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October 11, 2012 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Is picking people up at the gym a thing? How about at hotels?

I work out/swim at a hotel in my area. It's a nice-ish hotel- they don't advertise their gym- but if you ask them, they'll let you purchase a membership.

I really like it because it's much quieter than they Y, less crowded and actually cheaper.

I don't stay in hotels much so I'm not sure what the culture is (and I'm married, so when I do I'm usually with my husband) but I've been hit on a few times at this hotel, usually in the gym or the pool.

The other day, very directly, in the hot tub(!) He was a totally fine looking not creepy fellow just trying to chat me up (I was with a girlfriend too, so not alone) but all of a sudden "Soooo.. are you single? Do you want to go out later?" Very directly. Flattering but a bit forward, espesh since I was in my bathing suit.

I realized, this has happened a couple of times at this place, maybe a bit less directly. I think people assuming I was also from out of town, "Hey, where are you from, so me and my buddies might grab a drink later..."

Is this like, a thing? A hotel thing? A gym thing? Just curious. I've been hit on before, certainly, but I'm so used to it being like subtle flirtation at this point, since I don't hang out at bars, and live in a fairly small town, and when I'm out and about I'm usually with my partner.

It doesn't bother me a ton, but definitely makes me more self-conscious about the whole hot tub thing, for sure.
posted by Rocket26 to Human Relations (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I get hit on surprisingly a lot at my non-hotel gym. But also hotels are definitely a place to find an NSA hook-up due to the whole travel/different home locations. So I think you've got a double whammy.
posted by vegartanipla at 6:52 PM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

I agree with vegartanipla about the double whammy. It's a gym thing, and it's a hotel thing, and I also would not let it keep you from using the hot tub, because it's not a hut-tub thing and also hot tubs are the main reason that gyms are wonderful.
posted by jaguar at 6:59 PM on October 11, 2012

Hotels are notorious for on-the-fly pickups because honestly, a lot of people cheat/hook up on business travel and generally people think it's worth a shot.

I work out at the Y which is so decidedly not a pickup zone. Some gyms are pickup zones, but not all.
posted by Miko at 7:01 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've never worked out at a Y, but when I worked out at a Bally's I dreaded going without my gym buddy. Guys were like hawks circling. I was afraid to use the weights, because the few times I did...guys asked me out. Eeep.

As for hotels. My experience is more limited, but yes. I've noticed that as well.
posted by bilabial at 7:04 PM on October 11, 2012

I've been asked out / hit on at gyms many times. I find that wearing headphones and avoiding eye contact drastically reduces the number of people who talk to me - though of course headphones wouldn't be possible in a hot tub.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:08 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

I must be an uggo or something; in about 9 years of regular gym going I've never been hit on - except maybe once, from another guy (I am a guy), but it was ambiguous enough to be hard to tell. I'm also super-sensitive about girls being hit on at the gym, so tried to keep my interactions with women in such a way that is very very clear there was not hitting on, going on.

Headphones help a lot in this dept. I dunno about you, but aside from asking someone how many sets they have left on the squat rack they've been monopolising for a year, I really don't want to have a convo when I'm exercising.
posted by smoke at 7:13 PM on October 11, 2012

I've been going to the gym a few times a week for the past eight years. I have been hit on exactly twice, and it was fairly subtle both times. I get hit on randomly on the street more often than that. (And, weirdly, at train stations).

I think it's the hotel/out-of-town thing.
posted by lollusc at 8:11 PM on October 11, 2012

Is this like, a thing? A hotel thing?

It's totally a hotel thing, yeah. There is literally no better venue for NSA sex, what with all of those transitory people and both booze and beds within 20 feet.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:53 PM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]

My uncle picked up his wife at a gym by giving her unwanted tips on what she was doing wrong with the equipment she was using. Because of that, at first she thought he was a presumptuous jerk, and I'm not sure how he redeemed himself, but he did somehow.

I know a girl who has met her last 5 or so boyfriends at the gym.

I worked at a gym at one point in my life, and while I almost never actually worked out there (and was actually at my most out of shape) I got hit on constantly, constantly, by the weirdest smorgasbord of guys ever (college-aged bodybuilders, old lechers, a 10 year old there with his dad who developed a raging crush on me after I gave him a free energy drink).

I recommend gyms to women all the time who want to meet men but don't know where to find them.

So yes, I would say people picking each other up at the gym is quite definitely a thing.
posted by cairdeas at 9:06 PM on October 11, 2012

I have heard about this gym pickup culture, but never experienced it. Maybe I don't give off an approachable vibe when I'm sweating. For many/most people, though, there is a weird sort of forced intimacy in the gym setting that seems to lead to at least attempts at getting some action.

Hotels, though, are a totally different matter. As others have pointed out, you have the triple whammy of transience, beds, and (usually) readily available booze. Hotel bars tend to be the pick-uppiest places around for that reason.

I'm guessing you're reaping the "benefits" of the combination.
posted by Superplin at 9:22 PM on October 11, 2012

Sounds to me like you're just not in your 20s anymore. Do you not wear a wedding ring at the gym?
posted by rhizome at 9:25 PM on October 11, 2012

The transient, bar- and bed-adjacent nature of hotel gyms has already been covered, but don't forget that gym-goers -- the kind that don't take a break, even when on vacation or a business trip -- are disciplined people who care about their health and personal appearance, making them good potential relationship partners (or just partners-for-the-moment.) Hotel gyms almost sound like the perfect pick-up place, then. Except for the whole ooginess factor, of course, when you're just trying to exercise.
posted by davejay at 9:30 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I travel a lot in the U.S. I get hit on in hotels more than anywhere else and I wear a wedding ring. It's definitely a thing.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:11 PM on October 11, 2012

Yeah, it's a hotel thing. Subtlety doesn't really work in that situation because, hey, you're both leaving soon and are likely not to see each other again. And because you're not likely to see each other again, subtlety also doesn't matter.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:18 AM on October 12, 2012

Yes, hotels are pickup spots. Wedding rings make NO difference, trust me. They might even add to the appeal: someone married might want someone else married to cheat with (mutually assured destruction).
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:11 AM on October 12, 2012

Totally a hotel thing. I traveled a lot for business and just getting a drink at the bar is fraught with peril.

But no harm, no foul, most guys are more than willing to take no for an answer.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:15 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's not even a pickup thing. Frequent travelers make friends for a night all the time
posted by MangyCarface at 6:51 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lordy, this woman chased down my husband at a hotel the other day as he was trying to get away from her. Like followed him down a hallway and whatnot. In a 24-hour stay at this hotel, he got hit on like three times. Admittedly he is exceedingly hot, but apparently hotel hookup lust trumps gaydar and a wedding ring. So yeah. This is a thing. (Oy and gyms! Ha. Yeah. Have you never seen Perfect?)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:05 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Thanks everyone! It's a really nice place, overall, not like a meat market, but it has happened a few times and got me wondering what was up with the gym/hotel thing.

@rhizome I'm curious-- what does not being in my 20's anymore have to do with it? You're right, but I'm confused. Do people pick people up more directly after 30? Is that also a thing?
posted by Rocket26 at 8:53 AM on October 12, 2012

I'm in my 50s and the only place anyone tries to pick me up is the gym - and it's a very non meat-market kind of gym. It's just a thing.
posted by leslies at 9:35 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the pickup location of choice changes when you get older.

College freshmen hook up by getting drunk with their dormmates. People in their mid 20s hook up by going to house parties. A hotel is sort of the grown-up version of a freshman dorm or a house party: lots of people in close quarters, having some sort of big exciting social experience, but probably also lonely or worried or tired, possibly drunk, with plenty of private spaces close at hand.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:02 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It may be a "thing" but if its only happened a few times it sounds like you're just experiencing being human. People tend to be more social when they are out and active (like at gyms) and "Soooo.. are you single? Do you want to go out later?" isn't forward, its an honest inquiry.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:11 AM on October 12, 2012

I (a woman) was once the business traveler in this scenario. In the hotel gym hot tub, I met a local who had a membership at the hotel gym. Even after I did the Deliberate Husband Mention a few times, he invited me to come later that night to have a drink and watch movies on the sailboat he lived on. Whoa! (I politely declined.)
posted by TrixieRamble at 10:29 AM on October 12, 2012

nebulawindphone describes it better than I could. my 20s were pretty chaste, so I could be projecting that people get more direct as they age.
posted by rhizome at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2012

I think you've got two factors at work here.

1. Hotel. Nothing is more anonymous than a hook up at a hotel. Especially when BOTH people are in from out of town.

2. Age. We're all a that no-bullshit age. "You wanna hook up?" That is so much easier than beating around the bush, dating, etc. Especially if you have to wake up early tomorrow for a presentation.

And if you want some proof, think about Up in the Air. George Clooney's character's only relationships are those that he has with people he meets in hotels.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

And if you want some proof, think about Up in the Air.

That came to mind for me too, though George does his fair share of scoring on planes, too. Which is going to be less typical, unless you look like George Clooney.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:02 PM on October 12, 2012

Also, if someone is staying at a hotel, that often means they don't know anyone in the area, so they need to meet strangers to socialize, they can't just go to a party with their friends or whatever.
posted by Vaike at 4:40 PM on October 12, 2012

I think there's a perception around hotel hook ups that you're both from out of town, so if they get rejected, they'll never see you again so who cares and if you are up for it, your SO back at home will never know, so either way there's nothing to lose and everything to gain by just hitting on you.
posted by Jubey at 10:58 PM on October 13, 2012

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