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2 May 2008, 1:05 pm 84 Comments

Sports: The Gay Gym


Okay. You got me. I’ll admit it. I go to the gay gym. And I love it.

I know what you’re thinking: Why would a self-respecting alterna-queer gay hipster be caught dead in the gay gym? You might be wondering how I even feel comfortable in the locker room, or whether I skip it all together and just walk home in my sweaty gym clothes. Or perhaps you imagine me wearing really bulky sweatshirts to cover my scrawny body so I don’t get to intimidated by all the muscle jocks.

Well, my friends, the short answer is: None of the above. I was always picked last in gym class. I was never naked in the high school locker room. And I couldn’t hit a baseball to save my life. But somehow I feel perfectly comfortable at the gay gym.

I think I attribute this odd comfort to a variety of things. But the main reason is this.

Gyms are always very sexualized environments. There’s the locker room and the showers. Then the hot guys lifting weights, stretching, bending, making fuck-faces in the mirrors… Really, what gay guy can resist? No wonder gays like going to gyms.

But unlike the at the “straight gyms” where any sexual interest must be hidden, where any flirtation must be covert, any glances must be furtive… Unlike the straight gyms, at the gay gym if you want to look a guy you think is hot, you just look at him. If you want to talk to someone and maybe ask him out on a date, you can walk right up to him and start flirting. And if you want to look at dicks in the shower, chances are the owners of those dicks are looking right back at yours.

How liberating! Where else in this country can you find an environment filled with gay men who are collected at that space without the express purpose of getting wasted and hooking up? If you think about it, the gays have two spaces all to themselves: gay bars and gay gyms. Only in those two locations can you find such high concentrations of queers. And unlike at the bars, the gays are at the gyms for a purpose other than sex.

Sure, there are lots of muscle guys at the gay gym, but I see all different types of guys there, too. From super super skinny guys to guys who are so muscular they can’t lift their arms over their heads. From jocks to queens, geeks to pretty boys. It’s refreshing to see them all when they’re not dressed to impress, sweating and quite possibly in pain. Or even humbled by a weight too heavy or a yoga posture too gravity-defying.

Could I be intimidated surrounded by all these hot guys? Well, as I just said, they’re all not that hot. And chances are, even the hot ones have low self esteems. But sure, I could be intimidated, but I’m not. Instead, I’m putting myself out there, into one of DC’s few true gay social spaces, and I’m getting a pretty good workout while I’m at it.


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84 Comments »

  • Timp said:

    Very interesting, and I go to the gym for exercise, and to keep my husband going, because as an actor, I feel it’s important for him to be in shape, since he likes the stage over film.

    And we go at the but crack of dawn. The gym opens at 5, and we are there. And it’s partially because we want to avoid the gym when it’s busy. And yes, we go to the gay gym.

    I find to many people around staring and sizing you up to be distracting. Not to mention when you draw the attention of some one that doesn’t pick up on your non-interest.

    I won’t take a shower at the gym, even though it’s individual stalls, but just clear curtains, no doors. One because I’m a 10 minute walk to home, and can just shower there, but two, I don’t want to be stared at while taking a shower.

    And it’s not that I have body issues, because I bike to work on the days I don’t work out, and have a membership at the city bike garage, and take a shower there, which means getting buck naked in front of a bunch of other guys.

    But the bike garage isn’t a gay bike garage, it’s straight, and honestly, we are just there to change from sweaty bike cloths, to work cloths after a nice hot shower. It’s actually nice to be somewhere without the consent sexual tension, because it’s of no interest to me.

  • Parker said:

    this mix of gays at the gym that you like so much sounds like the same mix you see at pride, with perhaps a dash of lesbian and a handful of fat guy. perhaps you should rethink your views on pride?

  • Anonymous said:

    Where else in this country can you find an environment filled with gay men who are collected at that space without the express purpose of getting wasted and hooking up?

    Pride, perhaps?

    If you think about it, the gays have two spaces all to themselves: gay bars and gay gyms. Only in those two locations can you find such high concentrations of queers.

    If that were true, I would be very depressed. There are gay churches, gay volunteer groups, gay lots of things. You might learn about some of them…at Pride.

    And unlike at the bars, the gays are at the gyms for a purpose other than sex.

    This blanket statement is almost as ridiculous as saying that gays only go to bars to hook up. Have you ever read Craislist missed connections?

  • antoine said:

    i just left the gay gym for WSC. got tired of seeing the same old people everywhere i go.

  • coach said:

    i left WSC cuz the lighting/decor made me feel like i was working out in a cubicle. also, chandra levy was last seen at my WSC, and that’s, uh, depressing. so i’m at the gay gym, and pretty much love it, tho i’d def like to see more dykes & more dyke cruising happening there.

  • Kimberly said:

    I would totally join the gay gym and do some genderqueer/dyke cruising if my office didn’t have a free gym! At least at the gay gym, no one would do double-takes in the locker room ’cause they think I’m a guy…

  • Meeg said:

    hey there’s another reason to go to the bar besides sex: to get sloshed!

    But seriously, i’m lucky enough to have a gym in my building. If I didn’t I’d think about joining a gym like this: like you said, you look at the other guys anyway while you’re working out. How much cooler would it be if they might be interested in you too?

    Then again I had a friend who used to go to a pretty gay gym and he said he’d get really annoyed by all the boys staring at him and flirting and chatting with one another while he was just trying to work out.

  • john@brightestyoungthings.com said:

    I joined WSC because I didn’t want to join the gay gym. Then I realized that all gyms are gay gyms.

    Don’t get me wrong…I always appreciate the Missed Connections on Craigslist.

  • Robert said:

    Agree with ^John^ every DC gym is a gay gym. WSC is a basement for closeted former college athletes who now work at nonprofits and date girls who live in Dupont.

    I work out at “the gay gym” and it is total soft-core porn. I love every minute of it.

    Also, for the record, not everyone at TNG is anti-pride. I am sure we will have some interesting discussions about that yearly event as it draws near.

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