Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gym Etiquette

I joined a gym.

Tonight was my first real-life lesson in gym class etiquette.

1. I was 4.1 minutes late. Mistake #1.
2. The only spot that appeared to be open was a spot in the front by the mirror. I tried to go up there as inconspicuously as I could and began dancing (it was a Zumba class).3. The ladies next to me did not like my desire to dance by them, apparently the four to six feet in front of them for the mirror wasn't enough (compared to the non-mirror women had). The one on the right nearly stepped on me about 10 times.
4. The one on the left had nearly 1/8th of the room. I kept trying to give them the space they needed and switched from behind to in front because they kept boxing me in--in between them. At one point I thought they were trying to do a chorus line type of thing because they were smiling and I decide to live it up and laughed what I thought was with them.
5. After that song I got a drink as usual. As I drank I saw them join up with a lady behind me. The one on the right told me to stay back (there was only 2 feet behind me--compared to the 4-6 feet in front of her. I didn't want to smoosh the lady behind me. They tried the boxing-in again, not as aggressively as before.
6. Then I told the lady on the left that if I was not giving her enough space I could move (her and her 1/8th). She told me to "Yes, move!" There was no smile on her face. I smiled, gathered my stuff and went to find a place in the equipment area.

I think I started quite a stir. I could see the instructor getting a slightly worried look in my direction (pre-move). I really tried not to lose my temper at these women--I attempted to see things from their light and I really could sense that my coming in late and trying to "steal" some of their standing room really irked them. It probably also bothered them that I was smiling the whole time.

This class made me realize I love to dance--I knew before that I loved to dance by myself but this class made me feel like I had some talent--confidence I was seriously lacking in high school and college seemed to make itself at home when I was dancing with a lot of other ladies attempting to do what the instructor was doing. That new-found confidence had a really difficult time staying off my happy face--which seemed to add insult to injury to these women.

Afterward I avoided the women--not something I usually do. I met a new friend, Lauren who let me use the space in the equipment area with no complaints, thankfully. You may wonder why I didn't just leave. To be quite honest it was my determination to show those women I was not licked, just polite.

I walked home feeling smugly proud of my determination not to get mad. I met up with the behind-me-gossiper and she told me I had broken several rules.
A. Don't stand in front of the people by the mirrors--they are there because they want to see themselves or perfect their moves.
B. Don't move places (I tried to tell her I moved because there was no room where I was standing because I kept feeling like they were going to step on me--she did not feel like that was excuse and ignored it).

She also told me she was trying to get my eye contact so I could see an open place--I looked there were none and she could have tapped me on the shoulder.

I came up with a few more rules for myself. Do NOT go at 6 p.m.-ish time because that is rush hour at the gym. The place is packed like sardines. If a class is full don't go in. Don't smile too much--even if you like it--it bugs grouchy people. This may sound like common sense to you but I am still new to this whole gym class thing.

P.S. I am sure those women are really nice if I got to know them. But it did give me cause to wonder if they were professional insurance fraud people that drove their cars to get mucho money. It also helped me realize there is a bit of you-step-on-my-toe-I'll-smash-your-foot NY attitude boiling well in B'k'lyn.


vdg family said...

I had to eat 3/4 a bag of mini 3 Musketeers candy bars before I felt soothed enough to write this. Thank heaven for chocolate.

Emily said...

This post is awesome! Thanks for sharing. And you are brave! I would have left and cried on my husband's shoulder about it all. And what is Zumba?

vdg family said...

Zumba is a really fun aerobic dance class where you dance and sweat like crazy to a Latin beat. It's great!

Mindy said...

you make me laugh! You're the best mel

Orton Family said...

We are so glad you lived to tell! Zumba sounds fun! Way to stick it out Melanie - even with a smile! You are wonderful!

Brent Orton said...

Love you Melanie! Way to keep your cool. Self importance melts away before self control and charity. Love you! Brent