No Harm Done

Monday, August 20, 2007

M. and I don't talk about men's bathrooms very often, but in the past the subject of urinal ettiquette has come up.

Apparently, there's a sort of a "guy's behavior code" in the men's room:

1. Keep your eyes up and forward. (That one's pretty obvious.)

2. Don't talk.

3. No sound effects. (again, obvious)

4. Choose the urinal farthest away from other occupied urinals.

That last one isn't quite right. Apparently there's a bit of strategy concerning urinal choice, depending upon the number of urinals in the room, the number of users, etc.

Entire websites and numerous blog entries have been written on this subject. I even ran across a message board forum discussing this issue. Go ahead. Google "Men's bathroom etiquette" and you'll see. I'll wait.

You're back? Good. Did you see that there are even a couple of instructional videos on YouTube and Google Video on this subject? Fascinating. (Not really, but I'm trying to be polite for the sake of my male readers.)

(Attention - segue alert!!!)

Anyway, there's a similar sort of ettiquette for use on the treadmills at the gym. When the line of treadmills is empty, as in the picture below, you're supposed to choose any of the treadmills except the ones directly next to the occupied one.

When I go to the gym to run, the treadmills usually look like this picture. There's a long line of empty treadmills with one or two people on them.

Recently, I was the only person on a treadmill. About 20 minutes into my run, a gentleman got on the machine directly to my left.

I inwardly panicked. I grew up in a large, but very safe city in the Pacific Northwest. I went to college in a small, but very safe city on the west coast. And ever since we've lived in very safe cities. This city is the first place we've lived where I've had to worry about serious crime. (I posted about our fair city here.) So as my treadmill comfort zone has been breached, I'm thinking of everything that could go wrong and my mind is racing: "What is he doing? Why the heck didn't he choose another machine? Doesn't he know? Doesn't he know about the rules?!"

Ten minutes later, a second man starts using the machine directly to my right. Now I'm feeling claustrophobic. There's a long line of machines, and the three of us bunched together in the middle.

I debated going to a different machine, and then decided I wouldn't because that would look rude. And I can't be rude to complete strangers, can I? I just toughed out the last minutes of my run and high-tailed it off the treadmills.

But c'mon people. There are certain rules in the gym, both written and unwritten. They exist so that we can function peaceably at the gym: If the gym's busy, limit yourself to 30 minutes on a machine. Use the free towel the gym gives you. Spitting into the drinking fountain = bad. Please don't put a poker game or WWF on the one big tv that the stationary bikes use. C'mon!

And please don't crowd the solitary female shuffling on the treadmills. It'll creep me out and I'll view you with suspicion for days.

Related Posts:

I Joined A Gym!

My Olympic Dreams Are Dashed (Or at least seriously dented)


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