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Clipping your toenails in the middle of the gym is totally disgusting—am I right?—Zack N., Augusta, ME
You are. And it’s not the only nasty gym-etiquette offense. For easy identification, I’ve made a list of the nastiest offenders and how they can de-grossify.
- The Clipper. Those fungus-laced, ballistic stench-crescents cannot be contained—no matter how hard you try—and I don’t want to step on them or have one land in my chalkbag. Alternative: Clip nails at home, out by your car, or in the gym’s bathroom.
- The Biohazard. We all know the mélange of moist awfulness that graces a bathroom floor. Don’t go in there in your climbing shoes only to sashay back out and smear every surface (and handhold) available with your toddler footwork. Alternative: Take 10 seconds to put on your street shoes or a pair of flip-flops. And wash your hands. You nasty.
- The Yard Sale. You open your gear bag and spray forth stuff like the Mount St. Helens of chalk, nylon, sticky rubber, and beanies. Alternative: Every gym has cubbies. Full? Keep stuff you’re not using in your bag and neatly stow the bag somewhere.
- The Bleeder. You huck big for a grainy jug, catch the hold, swing out, and rip a massive flapper in the process. Then you laugh, fill it with chalk, and continue climbing, leaking blood everywhere. Great job. Alternative: Head to the front desk for some tape and a Band-Aid. Then, march your ass straight to the bathroom (wearing appropriate footwear, see above), clean the area, apply the Band-Aid, and tape over it.
- The Greased Pig. I see folks over in the workout facility wiping down machinery every time they use it. This is not a thing that greasy climbers seem to worry about as they slip-slide all over the crashpads. Alternative: A shirt helps. So does Speed Stick. And a healthy dose of self-awareness.