Feminist Ranting, Training

Dear Creepy Men: Please stop ruining our runs (and everything else)

I got home from work today and quickly changed into my bright pink iracelikeagirl tech teeand short spandex shorts. Though the shorts are super short (as most running shorts tend to be), they’re perfect for running. Honestly, if I wasn’t worried about this little thing called “safety”, I’d wear the least amount of clothing as possible for running in weather over 60 degrees. Even as the sun started to set, it was close to 70 degrees in Boston today. A truly perfect fall evening to sweat out a tough work week. So, even though a little voice in my head said, “Are you sure you want to wear these shorts?” – I pull them on. We’re mid-laundry cycle and they’re what I had that was both clean and appropriate for my workout on deck. And I like them.

After that sort of intro, you can probably imagine where this is going. Before I’d even finished my 1.5 mile warm up, I’d been honked at and cat-called twice. It didn’t exactly set me up for a great workout… and I didn’t have one.

During my cool down, a man in a truck slowed down to drive along side me and started trying to make small talk. I wear headphones sometimes on runs… usually not to listen to music, but to make situations/people like this easier to ignore. Here’s what he was saying:

Hey – what are you running for? Are you running for some sort of school? You look like you’re running for something. You look like a fit girl. Seriously girl, you look fit. Are you in school?

There’s so much strange and creepy to unpack in that.

  1. I’m in my late 20s. I don’t look especially young for my age. Maybe you think you’re complimenting me by saying I look like I’m in school?
  2. Maybe you actually think I’m young enough to be in school (I guess I am wearing a shirt that says “IRACELIKEAGIRL” on it), in which case…. What the f**k is a man your age doing slowing down and talking to me like this?
  3. Regardless my age, clearly I don’t want to talk to you so probably you should just take the hint at this point and keep driving.

After ignoring him didn’t work, I eventually did stop running, take my earbuds out and say, “No, I’m not in school. And you’re going to cause an accident if you keep driving like that.”

To which he replied, “I’m just saying you look like you’re fit enough to be.”

There are now cars honking behind him… because it’s rush hour traffic in the city with dozens of people around. So, the loser does eventually drive off. Correction: he peeled out away from me in an obnoxious way that only men of that caliber seem to do.

I’m pretty annoyed by the time I get home and grab my dog to take her for a short walk before dinner. A few blocks up the road from my house is a older man standing by his car on the side of the road. The car’s hood is up and he’s looking inside of it. I’m pretty sick of men in general at this point but also try to be a decent human most of the time… so I stop to ask him if everything is okay. He answers politely that he’s fine and his car just overheats sometimes.

As I’m walking away he says, “That’s a cute girl right there!”

Evie, my dog, has what I call a perma-puppy face and is VERY cute so I proudly start to respond,

“Thanks! She’s a go—–”

“AND THE DOG’S NOT BAD EITHER!!” <wink, wink>

On a different day, I might have had a better response. I have decent wit. I’ve been known to be cutting with my words from time to time (and not always to folks to so

Running
Me, Evie and the outfit that “caused” everything.

deserving either).

Tonight I had nothing. I think my brain could only handle so much in such a short period before exploding. So I just sort of stared at him and eventually let out a big sigh before turning away and continuing my walk. He passed me later and honked a friendly “toot! toot!” at me… like we were old friends and would be seeing each other again soon.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you probably know that it’s been a rough week for women in this country… or least for women like me who believe that women are people deserving of equal rights and, you know, all that other stuff.

The Kavanaugh hearing has impacted me in a real and personal way. It’s bummed me out… and not just a little. It would have been nice to have this run today to clear my head and not deal with a bunch of creeps. It’s really a bummer that we (women) can’t do fun things like go for runs, attend parties, etc., without creepy men ruining everything. And when I say “ruin” I specifically mean: make us not feel safe… harass us… assault us…etc.

Mostly I just don’t know what to do about the fact that shitty people get to just continue being shitty and getting away with disgusting behavior on a daily basis.

It was a bad run. It’s been a bad week. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be fired up again and ready to take on all the garbage taking place in our world right now.

But today I’m just tired.

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