Here’s the thing about us women-folk. We — nearly all of us — have eyes. If you happen to frequent a co-ed gym, and you’re eager to impress with your physique/prowess/profound weight-lifting knowledge, you need only wear a nicely fitting T-shirt. If you rock the T, we’ll draw our own conclusions about the other stuff.
What I’m getting at is this: There’s no need to show off. We can tell who’s buff and who is not, and the number on your barbell doesn’t make a bit of difference to us. Some of us are attracted to muscle-bound hunks. Some of us prefer skinny guys, while others like heavy-set dudes. We don’t care how much any of you can lift. (To put it in perspective, if Scarlett Johansson/Beyoncé/Helen Mirren was a member of your gym, would her placement of that little metal thingummy on her weight machine affect your level of desire?)
Sub-categories of showing off include the following:
When you spout off about your regimen and your raw eggs, either to us or to your buddy across the gym, we’re bored. We think you’re self-involved. We’re frustrated that you’re drowning out the Rihanna/This American Life podcast on our iPods.
When lifting extremely heavy things, occasional grunting sometimes occurs. We get that. Still, some men clearly use dramatic grunting as an attention-getting ploy. This is confusing to us because grunting is not a pleasant sound.
Positioning of iron-pumping self directly in front us
To be fair: In a crowded gym, this may be unavoidable. Under any other circumstances, it’s an invasion of our personal space. We feel self-conscious. We feel annoyed.
Improper use of the mirror is another way to look like an egotistical jerk (which is a turn-off). Here’s a tricky challenge for you: While you are gazing at your reflection, try to look as though you’re checking your form, as opposed to getting off on your own manliness.
Now, so far I’ve been putting the emphasis on negative behaviours; that is, telling you what not to do in the quest to pick up girls at the gym. Some would tell you not to try, period. But if you’re committed to the idea, here are a few more don’ts:
Do not tell a girl: a) that the barbell she’s just picked up is probably too heavy for her; or b) that she’d better be careful of “bulking up.” While you may perceive these as friendly bits of advice, we perceive them as patronizing bits of rudeness.
In general, be wary of offering help. Many of us are self-conscious, particularly if we’re new to gym culture. I’m sorry to say it, but chances are good that we’ll interpret your helpful tip about form as a criticism. On the other hand, if we’re clearly having trouble adjusting our machine, a friendly “Do you need help with that?” or “Tricky buggers, aren’t they?” puts the ball in our court.
So how does a fellow make headway? The old-fashioned way: Make eye contact and offer a friendly smile. If eye contact seems more difficult than it should, don’t assume it’s bad luck. It’s more likely that we’re avoiding you. This may be because: 1. We want to concentrate on our workout; 2. We already have a boyfriend; 3. We don’t find you attractive.
If the chemistry seems good, build up slowly, over a series of weeks, to a full-fledged conversation. This is not a process to be rushed. Repetition is good. You will see results, and no groin muscles will be pulled.
Image courtesy of Rob Beyer.