*There’s a guy at the gym where I work out who always is watching me. The fact that he notices me is not the problem. At 5’11” I’m taller than most people and not hard to miss even in a crowd. It’s the way he looks at me; as if I’m a steak dinner and he’s been on a tofu diet for a very long time. I think I’ve even heard him say “um um um” under his breath when I walk by.
Some women might consider it a compliment for a man to give them the “come hither” look to get their attention. But I prefer meaningful conversation. For most men that’s too much like climbing Mt. Everest. So they don’t bother to try. This gym guy doesn’t speak to me at all. So I ignore him and his deer-in-headlights gaze as he grunts and stares, mostly at my body parts. Because of my workout attire – not something I wear anywhere else – he gets to see more than he would under normal circumstances.
The other day the gym guy happened to be in the weight room on the day that I do deadlifts. So he stood nearby – conspicuously I might add – and watched me lift. For two warm-ups and four sets. When did he plan to complete his workout? After he finished watching me, I presume. He might as well have had a tub of popcorn.
Even when I left the weight room and went upstairs to do aerobics, a few minutes later he found a reason to be upstairs too gazing in my direction.
That’s when I came up with the ideal of hiring a body guard. Although I can defend myself, sometimes it takes a man to tell another man when he’s making a fool of himself. If I tell him how disrespectful his actions are he probably would consider it a victory that I acknowledged him. And I refuse to do that.
Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements to Steffanie at email@example.com. And see the video version of her journal at www.youtube.com/steffanierivers.