#Love & Sex
by The 4-Way Panel
The gym is a great place to pick up people with lifestyles similar to yours, but it can be hard to start a conversation. The 4-way panel discusses flirting at the gym.
Sometimes when I’m at the gym, I see some really attractive guys. I want to go and talk to them, but I have no clue what to say. Plus, I’m usually in sweats. What are some things I could say to a guy at the gym and not come off as really annoying? —GM, Atlanta, Georgia
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
Maybe I’m just a little too old school, GM, but I’m of the belief that gyms are a place you go to work out, not strike up conversations with people. The gym is the only time of the day that’s exclusively mine, so I like to be completely anonymous; I put on my iPod, do my thing, and leave. But then again, I’m single, so maybe I should take a cue from you.
I bet if you look around the next couple of times you work out, you’ll notice that a lot of people are always there at the same time as you. I’d start with those good-looking regulars, and offer a big smile and a confident “hello” to your gym crush(es) as you pass the Butt Blaster like ships in the night. After a little familiarity develops, maybe consider trying out a new machine that you’ve seen him use and ask him if he’d mind showing you how to use it. If you don’t want to go the damsel (or dude)-in-distress route, you could always go bodybuilder on him and ask him to spot you. (But don’t forget to grunt.)
Whatever you do, I’d keep your initial approach brief; if he wants to talk, he will. If not, pick a new crush and move on. There are a lot of people like me out there who don’t want to be bothered at the gym, so respect that. This isn’t a bar, so keep your conversation related to the gym, no matter how tempted you are to offer yourself up for Gatorade body shots.
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
Well, first off, if you don’t look good in sweats, wear something sexier. There are tons of stretchy, form-fitting workout clothes that are quite sexy. Find some that flatter your physique. Caution: I’m not recommending you put on makeup, strong-smelling perfume, a thong, and high heels when you hit the treadmill. Trust me, I’ve tried it. No bueno. But seriously, you never want to look like you’re trying too hard to impress. And if you do look good in sweats, then who cares if you’re in them? Sweats are appropriate for the gym. Pick clothes that are functional, that you look and feel good in. That’s a good start. You’ll feel good and being confident is a huge factor in being able to approach a stranger.
That said, I don’t usually talk much at the gym. I’m in there to get in a workout and get on with my day. However, if an attractive girl made an attempt at conversation, I would undoubtedly respond and I would hope, vice versa. I like simple conversation starters. Talk about something present in the room: the machine you’re about to use, something playing on the television screen, and a compliment never hurts. A simple “hi” can be the best thing as well.
I’ll leave you with some popular sports adages to inspire you. No pain, no gain. Is it in you? Just do it. It’s a weight room, not a wait room.
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
GM, I find myself wondering if you’re a girl or a guy and chuckling at the fact that I would give different advice based on your gender.
Since I haven’t set foot into a gym since the 90s, I don’t know if I’m the person to ask. I wonder, though, if you’re worried most about being perceived as annoying or if you just don’t have the courage to begin a conversation. I mean, let’s face it; it’s a risk to start a conversation with a stranger. Have you ever done this at a bar, the park, or the grocery store? Perhaps you can practice talking to guys in an environment in which you feel more comfortable first. Personally, I’m a big fan of the supermarket.
As for your attire, it’s the gym, GM; working out in a sports bra and short shorts is annoying. Some people even feel that the sweats with great big letters across the butt are annoying. P-I-N-K. How are you with that? Let’s also look at your criteria. So the whole basis of you going up and talking to a guy is because he’s attractive? How about volunteering at an animal shelter and talking to one of the guys there? Attractive on its own is not the basis for anything substantial. And if you are a guy, GM, well then the sports bra is certainly an eye-catcher, but probably not the look you’re going for either. As for the rest of my advice, it still stands. Good luck!
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
GM, it’s all about the eye contact, not the conversation! If you’re making the moves with your eyes, he’s going to know what you’re saying before you ever open your mouth. No need to go overboard with a stare; just a glance, a playful grin, and a confident tilt of the head will do. Then go back to what you came to the gym to do … work out! If he’s interested and has a sack, he’ll come over and start a conversation. You could always ask him to spot you while you’re lifting weights or watch him for a second, then casually approach him and ask what muscle group he was targeting with his last set. He’ll likely tell you and then you can start a conversation around it and go from there.
However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—don’t worry about what you’re wearing; you’re more attractive when you’re more approachable. I think a lot of guys are hesitant to talk to women when they’re all gussied up for a night out, whereas they’re more comfortable engaging in conversation if you’re just being yourself and doing the things you do. There’s a time to dress to impress and a time to, well, just dress. Know the difference and feel comfortable in each situation. Your confidence is what will be noticed, not whether you’re in sweats or sequins.