Whip Your Manners Into Shape


Although the Fordham gym is not the best-equipped facility in Manhattan, there’s still plenty of room for students to display bad etiquette. (Ali Watts/The Observer)

Published: Febrary 14, 2008

There are certain situations that call for a particular level of etiquette; no cutting in line at the grocery store, no “three guys walk into a bar” jokes at a funeral and no peeking while at the urinal. Working out in the gym at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) is another experience that demands a code of conduct. As if going to the gym, working out and leaving hot, tired and sweaty wasn’t enough to make you cranky, there’s still the small matter of dealing with other hot, tired and sweaty people. For those of you not in the know, here are some established rules of etiquette to keep in mind when working out at the FCLC gym:

1. Wipe Up Your Sweat

Many gyms provide you with a towel when you work out for much the same reasons that hotels provide you with bars of soap. Nobody wants to smell you, nor does anyone want to sit in a puddle of your sweat.

“It’s absolutely gross,” Roger Quiles, FCLC ’09, said. “I hate getting on a machine that’s still wet with someone else’s sweat. Aside from it being gross, it’s completely unsanitary.”

Brian O’Connell, FCLC ’11, added, “If someone has enough time to work out, they have the 30 seconds to wipe it down.”

The gym here is not going to provide you with a towel, so either bring your own or make use of the paper towels and Windex provided in the gym. Always remember to wipe down the machine after you’re done using it; the person next in line will thank you.

2. Work Out

While most of us are exerting ourselves, covered in sweat that may or may not be our own, there are still a few of you who show up to the gym, all dressed up in a fog of Axe cologne or behind a face of painted makeup as if attending a social event.

“People wearing street clothes at the gym always bothered me a little bit,” Quiles said. “I’m talking about the girls in hot pants and a sports bra with full makeup on, and the guys in those obscenely low-cut tank tops with super shorts on.”

The gym facilities on campus are cramped enough as it is, even without all the hangers on. Try to refrain from using the gym as a hangout spot. If you’re looking for some fellow Fordhamites to hang out with, take a trip to the cafeteria instead.

3. Stop Trying to Find a Date

Even worse than the people socializing in the gym are the people who are trying to find dates there.

“Picking people up at the gym is questionable,” O’Connell said. “If someone is just walking around hitting on people, that’s not only creepy, but really unnecessary. Go be skeevy somewhere else.”

Hiram Arnaud, FCLC ’10, added, “The gym should be a place in which you concentrate on your goal. In the classroom we concentrate on the lecture; in the gym we should concentrate on the workout.”

Going around the gym and hitting on your classmates is distracting and “more than a little awkward,” Brittany McGrath, FCLC ’08, said. “I just don’t like being approached when I’m obviously busy. It’s not going to work.”

So next time you think going to the gym to score a few phone numbers is a good idea, remember this: everyone around you would like you to stop.

4. Keep Your Eyes to Yourself

Most of the inappropriate eye contact that occurs in the gym is probably accidental; after all, there are only so many ceiling tiles to count when you’re on the exercise bike. But anything that lasts longer than a glance is in the neighborhood of a stare.

Let’s be honest. No one looks his or her hottest when exercising, so awkward eye contact while the both of you are red-cheeked and wiping your sweaty brows should be avoided whenever possible.

“If I’m working out, I don’t want to have to worry about being checked-out when I least expect it,” Madeline Fajardo, FCLC ’09, said.

An unwanted stare at the gym can send other unintended messages, as well.

“If it’s from another guy, it’s an intimidation thing,” said Nick Davoli, FCLC ‘11. “Almost a challenge of ‘this is what I can do, I doubt you can.’”

Regardless of your intention, a word of advice gym-goers: keep the eye-wandering to a minimum.