Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Run Angry: A Sexism Story

How many of you knew that another Nicholas Cage movie, Drive Angry, was released on DVD recently? You might have missed it at the theatre. I was thinking about seeing it but then stopped to get gas and it was gone in 60 seconds. In fact, by the time you get done reading this sentence, it’s already been moved to the discount bin at your local video store. And by the time you get done reading this sentence, it’s now one of the movies available for 3 box tops on the back of your favorite Kellogg’s cereals (right next to Mannequin 2: On The Move). But, at the very least, it provided me a title from which I can derive a blog post.

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.)

Green - with envy

After building a nice 25 foot lead I offered up the following nugget: “I still got extra testosterone to burn, honey.”

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.


The Sean said...

"what's for dinner, toots" hilarious.

Ian said...

They probably thought you were one of the women as I did for years. I think I speak for everyone here in saying dude looks like a lady.

Elizabeth said...

Best race report ever. I even snorted out loud a few times. :-D

Jamoosh said...

"... virile sex cannon..." I can only assume you are the next Charlie Sheen.

Ironman By Thirty said...

Now the real question is whether you have gone with the bro or manzier?

So you beat the #2 female. What about the #1 female? Did you feel sorry for her after what you did (and said) to #2 that you let her have that victory???

Anne said...

You've still got it!

The Merry said...

I thought that was part of your PR strategy: making sexist comments, getting the mob angry, and then somehow finding the extra energy needed to run away very quickly. Brilliant!

BrianFlash said...

Way to take those girls down! I always want that race where no woman finishes ahead of me.

My most recent race, two of them defeated me. And I know the spectators were cheering for them over me. I'm the underdog here!

Vava said...

Solid effort Nitmos, and on the race too.

Replace "toots" with "woman" and you have the beginning to every after-work conversation at my house.

And I am envious of one thing only. Pecs? No, got those in spades. Side split running shorts? Don't bloody well think so. Texting on a Garmin? Don't have that model and can't do more than one thing at once anyway. Cotton racing shirt? Ahhhh, nothing against cotton, everything against chaffing. (It looks like a cotton shirt, so if it's not I apologize.)

Your frigging ears! I can't get earbuds to stay in mine no matter what and it sucks. Although I comfort myself with the knowledge that you earbud locking ear holed people are all destroying your ears with that crap compression they call "MP3". Quality, my ass...

Xaarlin said...

Just found your blog.

This race report is great! Made my day!

Razz said...

You backed off of your post at the end. Puss.

David said...

Say it ain't so - the guy who finished ahead of you was wearing side split shorts.

Psyche said...

This is where I come when I need a laugh. You did not disappoint today!!!

Raquelita said...

I just came across your blog, and I'm so glad I did. This post had me cracking up. Congrats on the PR!

Anonymous said...

Haha! Love this story. I get humbled like that all the time. Great of you to stick up for the guys who get caught running around the top women at races. Haha!

Deb said...

Is it just me or is that a 10-year-old girl-child finishing just behind you? She appears to be wearing velour pants and she clearly has a hoodie tied around her waist. Shouldn't she be whipping up some tasty treats in her E-Z Bake Oven, instead of nearly kicking your ass? Girls nowadays - so uppity!

drea said...

"Does my PR make you look fat?" Good one. Nope. But It does make me look PHAST :)

shazam! Chase skirt, Kiss ass, get Chicked, it's all the same.....pussy.


Vava said...

Thanks for the comment, and I was just thinking that if your tech shirt LOOKS like it's cotton then it gives your competition a false sense of confidence prior to the race. It certainly doesn't look wet in your photos so I should have known better. Good strategy!

As far as Aruba goes, I didn't see any high schoolers there, but my emotional and intellectual development stalled right around that time so I'd fit right in.

nwgdc said...

Susan B. Anthony? Really?

I smiled when reading about teh running skirt. Do you still have that thing?

Congrats on a great run, and next time keep your elbows out when passing, you may just catch one of them ladies in the cantalope.

Running Through Phoenix said...

A cotton shirt?

Kevin said...

Sometimes being behind a women is better and in front! That counts for running also!

Danielle in Iowa in Seattle said...

Quit yer bitchin'! You got to run behind some fine female tail and then got a PR out of spite! That's a good day!