Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vulgarity at the Gym

This morning I went to the 9:15 am spin class, taught by Stacey. What a great class! Not as good as Derek's classes but I learned some new things about making my riding better and I got some really good sweaty exercise and wore myself out.

Then I went to the steam room, intending to stay there my usual 10 minutes before going to the sauna.

There were two middle-aged men in there already. They kept talking and didn't look up as I went in and sat at the other corner.

Usually I can ignore other people's conversations in the steam and sauna rooms, just tune them out by thinking my own thoughts. And when I can't, it's usually because I'm enjoying listening to them, and sometimes I even join in.

But this conversation I couldn't tune out or ignore because one of the guys seemed incapable of finishing a sentence without using a variety of vulgar words that I don't want to write here because I want people to enjoy reading this without being offended.

And this conversation WAS offensive. Finally I got up and went to the door. I paused and smiled at the men. They stopped talking and looked up and smiled back at me. I said, "Sometimes I'm in here when teenagers come in and talk like that, and I really hate it. And I have to admit, I hate it when I hear you guys talking like that, too. I mean, it's not like I've never heard those words before, or like I've never said them myself. But it just doesn't sound good."

I smiled the whole time, and the guy who had been using most of the vulgar words looked up at me like he was going to say something. But I didn't want to say any more or hear any more. I just kept smiling as I walked out. I didn't feel angry, and I don't think I projected anger. I just felt dirty and icky from hearing those words used so casually, yet loudly, as if (like the teenage boys) the man was trying to show how cool he was.

So, here's my question. Was there a better way to handle that? Should I not have said anything at all? What do you think?


  1. That was EXACTLY how to handle it. No second-guessing necessary. There are 50-yr-old teenagers and 12-yr-old adults. We all appreciate the latter, don't we?

    There's a lesson here - anyone need a repeat?

  2. I think that you handled it very well! I appreciate your example of how to handle an uncomfortable situation. You didn't get angry, but you also spoke up for yourself without condemnation or criticism. I'm really impressed.

  3. I think you did the right thing. I would have been sarcastically snarky (snarkily sarcastic?) which never really gets anywhere and just makes the other person feels defensive. Doing it with kindness and a smile is the best solution.