucking normal.
2…The Rule Of 3's
If you make the gym a habit, you'll inevitably see someone you know. Since societal rules have told us we should say hello to people we know, you're going to feel pressure to — at the very least — shoot a wave to that person. At the same time, you don't want to come off as a stalker. Stare at them in the mirror for too long, and women will start to ask the front desk guy to walk them to their cars.
Sometimes it's going to be impossible to synchronize both of your workouts so there's an opening to acknowledge each other's existence. The level of difficulty to casually make eye contact with someone you know at the gym is only rivaled to that of hitting an MLB fastball. The difference is if you get caught swinging — or in this case, waving to no one — you're going to want to commit suicide immediately (or SUEY as the kids call it).
To make you feel better: They're probably going through the same crisis in their head. To simplify this for both parties involved, I've created the Rule of 3's: Give yourself three chances to lock eyes either directly, or in the mirror to say hello. If you strikeout, move on as if you never even saw them. Trust me; this is going to solve a lot of stress and allow you to finish your workout in peace.
3…Don't Be The Resident Gym Friend
This fucking guy…and it will be a guy. The gym is but a 2-hour social event to him. For six years, he's been a member here, and not one bodily improvement has come out of it. In some weird way, he's become the pseudo-gatekeeper of the gym, and more importantly, the sauna.
Unfortunately, I recently fell victim to a resident gym friend. I never even saw it coming. He was weaving in and out of gym equipment like a prowling tiger; Waiting to pounce into a forced conversation. By the time I saw him, he was already asking if I was using the machine next to me. As a last-ditch effort, I immediately went into defense mode by leaving my headphones in on full blast and shaking my head 'no.' My electric earplugs were no match for this trained conversationalist, though. He could hear that I was listening to music loudly but chose to start speaking anyway. I saw his mouth moving, but Katy Perry was drowning out every word. Sometimes, with a predator like the resident gym friend, you can get away with nodding your head and smiling. Although conversations are supposed to be two-way, nothing you say actually matters to this beast.
Then it happens: The gym friend stopped speaking and begun to stare at me; Like he just asked a question. I took my headphones out and asked him what he just said. BOOM! IT'S A TRAP! I'm now knee-deep in his bullshit. I try to put a single headphone back in as a sign, but he just won't let me go. What do I do? Even lifting weights while he speaks won't dissuade him. I just saw him working out legs, and now he's somehow integrated himself into my chest workout. Eventually, like an injured gazelle being torn apart by a lion, I accept my fate. In his mind, we're officially friends.
Ever since then, every workout feels like a race against the clock. Almost as if I'm in the movie 'Office Space,' trying to avoid Bill Lumbergh. He's caused me to have recurring nightmares. It starts with me going for a jog outside. About 5 minutes in, I hear a voice next to me; It's the resident gym friend. No matter how hard I sprint, I can't get away from his brisk walk. How could he possibly be keeping up? I look down and notice we're on treadmills. I look up, and what was once a scenic outdoor view is now a never-ending line of gym TVs. The game-winning shot on ESPN is about to fall, when all of a sudden, the channel changes. The resident gym friend has requested the local news instead. I finally trip, fall, and fly into the poll behind me. Only then do I wake up. It's fucking terrifying. No one should ever go through that.
4…Keep Your Wave Club Exclusive
It only makes sense to follow rule number three with this. Although you never want to be the resident gym friend, you also don't want to be a complete dick. There's going to come a time when you start to see the same people over and over again. Even a world-class conversation evader like myself will get stuck in an accidental discussion.
For example, there's an older gentleman at my gym whom I had a 5-minute conversation with. I don't know his name, and we've literally never said another word to each other since. The one thing I do know is that he seemed like a pretty fucking nice guy. In return, I gave him access to join my exclusive wave club. Every avid gym-goer has this group in their life — just random people you'll give a polite wave and smile.
That said, it's vital to draw a line when it comes to who you do and do not say hello to. I can't stress enough how crucial it is to establish that line right away. If you allow too many members in this club, you'll begin to transition into the resident gym friend. The more people you wave at, the more opportunity there is to start an expendable conversation. But like a GM of a professional sports teams, you're going to have to make some tough cuts.
For example, there's a kid who lived on the same floor as me during my freshman year in college. I had my fair share of conversations with the guy, and we definitely recognize each other. Despite this, I knew I had to cut him. I mean, this guy literally got so fucked up one night he proceeded to cry at a party and tell me about his breakup. How am I supposed to associate with a man who cries at parties? To make matters worse, I specifically remember looking over at his friend, who was casually drinking Robitussin because he was on probation; I shit you not. PRO TIP: Don't fucking do that.
Listen, I'm not saying men shouldn't cry, I'm just saying that men shouldn't cry. Perhaps someone who's parent's hugged them too many times as a child could have handled the situation better than myself, but I'm not that guy. And honestly, no amount of blacking out has ever been able to delete that memory. Like Bill Belichick before a Super Bowl, I made the hard decision to cut him.
5...Don't Have Gym Autism
Like real autism, gym autism comes in the form of a spectrum. Unfortunately for my father, he was born on the deep end. I've always heard stories from friends who went to the same gym as him, but I finally got to see it first-hand when we went together around Christmas time.
I'm talking karaoke runs in between aisles of machines. Noises I didn't know a full-grown man could make. At one point, he was SCREAMING every seventh word of a song that was playing. When he runs on the treadmill, he counts out loud, again, only in giant intervals. "ONE....FOUR....EIGHT...SEVENTEEN...." He says it helps keeps pace.
You can't pick your parents, I guess. You also can't put them up for adoption after finding out they're gym autistic. Honestly, I almost respect his lack of fucks given. Besides, he's my little angel.
There are also other forms of gym autism. Signs include excessive chalk use, obnoxiously pumping oneself up before a lift, listening to music without headphones, using an elevation mask, getting angry when someone takes one of the seven machines you were using, putting 'Fit' in the front of your IG name, wearing a helmet on a stationary bike, and more. That last one may actually be autism. If someone you know shows any of these signs, make fun of them immediately. They deserve it.
Quite often, this person will second as the resident gym friend. Don't be the person who's always there. Two hours is long enough. If you're actually getting paid to be fit, then I'll allow it. But if you just love the gym, are trying to avoid going home, or whatever else it might be — Just go home. Do you know what's better than one hobby? Two hobbies. You know what's better than two hobbies? Friends. Go find some.