You be the judge: “Can I ask my tenant to stop training on the porch?” “| Friendship
The charge: Felix
My tenant is training on our porch, but it’s on a well-lit road and attracts a lot of attention
It started during the second lockdown, last fall, when Fabio moved into my four bedroom apartment. I’ve known him since we were 11, so when the lease expired at his place, we agreed that he would move in with me.
Fabio loves to train on the porch of our house. His workouts last about an hour and consist of strength exercises with a kettlebell: swings, squats, lifts, presses. We live on a main road with a lot of traffic, people shopping and quite a few drug addicts at night, so I think it looks kinda weird.
He has always been in fitness, although I only recently started running. I’m quite shy and care what people think, but Fabio is the opposite. He tells me that he usually has funny smiles or looks when he is exercising. He thinks I’m jealous of his trust, but, really, I just don’t want to draw attention to our apartment.
When the gyms were closed, but the days were longer, Fabio would train in our private garden at 5pm each day. But when winter came and it got dark earlier, he insisted on exercising on the front steps, where there is street light. I think he could have stayed in the garden and done his exercise earlier in the day.
The apartment below mine is on the same level as the porch, so our neighbors come home and see this guy walking away just outside their dining room window. They are nice, but I can’t help but feel a secondary embarrassment every time I look at Fabio.
After spending the first confinement living alone, I was very happy to have him with him because he is calm and calm. But sharing the apartment with him also taught me that we’re more different than I thought – he’s definitely a lot more exhibitionist than I am.
We both always work at home and sometimes Fabio works out in the garden when he hasn’t had time to go to the gym. But I dread the darker nights when he returns to the porch. Can I ask him to stop exercising there?
I love swinging my kettlebells out there after dark: it’s a way to break up our time together
Felix would never allow me to train in his house. It’s an old Victorian building and my workouts are quite vigorous – I swing a 24kg kettlebell in a high intensity workout so I could easily punch a hole in the wall.
The natural response is to exercise on the nice piece of concrete outside the house while I am still working from home. Yes, it’s by the side of the street, but who is disturbed?
These confinements changed our relationship to the exit. We have been so restricted that exercising outside our homes makes sense. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it.
Maybe I like the attention. When I moved in I thought the world would open up and spend less time with Felix, but every night it was just us.
We have become like an old married couple arguing over what to watch on TV. Exercise was a way to break our life together.
I missed dating and flirting – cheeky eye contact at the gym. I relished the occasional look of a stranger on the street because it made my life a little more interesting. I also need to stay in shape – kettlebells are great for your legs and butt.
I started exercising in the back garden last summer, but in the fall it was much darker so I couldn’t continue. There is a big light on the front steps so I will continue to exercise there on days when I am working from home or when I cannot be disturbed to go to the gym. It saves travel time and I got used to it.
I know Felix disagrees. Sometimes I would do a workout and he would come back from a run and we would chat outside the apartment – he seemed fine with that then. But I’ve known him for 20 years and he hides his emotions very well. He hates confrontation.
Now the gyms are open, but I am working from home until next year. There are days when I won’t feel like going to the gym in the winter, so I’ll be back in the front, swinging and squatting. What is the problem?
The Guardian Readers Jury
Should Fabio stop training on the porch?
Felix, you seem blind to your good fortune. Living on a main road you need security, and installing Fabio in your porch gives you that. A guard dog requires food and exercise, while Fabio can take care of himself. He even pays rent!
Michel, 68 years old
I am sympathetic to Felix’s secondary embarrassment, but Fabio’s solution is environmentally friendly and cost effective. Lockdown has shown that there are many ways to maintain personal fitness outside of the gym.
Nicolas, 28 years old
What if we shed some light on the problem – or better yet, the back yard – and leave Fabio and his oversized kettlebell there?
Classic British behavior – let’s hide our bodies for fear of embarrassment! But doesn’t a Fabio on the porch make life more interesting for residents? If it doesn’t hurt anyone, why not?
Katia, 28 years old
Living with students this year, I learned to accept other people’s habits, so I agree with Fabio. Felix could ask him to stop nicely, but if Fabio says no, then Felix has to respect that.
Geneviève, 20 years old
Be the judge
So now you can be the judge, click on the poll below to tell us: Should Felix stop exercising on the porch?
We’ll share the results next week, it’s up to you.
Voting closes Thursday, October 14 at 9 a.m. BST
Last week’s result
We asked if Curtis should tidy up his room, as it bothers his mother and the landlady, Grace.
56% of you said no – Curtis is not guilty
44% of you said yes – Curtis is guilty