Every January, the gyms fill up with new faces--people resolving to exercise more in the new year thinking, "This time, I'll stick with it." Yeah right, fatty. They swarm in, tie up all the equipment, and hit on that cute girl you always see there but can't get up the nerve to ask out. It's like they have no manners.
Actually, I'm beginning to suspect that gyms are etiquette-free zones anyway. Even the regulars at my gym are about as conscious of the people around them as Terri Schiavo. (Oh relax--she's dead now. Tragedy + time. Yada yada.)
My gym has numerous signs posted discouraging cell phone use as a courtesy to the other members. They might as well be printed in Cuneiform, in invisible ink, and in an entirely different building.
On one occasion, I walked into the locker room to find not one but two people talking on their phones (hopefully not to each other), one of which was a trainer. Maybe the phone use policy only applies to the workout areas. Still, I had to wonder: 1) What was it about the locker room that these people felt it was an appropriate environment to make a phone call? It's one step away from making a call in the crapper. 2) What was so important that it couldn't wait until they left the gym? The one guy was going on (quite loudly) about contracts and paperwork and business meetings and he probably just manages a Subway.
There are eight shower stalls in the men's locker room--four each on opposing walls. The shower area can be entirely empty except for me and one other guy, and yet the odds are better than 50/50 that my newer shower buddy will take an adjacent stall when there are, mathematically, at least four other stalls that provide a one stall or greater buffer.
Now, men know about the personal space rules at urinals and bathroom stalls. It's required. They teach it to you after the secret man handshake. (Or man-shake, as it's sometimes called. Yeah, you ladies reading didn't know we had that, did you? If you ask your boyfriend about it and he says I'm making it up, keep in mind that he's probably bound by sacred oath to deny it exists.) For whatever reason, the guys at my gym don't seem capable of applying the same principle to shower stalls, even though it carries over by the transitive property or whatever. They think it's totally normal and in no way weird to shower in the stall right next to someone else if you don't have to.
But it gets better. I like to take advantage of my gym's jacuzzi, so I'll often be showering off after with a pair of wet trunks that I'll drape over the divider. Surely with wet swim trunks dripping down, encroaching on the next stall, no one would want to use it, right? Ha, ha--think again! If anything, it acts as a super powerful magnet that actually attracts anti-social behavior. Only in this case, a stranger's appearance in the stall next to mine is even more frustrating than usual because they're potentially splashing their shower water on my clean(ish) trunks. Way to not be an inconsiderate jackhole.
As if my shower woes weren't impressively woeful enough, one time while I was in the shower, someone took the sneakers that I'd left just outside my locker and turned them in to lost and found. I had to walk downstairs to the front desk in my socks to retrieve them. Really, guy? Really?!?
I wonder if this is just at my gym, or if this a staple of gyms worldwide. Because I have a feeling that if anyone tried to pull this crap at Emily Post's gym, she'd totally open a can of whoopass. But, you know...politely.
Also, I wonder what "cell phone" looks like in Cuneiform.
P.S. Sorry about the Terri Schiavo joke.