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The 5 People You Meet in Your Building’s Gym

The so-called “modern” apartment building has all manners of perks our parents never saw, and with those perks can come a real freak show. If you live in a building with a gym on-site, odds are the gym rules are a little more lax than the local health club and there’s a whole new cast of characters to meet.

1. Inconsiderate Cell Phone Girl. Attempting a task much more strenuous than walking and chewing gum at the same time, Inconsiderate Cell Phone Girl feels the need to be social while in the gym. Not social with anyone else in the room, but social with seemingly anyone and everyone that can answer a phone. Thrill to details of her riveting social life. Grow wise from her freely offered advice to other people’s problems. Live vicariously through insanely detailed accounts of restaurants normally reserved for wedding proposals and anniversaries. And, wouldn’t you just know it, Inconsiderate Cell Phone Girl talks a whole lot more than she listens. One day, you hope she hears some gossip so juicy she freezes up and falls off the treadmill.

2. The Babysitter. There’s nothing worse than when someone has their baby brother over and can’t think of anything better to do than bring the tyke down to the gym. No, actually there is, if the kid’s over 6, leaving them unattended. Running, screaming, disassembling equipment and all manner of stupid questions get directed at you, while you’re trying to mind your own business. Nobody confuses Bally’s with Romper Room… unless they live upstairs.

3. The Dude with the Broken TV. Almost always a guy, this dude is always in the gym for a particular show. This is not to be confused with somebody watching TV while working out. That’s normal. The Dude with the Broken TV isn’t really working out. Oh, he’ll sometimes put up a front. Do five sit-ups, then stand and watch the TV for five minutes, followed by another five sit-ups. Worst episode witnessed: the Dude in the gym all Saturday for a Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency marathon. The upside: he probably got at least 30 sit-ups in.

4. The TV and Headphones Double Threat. Some people listen to an iPod or Walkman while they work out. Some people like to watch TV. Then you have another breed – the over-achievers who try and do both at the same time. They put on the headphones and select their volume, then approach the television and turn the volume up loud enough to hear it over their headphones. It’s bad enough that they want to go deaf, but if you have headphones and you want to hear them, you’re going to go deaf, too. On the other hand, you can voice your opinion of them as graphically as you care to and they won’t be able to hear you.

5. The Guardian Boyfriend. Some guys are insecure in their relationships. Others are so insecure, they follow their girlfriend to the gym and make sure she doesn’t meet somebody new. How can you tell when you’re dealing with one? Easy, if you’re a guy and you get glared at the second you enter the gym, it’s probably a Guardian Boyfriend. If they’re in the gym, reading a magazine and not working out, and they’re glaring at you, they’re definitely a Guardian Boyfriend. It takes a special kind of low self-worth to sit in a gym and watch your lady work out, for fear she might meet someone whose knuckles cleared the floor. Worst case on record: Guardian Boyfriend walks in with his lady, sees Lisa Loeb trying on a thong for her E! channel show on the TV, seemingly decides there’s softcore on the TV, and sends his lady back to the apartment. Guardian Boyfriend, however stays to glare while he works out. Gotta send that message, after all.

None of these people are ones you’d meet in a traditional health club. Or at least they wouldn’t be getting away with their eccentricities if you did. Oh, the price one pays for a “luxury” dwelling.

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