Okay, listen up conference attendees, I don’t often assume the mantle of Miss Manners and discuss etiquette, but this is where you’ve driven me. Here’s the background. I work out. I don’t love to work out, but I do like to be able to fit into my dresses. This is my cross to bear. So every day you can find me on some sort of machine that would not seem out of place in a medieval torture chamber. This is a necessary evil for me, primarily because apart from being a dedicated follower of fashion, I have an appreciation for good food, tasty drink, and most especially, and I’m getting hungry right now just thinking about it, dessert. In fact, I believe dessert is best eaten before the meal. It’s the best part, right? But I digress. Here’s the problem. When I’m at conferences, it involves long hours, countless breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings, receptions, copious servings of drink, tons of stress, and very little sleep. This is not good for a girl’s figure. I am one of those dedicated people that you see using the hotel exercise room at strange hours, because god forbid I don’t put in a half-hour on the treadmill. I guarantee you, the world will end. I would like to offer guidelines to etiquette if you work out at a conference or if you encounter someone working out at a conference. This will spare animosity, misunderstandings, and general rancor on both sides.
1. Don’t try to talk to me on while I’m on the treadmill: I always have earphones on. They are on because I want to tune the rest of the world out. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that I don’t want to hear you. Sort of like being married. It’s also dangerous. You might startle me. You don’t startle a Puerto Rican from the South Bronx. That’s how you get in trouble.
2. If you see me walking in the hotel lobby after working out don’t try to hug me hello: I’m barely functional. I am sweaty. Likely, I don’t smell all that great. Unless you want to be sweaty too, maintain the appropriate personal distance. Unless you are jaw-droppingly handsome, the leader of the free world, or Dave Mathews. I make exceptions only in extreme cases
3. Don’t assume I want to run a marathon: I exercise to maintain a healthy weight. It is a chore, not a lifestyle. I have no intention of running 26 miles. Ever. Not even if someone is chasing me.
4. Funky Tunes: For those like me who feel obliged, but not excited about exercise, good music will get you through the workout. Dont be aid to mix it up with some Guns N’ Roses, Juanes and even Justin Bieber (just that one boyfriend song though)
5. Wear a deliberately frightening t-shirt when you work out. Personally, as a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I prefer to wear my “Sunnydale High School” T-Shirt. When people ask if I went there, I tell them “yes, and it would have been great if only it didn’t sit on top of the Hellmouth”. This is an effective way to weed out the people you really don’t want coming near you, much less talking to you.
6. Make sure to take money so that you can immediately buy both a coke zero and a tall skinny vanilla latte after working out. Don’t believe the naysayers. It’s good for you. Otherwise you will fall back asleep. Better living through chemistry, baby!
7. Tweet while working out so that you can get community support: You will then feel particularly accomplished, since you multi-tasked, plus you can provide a running and public commentary on the people who annoy you while working out – this will discourage future interference.