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Beauty Etiquetter: Confronting Gym Confrontations


Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty-protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in the know. To submit a question, e-mail

The Quandary:What’s the best way to deal with a gym member who isn’t wiping down the machines or considerate of others, without elevating the situation?

The Expert in Residence: Marlene Avitia, general manager at Equinox West Hollywood

The Advice: “Some gym members have better manners than others. I see this all the time. At Equinox, it’s not a rule that you have to disinfect your machine, but it’s a general courtesy. When confronting anyone in the gym about an etiquette issue, it’s best to take a soft approach, since adrenaline is usually running high. I would say something like, ‘Hi, are you done with this machine? I couldn’t tell, because you didn’t wipe it down.’ Try the same tactic for the person who doesn’t return hand weights to the proper place: ‘Just checking: Are you finished here? I wasn’t sure, because you didn’t rerack your weights.’ For someone who doesn’t pick up their towels in the locker room or leaves newspapers or magazines strewn about the floor, try saying, ‘Is this pile yours? I think the towel bin or trash is over there.’ In the case of a member who is really sick and coughing all over the machines, there’s not much you can do except offer a comment like, ‘Wow, you seem really sick. Where’s the hand-sanitizer machine, again?’ But in most scenarios, it’s easier to talk to a manager, who can deal with the situation for you. I usually catch a member on the way out and buffer the complaint with a compliment, such as, ‘Hey, can we talk for a moment? You do a really intense workout while you’re here. That’s great to see, but I just want to remind you to wipe down your machines (or whatever the complaint might be). We really want to keep this a clean, germ-free space for everyone.’ The bottom line is that we don’t want one person to ruin that experience for four hundred, so if you find that someone is consistently being an annoyance, it’s definitely worth bringing it to someone’s attention.”

Photo: Courtesy of Equinox

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