Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sweet Bike of Youth


It was a truly beautiful day today--too warm, in fact, for this jacket, but I think it really makes the outfit. I stayed in the park for quite a while taking pictures (I really need to buy a Gorillapod to remedy that) and just thinking/daydreaming. While I was taking pictures a man in an ugly white stationwagon-that-calls-itself-a-crossover slowed down and waved at me. I figured he thought he knew me so I waved back. Then the man came back around, stopped his car, and asked me if I wanted him to take pictures of me with my bike. I said, "No, I'm okay," and he drove off. I didn't recognize the man at all, but I feel sure that I had experiened a very "Dateline: To Catch A Predator" type moment. I know that that doesn't, on the face of it, seem so suspicious, but I know that I look a lot younger than I am. For the longest time, I had relatives who would mistake me for a high school student after I'd graduated from college. Last spring, after an encounter with a woman who invited me to a children's church service, I asked my aunt how old I looked and she said that I appeared to be around sixteen. Too old for children's church, but still 13 years younger than I was. While my age issue might be particular to me, I believe some of it involves the fact that I was on foot or on a bike when I had these encounters. In the carcentric U.S., I think that driving a car is regarded as a sure sign of adulthood. If you're on foot or a bike, you're seen as juvenile unless you clearly aren't a kid. Perhaps you're regarded as juvenile even if you're clearly not a kid. That might account for some of the lack of respect many drivers have for cyclists.

While I sat in the park, my mind wandering, a guy in a black car slowly rolled by and did the same thing as the guy in the white car. This time, when he stopped, he said, "Hey gorgeous!" I don't think he mistook me for a kid, but he looked very middle-aged, so he was still too old for my taste.

9 comments :

2whls3spds said...

Definitely enjoy the weather...summer is probably just around corner! (With it's heavy humidity and heat :-P )

I know what you mean about lack of respect for cyclists...I think the guys that were approaching you are ignorant and have no manners what so ever, but I see it every day and blame it on the momma's for not teaching them. ;>)

Wait till you get some gray in your hair and then the little kids will think you are older than dirt...and middle aged guys probably won't give you a second look.

Aaron (who is contemplating a half century of life and refuses to grow up!)

She Rides a Bike said...

I had a very similar experience last spring on the bike path near my house. A man started talking to me as I stopped my bike to check out what I thought was a stray little dog. It turned out to be his but I got the feeling that he thought I was a kid and that he was trying to get me to come closer. I made a polite exit and peddled home but I was so creeped out that I called the police. Maybe we're being paranoid but that little thing called our "inner voice" is there for a reason, to warn us.

The Bronze Bombshell said...

Aaron: I have nothing against middle-aged men, I just don't want to date them. My age difference limit is 13 years and then I gotta start cuttin' em off. Dudes that old and unmarried, in my experience, tend toward desperation. Not attractive. Especially, if they think I'm a teen. That's illegal.

SRAB: I agree with you about the inner voice. I almost wish I'd gotten that guy's license plate number.

RidingPretty said...

You look wonderful in that jacket. I'd stare at you too, but in a good way!!!(AND I'd ask to take your picture...because that's what I do when I encounter someone looking as stylish as you do;)

Be careful, stay safe, trust that little voice. Things that come to mind; self defense classes, always take a cell phone, a camera to photo the license plate, mixing up my bicycle routes for a few days. Maybe a whole post devoted to 'safe' strategies?

The Bronze Bombshell said...

RP: That's a good idea. I'll have to look into that because the bit of advice I've heard in the media pertains to using trails which may be very isolated in spots as opposed to riding on the streets where one might have to deal with drive-by harassment.

The Bronze Bombshell said...

Oh, and thanks for the compliment!

Elisa M said...

Your bike is beautiful!

letsgorideabike said...

Boo to dirty old men! Can't a woman sit in a park without being harassed? But yay for your bike! That's a great picture of the two of you. Makes me want to get streamers for my handlebars. :)

-Dottie

The Bronze Bombshell said...

Elisa: Thank you very much.

Dottie: Exactly! Ever since Viagra was invented, the old lechers don't know when to quit.