Dig Baton Rouge

Rules for Dating at the Gym

By Holly A. Phillips

It’s possible I read the signs all wrong, and thought this guy was into me, but I’ll let you decide.

We met last summer, right before the live music at Lava Cantina was getting started. I was on my second margarita when he approached me.

“Hey, you workout at my gym,” he said.

“I do?” I asked, wondering if he was psychic. “How do you know?”

“Because you’re usually right next to me in boxing class,” he said.

He was really cute, with brown hair and matching eyes. He was wearing a navy blue polo that made my fratastic heart skip a beat.

“How have I not noticed you before?” I asked, shocked at my monumental failure.

He shrugged his shoulders, and we exchanged names, at least for the ability to say hello at future gym run-ins.

The more I saw him, the more we talked. Sometimes the conversation was casual, i.e. “How was your workout?” Other times, it was a little friendlier, as he often asked about my weekend plans.

I couldn’t tell if he was interested, or just being friendly.

When you’re dating after college in a college town, meeting people outside of your regular spots—work, gym, wine bar—can be a challenge.

I’m not a fan of dating in the workplace, but perhaps that’s because I work with men who could be my dad.

Meeting potential suitors at the gym is tricky. Don’t get me wrong; there are lots of attractive men at my gym. However, I’m usually sweaty and disgusting while I’m there, and if things get awkward, then I might have to find a new place to burn calories.

I was still really interested in this guy—he was always so nice to me, but I also figured if he wanted to ask me out, then he would find a way to do it.

So, I took my problem to a guy friend of mine, told him the entire story, and asked him what he thought.

He said it sounded like this guy was interested, and wondered, “What’s the big deal if you just ask him to do something?”

It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve made the initial move, but I was really nervous about it.

“We’re at the gym, there’s always lots of people around,” I told him.

He quickly told me that no one was listening to me at the gym. So, there it was, I was going to do it, suck it up, and casually mention to this brown-eyed guy that maybe we should hang out without a bench press.

A few weeks passed before I felt like the opportunity was right. There weren’t many people in the gym, as it was a Friday afternoon. We were talking the usual—work, weather, weekend plans—and I was feeling confident.

I was just about to take the plunge, when a girl came up to us. She was pretty—the kind of pretty I will never be. He looked at both of us with a smile, before introducing us, with a small chuckle.

“Holly,” he said. “Meet my girlfriend.”

And while I don’t want to name names, his girlfriend and I have the same name.

My heart sank, and I wished the gym were equipped with a bar full of tequila, or perhaps a trap door, allowing me to disappear on-demand.

But, it doesn’t, and so I was left to do one thing: smile. I shook her hand, and said it was nice to meet her.

And, as much as I was crushed, it really was nice to meet her. Because now I know he’s taken, and I was silly to think he was interested. Or was I?

While I don’t think it would have been necessary for him to introduce himself by saying he had a girlfriend, I do find it odd that he never mentioned her within the confines of his weekend plans.

“I’m going to dinner with my girlfriend,” or, “My girlfriend and I are planting flowers,” would have been appropriate statements to let me know he’s off the market.

Nevertheless, I’ve learned my lesson without cutting my workout, and I managed to get my answer just before I embarrassed myself too much.

Read more about Holly’s ability to smile during awkward situations on her blog, TheBitterLemon.com.



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