Good workout today?
August 15, 2008 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Is this girl at the gym trying to get me to notice her?

Long explanation, but if you can give me your take on the situation, that would be cool.

Here's the story: I've been going to the gym every morning at 6am for the past 3 months or so, but my schedule has changed to afford me an extra hour of sleep. Hence, I now show up at the gym at around 7. I've been showing up at 7 since Monday now.

The group of people who are there an hour later are different than the 6 crowd. In particular, there's one particularly attractive female who is usually using some cardio machine (elliptical, stairmaster, etc.).

My routine consists of lifting weights followed by 20-30 minutes on an elliptical machine. There's one elliptical machine that I like using the best, and since I'm there early enough, it's almost always free. There are two treadmills right next to it, usually about 5 feet away.

This morning when I showed up at the gym, I noticed that the treadmills had been moved closer to "my" elliptical machine. The closest one is now about 8 inches away, so if I were on my machine and someone were on the closest treadmill, we'd be pretty damn close to each other.

When I got to the part of my routine where I get on my elliptical, this girl was on a different elliptical machine about 25 feet away. After about two minutes, she gets off and comes over to use a treadmill, picking the one that is right next to me. I tried to kind of ignore her while she was there so as to not make her uncomfortable, but I did glance over at her a couple of times. She leaves after about 10 minutes, and kind of mills about the gym for 2 minutes where I can see her. She then grabs her stuff and takes off.

I have noticed her looking over at me from time to time when I'm lifting weights when she's on the elliptical, but that could just be a matter of "wandering glance syndrome" when you're running like a rat on those things.

So, is she trying to get me to notice her? If she is, I've got this question for help on trying to talk to her.
posted by King Bee to Human Relations (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe she is. You should try to make eye contact and give her a smile and gauge her reaction.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:24 AM on August 15, 2008

She might be, but I don't think so. Sounds like she's just trying to get through her work out. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to talk to her, though, considering that you two see each other regularly. A smile and a wave could be the start of a beautiful friendship- or more.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:24 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

You're overthinking this.

If you're into her, just talk to her. Unless you're a total bonehead, you'll figure out within 30 seconds if she's also into you.
posted by randomstriker at 11:27 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Billy Boddy, is that you?

Jokes aside, you DO sound a lot like the Neil Patrick Harris character in Dr. Horrible (evil plans to join the Evil League of Evil aside...).

ludwig_van has it right. If you make eye contact then just smile, gauge the results, go from there.

But I also think you're reading too much into it... Most people at the gym aren't there to hook up, especially at 7 a.m.
posted by arniec at 11:30 AM on August 15, 2008

She might be, she might not be. None of your evidence seems particularly conclusive. I tend to glance at people often when I'm at the gym, but just out of curiosity (how much weight are they lifting, is their form good, are they going to get off that machine anytime soon, did she seriously get off the bike without wiping it down, that jerk), and lots of people tend to dawdle before or after working out.

Additionally, she might prefer that treadmill for reasons unrelated to you, just like you like that particular elliptical. Maybe the heart rate monitor attached to it works better or it's near a window with a good view or something. And when you're running on a treadmill, it's not particularly easy to check out whoever's next to you.

Strike up a conversation with her by all means, but remember that there are people who go to the gym just to work out alone. If she's "traditionally attractive," chances are she's been approached at the gym before. (I'm not traditionally attractive, and usually look like a dork, and even my butt gets ogled.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:41 AM on August 15, 2008

Perhaps she is but I'll just say that most of my women friends claim they're not looking for a social experience at a gym. They're there to work out and go home. They're sweaty, perhaps feeling self conscious and they're not in the mood to get hit on or make small talk.

Just to play devil's advocate: perhaps that was just her favorite treadmill machine. I've gotten used to particular machines and liked using the same one that I knew worked.

That said, previous suggestions to say hi and see if she responds seem reasonable. If she wants a conversation after that she'll probably seek it out.
posted by sharkfu at 11:43 AM on August 15, 2008

In regards to your previous question, why not walk up to her (maybe while she's in between using machines), and say "Hi, my name is King Bee. Wanna go for coffee sometime?" She'll either say yes or no. Pretty simple. And then you'll know if she's into you or not.
posted by at 11:50 AM on August 15, 2008

Dude, talk to her. Just say hi. Something.

I recall seeing this girl every day at the gym for months. She was rehabbing an injury, but totally hot and clearly athletic and my type and stuff.

There was eye contact. There was smiling.

I was a wuss. Didn't say hi. Just kept on keeping on, ya' know.

Finally, I screw up my courage. Today, I think, I will say hi. I will be polite. I will not be creepy like all those other guys. But I will break the ice.

I go to the gym. She's not there.

OK, I think. It's just a day off. She'll be back tomorrow. After all, we've been on the same schedule for months. She'll be back.

The next day, she's not there. Not the next day, or the next. Or the next.

She switched schedules. Started going somewhere else. Or just stopped altogether. Something.

I never saw her again.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:53 AM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]

Your question makes me think of "familiar strangers" - a concept I think about often during my own gym routine. There's apparently some detailed academic thought on the subject.

I mention this idea in response to your question to echo some of the above sentiments that you might be "overthinking" this situation. Repeated physical presence breeds familiarity. There's certainly nothing wrong with introducing yourself to someone with an apparent common interest, but you might not want to get your hopes up.
posted by GPF at 12:00 PM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

nth-ing "Just talk to her." If she is trying to catch your eye - which is unlikely but entirely possible - she'll be very responsive to your chattiness. If she's not - well, she won't be. Or might be, if you come off well. Or something.

For god's sake, man, just go! "Hello" is the hardest part.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:00 PM on August 15, 2008

A few years ago, I found myself noticing a (very attractive) woman on the stairmaster every chest-and-shoulders Wednesday. After a month or so she disappeared. Months later I bumped into her at a gas station, actually talked to her, and was soon dating her. I eventually discovered that she had noticed me (and my regular workout schedule) and was positioning herself on a stairmaster that had me staring right at her ass every time I sat up from a set on my favorite/usual bench. She was apparently watching me in the mirrors, but never made significant eye contact. I'm glad we encountered each other outside of the gym, because we were apparently too shy or respectful to say hi while working out.

So, add another to the you'd-better-talk-to-her bin, unless you think you might run into her at a gas station three months after she switches her gym hours. Good luck.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 12:03 PM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

Do you listen to music while you workout? She may have been hoping to strike up a conversation, but a set of headphones can be a big "I want alone time" signal to other people.
posted by Adam_S at 12:18 PM on August 15, 2008

Look her in the eye and say hello--something to the effect of "I see you here every day running next to me. My name's King Bee." Her response to that will tell you everything you need to know.

As a good conscientious male, you are rightly concerned about ogling hot women at the gym. However, as long as you're friendly, and as long as you don't blatantly do an ass check or lick her face or something, it's perfectly acceptable to strike up the conversation. Women are like snakes: they're just as afraid of you as you are of them.
posted by kosem at 12:39 PM on August 15, 2008

As a woman in the gym, thank you for being careful about not ogling.
And definitely agree with everyone that says to smile or say hello.

kosem: "lick her face"? Haha.
posted by cheemee at 1:04 PM on August 15, 2008

If I was attracted to somebody at the gym, the last thing I would do is to scoot the treadmill closer to his favorite spot after hours and then go run there right after he gets on an adjacent machine the next day. That would feel way too close for comfort. But different people have different styles, and why not talk to her?
posted by salvia at 1:08 PM on August 15, 2008

She was glancing over at you, trying to figure out why that creepy guy moved his elliptical machine so close to her treadmill.
posted by rusty at 1:13 PM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]

There is no way this brief interaction warrants so much thought on your part. Don't be that guy.

If you see her again, and she goes out of her way to be next to you, then certainly say, "Hey, how's it going?" But otherwise leave the girl alone. Most women are already extremely paranoid about being hit on or checked out at the gym (they shouldn't be, but whatever) so don't be that guy who reaffirms that fear in this woman's mind. You're giving the rest of us a bad name!

Further, this level of over thinking is often a sing of desperation. You probably should get out there and meet some new women in places where they want to be met (group activities, bars, friends of friends, etc.)
posted by wfrgms at 1:19 PM on August 15, 2008

I don't think you can make an accurate assessment on how the machines got used and are unsure about whether she looked at her. so say hello next time or smile or do something small that gives her an excuse to talk to you. she will either grab it or let it go.
posted by krautland at 1:22 PM on August 15, 2008

Of course she's into you -- she's a woman, isn't she?

(So what's so special about this gym girl? Surely there's more to her than just her looks..? How many hot women do you see over the course of an average day? Beauty is common, you know.)

The more you take that frame of mind**, the more successful you'll be with women in general. If you act like you're not good enough for them, then they will assume that to be true, and vice versa. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, because women judge your attractiveness mostly based on your own behavior (including how other people react to you).

Long term, work on switching from a reactive dating style (getting together with girls who are interested in you) to a proactive one (getting together with girls YOU are interested in). In the end, it's better for everyone involved.

This girl at the gym? WHO CARES! Not a big deal. Millions of amazing women out there. Stop worrying about whether they like you and get yourself one YOU like.

** But for god's sake don't ever vocalize it -- just feel it, know it. Vocalizing it is asking for external validation that it's true.... which means that you don't really believe it yourself.
posted by LordSludge at 2:06 PM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

Nth-ing the "say hi" suggestions, but I just needed to point out there are about a thousand reasons I could imagine gym clientele or staff moving a couple of machines around, but an attempt to exercise closer to an attractive stranger doesn't even make the cut.
posted by rafter at 2:26 PM on August 15, 2008

If you want to talk to her, do so, but keep in mind how many women get hit on at the gym and really get tired of it. Try to reduce the likelihood that she will feel harassed and choose your words wisely.
posted by lacedback at 3:40 PM on August 15, 2008

If you want to talk to her, give her a little ego boost at the same time. Ask for help or drop an implicit, non-sexual compliment.

-If you get new equipment at the gym: "how does that new thing work, have you tried it?"
-If you are disheveled in the morning: "oh man, I have such a hard time waking up, I always feel like a zombie. You are always bouncy and glowing, how on earth do you do it?"
-If she works out hard: "wow, you always have that thing turned up to 10, I think I'd die if I tried that . . ."
-If you think she has a sense of humor: (walking out of locker room) "wow, apparently there are things you just can't unsee, are the old ladies as open, flailing, an unmodest in the locker room as these guys?" (the answer is of course yes, old folks show off their giant white bushes like trophies regardless of sex)
-Wear a ridiculous shirt (one that you have no business wearing in this decade) and when she gives you a look, say "I lost a bet . . " Then make up whatever wild story you want about the bet.

A self-deprecating sense of humor, a sense in your speech that you are not some creepy dude, and an openness that makes you approachable are all things that you need to make this adventure successful.
posted by milqman at 4:41 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

milqman: YES! Perfect! The weird ironic thing is that if you're all self-deprecating, and, well, giving your self-esteem away**, she will assume you must be so awesome that you don't need any more self-esteem.

The guys who are trying to act like they're badass, bragging on themselves or cutting down other people... THEY are shitty dudes. And somewhere deep inside her lizard brain, she knows it.

** Even, ESPECIALLY, to other guys -- e.g. "Whoa, that dude is HUGE! Check him out!!" Give it away! No loser guy would dare do that, as they're too worried about their own image.****

**** I like footnotes.
posted by LordSludge at 8:21 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

No she isn't. She's there to work out. You sound like people at work whose only interaction with cute young girls are at their starbucks...and OF COURSE they ALWAYS think the girls there are totally into them.

No they aren't. They are there to work.

She doesn't want to talk to you, she doesnt want to reject you, she just wants to work out.


Good luck ELSEWHERE though.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:16 PM on August 15, 2008

Are you suggesting that she moved the treadmills to be closer to you? That's pretty much insane considering how heavy treadmills are. Also, I can't imagine the gym employees allowing that.

It can't hurt to say hello.
posted by 26.2 at 9:19 PM on August 15, 2008

I disagree with hal_c_on,

You have no idea if she wants to talk to you or not. Women unfortunately usually leave introductions up to men still (while complaining about being "harassed" everywhere)

All said though, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this:

1. Don't be diffident. Make eye contact, smile, mirror her posture/movments, and ask her a nice question.
2. See if you can get her smiling

If you can't do 2, you were wrong

If you can do 2, ask her to coffee or for a drink after work.

Who cares if she likes you: You like her. If she accepts your offer, go you. If she doesn't, apologize, but say you didn't want to miss a chance with a cutie like her if it was presenting itself.

posted by gte910h at 2:00 AM on August 16, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses.

For those wondering, I'm not suggesting that she moved the treadmill closer. But there was a treadmill that was not ungodly close to me that she could have used. I think it is possible that she just prefers that treadmill in the same way I prefer my elliptical, and was probably just going to use that treadmill no matter what.

I'm not stressing about this by any means. I just wanted to hear some reasons as to why she may have acted the way she did yesterday, because I thought it was strange.
posted by King Bee at 7:01 AM on August 16, 2008

Maybe she was avoiding someone else.
posted by sondrialiac at 8:19 AM on August 16, 2008

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