Open Letter to the Men Hogging the Gym Equipment

Vanessa Torre

Conversations I don’t have with men at the gym. But should.

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Hey gym guy.

You’re struggling with me. I can tell. You’re looking at me a little weirdly. Something about me is slightly off-putting to you. You don’t know what it is. I do.

I seem out of place. I am. This place is weird. There is legitimately a guy over there working out in khaki cargo shorts. You have questions. I have answers.

Yes, that noise is coming from me. I am, indeed, grunting. Why? Because I just made a 120-pound lat pull down my b*tch. It’s heavy, it hurts. But, no, I don’t think I should go a little lighter.

No, I’m not wearing any makeup and my hair is in an unintentionally messy bun. I didn’t spend 15 minutes in the locker room tweaking it just so.

I also do understand that my outfit doesn’t match and I’m wearing muddy Converse.

Yes, I’m wearing Converse because it keeps the balance on the heels of my feet which is where I need them if I’m gonna be able to pull a 295-pound deadlift. But, those expensive Nikes look cool, bro.

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Thanks for letting me work in. No, I don’t need you to move the weight. I’ll lift what you got right there.

No, I don’t need you to put the bodyweight knee pad in place for the pull-ups.

I’m not here to lift my body weight. I’m here to lift yours.

It doesn’t matter to me one bit if you think women shouldn’t have big, strong shoulders. Can I just use the 90-pound bar so I can get my shrugs done? You’re in my way.

Seriously, I am sure the 14th take on your gym selfie was the right one.

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Nope. Not interested in cardio. I’m not here to be a size two. I eat size twos for lunch. I’m not here to lose weight. I’m here to put it on. I’m not afraid of muscles. I’ll pass on your offer to guess my weight.

Yes, I do mind if you check that last email. Because there are 11 million people here and you’re on the one machine I want. Move.

I’m not interested in who makes the best gloves. If I wear gloves, I can’t feel the bar. I’ve never torn my hands, but thanks for the concern. My calluses have calluses. The guy I’m seeing still likes to hold my hand. He’s okay with the fact that I can squat him.

Above all, please just let me be. I don’t want your advice on my form. I don’t want to know that the smoothies from the juice bar are good. I don’t want to chat.

I’m here to get strong. I’m here to push myself. I’m here to break out of the mold. I’m here to prove to myself that it’s not about what my body looks like, it’s about what it can do. I’m not here for your amusement or entertainment or ogling. Kindly, stay out of my way, dude.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ
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