Dim & Dash: At the Gym

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 16, 2011 · 72 Comments

in Dim & Dash, Visual Guides

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Moose September 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I am surprised even this site casts bigger, muscular men as a self-absorb stereotype. I am saddened by it.

2 Matt September 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

They both look like bigger, muscular guys, one just has the douchey bro image. Id say that’s more what they’re bashing.

3 Eric Mann September 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Sadly, I see more Dims at my gym than Dashs. When I stopped to wipe down the incline press last time, my friend actually asked me why I bothered. “That’s the staff’s job, dude, let’s go.” Very, very sad …

4 Trey September 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I’m pretty sure the cartoon isn’t saying all men with muscles are self-absorbed. It is however using a stereotype to make a PSA.. Really though, who wears backwards hats anyways?

5 Jeff September 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

The guy behind Dash creeps me out.

6 Ronnie September 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm

i agree with jeff. the background guy is sending out very bad vibes…
and as for backwards hats i think i saw k-fed with one not that long ago. its had rhinestones…

7 Bernie September 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Dim spreads all his clothing and gear from end to end on a locker room bench, effectively blocking off anyone else from using a locker in front of the bench he has occupied.

8 Troy September 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Well, it is pretty safe to say that Dim wouldn’t have a membership for very long at Planet Fitness! Hahaha. (reference to: http://community.artofmanliness.com/forum/topics/planet-fitness-rediculous-or-welcoming)

9 Aarin September 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Of course we could just scrap the gym altogether and go outside and use what nature gave us…. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about being a Dim or a Dash.

10 Brian September 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I’m surprised Dim doesn’t have a pencil beard. And sunglasses on.

11 Yippy September 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Trying to be strong and physically capable is a worthy goal for all people, including men. Ignoring the natural tendencies of male physiology in order to be more politically correct is not manly, nor is an unhealthy focus on a particular attribute.

12 Meiji_man September 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I like taking what nature provided, and improving on it.

13 Gabriel September 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Very true sometimes I get in a hurry, from now on I will endevour to lead by example, as God calls ALL men to do wherever we are.

14 Dave September 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

No one the gym likes to walk up to a sweat covered bench, don’t be the guy that everyone can’t stand.

15 Ryan September 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

A simple yet effective way of showing etiquette in all areas of life. As a communal gym it is important to think of those who will be using equipment after you. I love it.
The gym I go to has wash rag stations spaced out around the gym. Many adults do not take the time to clean up after themselves.

In response to the stereotyping posts- in many cartoons the use of imagery needs to convey many ideas to a large audience. The use of stereotypes or stock characters allows the artist to convey the differences between the Dim (the inconsiderate man) and Dash (the considerate man).
The men behind both Dim and Dash represent the reactions of those who use the equipment after them. One angry, One happy. Simple cause and effect of your actions.

16 Josh September 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Maybe both of them need to go to a crossfit gym!

17 Jim September 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm

The Dims in my gym are, without fail, the bigger, more muscular guys. Of course, the wash stations the last few times I’ve gone have been filled with water, another reason I’ve decided to cancel my membership there.

18 Ian September 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Gross. The muscleheads at my Snap fitness are all very polite, but the stereotype does exist for a reason.

If anyone ever feels less manly because gym rats have bigger muscles, take up jiu-jitsu. One of the amazing epiphanies is that technique always trumps muscle in grappling. I’ll never forget the first time I swept and pinned a guy who had 80 pounds of awesome muscle on me. I stopped caring about big biceps after that. Strength, not size!

19 Peter Zefo September 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

@Moose – The backwards cap is the depiction of the “self-absorbed stereotype”

20 David September 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

@ Trey

Sadly, I see a TON of people wearing backwards hats.

Backwards baseball caps, and the kinds of people who wear them, are one of the few real downsides of university life.

21 Robert Weedall September 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I don’t think I have ever seen anyone wearing a baseball cap “backwards” in real life. I assumed it was made up.

Most of the people at my gym tend to do washing up and etc though, so its not as much of an issue. Plus free paper towels allow you to remedy the problem even if you’ve forgotten your normal one.

22 Marcus Byrd September 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Loving the Dim and Dash series. Quick, easy to understand, and gets the point across. Great posts!

23 Seth Albion September 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

@ the crossfit comment: Maybe it’s just me, but I wish crossfit enthusiasts would keep their superior workouts to themselves, much like sweat left on a gym bench.

24 Easton September 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

@ Aarin – I would say that we need to refrain from being a Dim and try to be a Dash whether we are in a gym, in nature, or on the highway.

25 Jason Hart September 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm

“See the Soldier at the Gym,
Don’t use the bench right after Dim.
See the Soldier at the Gy-y-y-ym,
Don’t use the bench right after Dim.”

26 Mick September 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I agree. Besides, if these stereotypes had no basis they would make no sense and no one would “get it.” The art of manliness? Respect your fellow man as much as you would like to be respected; especially if you’re just trying to get a workout in your day. And if you think you’re “too manly” to be hygienic you need to grow up, ergo “man up.”

27 jrh September 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm

The backwards hat in the gym image actually comes from legitimate roots. Check out most lifting magazines, you’ll see it pop up there plenty as well. You’ll also see the guy in there with the skull cap on inside. Where did this look come from? From old school gyms. Its not a “brah” thing. Its because your typical old school lifters used to go to drafty, spartan old school gyms (think the one in the basement of your high school) and they used to show up early in the am. Anyone who has lifted in one of those knows, a hat really helps with the temp. Thing is, its a pain lifting with a brim to the front. It gets in your field of view and actually does annoy you. Thus, the backwards bit. I guess it eventually just stuck around.

28 Dave September 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

The stereotype of the bigger guys exist because they are on the roids

29 jrh September 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

@ Ian, +1 on the jiu jitsu thing. Its really is a great sport and much less focused on strength. I wouldn’t even say “strength not size” so much as “technique > size AND strength”. One of my old instructors was very fit, but he was just a pretty small guy in stature. I was unquestionably much bigger and stronger than him. Now, this did certainly affect our matches, and he had to take my size into consideration, but he still tapped me out every time. The funniest thing about grappling him was, his techniques were so good that he made strength beyond irrelevant, because he would lock in these holds where the harder I pushed agaisnt him, the tighter it locked it in.
On similar note, talking about this same idea, it reminds me of the most memorable quote I ever heard on this. We were out working on the (at the time new) Marine Corps martial arts program, and one of my Sgts had just tapped me out with a nice triangle choke. After wards he says, “Yup, I like the big muscle types like you. Its so much easier for me to use those big biceps as leverage to choke you out.” (He’s totally right too.)

That said, my size and strength is a nice benefit on the mats, once I learned how to use it as an edge. 1. of course is that when you do have a big strength advantge on the other guy, it forces him to get his techniques right. If he leaves gaps its a little easier to exploit them. 2. Its the extra weight and the abnormal dimensions that are the real help. For example, when you are trying to break a guy’s guard, or someone is trying to go get into position for a triangle, having abnormally broad shoulders and a large torso does make it more akward for the other guy. Also, When you get in a get side mount for example, that extra bodyweight really does help sap the other guys energy IF you know how to use it.

Then again, I’m sure there are a whole specific set of unique advantages to being the smaller guy as well. I guess its just intersting how each guy can play to certain strengths.

30 Bobby September 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Aarin, you are clearly skinny and worthless. The weight room is where legends are born and men are made

31 Tiago September 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I don’t clean everything I lay down or sit, on the gym. I don’t care about that and I don’t think anyone should. I have never got any diseases from gym sits and never knew about anyone who has. Maybe it’s cultural, I think it’s foolish.

32 JeffC September 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm


33 Jason September 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Tiago, you’ll care when you have to go to the doctor to get ringworm cream. That can take weeks to clear up.

34 Benjamin September 16, 2011 at 11:19 pm

I actually dont really care if the guy before me doesnt automatically wipe the bench down.
If he sweats a puddle, sure. but im not 100% sure I like the obsession some people have with cleanliness. Especially in a gym type environment.

In fact, I would prefer my gym to smell like sweat and testosterone…. but thats just me.

Not re-racking your weights though, thats just lazy and disrespectful. I dont care if the guy is twice my size. If I see that, im gonna call him on it.

35 Vlad September 17, 2011 at 8:04 am

I don’t care actually. I’m always clean, but I whenever a sweaty guy has been on “my” bench, I just put my towel on it and don’t care.

Etiquette in a public gym – especially a budget gym – is long forgotten.

36 Brad Moore September 17, 2011 at 8:49 am

Is Dim smelling his own armpit?

37 J.J. September 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

Sure is a lot of animosity toward gyms, and Crossfit. There’s nothing superior about the workouts. It teaches basic mechanics and good form in order to develop a well rounded athletic individual.

38 Aaron P September 17, 2011 at 9:47 am

Great strips. I’m glad to see Ted Slampyack again as well. I remember the obscure comic book he used to do called “Mr. Hero” about a boxing robot that was built in the 1800′s. It was strange but really good.

39 Mark September 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

I thought Goofus and Galant was for Highlights.

40 Danny September 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

@ Moose,
I don’t think it’s the bigger muscular men but he’s just showing it off. Dash is too respectful an modest to make others feel bad by flaunting his muscles. Dim is just an arrogant jerk. If you look both are pretty muscular.

I really like these Dim and Dash posts.

41 Moses September 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

@ Brad Moore
Dim is KISSING his bicep!
I think I know him …

42 MarkFu September 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

@ Moose, Eric Mann & David. Sorry to hear you three are “sad” when you are at the gym. Really? Y’all sound like you have low-T.
@Aarin, I have no idea wtf you are talking about. Use what nature gave us?? Nature gave us iron. Lift some.
@Danny, always someone has to be a “gym shrink”, lol!
People who know their way around a gym clean up after themselves and unrack their weights. They train hard and go home.

43 James September 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm

One is wearing cargo shorts and the other is not. That is the difference.

44 Sebastian September 17, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I enjoyed the cartoon.

45 Mr.Ed September 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Personally, I wipe down BEFORE I get on, and after I get off. The Dims range from guys that are line-backer big, to skinny, 100 lb’ers. There doesn’t seem to be a great correlation to size. In fact, some of the bigger gym-rats seem to have better social etiquette at the gym.

“hat-backwards” – I virtually never wear a hat, don’t like them. Ironically, when I do for yard work or working under the car, I turn it backwards…can’t stand seeing the bill, even peripherally.

Yeah, dude behind Dash is a little weird looking…likes he’s coming up on Dash with a bottle of baby oil of something. LOL

Is homophobia unmanly?

46 Derek September 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Something in the code of the style sheet cuts the image in half. I get “Dash lea–ready fo.” It works ok in Firefox, but not in IE. Also, the msn browser messes up the subscription box.

47 Gabe September 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I think Dash is about to get a very courteous reach-around in the gym shower in a few minutes.

48 zeus September 17, 2011 at 11:01 pm

More people in the gym don’t bother to wipe down the equipment after they’re done than you could ever imagine. But heres what really use to bother me when I use to work at the gym. Guys would try to lift weights that were way to heavy for them requiring them to need a spotter. You can spot these guys easily by all the screaming that they do. Then after they’re done lifting they drop the weights on the floor letting them fly all over the place. On more than one occasion a mirror even got smashed due to the weight flying into the wall. This pactice was not only stupid but also very dangerous. Just imagine a 50lb weight crashing into your shin or falling onto your foot because some guy decided to just let the weights fly all over the place. Also the weights were all cracked, chipped and loose requiring constant replacement. Than these guys had the nerve to ask why the memberships were always getting more expensive.
Now I have a complete gym at home without worrying about sweaty equipment, broken weights or rude guys dropping dummbells all over the place.

49 Daguerrotypewriter September 18, 2011 at 12:46 am

I have bigger problems with Dim’s cousin Doosh. Doosh sits on one of the only weight benches and plays Angry Birds on his iPhone instead of exercising.

50 Molly R. September 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

I worked at a gym for over a year, and that IS one of the most annoying things people can do. One guy would leave puddles of sweat all over the stair-stepper (there were puddles on the floor, too–it was pretty gross) to leave for us to clean up. *shudder* Fortunately he quit coming to our gym some time ago…and good riddance, I say. XD

51 Regor September 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

LOL the ARMY shirt.
ARMY Guy: Oh man, I can’t use this dirty bench.

52 Tony September 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I have actually followed people to their next stop in the gym to tell them to go back and re-rack their weights. But then I have seen personal trainers (gym employees) with their clients leave equipment without putting the weights back. Teaching newbies to be lazy. I can’t figure it out. If you’re at the gym working out why would you be so lazy? Part of a healthy lifestyle is NOT being lazy…

53 Tony September 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm

@Daguerrotypewriter that was hilarious and true!

Reading most of the comments posted makes me long for the old school gyms. Gyms without techno beats, stair steppers and no knowledge of gym etiquette. I promise you this if you had the fear of 25 musclebound guys beating the crap out of you for being a slob you’d re-rack your weights and wipe down a seat (I don’t care how good your jiu jitsu is)

54 Nick September 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Haha, I love it. Goofus and Gallant for the modern man! Excellent choices on names, too.

Seriously though, bad gym etiquette is frustrating and unhealthy. It takes thirty seconds to clean up and not act like a jerk. Nobody wants to be sitting on your nasty sweat, wipe it off or get out — the gym is supposed to be a supportive environment.

55 LG September 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

These are BEGGING for a sassy mouseover text. Pretty pretty please?

56 Mel September 19, 2011 at 12:35 am

Not so fussy about sweaty benches, as long as it’s not really bad. What really ticks me off are the jerks that run around the locker room in their birthday suit. Gross. That goes for old guys as well as young. No one wants to see you naked, guys. And this ain’t your private gym. Wrap a towel.

57 Jared September 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

Scared of a little sweat….go join a women’s club and def stay out of a boxing ring, wrestling room, MMA training facility, etc. I agree, a PUDDLE of sweat on the bench should be cleaned up, but the guys I see wiping down equipment before use appear to need a shot of testosterone. Heaven forbid you take one of the “sweat scared” pansies hunting…..you will be cleaning the game yourself (unless you packed adequate hand sanitizer and wipes).

Without a doubt, you should always rack the weights when finished.

58 Michael O'Brien September 19, 2011 at 10:43 am

and dash isnt busy sniffing his pits :)

59 Claude September 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I think too many of you are reading too much into this. Dont be a jerk, wipe down the equipment when you’re done. Period.

Its not just for cleanliness, it can be dangerous if grips or seats or floors are wet.

60 Fritz September 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm

A little bit of sweat? Not a big deal. When you leave the bench drenched and walk away? That’s a problem. But my biggest pet peeve are guys that grab a pair of dumbells from the rack and stand about a foot away from the rack while they do side laterals. They’ve just effectively blocked access to the dumbells right in front of them. Thanks guy.

61 Matt September 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Wiping down equipment isn’t just to get rid of the gross factor. Gyms are one of the most common places to pick up a staph infection. I’d rather wipe down a mildly sweaty bench and be told to “sack up” than end up losing a limb or my life.

62 John September 20, 2011 at 3:57 am

I agree with Matt. I’ve actually gotten a MRSA infection from the gym. It took nearly a month of applying two different topicals the doctor prescribed twice a day to kill that crap. MRSA (or any contagious skin infection, such as ringworm) is not a pretty sight. Just because you’re a man, and enjoy working out, doesn’t mean that you should have to be “tough enough” to lay in some other guy’s sweat because he’s lazy and inconsiderate.

63 Aaron September 20, 2011 at 8:01 am

@ Mr. Ed

Yes, homophobia is unmanly.

This post, and a large part of what manliness is centered around, involves respect for others. Homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, misanthropy, religious persecution, racism, and all other forms of EGOCENTRISM are the epitomy of what it is to NOT be respectful– aka NOT a man. A man knows what he stands for, and is firm with his beliefs and ideals, but does not interfere with another’s ability to do the same. And he doesn’t harbor or precipitate hatred.

To clarify, respect does not mean agreement. And it doesn’t mean you can’t joke, or that you have to be 100% politically correct– something I think a lot of people on this comment reel and a lot of people in the world get confused. For instance, I don’t think Mr. Ed’s post was particularly homophobic. Then again, the only way to know for sure is to see if a gay man is offended by it. Simple litmus test– if you were the person you are referencing, would you feel that your freedoms were being hindered? If so, you’re probably being a bigot and a douche.

If somebody left a big glob of sweat and MRSA on a bench you were planning to use, would you feel your ability to, in a sanitary way, use the gym you pay a $600 membership at is being hindered? YES! Wipe down your benches. It’s respectful.

64 Bill September 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

@Mel At my gym it is the exact opposite…guys will actually shower in basketball shorts or swimsuits because they’re afraid someone might see their dangly parts. Nobody likes looking at old man ass, but it could be worse.

Ditto to wiping down your bench and re-racking weights. Just be considerate.

65 James September 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Am I the only one who can’t see the right half of this pic, no matter what computer I use?

66 Anthony September 21, 2011 at 7:28 am

the only semi-ok reason for not cleaning is if your doing a circuit but even then its still a very crappy reason

67 Francisco (DJ Houston) September 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

I see that all the time at gyms… But most new users do not realize that they should rack the weights back because NO ONE is doing it… I never do it, and I only see 1 or 2 people at my gym doing it.. and as was stated earlier NONE of they trainers do it.

68 Jason September 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Stop me if you’ve heard this, but: how about tagging all of these posts with “Dim & Dash”? That way your visitors can see all of the cartoons by hitting the category name.

69 Angel September 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I always re-rack and wipe. I call it super-setting.

70 Old 333 September 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm


71 Logan Flatt September 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

ALWAYS re-rack the weights because the LADIES cannot lift all the 45s off the machines themselves. Stop assuming the next person to use the machine will be a MAN.

72 Pessimist September 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Yes, Dim is a giant douche. But jeeze, be a man. If the guy before you has bad etiquette, don’t whine about it; grow up and take care of yourself.

I don’t mean chase him down and force him to do his work, either… There’s a certain amount of that that just doesn’t seem gentlemanly to me…

Growing up, my dad taught me to clean up both before and after you use the equipment. It only takes a second and you don’t run the risk of contracting some Dim’s dry infection.

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