Sunday, November 11, 2007

These Women-Only Rooms at the Gym

Here's another issue that, like my position on refusing to buckle-up on command in the back seat, I can't get anyone to agree with me on. This despite the fact that I'm absolutely right on the merits.

My gym here in Vegas (to remain anonymous) is a relatively new facility. Well appointed. Well staffed. The water fountain water is usually cold. Plenty of parking. So, generally, not a bad gym. But, a crowded gym. And I tend to go after work during their evening rush. Sometimes, you have to squeeze in a set between other people. Sometimes, you're standing on line for an elliptical machine.

So, there's this room on the first floor, for women-only, that has the works: nautilus, cardio, free-weights, workout-mats, plenty of space. And never full, by the way. I see one or two women in there, max. I don't exactly know how much good stuff there is in there, since I can't see the whole room from the door and I can't just stand there squinting through the window lest I look like some kind of perv. Who knows what kind of xanadu lies around the unseen corners? What could there be back there? A climbing wall? A smoothie counter? I don't know.

It's not fair. Why should I have to stand in line for a cardio machine while plenty sit unused in the ladies-only room? What happened to equality? What happened to the great principles of Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea, and others who have appeared on our one dollar coins? Do they mean nothing?

Now let me explain exactly where I stand on this. If the gym wants to install a ladies-only workout room, I don't object in theory. But, they must do one of the following:
1) Give men a discount on membership, proportional to the reduced availability of the facilities
2) Open a mens only room of equal size and appointment.

That's all. Doing one of those thing fairs it up entirely. Notice, the whole issue of why women want these separate rooms is irrelevant to the complaint. They don't want to be hit on and/or intimidated. Personally, I think they should quit whining and grow some tougher skin, though I admit that men who try to pick up women at the gym are engaging in the worst brand of slimy behavior. The solution should be to curb the behavior, not to segregate the genders. But that's a digression. If the gym wants to create a womens-only room, that's fine - so long as you give me the mens-only room or the penis discount on membership. That would make it fair.

Of course, I don't think you'd see much enthusiasm for a mens only room. So, uh, let's go with the membership discount as the preferred alternative.

I put the issue to a female friend at work, who as you might expect, took a contrary position. "Deal with it." was the substance of her rebuttal. She got quite animated and seemed to have as strong an opinion about it as I did. I pressed her for a more robust argument, and she actually came up with a savvy one. She said something along the lines of "You never hear women complain when we get overcharged at the dry cleaner. Or for a haircut."

Me: "Haircut? But women get all that fru fru shit done when they get their hair cut. Men's cuts are simpler."

Her: "What about women with short hair who just want a simple hair cut? Why should they get charged double?"

Me: "hmm.........."

Her: "Whatever you pay at the dry cleaner for a shirt, they charge double for a women's shirt, even though its the exact same process."

Me: "Really? That doesn't seem fair. Wait a minute. Aren't women's shirts all silky and scented and dainty and what-not? Don't they require extra care?"

Her: "No! It's the exact same process!"

So okay, she's got a point. Now, my position on the womens-only room at the gym is unchanged. Two unfairs don't make a fair. But I now hereby stand for haircut and dry-cleaning gender-based pricing reform. And I am against all other such bullshit raw deals.

Someday, when I'm on a one dollar coin, you'll all realize I was right.


crystalmae said...

Is there an overwhelming number of harassment cases in your area? It just seems silly that the gym would even consider installing a Women-Only room at the gym if there isn't any particular need to ...

and a Men-Only room seems very awkward to me.

Rowsdower said...

I think that's just how the gym was built and designed. It's a big nationwide gym chain, and I'm sure their gyms are all basically the same. It's probably so they don't lose business to the womens-only gyms that are getting popular now.

And yes, I probably wouldn't patronize the "man room".