I am a straight guy. I belong to a gym. My gym is on Capitol Hill.

So I knew that I would be lifting weights on gay turf. At first, the attention was flattering. There was the guy who blushed as he asked about my exercise routine. And the one who dropped hints that we could be workout partners, you know, since we both work out in the evening.

I rebuffed these subtle advances, but I'm not sure what to do about more aggressive overtures. Like the tall man who, while completely naked, strolled over to where I, a short man, was changing. He stood a few inches from me, his armpit practically in my face, and slowly applied deodorant while he stared down at me.

Sadly, wanton acts of intimidation and invitation are not confined to Capitol Hill. Straight male friends in other major cities report similar experiences. It is our conclusion that health clubs are no longer safe for heterosexual men.

Science agrees. Statistics from the President's Council on Fitness and Sports show that heterosexual male gymgoers, commonly known as "gym rats," are a threatened species. It is no coincidence that our declining numbers have coincided with a three-decade-long rise in the number of homosexual health-club members, or "gym bunnies."

Surveys by industry analysts suggest that gym rats feel increasingly alienated by the dominance of gym-bunny culture. For some gym rats it is an aversion to short shorts or Enrique Iglesias remixes. For others, it's the bewildering, disquieting sexual tension that pervades the men's locker room.

This is why we are appealing for support in passing the Heterosexual Male Health Preservation Act, which would require fitness clubs in major metropolitan areas to post signs and distribute fliers to new and existing members encouraging sensitivity to the endangered heterosexual males. The flyer would instruct gay gym members as follows:

• Please exercise discretion in giving compliments to another member, as he may be heterosexual. In particular, word combinations like “nice arms,” “cute out?t,” or “wanna fuck?” have been proven to trigger the panic and ?ight response in even the most highly evolved heterosexual male.

• The song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” is limited to one rotation per day, no matter the number of requests from homosexual members.

• Heterosexual club members will surely avoid the sauna. Homosexual club members can therefore assume that all the men they meet in this location share their sexual orientation and act accordingly, so long as the groaning is kept at a low volume, i.e. that it cannot be heard over “You Spin Me Round” in the main work out area.

Further, under the provisions of the Heterosexual Male Health Preservation Act, health clubs would be asked to prominently display the following signs:

• He may not be playing hard to get. He may be straight.

• Not all men agree that “a mouth is a mouth is a mouth.”

• [Posted in the locker room] No nude loitering. [And below, in smaller print] While in the locker room patrons should at all times be engaged in dressing or undressing, not suspended in a state of undress. [And in even smaller print] Put on your deodorant over there by your own locker, pal.

These small, reasonable measures could make the difference between survival and extinction—and not just for the heterosexual man. Consider that obese heterosexuals have less intercourse than their healthy counterparts. Consider that obesity is a leading cause of erectile dysfunction. If straight men can't go to the gym, obesity, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction will prevent us from bringing the next generation of homosexuals into the world. And you don't want that, do you?