Ask the Manners Guy: Keep Nature Clean

In this issue's edition of the Manners Guy, we deal with etiquette in the gym and the great outdoors.

A sign asking hikers not to liter hangs on a tree in the woods.

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Finding the Sweat Spot

Even before coronavirus, I was the only one at the gym, it seems, who wiped down equipment. Am I overdoing it? —Nettled in North Carolina

You’re one of the good ones. At most gyms, employees clean the equipment multiple times throughout the day. Even so, it’s a common courtesy to sanitize surfaces after you use them to prevent the growth of potentially harmful germs. It’s also a good idea to wipe down equipment before you use it. Be the change you wish to see in the weight room.

Nature Maid?

I love the outdoors, but I’m not a seasoned backpacker. On my last foray into the woods, I noticed a fair amount of litter, and lots of people talking into their phones. What’s the etiquette here? —Irritated in Indiana

Dropping garbage in the woods is a violation of the first rule of the outdoors: “Leave no trace.” That means pack out everything you brought in; don’t mar the landscape with fires outside of designated fire pits; and stay on the trail at all times. Cellphone use in the great outdoors is a somewhat novel annoyance. By all means, carry a phone as a safety precaution, but no one wants to hear you livestreaming to your followers or jabbering loudly about your fantasy football league in the middle of a pristine forest.

The Manners Guy is a former bartender who knows his way around awkward social situations. Send your questions to [email protected].

This article is featured in the July/August 2020 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

(Lincoln Beddoe / Shutterstock)

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