I’m not a pleasant person. In fact, when I race, I can be downright persnickety…bordering on bile-spitting angry. Add in a pinch of sexism – directed at me – and you get the full on furrowed brow (great name for a band, by the way*). Usually I’m the one making sexist comments - not receiving them - so this was quite the switcheroo.
I was the victim of unrelenting sexism through-out the entire Bayshore half marathon course. Why? Apparently it was because I had the nerve to run with a group of female runners for much of the race. See? Here I am about 8-9 miles in running just behind the, at the time, #2 female half marathoner.
That Furrowed Brow started out knitted and became furrowed after the seventh time I heard “You go girl, beat those guys!” from one of the passing female marathoners on the other side of the street or one of the coffee sipping umbrella-toters along the way. I was actually mixed into a group of three women – weren’t they lucky? – in the pack of ladies trailing the overall female lead. I heard:
“Let’s go girls!” - 18 times
“Yeah, girls, go get’em!” – 9 times
“Woo-hoo, beat those boys!” – 37 times
And “Who’s the virile sex cannon in the gray shirt?!” – one time**
Now, why did they have to go getting all sexist up in here? If you cut me, do I not bleed? If I run, do I not race? Sure, I was once accused - in my own comments - of wearing a running skirt due to my spindly little legs hanging out of my shorts like a strand of spaghetti hanging through a strainer. And, yes, I cleverly wear a sports bra to prevent my enormous pecs from slapping me in the chin (look at the picture, can’t tell I’m wearing one, can you Russ?) And maybe I’ve read Cosmo a time or two (just for the pictures, I’m not a pervert). I do loofah. A fella likes to exfoliate. But, I think obviously, I appear to most as a dude - granted with understated masculinity.
There could be no confusion. These were outright sexists attacks aimed at yours truly. Here I was busting my ass, doing the best I could, and every single comment was encouraging the group I was running with…to BEAT ME?!? Look, I just came here to run a race, not be the victim of some coordinated anti-male runner conspiracy. I started shouting back, “C’mon guys, show the skirts whose boss!” One young lady shouted “You got him, girl!” and I sneered back “Hey, what’s for dinner, toots?!” It got ugly out there, let me tell you. Ever been booed at a race? Drop a few sexist cliché bombs and see what happens. Spectators started hissing at me; I started growling at them and punching at the crook of my arm in an exaggerated F*ck You flip off motion. It was full on WWF for awhile. I think someone took a swing at me with a metal folding chair.
Finally, I’d had enough and decided to speed away from the female peloton. Here I am kicking into high gear and, for the honor of men everywhere, making the pass. Not photographed? Me looking over my shoulder shouting “Does my PR make you look fat?” (I will be copyrighting this.)
Finally, after another 50 feet, I yelled out confidently, victoriously “Susan B. Anthony sucks!”
I didn't want to do it. Kinda felt like I had too.Now, despite all evidence, I’m no angel. Walk me past a grocery aisle with cantaloupes and you will hear a few giggles and a comment (and maybe, just maybe, I pick up two of them and do a little imitation). I saw the remake of I Spit On Your Grave and felt a twinge of sympathy for the guys. And I’m a firm believer that, while men should never wear side split running shorts or run topless (except me, of course), women should be encouraged to do both. Jell-o? Good for one thing: female wrestling. But should this make me a target for rampant sexism? No, I don’t think so. Me not likey. Me not likey long time.
You know what I realized during my sexist half marathon experience? It’s more fun making the sexist comments than receiving them. I think I’m going to stick with that. That’s the real lesson here.
Happy trails. And Run Angry!
*Format stolen from Denis Leary's Why We Suck.
**This was unspoken but I got the very strong impression from one spectator that this is what they were thinking.
Hey, here’s an obligatory finishing shot of me pushing my Garmin stop instead of looking at the camera. Or, am I texting this post? Believe me, by mile 10, I already had half of this post written in my head and thought I’d get a jump on things before getting to the finish.
It should go without saying that the preceding post is intended for sophomoric humor purposes. While I did hear numerous Beat The Boys comments, they made me chuckle. In fact, several of the commenters realized I was in the group and would yell “Woo-hoo, Go Girls…Beat those boys!...And go guys too!” Adding the last comment in after eventually noticing me in the pack.