Dear Gym Douche…

by Steve Wetherell

Dear Square Dude Track Pants,

Hi there. You probably don’t know me, I’m one of the intangible mists that cohabit the gym you seem to live at, serving only to selfishly occupy the equipment you immediately want to use or hog up the full-acre of mirror you seem to require at all times.

I should explain. I go to your gym (I’m assuming it’s your gym, because you sure seem to act like it is) maybe twice a week. Three if I’m feeling like a hero. I don’t like exercising, you see, but I do like beer and pizza, which means I have to go to the gym if I don’t want to choke to death on my own neck fat. When I go to your gym, I go there to do as much exercise as I can in an hour, then I leave for climes more familiar and less armpit-smelling.

In short, I’m no fitness nut. But I still pay my fees, so how’s about you take that condescending look off your swollen, fluid-retaining face?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against people who like to keep in shape. On the contrary. I see guys hitting the gym on their lunch hour or ladies jogging through sub-zero November nights and I commend them. I do. I commend them from the warmth of my car while I drive to the bakery. I realize that their lives will be longer and more fulfilled than mine, and I accept that my life will be shorter and more bacon-centric. It’s the circle of life. Some of us are gazelles, some of us ain’t. But there’s “keeping in shape” and then there’s “being square”, and the two are very different things.

Let me explain. I see the guys who keep in shape, and when they lift their free-weights they spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. This is because they’re checking their form, and that’s what you’re supposed to do. But you, Square Dude, the first thing you say hi to when you enter the gym is your own reflection. Then you do a little bit of exercise (while looking in the mirror) and then when you’ve finished your three reps or whatever you look in the mirror again. Maybe give it a little flex, a sly wink. Seriously, Track Pants, if Kim Kardashian wrote an autobiography and filmed herself having sex with it, she still wouldn’t be as self-obsessed as you.

It’s not healthy. I’d recount the tale of Narcissus here, but Narcissus has three syllables, and I kind of get the impression that’s two syllables more than you’re interested in. Besides, Narcissus was good looking, whereas you are just square.

Another thing that guys who keep in shape tend to do is grunt in exertion now and then. Usually at the end of a tough set of reps. And that’s all it is- a grunt of exertion. If they ever approach a scream, it’s because something important has just snapped or they’ve just remembered how much they miss bacon. It’s never…how can I put this…it’s never sexual.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing untoward with two square dudes giving each other a bit of encouragement in the gym. And I know that a vocal blast can sometimes give you the extra burst of strength and energy you need. But, for your convenience, I’m going to make a brief list of things you can’t shout in the gym without making it sound like you’re failing a porno audition;




Seriously dude, we both know why you’re making those noises, and it’s probably not because of your subconscious homoerotic passion for your gym buddy. If it was I’d understand- everyone needs love, Track Pants, even square people. But you make those noises for the same reason you asked the gym dude to turn up that particularly awful hip-hop track. For the same reason you complained loudly about how crowded it was when you came in. For the same reason you stand there and eyeball the people using “your” machine until they leave. You want people to see you. You want them to know you’re a gym guy.

Why? For the same reason you cram yourself full of creatine and god knows what else. For the same reason you spend more time in the gym than you do at home. It’s because you’re short, isn’t it?

Now, hang on, swell-face, don’t unleash your roid-rage just yet. Hear me out. I understand. I do. You grew up shorter than average and rather than console yourself that some of the world’s most deadly special forces prefer their candidates more diminutive, you decided to make up for your lack of height by becoming as wide as you are tall.

But even though you’re perfectly perpendicular, you’re still not happy. You’re still so aggressive. You still can’t get past the Short Man Syndrome.

I only bring all this up because of that incident the other week. You probably don’t remember it, but I remember it quite clearly. I call it the ‘sweat balls’ incident. I remember the day because you weren’t wearing your usual track pants. I was on the running machine, concentrating on not being fat, and you were doing your usual thing of shouting your homoerotic catchphrases and looking at yourself. Then you came over to the floor fan and started drying your balls. Literally flapping the leg of shorts over the floor fan right in front of me.

Now this in itself was disgusting, obviously, but the weird thing is that you were looking at me the whole time you were doing it. I saw you in the mirror. Just standing there. Drying your balls. And staring at me.

Look Square Dude, if I want my sexual preconceptions challenged then I’ll go down to the Blue Lagoon where everybody’s better dressed and cocktails are half price before eleven.  I’m cool with dudes who like dudes. But I want you to think about what you were doing when you were standing there and mad-dogging me whilst fan-drying your crotch. Was it some kind of intimidation technique (surprise! It worked you mad, sweaty-testicled idiot!) Do you want my recognition? Should I stop what I’m doing and say “Hey, I saw you lift those weights and you rocked. You dry your balls right in front of me anytime you need, man. Take your time, you’ve earned it.”

I respect your right to be any shape you want; rhomboid, rectangle, whatever. In return I expect you to respect my right to use the gym I pay my membership for without becoming part of your odd little domination fantasies.

I appreciate we’re at the same place for very different reasons (I want to lose weight, you want to compensate for your crippling emotional inadequacies) but I think if we both adhere to some very basic rules, we can get along just fine.

Rule number one is; No Staring At People While Drying Your Balls.

Rule two is… actually, you know what? Rule one is just fine. Let’s leave it at that.


Yours Sincerely,

Round Dude Beard Face.






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