We’re barely a week into 2019 and my timeline and text messages are fraught with complaints over gym immigrants like some kind of fitness based nativism. Most of the posturing is really just those of us who saw a workout room once in December ’18 convincing our followers we use the gym as something besides a different room to text in, a few of the complaints, and most of the general premises behind them, are reasonably valid. After all, gyms are an entirely shared space, and when a flurry of strangers suddenly arrives with their own goals for that space, their own beliefs in how that space should be utilized, their own customs and principles for how to interact with those they encounter, and their own sense of time and how to manage it whilst in that space, it can be difficult to assimilate them with all the other people who’ve already established an environment for themselves. This exact situation occurs daily in quite literally every corner of the planet. Strangers encounter one another in random settings and must navigate properly accommodating each other.
In larger settings society has recognized mankind’s tendency for obliviousness and selfishness, and established mediating forces to enforce complacent interaction. From the military on down to Paul Blart Mall Cop we have outside agents to step in when someone steps out of line. Even private establishments like concerts, bars, and clubs have people there to enforce their standards and make sure everyone’s getting along.
With all the weird fitness crazes and workouts based in little more than mysticism and imagination, it’s past time gyms installed bouncers. When I go in there I see equipment being used in ways I didn’t even realize was possible. Look, I understand if we did things the way we’ve always done them then we’d still be living in unlit caves, but these aren’t fitness pioneers on the cusp of scientific innovation, these are rogue lunatics playing with the limits of rationality and the tensile strength of human ligaments and bones. I shouldn’t have to watch some mid 20s part time gym blogger and full time pyramid scheme salesman attach himself to the lat pull machine with a back belt so he can do pelvic bridges, yet here I am.
Gym bouncers can also help mitigate the flow of traffic. At a bar it’s a bouncer’s job to make sure the front door doesn’t get blocked and the line at the bartender moves at an acceptable pace. Put that bouncer in a gym and do the same thing with the machines so people will stop taking 7 1/2 minute breaks between sets to check their texts, set their fantasy lineup, answer some emails, and bookmark their podcasts for the week. Or, a gym bouncer could also makes sure the space directly in front of the dumbbell rack stays clear so people trying to grab a dumbbell won’t have to navigate their way around a guy curling 50s so close to the rack he’s resting his junk on it.
If we’ve already recognized the necessity for bouncers at bars because of people’s tendencies for unstable and irrational behavior amidst a crowd of strangers and under the influence of alcohol, then we’ve got to also recognize the necessity for bouncers at gyms where people have just as much of a tendency to hurt themselves or others because they’re under the influence of everything from disorienting amounts of supplements, delusions of aesthetic body dysmorphia, social media influence, or just plain insanity driven workout regimens.