DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

The rhetoric of masculinity and the "sanitation station" at the gym...

~Wednesday~ At the Planet Fitness I go to, I've been observing, what are at once called "sanitation stations" and "cleaning stations," depending on who is giving the tour to prospective new customers.

Each station consists of a paper towel dispenser, a caddy holding two spray bottles of disinfectant cleaner, and a trash can. Here's what they look like:

Photo Jan 03, 2 54 05 PM Photo Jan 03, 2 54 11 PM

What I've noticed is that, for some reason that must be related to testosterone levels1, a lot of the men in the place are very aggressive at these stations.

1Archer, J. (1991). The influence of testosterone on human aggression. British Journal of Psychology, (82), 1-28.

The preening manifests itself as such:

  1. The y-chromosomed subject approaches the station.

  2. With chest puffed, he beats the hell out of that handle on the towel dispenser to make it spit its absorbent sheet.

  3. He grabs one corner of the fruit of his labor, dramatically lifts it to one side or the other, and then—with the force of a 400-pound bench press— rips the sheet to the other side.

  4. Manhandling one of the bottles, he effusively sprays the paper towel in such a way that 30% of it sprays into the air, and then throws the bottle back at its cousin in the caddy.

  5. Should he lumber back to the sanitation or cleaning station with a spent specimen, he often feels the need to do a hook shot to deposit it into the trash can.

On the other hand, some men, and virtually all of the women, simply walk up to the station, press the handle, tear gently, spray cleaner directly on the towel, and unceremoniously drop the towel in the trash can when they're done with it.

It's all very entertaining. And for a mere admission price of $10 per month.
Tags: gym, observations, rhetoric

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