Gyms have a bad rap as a good place to meet potential love interests. They’re microcosms of the Universe providing access to every kind of person under the sun. Men and women of all genders, orientations, races, nationalities, sizes, shapes, colors, ages, and political views congregate at gyms. People are literally and figuratively stripped down to their essence here, baring corpus and character… muscles and makeup… anatomy and attitude… parts and personality…
Although not relegated to a gym, this venue is unique for those seeking love; where else do you get to see a prospect pre-gym (walking in from the parking lot), active gym (working out half-clothed), and post-gym (fresh from the shower)?
If healthy relationships are built on shared values, then finding love at the gym requires more than just suiting-up and showing up. It calls for tuning in to the automatic stereotyping, profiling and typecasting we perform subconsciously in the first nanosecond of seeing or meeting someone.
I met both my husbands at a gym; not concurrently, not at the same gym, and approximately 15 years apart. I know, I know… “if you were so successful, then why did you have to do it twice?” A totally valid question. But, people change – especially through the early married/childbearing years. Even though I didn’t do marriage #1 till death do we part, we did stay together for 13 years, had two beautiful daughters, and have maintained a healthy friendship for fifteen years. I’d call that a success.
On the outside, it may have looked like I just lucked into love… like I was in the right place at the right time – twice. The reality is that in each case, it took months of active passive engagement to solidify these connections. I wasn’t just physically drawn to my husbands, but over time, I became emotionally attached as well. I analyzed and decoded everything they did, wore, drove and said. Everything meant something. In short, I value-surfed my way to love.
Virtually all the How to Meet Men at the Gym articles I’ve read focus on looking good and playing the role of a damsel in distress. Yuck. And a big waste of time. Phony begets phony or – equally inefficient – phony begets something the suitor wasn’t actually seeking in the first place. With no consideration of your love interest’s values, you’ll be back to square one; maybe in a week, maybe in a year, or maybe after many years in a miserable marriage. Your failure to find favor and fervor at the gym could have been avoided with an initial course of honed value-surfing.
People knowingly and un-knowingly emit never-ending value clues at the gym; some obvious and some more obscure. It’s up to the love-seeking gym-goer to uncover and interpret these clues for a better understanding of who their person really is, and not just who he/she wants you to think they are.
Seekers typically assess a gym with a caveperson attitude of “me want, me get.”… as if all they have to do is scout out the best looking man or woman there and nail it down. More often than not, the initiator hasn’t performed an honest self-assessment before setting out. They haven’t really considered how big a fish they are, and in what kind of pond they’re swimming. It’s the nerd-seeks-hot-chick-and-is-crushed-by-cold-shoulder scenario you’ve seen a million times – at bars as well as gyms.
So, before you commence the politically incorrect process of judging your fitness fellows, you’ll benefit by taking a personal inventory first to determine exactly what you bring to the table… how you rate, emotionally and physically.
In the end, a combination of sensible self-assessment and skilled value-surfing can yield healthy coupling results. Finding love at the gym requires honesty, both with oneself, and with your fellow gym-goers because, hey – honesty is the best policy in healthy relationships.
In the following weeks, my Value-Surfing For Love series will help you:
- Pick the best gym for optimal opportunity
- Develop an honest self-assessment
- Realistically consider your prospect possibilities
- Draw broad conclusions about people based on their outward value clues
- Ascribe meaning to the conclusions you’ve drawn
- Learn some practical ways to approach your love interest
In addition to creating new opportunities for amour, value-surfing may help you gain insight into how and why you look at other people the way you do. And isn’t self-awareness always a worthy goal?