Written by Rob Youells
23 February 2012

There is never a good time for a bad mood. Every so often, you start to feel the weight of the world a little, and stress wiggles its way into that place between your ears. For me, this is exactly when some jack ass walks up, slaps me on the shoulder, and asks some kind of moronic question about, well, something moronic!

"Hey man, have you been tanning?"

“No. I fell asleep at a fraternity keg party, and they colored me with tan markers. Pretty coolyouells-blog1 huh?”

If they knew me, they would know I'm getting ready to compete and have been tanning. If you don't know me, why in the name of all that is sacred in this universe are you touching me, slapping me, or asking me extremely obvious questions?

Of course, this happens more often than not at the one place where you are sure to find a select group, sweating on each other, getting in each other’s way, flexing in the mirror, and drooling all over anything with a vagina - the gym. I've trained at hundreds of different gyms all over the country, even in India. With the exception of a few, they all have at least one flock of them.

If you are reading this in MD, relax! You are way too serious about training to be one of them! This is exactly the reason I love going to hardcore gym's like the Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym in New York or Bodyworx in New Jersey, rather than corporate meat market gyms with free Q-tips in the locker rooms.

What causes this type of assumptive, interpersonal space invasion? I think people feel that if they see you in the same place frequently enough, that automatically makes you friends. Now, they can come up to you at any time and start long conversations asking you how to get in shape, the best way to get your abs to come in without worrying about what you eat or doing any cardio, how often I'm training, blah blah blah.

At this point, it's gotten so I don't look up when I walk in a place like this. I look at the floor with head phones on and gingerly walk to whatever it is I'm doing. Forget saying hello to complete strangers. If you do that then, you’re on the greeting program. You are now required to say hello, good morning, and how's your mom for the rest of your natural born life. I'm all for polite, but there's polite and then there is just ridiculous!

See, once you’re on the greeting program, it's only a matter of time before they start expecting an update on your life every time they see you, and then they want to update you on their lives, their cousin’s roommate from college, and everyone else! Multiply that by fifteen or twenty people a day, and you now have a full time job as a social worker leaving almost no time to get in your own training and cardio!

And don't even get me started on how many people want to shake hands! Dripping with sweat, they’ll stick their wet, clammy hands out expecting me to grab on to it and move it up and down like it feels good and I enjoy it!

One time, this kid I barely knew, soaked to the bone with sweat, put his hand out to shake my hand. I politely give him the fist to pound, as they say. He looks at me and says, "What, you don't want to shake my hand?"

I said, "No as a matter of fact I don't, we are both sweaty".

He looks at me as if he can't imagine what would be so wrong with his sweaty, funky hand and walks away. Look, I know where most guys hands have been. They are not washing them after they use the bathroom, and they adjust their junk all day. With a dry hand, I can sort of over look all that. A wet, sweaty hand, that's also been touching funk-soaked gym equipment all day? No way! Keep that nasty thing to yourself for the love of Pete!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I like meeting new people and chatting with them when I can. Anyone who has met me at the ProTan booth should be able to attest to that. It's just that I go to the gym for a purpose and having to execute fifteen complete conversations with total strangers can really hamper my ability to do so. Also, from now on, maybe instead of a hand shake, opt for the thumbs up or the fake gun shooting when saying hello. Then we can all worry a little less about pink eye or Chlamydia and more about taking our training to the next level.

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