“Apparently this morning a woman thought I was staring at her. I’m going to be honest and say that I’m not even sure if I was looking at her,” he wrote.
“The first time I for sure noticed her was when she pushed my shoulder to get my attention. I pulled my earpieces out and asked if she needed something.
“She proceeded to loudly shame me for staring at her while she was working out. I explained that I was zoned out and not really ‘looking’ at anything. I was 26 minutes in at this point and sweating from my ride.”
He continued: “I tried to diffuse it, I tried explaining that I really wasn’t looking at her. She was having none of it, and just kept getting louder. So I finally just said - “Get over yourself. Why the f*** would I be staring at you, when that’s my wife over there on the elliptical.”
The Redditor admitted that the woman “looked wounded” by his comments, which made him feel bad, but stressed “she would not stop or leave me alone”.
He went on: “She walked away and I thought that was the end of it,” but, as he and his partner were leaving, “one of the trainers stopped us and said that what I said wasn’t necessary and that they would talk to the manager about revoking my membership.”
Ending his post, he described the threat as seeming “pretty bulls*** to me, adding: “This was literally my first interaction with anyone there since I’ve joined. I scan my little card in, put my headphones on and zone out for 1.5 hours in the name of sweating for health.”
He concluded: “I don’t talk to people there because it’s their f***ing time and I’m assuming they are not there for the purpose of making friends.”
He then asked fellow users of the AmITheA**Hole forum if he owed the woman an apology.
Their overriding response was no, with a number insisting his remark shouldn’t have been viewed as insulting.
“That comment doesn’t even 100% read as an insult,” one wrote. “Even in the most offensive way it could be interpreted as simply being faithful to your wife. She was harassing you- she started the whole confrontation, not to mention that zoning out and ‘staring’ is almost universal on those machines.”
Another suggested he should lodge a formal complaint about the woman’s behaviour, writing: “I would definitely talk to management. Be proactive about it. She approached you and made physical contact with you, she harassed you, and then the gym staff threatened your membership when you were the victim in this entire situation.
“Ask them if that is how they run their business. This type of stuff ticks me off and I would definitely get on the gym about it. It’s even more insulting that the employee apparently didn’t try to get the full story before placing blame.”
And a third said: “As a woman who is hyper conscious in the gym and absolutely hates exercising in front of people - this guy is NTA (not the a**hole) in the story posted.
“Talking to other people in the gym makes you an a**hole, especially when they have headphones in.
“If I thought someone might be staring at me, I would move position. If they continued to stare at me in a new location... maybe then I’d talk to them. Possibly.
“I completely understand making a scene if a guy comes up and talks to you while you have your headphones in. Similarly, I can understand why this guy told her off when she approached him when he had headphones in. Don’t bother people while they’re exercising!”