In the world of the gym, there are rules. Rules, I say! Rules you're supposed to know without anyone ever actually telling you, such as the fact that your back sweat is really gross, and your fellow exercisers would really and truly appreciate it if, after your oh-so-glorious 300-pound leg-curl session, you would take a little hand towel and wipe the seat down. See, it's okay when it's your sweat, and you're the only one wallowing in it. I'd almost rather lick a toilet than someone's home gym. That's not to say that I plan to do either in the foreseeable future. See also: Robert Redford, million bucks, bestselling first novel. Whatever.
Me, I know that I showered this morning, and that my clothes were washed just last night, and the only thing untoward that might be in that sweat is a couple of bits of kitty fur lovingly mixed in by Edmund and Tenzing during this morning's cuddle session.
It's even uncaffeinated sweat. Take that! How many of you can say that?
So, Unwritten Rule #1 is to check the seat and back of any machine you've just used, and to wipe them down if necessary. Don't trust that evaporation will take care of the problem while you sidle away. The gym gods see you. Don't even think that pesky abdominal strain was anything but divine retribution. You know better.
In no way whatsoever does that bring us to Rule #2. Rule #2 is regarding the gift of your presence. While we-the-management do not endorse the idea of gym burqas, due to the possibility of injury and the probability of increased laundry levels, occasionally we indulge the whim and imagine some of our fellow gym members carefully swathed in clothing that actually conceals.
While the No Flashdance sign is lit, please refrain from cutting off your sleeves and scissoring in new, more 'aerodynamic' necklines into your t-shirts. Your frequent posing in front of the mirror has confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that yes, you are overly impressed with the hyperinflated state of your arms and chest. However, for the sake of those of us who are trying to perform regular exercise breathing, please stop preening so we can stop choking back our laughter.
Don't even try to tell us that you can't work out "with that much clothing on." Please. As soon as we time-travel back to ancient Greece for a sprightly morning of naked co-ed wrestling, I'll buy that argument. Women work out every day in more clothing than you're wearing, boy, and we aren't 'hampered.' Quit your whining.
Rule number three comes to us from Misty: despite what your mirror tells you, you are not the fattest person at the gym. There's always someone bigger than you. Don't believe me? Keep doing daily workouts for a month. There will be a day when the double doors will swing wide, you'll look up from your cardio work, and you'll know - just know! - that you were crazy to doubt me.
Try not to fall over from the force of the realization. I don't have exercise liability insurance. Your injuries are your own fault.
Rule #4: No grunting! Not only are you impinging on Monica Seles' very legal patent, you are making our ears bleed. By all means, make manly heaves of exertion. Breathe hard. Whimper a little. Turn red. Make horrid faces. Don't perform grunts worthy of a champion weightlifter while slapping a couple of dumbbells around. It's like spitting: if it were really and truly necessary, you'd see women doing it too.
I'd hate to have to get grumpy, y'know.