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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 33.0° F  Overcast
The Paper
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Hit job
That guy at the gym was coming on to you
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This is to the 27-year-old woman who wanted to know how to deal with all the men who come up to her at the gym and give her advice on her workouts (7/18/08). As a 42-year-old woman, my first thought - and I'm shocked you didn't think of this, Mr. Right - was, "Um, they're hitting on you." I stopped going to the gym because of creepy guys who use it as a way to meet women.

Threw In the Towel

Threw in the Towel: Sheesh, this is what I get for taking the high road. By not bringing up the possibility that those guys were hitting on her, I was trying to give my testosterone-addled brethren the benefit of the doubt. Of course they were hitting on her! What other motivation could they possibly have? I mean, it's not like men are ever nice to women without some ulterior motive. When they hold the door for you, they want to get in your pants. When they smile at you in passing, they want to get in your pants. When they wake up in the morning and you're not even there because they've never met you, they want to get in your pants.

Some of them do, anyway. The others don't know what they want. They're just trying to get through the day, like you and me. And if they see a door and see you walking toward it, they're going to run ahead and open it for you, whether you're 27, 42 or 102. If you're 102, they're probably not hitting on you, although you never know. If you're 42...well, it could go either way. I have a fortysomething female friend who was honest enough to admit that there's only one thing that annoys her more than when every man she meets hits on her, and that's when none of them do. So, guys are in a bit of a bind, damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Maybe we should clarify what we mean by "hitting on." I only wish we could! But short of the guy (or gal) who blatantly comes on to us, how do we know if we're being hit on? Maybe they're just being polite and friendly. I know for a fact, because they told me later, that I've been hit on without realizing it was happening. (I thought they loved me for my mind!) In the opposite direction, I've hit on people who obviously had no idea I was hitting on them. And that's because I was too polite and friendly, not blatant enough. I should have just said "Mind if I step into your pants?"

Kidding! I should have said "Would you like to have coffee sometime?" even though I don't drink coffee. But something tells me that if I said that to the wrong people, they'd still file me away as a creep who hit on them. What am I saying? I'm saying it's all very ambiguous. And at the gym, it's even more ambiguous than that. For a while there - we're talking the '80s, mostly - gyms were like nightclubs with sweat towels. The 6%-8% of the population who went to them were into bodies, both other bodies and their own. And, what can I say, it was a good way to hook up.

Today, things have changed. Today, over 40 million people belong to a health club, compared to 17 million in 1987, and the vast majority of them are more interested in their health than in their bodies per se. Not only that, but a sizable percentage of them are, shall we say, getting along in years. There are days at my gym when I'm the youngest one there. Still, nobody hits on me! What does that tell you? It tells you my glutes still need work. Actually, it tells you nothing. People go to gyms for all sorts of reasons. A few of them are creeps. And if they hit on you? Hit back.

To work out for the best, write to: Mr. Right, Isthmus, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. or call 251-1206, ext. 152. or email mrright@isthmus.com

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