What Happens When I Work Out, Part 2: Let The Awkwardness Ensue

(*Note: This is (apparently) part of a two-post series. I didn’t actually realize that when I wrote the original What Happens When I Work Out post earlier this week… but since it seems like all I ever do lately is work out, I guess I have a lot to say on the subject.

This time, though, instead of discussing how much I absolutely abhor exercise, I’d like to embark on an awareness campaign about how ripe the gym is for awkward situations.)

For those who don’t know me (which, arguably, is about 95% of you… hi by the way, my name’s Susie), I’m kinda prone to awkward situations. I may have actually mentioned this once or twice. I can’t explain it – but for some reason these uncomfortable, throat-clearing circumstances always find me, like flies to honey. If there were an awkwardness olympics, I would take home the gold. If I had a nickel for every awkward situation I’ve ever been in, I’d be a nickel-aire. 


I do understand that on some level (or, okay, on every level), this is 100% a psychological manifestation. Maybe I find myself in these predicaments because I’m just an awkward human to begin with.

I can admit to that. It would explain why I get physically squeamish when somebody stands too close behind me in line, or why I’m completely incapable of taking a compliment with any semblance of normalcy. (“You like my hair color? Oh, er, thanks… my mom gave it to me.”)

So, okay, I can accept some responsibility here. Maybe I just have a cognitive bias for observational selection (also, a thesaurus), and the reason I find awkward situations is because I’m subconsciously looking for them.


But I don’t think that accounts for every awkward situation I’m in.

Take the gym, for instance. I can’t be held responsible for every cringeworthy happening in a place like that. Between the physical exertion, close proximity, and locker rooms, there are enough external factors to bring the awkward-o-meter to a solid 10 – with or without the help of my socially inept tendencies. 

Here are three things that happened to me at the gym today, all within 40 minutes of each other:

  • For the first few minutes of my gym experience, I was walking around with my headphones not plugged in. Meaning that my music was blaring for everyone to hear, and I was the idiot wondering why my earbuds seemed so quiet. Everyone around me had the joy of listening to Weezer for at least a song and a half before I realized my mistake – no doubt sharing uncomfortable glances and wondering who should tell me.
  • Two dozen empty treadmills, and an older gentleman hopped on the one right next to me. There are rules about this, aren’t there? The same ones that apply to movie theaters and (I’ve heard) urinals. If there is an unoccupied alternative not in the immediate vicinity of another person, you’re supposed to take that one. Right? I don’t need somebody close enough to me to listen to every breath and grunt, if I can avoid it.
  • I caught the same girl’s eye in the mirror three separate times. Enough said.

It’s situations like this that give me an immediate urge to curl into a ball and hide, and the more time I spend at the gym – the more ball-curling I want to do.

I know, I’m being a baby. Adults don’t worry about this kind of thing. I just need to grow up and face the facts that life is awkward, and there just ain’t nuthin I can do about it.

…That, or I just start working out at home.

4 thoughts on “What Happens When I Work Out, Part 2: Let The Awkwardness Ensue

  1. Working out at home never works out, at least not for me. Too much will power is required as well as an absence of laziness. But I can relate to the awkwardness of working out in public (a.k.a. The gym). It’s a catch 22 really: damned if you do it, damned if you don’t 😦

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