As women, we have to be extra careful about what we wear sometimes. We’re taught we shouldn’t wear anything too revealing, because that could lead to trouble. But sometimes it’s just way too hot outside, or you’re going to the gym and can’t always just wear leggings because you’re sweating like crazy. However, once we brave the spandex and shorts, we’re faced with the risk of being called out on it.
I put a couple of my experiences first, and reached out to other women who wanted to contribute their stories too. Of course, this isn’t representative of the whole male population, but these are just some experiences that’ll no doubt make you go WTF.
1. Did I ask for a dance?
A guy not too long ago came up to me while I was trying to cross the street after I had a great workout and said, “Hey beautiful, dance a little,” while he did weird dance moves. Uh, yeah OK dude, I’m just trying to go to Trader Joe’s. I’m not 100% sure if this had anything to do with me wearing shorts, but it kind of frightened me.
2. I just wanted to wear something different
I decided I wanted to wear a new, neon pink tank top I purchased to venture out of my comfort zone. I was proud, but mostly terrified going to the gym in it, and unfortunately, my fears were met immediately upon walking into the gym. Someone said, “Whoa, that’s a bright shirt.” I dismissed it because I knew him, and just kind of played it off. But later, mid-workout, a random guy came up to me and said, “Wow, that is a really bright shirt,” to which I lamely responded, “Okay…” And then he walked away. I still regret not saying anything back.
3. Seriously, dude?
“I’ve had some very demeaning/sexual comments from men while I’m wearing spandex shorts. I’ve also had a guy secretly filming my butt while I was working out.” –@mini.beast.mandy
4. I’m just trying to run
“I get guys staring at my butt a lot. I’m a a runner and I often go out in spandex, and I get men honking at me or watching me run.” – @tracktreats_longruneats
5. That comment was really unnecessary
“I was walking out of Target and I had a man around my dad’s age tell me my butt was hanging out and then he drove away. I found it rude and unnecessary.” – Jessica S.
6. Even when wearing non-revealing clothes
“I do remember a couple of occasions at the gym and in public that there were some men who made some very uncomfortable remarks sexualizing my body, mind you, while wearing long sleeves or baggy gym tee shirts and workout capris. I’m there to workout in comfortable and functional article of clothing… not there to be treated like a piece of meat…” – @liftheavyrunfast91
7. Forced to switch gyms
“I used to ONLY wear shorts to the gym (unfortunately only owned spandex when I started out), but I got so many stares that I felt I needed to buy leggings. I still wear shorts when doing HIIT workouts because my legs are on fire, but because of the attention, I move my workouts to when the gym opens at 5 to avoid the teen/young adult crowd.” – @eatliftkris
8. When you have to use a different section of the gym
“I played DI college volleyball so working out in spandex was normal/most comfortable for me. Eventually I joined LA Fitness because they have a women’s only workout section.” – @gracebonoma
9. Sometimes, shorts just means it’s (temperature) hot
“One time I hung out with a guy who I’ve seen at the gym a bunch of times. We went to a bar and he admitted to me, ‘You know, I kinda figured you’d be much different, and honestly kinda slutty because you always wear those tight shorts at the gym.'” – @sprinkledwithhealth
10. Why even bother
“I don’t wear shorts to the gym anymore because it just makes me feel uncomfortable.” – @weightsandwine29
11. When we’re not hot enough
I was told that I should wear more attractive spandex shorts (I was wearing Nike running shorts) because women should look “hot” at the gym and not “like a dude.” – Maddison M.
12. Not as sneaky as you thought
“I don’t do squats when I’m in spandex because boys are stupid, and not subtle at all when they stare.” – Annika A.
“One time I worked out in high-waisted spandex leggings, a crop top, and Timberlands because I didn’t feel like going home and changing. Some guy told me I looked like a rugged diva. I guess leggings are divalicious.” – Catalina J.
14. Horrible nickers
“I only ever wear Nike pros or spandex-type shorts to the gym, no matter what training I’m doing that day. Some comments and reactions I’ve gotten are that lots of girls turn their noses up for sure!
One of my close friends even once said, ‘oh, you don’t wear those horrible knicker things do you?’ And a few girls have said stuff like ‘I don’t know how you can wear those shorts they’re too short,’ or ‘I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking round in them,’ or ‘it’s like wearing a bikini to the gym.'” – @str0ngnotskinnysarah
15. It’s not always negative, though
I’ve noticed I get more people asking what sport I play or what I’m training for when I wear them. I find myself more motivated when I wear spandex too! – Morgan M.
16. And then there’s this…
Last year when I was 19, I was wearing a long-sleeve Lulu Lemon workout shirt and a pair of Lulu Lemon spandex shorts. I had only belonged to this LA Fitness for about two months and I didn’t really know any of the people there. I didn’t really talk to anyone during my workouts, except to ask if they were using equipment or something like that. I was resting in between sets of Romanian Deadlifts when a man approached me. He was young; I would say he was about 28-35 years old. He had the nerve to say, “Excuse me, you should probably cover up.”
I was taken aback. I didn’t really know how to respond. I managed to say, “Oh?”
“You should be ashamed.” He then pointed to the cross on my necklace, a present my Grandma gave me for graduating. “Especially if you’re wearing that cross. Jesus would not approve. You shouldn’t wear that.”
Then he turned around and walked away. I finally found my voice and called after him, “You really shouldn’t tell me what to wear” to which he replied, “Well, I can when I’m trying to workout and I can’t focus because your a** is in my face.”
I had never been approached or talked to like that before. I burst into tears in the middle of the gym. After giving myself a few minutes to recover, I quickly finished my deadlifts and moved to a new part of the gym. I had one more exercise left to perform and then my workout would be done. I had never wanted to get out of the gym so quickly. Right as I was about to get on the leg curl, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the same man.
“Hi, I’m sorry if what I said upset you because you look like you’ve been crying.” I turned away from him and said very loudly, “Please leave me alone.”
“I just want to respect you and I can’t when it’s so obvious by the way you dress that you don’t respect yourself,” he responded
Something in me snapped. “I do respect myself and I show this respect for myself by wearing whatever the fuck I want.” I then began to yell, “leave me alone” so loudly that eventually he had to walk away because we were beginning to attract attention.
I never saw him again, thank goodness, but I was definitely shaken up. I consider myself a very strong individual, but I broke down in tears when this man first approached me. Even though I knew I had done nothing wrong, the way he spoke to me made me feel guilty for nothing. I am glad that I was able to stand up for myself and I hope that he never approached another woman with such disrespect again. – Esme P.