“Thank you!” he yelled to me. I was on the floor, the sweat and mascara still partially blinding my right eyeball as I laid on my side, rolling the outside of my leg on a foam contraption like a imminently dead fish. “Thank YOU”, I instinctively yelled back, emphasizing the “you”. Curse my instincts and their natural inclination to mimic my father conversing with a bank teller after a transaction deposit.
“No, I meant, ‘thanks for rolling out your muscles’. No one ever does that.”
After informing him of my torn knee and it’s useless cartilage, he asked me a 50/50 question regarding the nature of my injury. Not knowing what the fuck medial and lateral meant, I confidently picked one at random – staring him directly in the eye, daring him to reveal me for what I am – the daydreamy chick with the over eager sweat glands who doesn’t even know the proper medical term for her own right knee’s detriment.
There was nothing sexy about the scene. Nothing that would imply that he was being anything but cordial to ask follow-up questions about the state of my joints. In fact, it was his job. A trainer who had just intimidated me into 60 minutes of intense cardio and weight lifting, this was his attempt to secure my $34 purchase of his next class.
Instead of heeding to the obvious, I asked him out.
You must understand. I was bored. I moved here from New York City – an unforgiving town, yes, but a town where I knew the rules and played the game well. A place where your wit, your choice of subway reading material, and your knowledge of offbeat hot spots secured your status as desirable. Here in San Francisco, I don’t speak the love language. And if I’m entirely honest, all 4 months into my residency, I’d rather never acclimate. I like my borderline rude flirt-banter. I like a man who can quite literally roll with my punches and be a true adversarial and romantic match in the ring of dating. The watered down conversations and amicable laws of attraction I was witnessing in bars on nights out never failed to amuse and betwixt me, but it wasn’t (and isn’t) a lobotomy I’m willing to have. I needed a little new game in my life.
So I chose a man in the fitness industry to prey on, and here’s what I learned:
He’ll flirt like a generic brand vanilla wafer.
You might be saying, but Caitlin, I actually very much enjoy vanilla wafers and often find myself binging on those dusty cookies for no reason other than I ran out of Oreos. To which I’d say, exactly. But maybe vanilla wafers is the wrong analogy. Maybe it’s more like grass. Because what you’ll get from this dating exchange is a mouthful of grass. Despite being a trainer who, allegedly, is paid to pick things up and put them down, the man will drunkenly – quite literally – drop you on your face in the park one day in an attempt at what we can only assume is flirting – breaking your designer sunglasses in the process. While you momentarily embrace the cool ground on your cheek, you’ll wonder how the actual hell you ended up here – your face within an inch of where a homeless man probably once peed Take your $300 sunglasses deficit and what’s left of your pride, and run while you still can.
He is Peter Pan incarnate.
For so long I thought New York men were the most noncommittal specimen I’d ever have the displeasure of being fooled by. But if you’re looking to witness truly remarkable next levels of men avoiding meaningful connection, look no further than the fitness industry.
Communication is not cool or embraced or accepted in any currency in dating the Peter Pan Fitness Man. The first lesson in this is that you should by no means ask him out and expect him to actually show up to your plans. It may not be a personal attack, but planning ahead just isn’t in this man’s skill set. Instead, you must hope that a very specific universal storm is brewing to allow such a blessing. Pray to Oprah that Earth is rotating on its axis at a 35 degree angle and Mercury is in its second phase of retrograde and “Freebird” is playing on a jukebox at any dive bar in a 50 mile radius. Should these circumstances be even slightly off – alternate Lynyrd Skynyrd songs are not viable substitutes – he will not actually be able to follow through on plans. Move on and deal with your rejection like a San Franciscan: take a long hike over the Presidio, not stopping when you reach the bluffs. Hey, you might even run into him on your trek dropping some other pretty girl on her face…it’s actually most likely. Never assume you were the only woman lucky enough to deserve a cheekbone bruise. Bitches are lining up to be failed by those biceps.
If for some reason you foolishly expected a plan to come to fruition and it did not, do not communicate with him (see above). He will openly disregard you.
If all else fails and you absolutely must trick him into a date, just invite him to an NBA game. He’ll never turn down an opportunity to watch a group of overpaid men squeak around a little rectangular patch of wood flooring, shoving their armpits in each other’s faces. He’ll technically be on a date with the Warriors, but you’ll also happen to be there.
He won’t have sex with you.
At first you’ll think it’s sweet maybe. You’ll give him the full benefit of the doubt. He’s a nice guy! He was hurt! He really likes me! Shia Labeouf was quoted in Us Weekly saying that leg day can affect your libido! And maybe he actually is a nice guy who wants to do the right thing…in which case it’s too bad your birth certificate doesn’t read “Right Thing” instead of “Caitlin Skelly” because then we wouldn’t even be in this mess. But like the old saying that your great grandmother needle pointed onto her throw pillows – a man who likes you will sleep with you and a man who DOESN’T like you…will still sleep with you.
So send your best gay friend to his class in his shortest lululemon, tell your former boy, “you’re welcome”, and head to the nearest coding convention in search of a nerd to date instead.