Don’t Follow Him to the Gym

Fox News’s Men’s Health section has its obligatory misogynist article today, Don’t Bring Her to the Gym. But maybe it would be a more effective article if it were directed to women, a la Cosmopolitan.

RELATIONSHIP MISTAKE YOU WON’T WANT TO MAKE: Ladies, Don’t Follow Your Man to the Gym

The couple that works out together, stays together, you might think. But relationship experts say that while workouts can help you stay physically and emotionally fit, its ugly physicality may make you repulsive to your partner. He might lose his beer belly, but you may also lose the mystique you hold over him when he detects some sweat on you. Remember, being a woman means not being a man: you don’t sweat, don’t pass gas, and don’t know how to use a gym machine. A tough workout can undo these feminine qualities and ruin the sweet intimacy and delicate equilibrium of your relationship. Here’s a list of why the gym date will turn into a disaster:

1. He’ll be checking out the babes. Women at the gym are there to be ogled by your boyfriend. This is the order of things.

2. You’ll ask stupid, compliment-fishing questions that annoy him because all women are hypersensitive, insecure harpies. When you see him checking out other women, your first, natural instinct will be to ask, “Do you think I look as good as her, honey?” We all know that for women, the gym is a beauty pageant. It’s not about the workout, it’s about being judged. For men, however, the gym experience is quite different–though they might look at women on occasion, they are ultimately there to better their bodies and minds. Because men work out to feel good, and women ask obnoxious questions to bolster their self-esteem, the gym will only emphasize these differences and drive you two apart. It’s just not worth it to ask yourself why you might feel this way, find support from friends, or find other outlets for self-confidence.

3. You’ll distract him by asking for help. Even at the gym, women should be seen and not heard.

4. You’ll probably do it wrong anyway. Always. Again and again. No matter what, your form will simply not be good and you’ll embarrass, or worse, frustrate him. Your best bet is to hire a female personal trainer in a women’s gym who will teach you the art behind a screen for privacy, for when your muscles do that gross bulging thing.

5. He’ll see you at your worst. You probably thought “your worst” was when you were hungover on the couch all day eating bonbons. It’s not. Your worst is when you illustrate that you are a breathing, eating, digesting, sweating human being who might get sweat stains. This means sweating at the gym in front of him is a no-no. And while his precious bodily fluids are a sexy, yet smelly, display of his masculine prowess, yours should never be visible. If you sweat like a man, he’ll think you are one.

Sometimes, this advice is conflicting. For example, the other girls at the gym your boyfriend stares at–are they allowed to get sweaty? Or, how do you get a fit, hard body that he’ll find attractive without breaking a sweat? These pesky questions are best dealt with separation: he works out in one place, and you work out somewhere more private.

Exceptions always exist, of course. If your boyfriend respects you as a person, you respect him, and you both have some semblance of communication skills, none of these rules apply. In fact, many men and women might find these presuppositions offensive. But they definitely hold some water for most couples out there. I know this because I go to a gym, and as a woman can speak for all women. The offensive parts of this article don’t matter because really, my simple message is that it’s healthy for your boyfriend to have personal time–but this inoffensive and reasonable point can only be made through perpetuating tired stereotypes of men and women.


About michelle m.

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