ETIQUETTE is not just about which fork to use. Perhaps more importantly, it's about your behavior and how you respectfully treat others. After all, isn't etiquette the invisible glue that holds civilized societies together?
The obvious answer is a resounding yes! Unfortunately, nowhere is this loss of etiquette more apparent than at the gym. Is it the technology, permissive parenting, or are schools to blame for these obvious lapses in common sense and manners?
While I can't pinpoint the exact root causes for these poor behaviors, here I endeavor to shed a little light on them. Last year, I thought I'd seen it all when I wrote the dirty dozen gym habits. Sadly, this year, I've discovered 12 more ways to improve your gym behavior.
1. HOLD THE DOOR OPEN. Yeah, I know you're eager to do your workout, but surely you can hold the door for 5 seconds for the next guy or gal behind you. What does it really cost you to show a small act of kindness and courtesy to your fellow gym member? So come on, be nice and hold the door. I promise, it won't ruin your workout.
2. IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE, SAY NOTHING AT ALL. This wise phrase popularized by the character Thumper in Disney's "Bambi," is not only worth repeating, but are words to live by. Don't offer your unsolicited advice to other gym members. Don't comment that someone is either too thin or fat, or ask another woman if her boobs or hair are real. Remember your manners. Just think about how you might feel if someone said something rude or asked you an inappropriate question. In general, keep your personal comments to yourself. Your unwelcome criticisms or comments will not be appreciated. So, put a lid on it.
3. SHARE THE DUMBBELLS. Remember to share the equipment. You can do only one exercise at a time, and it's just plain old selfishness to hog equipment and not share. If a fellow member wants to work in a set during the resting phase of your workout, be gracious and let him or her get in a set, too.
4. DON'T SPIT IN THE WATER FOUNTAIN. Please. While this should be common sense, I've actually seen more than one person guilty of this heinous offense. No, I couldn't believe it either.
5. DON'T BE A GRINCH. Rain or shine, some people manage to always have a frown on their face, with a bad attitude to match. Give up the grinch and smile a little. You can smile at the staff, and it would also be nice if you remember their names. Being pleasant will add exponential benefits to your workout and your life.
6. RUDE GUM CHEWER. While this should go without saying, smacking, cracking and popping chewing gum is totally unacceptable behavior. Oddly, from what I've seen, women are the worst offenders.
7. NO CUSSING. Please leave your foul language at home. No one wants to be subjected to your nasty language. Increasingly, without the slightest discretion, and in the public area, people are throwing F-bombs left and right. Beyond inappropriate, using foul language in public demonstrates a lack of respect for oneself and others.
8. PAVAROTTI, YOU'RE NOT. Perhaps, with your headphones on, you do not realize how loud you are singing or how annoying it is to others. Please stop. Reserve your vocal talents for karaoke night or your shower at home.
9. CELLPHONES. Limit your cellphone usage. It's rude. Don't try to run on the treadmill for an hour while talking on your cell. Now everybody knows about your urinary incontinence operation, and that's entirely too much information. Thank you.
10. LATE TO CLASS. When you are late for an aerobics or dance class don't skip to the front. This is rude to both the instructor and your fellow classmates. If you want to be near the instructor then get there on time. Otherwise, be discreet and stay in the back.
11. COVER UP. Please stop mooning members. Other members are not interested or amused by your nakedness. Show a little discretion and use a towel or robe.