Planet Fitness has rules of conduct and dress posted at all their facilities. Some of the rules make sense, others do not.
Patrons are not permitted to wear blue jeans to do their workouts. Understandable -- blue jeans have grommets, and grommets can scratch or damage the seats on the equipment. No problem.
Patrons may not wear sandals while working out. Again, understandable -- unprotected feet can easily be hurt while using the equipment. No problem.
But here's where Planet Fitness becomes a huge Judgement Zone: patrons may not wear any type of headgear except baseball hats. No bandanas. No skullcaps, do-rags, beanies or anything that might define the patron as an undesirable in the company's judgement. They don't spell this out -- it's only implied. After all, if they were to say straight out that they dislike blacks, Hispanics, long-haired people, hippie-types, religious people, chemotherapy patients -- or whatever they've imagined these head-coverings denote -- people could get REALLY angry.
In a recent visit to the local PF, I wore a faded old blue bandana to hold my hair back. Not in any "gang style" -- but the way a 60-year-old woman would wear it. I am, in fact, a world-weary 60-year-old white woman with bad hair, bad knees, out of shape, modestly-dressed and not a threat to anyone.
I was confronted by an employee as I walked the treadmill and was told to remove the bandana or get out. When I asked for a practical reason why my blue bandana was threatening to anyone -- or how it could be deemed a health or safety risk, the answer was that those are the rules. Abide by the rule or get out.
If the only answer to the bandana question is, "Because those are the rules," then the rules don't make any sense. However, if the answer to the bandana question is that PF is profiling me and judging me to be a threat to the facility based on my wearing of a particular type of head scarf, then we have some serious prejudicial behavior going on in the executive offices of Planet Fitness.
I'm not so naive as to not be aware that there are gangs, thugs, drug dealers and other less-than-savory types lurking about our streets. Heaven knows, they're all probably crushed to the core to know they can't wear their gang-regalia into Planet Fitness and work out next to all the vulnerable good "normal" folks in baseball caps.
There's just one problem with this blanket condemnation of everything but baseball caps: the druggie and gang types in our neck of the woods often wear baseball caps. So what is being accomplished here?
Yes, I could stop wearing my bandanas -- but this is still America and I'm not willing to give up my right to tie my hair up in a blue cotton-print bandana if I so choose -- just to save a few bucks by signing up with Planet Fitness. I stand to lose a lot more by allowing myself to be judged in this manner. It's not worth it. If anyone else agrees, I hope they will make their voices heard as well.