Text From South Lake Union

The Perils of Walking Past an Upscale South Lake Union Gym Before Dawn

Text From South Lake Union

Kelly O

I thought the Bar Method, an upscale exercise gym, was doomed to failure because I never saw anybody exercising. But recently, predawn, I walked past the place and through the large picture windows saw a couple dozen women lying on the floor violently thrusting their pelvises into the air.

It was sexy. But then I wondered how long one could look at all that spandex without being a creep. And doesn't exercising in front of a picture window make you an exhibitionist anyway?

A glance is okay but completely unsatisfying. A seven-second scan is still okay but might cause you to miss the hottest woman. A continual walking study is a violent drive-by. A pause to lick the glass is sociopathic.

It's all confusing. So I've decided, if pelvic thrusting is occurring, to Charlie Brown it and stare at the sidewalk as I walk past. Does that make me respectful or just a wimp? recommended


Comments (43) RSS

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ScrawnyKayaker 1
It's complicated. Probably very few really have any "exhibitionist" motives. The rest are going to be split between:

-This is the closest gym with a class I like, so I'll risk being gawked at.
-Exercising in a windowless basement is depressing, so I'll risk being gawked at.
-I never thought people would come stare in the window.
-Fuck you. I'll thrust when and where I like.

I'll bet the first and last are the most likely, although you could argue that they are the same idea stated more and less politely.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on March 7, 2012 at 9:28 AM · Report this
It makes you respectful AND a wimp. I think it's OK to be a little pervy - once. Just don't be a repeat offender, those guys are perverts.
Posted by zjesse on March 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM · Report this
It makes you respectful AND a wimp. I say, go for it and be pervy - once. Just don't be a repeat offender because 1) "ew"; 2) repeat offenders are a downer; 3) those guys are perverts.
Posted by zjesse on March 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
It's probably more restrictive than you need to be---I'd say that if looking at men doesn't get you off you could use the amount of time you'd look at _them_ as a limit---but it sounds like a good 'fence-law', that is a rule that's there to keep you from violating another rule.
Posted by Gerald Fnord on March 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM · Report this
tabletop_joe 5
Follow your heart, Sherman Alexie.
Posted by tabletop_joe on March 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Fnarf 6
Tap the glass and give a broad wink and a hearty thumbs-up!

The reason this gym is like this is because architects today design buildings like this with no depth; the retail spaces at the sidewalk are only a few feet deep all around, instead of the 50-100 feet they should be, and could be, if the parking garage and other building functions, probably including a stupidly gigantic lobby or foyer.

Notice that there's only ever room for one long, shallow retail use per block in these buildings -- maybe two, if the blocks are extra-long (as they usually are in this city). This makes the kind of walking density of a REAL city, where there are possibly as many as a dozen shops per block, impossible. The interestingness of a block increases with the square of the number of different storefronts.
Posted by Fnarf on March 7, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
You are a creep. If that is all you see, then you don't get what the class is about. The women in there are busting their ass. I doubt you could survive the full 60 minutes.
Posted by Donn on March 7, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
I thought Sherman A. was all domestic and stuff, doesn't he have a spouse and offspring? I hope he's not going to get in trouble at home for this. Because that would be lame, if he did for something so trivial.
Posted by scorpio of Id. on March 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
MrBaker 9
He is a creep, but for other reasons.

Stop watching Blazer games!
Posted by MrBaker on March 7, 2012 at 4:52 PM · Report this
lauramae 10
Maybe they would go home and say, "hey I think I saw Sherman Alexie staring at our class."

It would be like the time a co-worker said " I think Yannie was intertubing down the Deschutes."
Posted by lauramae on March 7, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 11
For #1:

You go, my sister! But I would argue that few of those doing the thrusting had any input on where the thrusting would take place. Therefore, it's hard to assume anyone said, "Oh good! Lots of people can stop, gaze in this picture window, and check out my peek-a-choo in these spandex pants!" Also, the class was pre-dawn. This was not like choosing to fuck someone in Macy's window at high noon.

I don't think Sherman is a creep because he obviously is having this internal debate. Creeps don't have internal debates. It is natural for a straight guy, I suppose, to catch a quick peek at all that feminine pelvic action and say to quietly to himself, "Wow." But much more than that would be in questionable taste.

And why is it that some guys do go ape shit when they are confronted with something like this? Is there a woman in the world turned on by some guy saying he liked like to hit that wet (whatever)?

But then again, how long has it been that men even started wondering what women would like? My guess is that we need more practice.
Posted by Bauhaus I on March 7, 2012 at 8:45 PM · Report this
Fnarf 12
Your link to this article from the main Slog page is to "" etc., not to "www.thestranger" etc., and thus is asking for a username and password.
Posted by Fnarf on March 8, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Report this
I say take a look and pass it off as if you're considering joining - you know, sizing up the entirety of the place. Then, as you consider the lucky coincidence, whistle a tune to your destination and then move on to bigger and better things...and then of course stop the whistling - nobody likes whistlers.
Posted by jtripper22 on March 8, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
I would pay a decent amount of money (presumably to charity) to watch Sherman Alexie take a barre class.
Posted by Somethingunique on March 8, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Bub 15
I'm having trouble imagining Sherman Alexie living in South Lake Union.
Posted by Bub on March 8, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 16
@11 I'm a straight man. Just sayin'
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on March 8, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
You could have had Charles Mudede write this post and saved a lot of money.
Posted by bigyaz on March 8, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 18
Eh, they know there's a window, they know what they're wearing, they know what it looks like.

Enjoy the view, but don't slow down. If you think you may be staring too long, you are. Even if you don't, you may be. If you get called on it, apologize. But being Seattle, you most likely won't.

And if you are walking with your SO, naturally, this is the time to look deeply into her eyes and say something nice.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on March 8, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 19
@18 Wait, saying "maybe we should join this gym" would be a BAD idea?
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on March 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Pause to lick the glass, embrace your inner sociopath... if you do it every day, it'll become a ritual, then you may find other tasty windows in the city. Much like the Boston Foot Stomper, you can be the Seattle Window Licker...
Posted by downtownkitty on March 8, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Dougsf 21
He texted all that?
Posted by Dougsf on March 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Sherman, you totally over-analyzed the situation. Next time take a good look at the pelvis thrusting ladies, smile in appreciation and move on with your day.
Posted by Arturo Bandini on March 8, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Makes you a Seattle feminist-whipped wimp. Have you considered that the women are thinking, "Hey I'm hot-guys are checking me out!"

Go ahead and look for a few seconds-don't stare. If they see you looking, make eye contact, smile, then walk on. Too bad there's no outdoor cafe tables there to sit at and strike up a convo when they stroll out. "Hi, I'm Sherman Alexie."
Posted by TheBadSeed131313 on March 8, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 24
This is one instance where being gay is so much easier. If this was a group of guys doing pelvic thrusts in spandex, I would stop and stare openly. And half of them would probably wink back at me. Being a breader seems ever so much more complicated.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on March 8, 2012 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Bigsfrottin 25
Anyone who wears just spandex wants/is okay with you staring at their ass. Just as women who wear lowcut tops want you to or are okay with you looking at their cleavage. The rule is you can look but you can't touch (without permission). Obviously staring for an extended period will come off as creepy, but a look slightly longer than a glance is definitely acceptable. And if they're pelvis thrusting in front of a window in spandex, you can def look long enough to find the hottest one. Those woman are not just working out to stay healthy, they are doing it to look hotter!! So just creep in a non-creepy way!!
ps im a girl
pps Greenlake is ripe with yoga pants ladies. You can't help but be creeping at all times there.
Posted by Bigsfrottin on March 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
This is why I hate having straight dudes in yoga class. After awhile the male gaze just gets tiresome as hell.
Posted by bellelaide on March 8, 2012 at 1:44 PM · Report this
There is an MMA gym down the street where you can watch dudes do the same!
Posted by 20sickness on March 8, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Anyone not wishing to be stared at may want to consider not fighting biology and wearing baggy clothing. Or atleast not skin tight yoga pants that conceal nothing.

Could you possible expect someone to not look if you are naked? Can't fight instinct.
Posted by can it be any harder to post without an account on March 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
This is why I hate listening to people complain about basic biological instinct. I get so angry at those bitch-ass birds flying south EVERY winter.

We celebrate the individual right for women to wear pretty much anything they want but if you are doing hip-thrusts at a window facing the street in skintight clothing you are either obliviously naive or obnoxiously stupid. Which is your right, and awesome. But if you don't like the stares you do have some freedom to choose how you present yourself.

Also complaining about something that some women can never have but tragically are being mind-washed to believe they want is just tacky.

Posted by lurnt on March 8, 2012 at 4:43 PM · Report this
1. They are paying a couple thousand dollars a year to be stared at. Talk about conspicuous consumption.

2. I go to the budget gay gym on Yale and Stewart (the one where everyone looks like cardio galley slaves), and homeless dudes openly stare in the window, rub their stomachs and stick their tongues out. So, you know, there's another option.
Posted by Luluslemons on March 8, 2012 at 10:24 PM · Report this
No, you get some really decent binoculars, park across the street, and stare to your heart's content! I mean, if you're gonna be creepy, but want cover, this would be the way to go!
Posted by cattycat on March 8, 2012 at 11:50 PM · Report this
Your comments are creepy enough. Your inner turmoil is merely mental masturbation. Glance, appreciate the beautiful bodies (those that you find so) and be secure in the knowledge that you are on the safe side of that glass. When you passed they were almost done with one of the hardest workouts you will have ever experienced.
Posted by blackjenner on March 9, 2012 at 9:47 AM · Report this
No. The onus is NOT on women to pick an exercise location with no windows in a basement and to wear clothing others deem not "too sexy". The onus is on morons not to ogle and make them uncomfortable.

Sherman Alexie, I love your writing so much! Don't be a creepy jerk and let me down.

Posted by PetiteXL on March 9, 2012 at 11:07 PM · Report this
Slam1263 34
So, I shouldn't lick the gym windows anymore?

Sheesh, next you'll tell me to put on trousers.
Posted by Slam1263 on March 10, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
Mr Snax 35
People stare so much in Seattle you think you're in Belgium. Its rude and betrays your lack of sophistication.
Posted by Mr Snax on March 10, 2012 at 10:20 PM · Report this
Mr Snax 36
Whenever faced with a perplexing dilemma, it sometimes helps to ask yourself, "What would Tony Bennett do?" (Apologies to any bumper sticker Christ freaks)
Posted by Mr Snax on March 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM · Report this
huh? You can stare as you walk past, just don't stop, and don't stare at one thing, more than 5 seconds. Yes, if you have to sit there and count for 5 seconds, then do's called being an adult.
Secondly, don't plan your day, around walking passed fitness classes, that is creepy.
Lastly, here's the real question...why are you walking passed a place, in the dark; staring at people, whom can't see you.
In closing, Seattle has become an entitled city, where you have to bare all to everyone, just to be allowed in the front gate. If you don't believe me, go into Whole Foods, looking like arse....and buy one thing. The employees will either embrace you, because they're better off, in life than you are; or so they suspect. They may do the other, and make you know that they are far more important to society, than to be stuck with you, and your one order.
The new philosophy is that, "Fine, we'll help you when you come into Whole Foods, but if you don't spend a certain amount of money, I won't be very helpful"....I've traveled the globe, left Seattle in 01', and recently went back. Wow, what an entitled mentality.
In case you don't understand what is going on in America, the Baby boomers enabled all the dysfunction, because they were too scared to deal with anything, or they felt guilty, because their trust fund parents gave them a bunch of stocks. I remember when it was "cool" to have a homeless person, sleeping in your alley. The people of Seattle enabled the street mimic domestic pets. It's very Germanic, there in Seattle. I may move there ...ha!

~james my opinion.
Posted by PortlandJames on March 11, 2012 at 8:28 AM · Report this
This reminds me of a chapter in Italo Calvino's "Mr. Malvado". During that chapter Mr. Malvado walks down the beach and sees a woman tanning without a bikini top on. He ignores her. Then he decides that maybe she's offended by him ignoring her, so he strides back up the beach and spends time giving her a glance. Then, he thinks, maybe the glance was also offensive....and on it goes.
Posted by dv8or70 on March 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
I am reminded that while fur is murder, spandex is just plain inconsiderate.
Posted by MikeM97 on March 12, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
I heard of a guy who came across a line of men on a sidewalk. Turns out they were hiding behind a pillar watching a women's aerobics class.

Now that was creepy. But it happened in LA. Figures.
Posted by Foo Bar on March 13, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
I walk by there from Whole Foods or work to my apartment 6-10 times a week.

I too had this inner monologue. In the end, fuck it, it's the sidewalk, I walked by it before it opened, I'll take a peek or two. What do you want me to do.
Posted by PanWhale on March 13, 2012 at 4:22 PM · Report this
White guys, fat chicks and midgets are the only things left in this country to make fun of without being labeled an insensitive bigot. The shitty writers of The Stranger, with their white liberal guilt, have capitalized on the former, as Lindy West bit off the self-promoting head of Dan Savage for commenting on one of the latter.
Posted by LMNOP on March 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
...and look at me commenting on the wrong post.
Posted by LMNOP on March 26, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this

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