Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: #borecore on November 14, 2012, 10:57:57 AM

Title: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: #borecore on November 14, 2012, 10:57:57 AM
My boyfriend and I generally work out together, adjusting to fit our needs but usually sticking close by each other. Last night we were doing curls and other standing exercises with barbells, standing facing each other about 2 feet from a row of elliptical machines. We were minding our own business, counting off reps.

In the middle of the first set, guy on elliptical pipes up, "This is not fair. I'm trying to keep a steady heart rate!"
We don't respond.
"I can't keep this with such a pretty girl working it in front of me like this!"
BF looks at him with a bit of a smile.
"Seriously, if she keeps flexing like that, I'm going to have to stop. She's a real good looking girl."
BF says, "Come on, dude."
We're between sets, talking about unrelated things and ignoring the guy, who keeps muttering about how hot I am.
I say, "Come on, quit it" and back away by a few inches so I'm not in his line of direct sight. We start up again, and guy says, "You both have great form, but SHE is something else. Guys my age don't usually get to see girls like her. This is a great show."
Ignoring and lifting continue, while he keeps making remarks, telling BF how pretty/hot/sexy "she" is; he gets pretty weird, saying things like that I remind him of his oldest daughter.

At no point does he address me directly, and at no point does BF give him any feedback except that first incredulous smile and remark. It's a pretty tight space without a lot of room to readjust.

So, later, I told BF that I felt like a man who clearly had so little respect for women needed to be told as much by a man, and he said, "Yeah, I should have said something, huh?" I told him it was fine because I didn't feel immediately threatened, just objectified by a creep, but that neither of us should be so quiet next time.

What would you have done? What would you expect your partner to do if someone was directing remarks about you to them?

(Lest I sound like this happens all the time-- it doesn't. Yesterday was just my unlucky day.)
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: DottyG on November 14, 2012, 11:00:00 AM
Yes, the guy crossed the line.  And yes, I'd be pretty angry at my BF for not telling him so.

Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: TurtleDove on November 14, 2012, 11:01:48 AM
Ugh.  Generally I would say to ignore that kind of thing, but since this was a "captive" situation I think asking the gym personnel to say something would make sense.  I'm sorry that happened to you - it's nice to receive compliments but not when the motivation is sketchy at best and when there is clearly no reciprocity of interest. 

Ah - I may have missed the question.  I would alert gym personnel to handle the guy and I think your BF was fine ignoring under the circumstances you described.  There is no need to perhaps get into an altercation with the guy and your BF did ask him to stop.  It wasn't clear to me what you did during this?
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: WillyNilly on November 14, 2012, 11:05:02 AM
I think that is actually a matter for the gym management to handle.  You were being sexually harassed in the gym.  It should not be up to your boyfriend to have to defend you, the gym should be a safe and comfortable place for you - full stop.  Boyfriend or alone.  I think you should have asked him to stop commenting on your body once and after that just walked over to someone who works there and told them the situation and let them handle it.  The next woman he does this too might not have a boyfriend to defend her - he might do this to two women or a single woman, or whatever.  Its not ok.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: BeagleMommy on November 14, 2012, 11:06:58 AM
First of all, ewwwwwww.

DH and I also work out together.  I've done better with my weight loss than DH has so I'm looking the best I have in a long time.  However, if some creepazoid started talking at me (he wasn't talking to you, OP, just at you) he would have gone right up to said jerk and said "Look, either you stop ogling my wife and making slimy comments or I will stuff one of these barbells where the sun don't shine".

Your BF should have said something.  Guys like this don't listen when a woman says it.  He wasn't a gym "flirt"; he was the gym slimeball.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on November 14, 2012, 11:08:43 AM
First of all, ewwwwwww.

DH and I also work out together.  I've done better with my weight loss than DH has so I'm looking the best I have in a long time.  However, if some creepazoid started talking at me (he wasn't talking to you, OP, just at you) he would have gone right up to said jerk and said "Look, either you stop ogling my wife and making slimy comments or I will stuff one of these barbells where the sun don't shine".

Your BF should have said something.  Guys like this don't listen when a woman says it.  He wasn't a gym "flirt"; he was the gym slimeball.

Well put.  The guy is a scuzzbag.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: LeveeWoman on November 14, 2012, 11:10:29 AM
I would have told him (politely) to stick a sock in it. When he kept it up, I would've gone to the gym managers.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: MrTango on November 14, 2012, 11:14:16 AM
His first comment crossed the line.

After his second comment, I would have gone to the management and asked them to deal with it.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: MorgnsGrl on November 14, 2012, 11:15:47 AM
I think the first step should be to tell him clearly and directly that his attention and comments are unwanted, and that he needs to stop. Direct eye contact and a firm voice, "Your comments about my appearance are unwelcome. You need to stop now." Then, if he continues, definitely speak to gym employees. (If it were me, I'd talk to at least one of the gym employees now to give them a heads up that he is a problem, because chances are you are not his only target for this behavior.)
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Twik on November 14, 2012, 11:26:24 AM
His first comment crossed the line.

After his second comment, I would have gone to the management and asked them to deal with it.

Absolutely.

THis is not a case of "did he edge over the line?". He sailed past it in his first remark, and left the line so far behind in the rest of his behaviour that you'd need the Hubble Telescope to see it. You just do *not* comment on other people's appearance (good or bad) in such a way.

Unfortunately, this man probably believes that telling a girl that she's "hot" and "putting on a show for him" is actually a compliment, and likely to make her think that he is hot, testosterone-loaded stuff. BF should not have said anything to him, since this creep would find it confirming his belief that he's "winning" this stud contest - he should have quickly gotten the gym management over and had the creep ejected.

And this is not "fine" just because the OP didn't feel he was likely to jump her on the spot. This is what you find when you look up "sexual harassment" for a definition. And the bit about his daughter was seriously disturbing.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Allyson on November 14, 2012, 11:29:11 AM
Yes, he definitely crossed the line! Why are people expecting that the boyfriend has more responsibility than she does to get him to stop, though? It sounds like they both said one thing to him, but didn't follow up. We talk a lot about how women have trouble speaking up, and trouble with conflict--some guys can have that problem too. And really, I'd rather a guy inclined to back off than one inclined to jump in and start threatening the guy. Sure, it would've been ideal for both of them to be able to tell him to back off firmly in a way he would listen to, but *lots* of people lack those skills.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: sourwolf on November 14, 2012, 11:32:02 AM
Yes, the guy crossed the line.  And yes, I'd be pretty angry at my BF for not telling him so.
No offense, but this is pretty sexist.  The OP should have spoken up since she was the one being harassed, and if that didn't work she should have gone to management.  While it is is great to have a SO support you, it's important to be able to take action against these sorts of things on your own.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: DottyG on November 14, 2012, 11:32:32 AM
Allyson, you have a good point.  The OP could have said something as well.  But something needed to be said to him sooner rather than later.

I'm not saying a threatening statement; I'm saying a "Knock it off.  You're not funny, and I do not appreciate these comments" type of statement.

Then, I'd go to management.  I would make my own statement first, though, and then go to them.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: DottyG on November 14, 2012, 11:32:55 AM
Sourwolf, I was posting at the same time you were.  But I've already corrected my statement.

Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: sourwolf on November 14, 2012, 11:36:07 AM
Sourwolf, I was posting at the same time you were.  But I've already corrected my statement.

Great.  It's important to be proactive about these sorts of things. 
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: #borecore on November 14, 2012, 11:38:12 AM
Yes, the guy crossed the line.  And yes, I'd be pretty angry at my BF for not telling him so.
No offense, but this is pretty sexist.  The OP should have spoken up since she was the one being harassed, and if that didn't work she should have gone to management.  While it is is great to have a SO support you, it's important to be able to take action against these sorts of things on your own.

While I understand what you are getting at, I do think what made this situation weird was that he was talking to my boyfriend 100%, not to me. That's the only reason I think he might have listened to him -- though he obviously didn't listen to either of us (and other posters are right that we're both nonconfrontational to a fault).

We chose not to let it get to us because it was so absurd it was easier to ignore one ranting weird man than engage the staff, but I appreciate everyone saying they'd have engaged a professional's assistance.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Allyson on November 14, 2012, 11:40:59 AM
Allyson, you have a good point.  The OP could have said something as well.  But something needed to be said to him sooner rather than later.

I'm not saying a threatening statement; I'm saying a "Knock it off.  You're not funny, and I do not appreciate these comments" type of statement.

Then, I'd go to management.  I would make my own statement first, though, and then go to them.

I definitely agree that that statement would have been the best, coming from OP *and* her significant other. I just don't want to blame him (or her!) for not being able to do that under pressure. I know with me, sometimes I freeze up when in a situation like that..this board has helped me with good responses in situations like this.

I wouldn't be angry with my boyfriend if he wasn't assertive enough. I would be angry if he started laughing and joking along *with* the guy, or if he started escalating the situation, but anything in between those two extremes I'd probably be right there with him, standing there going '....is this seriously happening?'

In my experience it's unusual for a strange guy to make comments like that to a woman with a guy right there. I've had a hard time getting guy friends to believe comments like this happen as much as they do because usually they happen when a woman is alone. So for this guy to start this sort of thing right in front of her boyfriend is odd. I wonder what he was thinking the reaction would be? Some people...
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 14, 2012, 11:41:47 AM
Yes, he definitely crossed the line! Why are people expecting that the boyfriend has more responsibility than she does to get him to stop, though? It sounds like they both said one thing to him, but didn't follow up. We talk a lot about how women have trouble speaking up, and trouble with conflict--some guys can have that problem too. And really, I'd rather a guy inclined to back off than one inclined to jump in and start threatening the guy. Sure, it would've been ideal for both of them to be able to tell him to back off firmly in a way he would listen to, but *lots* of people lack those skills.

And I wouldn't be that thrilled at my boyfriend "taking the bait," perhaps. Maybe a fight is what this guy wanted. And, from years of living in NYC, I don't want the confrontation; I don't want to win; I want to be free of the situation--not just in the moment, but in mindshare. So I prefer the solution that has the shortest mental and emotional repercussions *for me*.

At the very least, I'd report him, even after the fact. Even now, today. Make a call to the manager.
(It might help you stop stewing about it, and feeling angry and powerless--see "shortest mental and emotional repercussions," above. Taking action, even belatedly, might make you feel less agitated.)


I think the "Your comments aren't welcome" response is good. But if you can't think of it, or don't think it would do any good (I don't think it would have), my suggestion would be to make a beeline for the front desk and say, "This guy is saying this creepy stuff. I want you to do something about it."

And I also, from years of living in NYC, am not above going "to the next subway car" to avoid someone like this. 
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: sourwolf on November 14, 2012, 11:42:03 AM
Yes, the guy crossed the line.  And yes, I'd be pretty angry at my BF for not telling him so.
No offense, but this is pretty sexist.  The OP should have spoken up since she was the one being harassed, and if that didn't work she should have gone to management.  While it is is great to have a SO support you, it's important to be able to take action against these sorts of things on your own.

While I understand what you are getting at, I do think what made this situation weird was that he was talking to my boyfriend 100%, not to me. That's the only reason I think he might have listened to him -- though he obviously didn't listen to either of us (and other posters are right that we're both nonconfrontational to a fault).

We chose not to let it get to us because it was so absurd it was easier to ignore one ranting weird man than engage the staff, but I appreciate everyone saying they'd have engaged a professional's assistance.

I get what you are saying, but someone talking about me like I wasn't there would have driven me crazy and probably caused me to speak up faster than if he was "talking" to me. (although I'm not really the best person to judge, I've got no patience for cr*p like this and would have had a few non-ehell approved things to say to him.)
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: cicero on November 14, 2012, 11:43:50 AM
I think that is actually a matter for the gym management to handle.  You were being sexually harassed in the gym.  It should not be up to your boyfriend to have to defend you, the gym should be a safe and comfortable place for you - full stop.  Boyfriend or alone.  I think you should have asked him to stop commenting on your body once and after that just walked over to someone who works there and told them the situation and let them handle it.  The next woman he does this too might not have a boyfriend to defend her - he might do this to two women or a single woman, or whatever.  Its not ok.
I agree.

and he was way over the line with his *first* sentence.

Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: lady_disdain on November 14, 2012, 12:09:18 PM
Creep. He was trying to be alpha male by hitting on you in front of him. He was the target, you were merely an object. The longer you two put up with it, the more he got his kicks.

Like PP said, call the management. The guy is trouble.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Jones on November 14, 2012, 12:20:09 PM
He crossed a few lines and can't even see the initial line from where he is currently positioned. It's people like him that convince so many to go to all-one-sex gyms.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Cat-Fu on November 14, 2012, 12:26:50 PM
Sounds like this guy has a permanent camp so far over the line that it can't be seen!

Maybe I'm just combative, but I probably would have told him to back off and mind his own business right at the start, even if he wasn't talking to me directly.

If that didn't work, I'd complain to management.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Deetee on November 14, 2012, 12:30:12 PM
Sounds like this guy has a permanent camp so far over the line that it can't be seen!

Maybe I'm just combative, but I probably would have told him to back off and mind his own business right at the start, even if he wasn't talking to me directly.

If that didn't work, I'd complain to management.

This, but he was SOOO far over any line that I might go directly to the management. A gym is for working out. Any eye candy that you might enjoy is to be enjoyed discretely.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: GratefulMaria on November 14, 2012, 12:41:09 PM
Another "Yes, he crossed the line!"  And another vote for OP going to the gym personnel, whether Mr. Squicky was talking to her directly or not.  I would also hope that my DH, were he the one being addressed, would go to gym management, whether it involved me or a total stranger.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: ilrag on November 14, 2012, 02:06:11 PM
I wouldn't wait for my boyfriend (husband in my case) to say something. I'd look the old man in the eye and say "You're being a real creep, stop."

If he didn't? Management.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: weeblewobble on November 14, 2012, 02:18:14 PM
First of all, this guy wasn't a "flirt."  He was sexually harassing you.  Flirtation implies a reciprocation and acceptance that just wasn't present in this situation.  This guy was a creep, and he accrued double-creep points for assigning self-gratifying motives to your actions, i.e. that you were "putting on a show" for him, rather than just working out. 

While it would have been acceptable for your boyfriend to tell him to cut it out, honestly, more woman need to take action on their own behalf and step up to confront these creeps themselves.  As long as women stay silent, these creeps assume that what they're saying is OK.  It would have been perfectly acceptable and appropriate for you to give him the dead-eyed Icy Glare and tell him, "Stop talking about me. Right now."

And then walk directly to the nearest gym staff member to report him, because surely there is some sort of policy against harassing other gym members.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: onyonryngs on November 14, 2012, 02:21:57 PM
I don't expect a SO to protect me from words.  In fact, it would probably anger me if a my BF confronted someone as I'm not big into the macho confrontational thing.  I would address it with the gym staff and let them deal with it.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: gingerzing on November 14, 2012, 02:25:09 PM
Okay creepy (And after the daughter comment...UBER Creepy!)

I get the whole "do not engage with crazy", but he is way over the line. 
First off, I rarely talk to people while they are working out.  Or at least very little past "Are you using that machine?" 
Next, talking about you as if you were an object to your boyfriend.  Yeah, the guy was trying to start something.
Also, if he is talking like that in front of other guys, I would hate to think what he is doing when women are working out alone. 

My curiousity is the fact that he is being a creep to any gal who is working out.  Seriously?  Not the brightest penny in the roll since you most likely can take care of yourself. 
Added bonus of saying it to the guy with her who is also working out.  (Again, I think he was looking for a fight.)   I started thining about the old song of Bad Bad Leroy Brown, who had bad results after hitting on a wife of a jealous man.

I will jump on the bandwagon of those who say to tell the creep to take a long walk off a short pier and then mention it to the gym management team.  My bet is that he has had other complaints...or at least they will know to watch him. 
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: weeblewobble on November 14, 2012, 02:25:36 PM
If you want some idea of how prevalent and awful the street harassment phenomenon is, go to http://www.ihollaback.org/

Reading the stories there is sort of horrifying, but at the same time, empowering, because you know that you are not alone.  That other women go through the same thing and that you're not "making a big deal out of nothing," no matter what that minimizing, after-the-fact voice tells you. There are some great tips and videos on how to handle situations like this if it comes up again.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Drawberry on November 14, 2012, 05:36:37 PM
That's called sexual harassment. That's also called being a gross piece of garbage.

If only his daughter could have heard those statements....


Report him to gym management, keep track of any times he harasses you and if the management at the gym does nothing bring it up with the authorities. Your boyfriend is a witness and can back you up on his disgusting behavior.

I know that we're all taught to be passive and non-aggressive, but you have every right to say something to him. This is unacceptable behavior and when it goes unchecked he's only being taught that it's acceptable for him to harass strangers.

Frankly I'd be pretty pissed off if I was out with my boyfriend and he flippantly ignored some guy treating me like a piece of meat at a butcher shop. It isn't that your expecting the man in the relationship to 'fight your battles', but it's rather that he seems unaffected and uninterested in the harassment you face. Thanks for the back up honey.

Absolutely this guy crossed the line, if you ever feel uncomfortable then they've crossed the line.


Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: JenJay on November 14, 2012, 06:58:00 PM
I was in a similar position once and as much as I'd love to say "I would have told him to knock it off!" what I actually did was high-tail it to my large, male coworker and tell him some creep was freaking me out. Then I hid out in a back area until he was gone. It was early enough that management wasn't in.

What I most likely would have done in your situation was get away from him and complain to management that he was making unwanted lewd comments and they needed to do something about it. I wouldn't have expected my DH to say anything. In fact I would have been hoping he wouldn't. My DH is rarely eHell-approved and his reaction probably would have got all 3 of us put on notice.  :-\
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: JenJay on November 14, 2012, 07:12:22 PM
Yes, the guy crossed the line.  And yes, I'd be pretty angry at my BF for not telling him so.
No offense, but this is pretty sexist.  The OP should have spoken up since she was the one being harassed, and if that didn't work she should have gone to management.  While it is is great to have a SO support you, it's important to be able to take action against these sorts of things on your own.

While I understand what you are getting at, I do think what made this situation weird was that he was talking to my boyfriend 100%, not to me. That's the only reason I think he might have listened to him -- though he obviously didn't listen to either of us (and other posters are right that we're both nonconfrontational to a fault).

We chose not to let it get to us because it was so absurd it was easier to ignore one ranting weird man than engage the staff, but I appreciate everyone saying they'd have engaged a professional's assistance.

It is very odd when someone is talking "to" you, except they aren't, and it can be difficult to figure out how to react.

At my former job we had some extra help come in for a few days because we were preparing for a big inspection. One of the extras was a department manager from another store who was friendly with my dept. manager. I'd never met him before but I'm perfectly capable or working with people I've just met. Him, not so much.

For two days it was "Tell her to do this." and "Tell her to set up that." Each time he'd be speaking to my manager but I'd be within earshot. Finally on the third morning I was standing on one side of a display, my manager was on another side of the same display, maybe 3-4 feet away, and this guy was another 3-4 feet beyond my manager, so 6-8 feet from me and easily within hearing and eyesight. He says, to my manager of course, "Tell her to finish that up and then do the other thing." I'd had enough so I said to my manager "Tell him I'm standing right here and he should feel free to speak directly to me!" My manager went  :o and then  ;D and then said "She's got you there!"

Of course the jerk extra manager never did speak directly to me. Instead he just pretended I didn't exist which suited me just fine as I was free to do my job as usual.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on November 14, 2012, 08:31:40 PM
I would have said to this creep: "You do realise that's my boyfriend you're talking to, right?"

If he responded with "Who cares?! You're so hot that I just can't help it, etc," I would have moved away to another area. And possibly notified the staff.

I also don't think the OP's BF was rude for not confronting the creep. It sounds like he tried (by saying "come on, dude") but that didn't work. Also, if this guy was bigger and/or clearly spoiling for a fight, it would have been a very stupid move for the BF to confront him.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Raintree on November 14, 2012, 10:46:45 PM
What I probably would have done: left in disgust, or gone to a different area of the gym.

What I would like to think I would have done: Said boldly and loudly, loud enough for everyone else in the gym to hear, "DUDE! Why are you making such creepy comments? Seriously, your comments are creepy and unwelcome, and you're embarrassing yourself. If this CREEPY behaviour continues, you will be reported to management for sexual harrassment. Do you understand?"

Kind of along the same lines as how to deal with subway fondlers. They count on their victims being quiet and really don't want everyone else to know about their behaviour.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: JadeAngel on November 14, 2012, 11:15:48 PM
And I wouldn't be that thrilled at my boyfriend "taking the bait," perhaps. Maybe a fight is what this guy wanted. And, from years of living in NYC, I don't want the confrontation; I don't want to win; I want to be free of the situation--not just in the moment, but in mindshare. So I prefer the solution that has the shortest mental and emotional repercussions *for me*.

That's the impression I got too, that he was not trying to hit on you so much as he was trying to push your boyfriends buttons and get into a confrontation with him, and far from being pissed with him for not taking this guy on I would applaud my boyfriend in this situation for keeping his cool and just letting this creeps comments go because he isn't worth it on any level.

I would still go to the staff at the gym and tell them what happened, they need to know if this guy is harassing other women in their gym, because either they'll start losing female members or the next guy he tries this on will take him up on his offer and they'll have a testosterone implosion in the middle of the workout area... better to lose one member than many. If this guy can't keep his disgusting comments to himself then he can work out somewhere else... preferably Siberia.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Cat-Fu on November 15, 2012, 09:12:28 AM
FTR, I do think it's important when looking back on this to realize that your reaction was pretty normal. Generally speaking, women think they will react to creeps more strongly than they actually would in real life. Don't be too hard on yourself.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Hunter-Gatherer on November 15, 2012, 09:22:41 AM
Ignoring and lifting continue, while he keeps making remarks, telling BF how pretty/hot/sexy "she" is; he gets pretty weird, saying things like that I remind him of his oldest daughter.

Even ignoring just how inappropriate the rest of it is, saying how pretty/hot/sexy you are, and then saying you remind him of his daughter is probably the creepiest thing I can imagine.  I mean, really?   You've just said you find you daughter hot/sexy, which is about a 47 on the creepy scale of 1-10.

To agree with what others have said though, the thing to do would have been for both you and your boyfriend to tell management that this guy was harassing you.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Twik on November 15, 2012, 09:27:32 AM
That's called sexual harassment. That's also called being a gross piece of garbage.

If only his daughter could have heard those statements....


I truly hope that she doesn't. If he's got such boundary-blindness, who knows?
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: weeblewobble on November 15, 2012, 09:42:12 AM
I would have said to this creep: "You do realise that's my boyfriend you're talking to, right?"

If he responded with "Who cares?! You're so hot that I just can't help it, etc," I would have moved away to another area. And possibly notified the staff.

I also don't think the OP's BF was rude for not confronting the creep. It sounds like he tried (by saying "come on, dude") but that didn't work. Also, if this guy was bigger and/or clearly spoiling for a fight, it would have been a very stupid move for the BF to confront him.

Yeah, I hate the "you're so hot, I can't help it" line as it basically negates any responsibility that a grown man has over his own hormones/actions.   
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: #borecore on November 15, 2012, 09:48:56 AM
Ignoring and lifting continue, while he keeps making remarks, telling BF how pretty/hot/sexy "she" is; he gets pretty weird, saying things like that I remind him of his oldest daughter.

Even ignoring just how inappropriate the rest of it is, saying how pretty/hot/sexy you are, and then saying you remind him of his daughter is probably the creepiest thing I can imagine.  I mean, really?   You've just said you find you daughter hot/sexy, which is about a 47 on the creepy scale of 1-10.

To agree with what others have said though, the thing to do would have been for both you and your boyfriend to tell management that this guy was harassing you.

Agreed. The rest, well, on talking about it again last night with BF (who feels pretty bad for saying nothing but also recognizes that this guy's main goal was to fire him up -- and thanks to his personality and background as a Zen priest, my guy is pretty calm in the worst situation, if also nonconfrontational), we agree was just bluster. That comment was straight-up gross.

Not that I know the age of his daughter, but he did say something about not getting to see "these kinds of things on this side of 30," which leads me to believe his daughter is unlikely to actually be like me in terms of age/looks in an ordinary "you two look alike" way. I didn't get a good look at him (unlike him, I don't stare at strangers off to the side when I'm busy working out), but I'd guess he was 35-45.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Yvaine on November 15, 2012, 09:53:21 AM
He crossed a few lines and can't even see the initial line from where he is currently positioned. It's people like him that convince so many to go to all-one-sex gyms.

This, exactly. This is the kind of guy who puts women off gyms. Nobody wants to think they're providing free entertainment for some lout while exercising, either by being up to the guy's beauty standards or by being not up to the guy's beauty standards (because this is the same type of guy who will heckle the women who aren't in perfect shape yet). Gyms are full of attractive people in tight clothing, so it's natural to look, but one should ogle discreetly.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Mikayla on November 15, 2012, 10:15:03 AM
I can't throw anybody under the bus here for their behavior (other than the perv, of course).  For me, there's a big difference between reacting to a pattern of behavior vs the reaction when some unexpectedly slams into you with no warning.

In this situation, it would have been fine for your BF to react to the guy, but I also think it was fine not to.  It would be very different if, say, his best friend had a pattern of dissing you in front of him, or making suggestive comments, etc. and he refused to address it. 

I have no idea what I would have done, since I couldn't even finish reading the OP! 
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: 25wishes on November 15, 2012, 05:35:47 PM
If this creep was making these remarks to you in front of your BF, I can only imagine how he would harass a woman by herself. I would report him to management.

Also, maybe keep an Ipod and earphones in your gym bag so you can tune him out. It must have been really uncomfortable listening to him. yecchhh.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 15, 2012, 08:23:03 PM
I still think you should call the gym. It'll make you feel like you *did* something, and it really is important for them to know about it.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 15, 2012, 09:14:07 PM
That's called sexual harassment. That's also called being a gross piece of garbage.

If only his daughter could have heard those statements....


Report him to gym management, keep track of any times he harasses you and if the management at the gym does nothing bring it up with the authorities. Your boyfriend is a witness and can back you up on his disgusting behavior.

I know that we're all taught to be passive and non-aggressive, but you have every right to say something to him. This is unacceptable behavior and when it goes unchecked he's only being taught that it's acceptable for him to harass strangers.

Frankly I'd be pretty pissed off if I was out with my boyfriend and he flippantly ignored some guy treating me like a piece of meat at a butcher shop. It isn't that your expecting the man in the relationship to 'fight your battles', but it's rather that he seems unaffected and uninterested in the harassment you face. Thanks for the back up honey.

Absolutely this guy crossed the line, if you ever feel uncomfortable then they've crossed the line.

Actually, we are not all taught to the passive. 

But I think the guy  interpreted your boyfriend's first response as a half smile to his first  sleazy remark.  Since he addresses the first remark to your BF, he should have responded with a "that is seriously not cool" and if he didn't shut up then, you are fully within your right to tell the guy he can find another place in the gym  tonwork out or you will  report him to management.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: LeveeWoman on November 15, 2012, 09:22:42 PM
I still think you should call the gym. It'll make you feel like you *did* something, and it really is important for them to know about it.

Yes, it is. I wouldn't be surprised if jmarvellous is NOT the only one he's harassed.

ETA the "NOT".
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: gramma dishes on November 15, 2012, 09:40:49 PM
I think your BF handled it fine just by largely ignoring the creepy guy.  Had he protested any more than he did, the creepy guy's interpretation would have been that he had succeeded in making your BF jealous.  Obviously your BF has enough self confidence to know that you weren't going to be 'excited happily' over the other one's gross remarks.

It would have been fine if either or both of you had shut him down after his first sentence, but ignoring him was fine too.   

Frankly, you and BF did great  (in my humble opinion) by not letting it show that he was really disturbing you.  Hopefully it was a real blow to his ego to get no response at all.  Good job!

However, if it ever happens again.  Just stop whatever you're doing and go to someone on the gym's management team and let them know that this has happened before and now it's happening again.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: #borecore on November 16, 2012, 08:29:43 AM
I still think you should call the gym. It'll make you feel like you *did* something, and it really is important for them to know about it.

I get what you're saying, but I am pretty sure "brown haired, tan man between 35 and 50" isn't going to help the gym staff much. I would feel pretty silly calling to report something from four days ago with such a vague description.

I will keep everyone's comments in mind in case there's an unfortunate second incident.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: gingerzing on November 16, 2012, 08:36:35 AM
I still think you should call the gym. It'll make you feel like you *did* something, and it really is important for them to know about it.

I get what you're saying, but I am pretty sure "brown haired, tan man between 35 and 50" isn't going to help the gym staff much. I would feel pretty silly calling to report something from four days ago with such a vague description.

I will keep everyone's comments in mind in case there's an unfortunate second incident.

You may be surprised.  I mentioned something to our gym's front desk crew about a woman who was making comments about something (not harassmening anyone really).  I asked if they knew about the white hair gal who was talking about cleaning crew to EVERYONE.  Yes, they knew who she was and yes, they were keeping track of her comments. 
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: LeveeWoman on November 16, 2012, 09:11:52 AM
I still think you should call the gym. It'll make you feel like you *did* something, and it really is important for them to know about it.

I get what you're saying, but I am pretty sure "brown haired, tan man between 35 and 50" isn't going to help the gym staff much. I would feel pretty silly calling to report something from four days ago with such a vague description.

I will keep everyone's comments in mind in case there's an unfortunate second incident.

I'd go ahead and give them a call. They might already know about him and could be looking for further justification to boot him. Even if they don't know about him, reporting him for the first time will give your possible second report more weight.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 16, 2012, 09:22:21 AM

It would have been fine if either or both of you had shut him down after his first sentence, but ignoring him was fine too.   


Do you really think they could have done that, succeeded at truly "shutting him down"?

I agree with grammadishes that the OP and her boyfriend did fine--though I personally might say that they would have done MORE fine if they had left the area immediately.

But sometimes people (not just here, but definitely here) think they *can* "shut someone down," and I think that's a great part of the problem today.

People think they can make other people behave a certain way, if they just say the right thing.

They can't. And the OP and her boyfriend instinctively knew this.

All of us (including me, often) would do better to remember it.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: TurtleDove on November 16, 2012, 09:38:35 AM
But sometimes people (not just here, but definitely here) think they *can* "shut someone down," and I think that's a great part of the problem today.

People think they can make other people behave a certain way, if they just say the right thing.

They can't. And the OP and her boyfriend instinctively knew this.

All of us (including me, often) would do better to remember it.

Bravo!
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Jloreli on November 16, 2012, 11:09:26 AM
He was totally out of line. In your shoes I would have told him once very clearly using small words that his comments were offensive and unwelcome. If he persisted I would have told management and expected that they would tell him to stuff a sock in it or be tossed out. If it had gotten to the level of me involving gym management and they didn't make it clear that the behavior would not be tolerated....or they didn't follow thru if he continued...I would be Very Displeased. Like pull my membership and run my mouth about it all over town Very Displeased.

Mr JL would have been told rather firmly that I can handle it thankyouverymuch....though he would have been more than happy to rather quickly tell Mr. Gym Creeper to shut it. My motive for trying to keep him out of it would be two fold....firstly he has a short fuse and the whole situation would get ugly too fast....and secondly (and in my book more importantly) to show the Gym Creeper that women not only are not amused or charmed by that behavior but are also not going to tolerate it. Which is different IMHO than having a DH/BF say stop the crap because she's taken.....that implies that the behavior is only wrong because he's chosen the wrong target, not that it is wrong full stop.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: gramma dishes on November 16, 2012, 11:18:02 AM
...   and secondly (and in my book more importantly) to show the Gym Creeper that women not only are not amused or charmed by that behavior but are also not going to tolerate it. Which is different IMHO than having a DH/BF say stop the crap because she's taken.....that implies that the behavior is only wrong because he's chosen the wrong target, not that it is wrong full stop.

This.  Precisely!
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 16, 2012, 12:57:35 PM
I can understand not wanting to call now, 4 days later.

And in a way, calling is "prolonging the unpleasantness for you," by continuing to give it mindshare.

But if you ever see him again, I hope you will feel that you could go up to the desk and say, "See that guy over there on the chest-press bench? A couple of weeks ago he was making really offensive comments to about me to my boyfriend--it was really unpleasant. We tried to just ignore him, but it was really out of line, and I wanted you to know about it. Honestly, he should have been kicked out of the gym for it, now that I'm not 'in the moment' anymore. I don't expect you to necessarily do anything about it now, but I wanted you to know about it, so it helps you build a more accurate picture of this customer."

Think of it as being helpful to the gym management.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Yankeegal77 on November 17, 2012, 08:41:59 AM
First, I'm really sorry that you had to put up with this. I think you and your boyfriend did the best you really could. I mean, you came in to work out and this guy was horribly over the line. He couldn't even see it anymore.

Like others have said, this isn't flirting. Flirting is the guy next to me on the treadmill who pretended to not know how to use the machine and asked nicely for my help. I knew he was full of it, he knew I knew, but we had a pleasant conversation. :)

I have learned that any reaction will act as fuel for scumbags like this. I most likely would have stopped what I was doing and said keep it up, I'll have you tossed out. If he kept it up, I would have had a staff member come talk to him.

Two previous posters had some great thoughts:

1. Rebuking him *very loudly* would have drawn attention and possibly really embarrassed him--especially with other "hot" women around. I can guarantee that most men there would not have taken kindly to the fact a woman was being harassed. And the females would have been on alert to *not* work out anywhere near this dude.

2. And I agree with another poster who said the staff most likely knows about this guy, but maybe needs more complaints or to catch him in the act in order to throw him out. Or, he might be a new guy who needs to be on their radar. Either way, when you go in, ask to speak to management, explain the situation and say you want them to be aware that females may be reluctant to come in if this guy is a regular.

Given the number of females who are serious athletes, or just serious about getting into/staying in shape, a gym manager would be an idiot to allow someone like this to stay around. And another reason to put the gym on alert?  Not to be an alarmist or sexist, but I'm super glad your boyfriend was there. This jerk may have been aggressive enough to follow you to your car. He might follow another "hot" woman to the parking lot if he didn't feel gratified in a reaction within the gym walls.

So, yeah. Still tell management.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: snowdragon on November 19, 2012, 02:22:23 PM
I still think you should call the gym. It'll make you feel like you *did* something, and it really is important for them to know about it.

I get what you're saying, but I am pretty sure "brown haired, tan man between 35 and 50" isn't going to help the gym staff much. I would feel pretty silly calling to report something from four days ago with such a vague description.

I will keep everyone's comments in mind in case there's an unfortunate second incident.

actually it might. I had a teen kid make some really obnoxious comments about my chest a while ago, and no matter where I moved or if someone tried to block his view I could not escape him - he'd make comments and scream them across the Y like "Hey, dad, hers bounce when she rides the bike....bounce, bounce, I wanna see them bounce". I reported him to my trainer and he knew ex.act.ly which family this was, the entire staff knew.  Since the guy you describe is so obnoxious I'd bet they know him, too. It will likely not be the first he's been reported.
Title: Re: Gym "flirt" -- did he cross the line?
Post by: Bijou on November 19, 2012, 03:05:16 PM
I would have complained to the staff about him harassing you then and there.  Maybe the gym can help him to restrict his exercise to his own living room.