In the beginning, some time after the Big Bang, once the dinosaurs had met their extinction and man began to walk the surface of the planet, societies were formed and towns and cities were built. As the human race took its first steps towards the creation of empires and vast civilisations, a group of clandestine bearded elders of the earth met in the deepest black of night to sign a secret mystical oath which would decide the destiny of one particular sub-section of humanity. Upon the ancient scroll these words were inscribed (this is only a rough translation from the original text): “If a man lies with another man as one lies with a woman, he must join a gym.”
There you have it, due to the magical mystical oath thing (that I certainly didn’t make up), homosexuals everywhere are now driven by a supernatural force to go to the gym even if they don’t really want or need to, unable to ignore the ancient imperative in their head to become treadmill-pounding body fascists. Despite our preternatural urge to work-out, gyms can still be terrifying institutions to a novice, especially as a gay man. Luckily for you, I have assembled a brief list of gym ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for those taking their first timid steps into a weights room (this guide can also serve as a quick refresher course for even the most ardent fitness fanatic):
DO make sure that you ensnare yourself a cross-trainer or treadmill that is situated in the direct eyeline of the men’s changing rooms, in order to fully assess the level of attractive men that are currently in the gym. This practice will also allow the time spent doing soul-sucking cardio to pass more quickly.
DON’T hire a hot personal trainer. You will spend the duration of a personal training session as a sweaty, panting, exhausted and uncoordinated mess. Is this how you want the muscled, tanned, well-groomed probably Brazilian or Italian PT to see you? No. Instead employ the services of the balding, pale, slightly chubby PT that is clearly past his prime (every gym has one), unless that’s your type. In that case hire a woman.
DO make audible, ridiculous grunting sounds as you lift weights, as that way people around you will know that you are working really hard. Forget about the fact that you will sound like a tennis player getting a rectal exam from a poorly-trained circus monkey with an ice-pick; you are lifting heavy weights and EVERYONE must know that you are, otherwise what’s the point?
DON’T allow people to lay claim to more than one piece of gym equipment at a time, particularly during busy periods. It is common practice for some regular gym-goers to dominate the entire weights area as if it’s their own living room filled with gym equipment, with towels strewn over the bench press as some sort of ‘Reserved’ sign and dumbbells left hidden in the corner as if to ay ‘Do Not Touch’. Remember that, despite being bigger than you and more superior in every way, these people are bastards and you should not be intimidated by them. Strut purposefully up to these muscle bags, look them directly in the eye and say, “Could I *cough*…I mean would you mind if…umm…can I borrow the weights? No? Oh….erm OK. Sorry to bother you. Sir.”
DO wipe down the gym equipment after you have used it. No one wants to bathe in your sweat and musk or slip from the treadmill because of the makeshift waterslide you created from your sudoriferous glands. On a similar note, please wear deodorant. A really strong one. Gym-goers should be seen and not smelt.
DON’T have sex in the sauna after your workout. It’s tacky and people should be able to sit in there without the danger of slipping over on your semen. As an alternative I suggest copulating in the shower. It’s cleaner and all evidence from your penis will be washed away down the drain.
DO maintain prolonged eye contact with any men that you find attractive, at least until the point it becomes obvious and awkward. Once you have made the recipient of your steadfast gaze deeply uncomfortable, sheepishly look away and then look back in that general direction and pretend you were focusing on something else, such as the clock behind him. If direct ocular contact seems too intimidating, utilise one of the many mirrors in the gym to ogle indirectly.
DON’T wear short shorts. No one wants to see that. NO ONE.
DO take a full length photograph of yourself in the mirror using a mobile phone after your workout. The picture in question must be shirtless and be lit from above, with your face obscured slightly by the handset. The image must then be posted on one of your many social networking profiles for everyone to look at, admire and think what a total narcissistic prick you are.