The season for insults

It seems that bare arms (shoulders especially) are provocative. That’s the only conclusion I can draw from the fact that since I started running in a sleeveless running top I have been suddenly subjected to honks, whistles and shouts. What is it with the arms? Are arms to the modern man what ankles were to the Victorians?  Or maybe the warming weather has turned all the men into feral beasts who think it is ok to subject female runners to their comments.

I am normally left pretty much alone when I run. I run in the morning and just tie my hair back into Pippi Longstocking style pigtails and my face is as it was when I got out of bed – bare, blotchy and pillow marked. I sweat and I curse. In no means am I an attractive sight but even then I have been safe from insults and howls of appreciation alike. Until the arms came out.

I know women who routinely have people slowing their cars when passing them, just to be sure that the runner can hear how the person in the car thinks they are “fat cows”. Why? WHY? What is it that these people think gives them the right to behaving like this? I assume they are sober since they are driving – so it isn’t a case of inhibitions diminished by drink.  Do women run with an invisible signs on their back that say “please shout abuse”?

I have spent some time thinking about what I would say to someone who had the nerve to shout abuse at me when I was out running. It is hard to respond in anyway as a) I wear headphones and have trouble hearing exactly what was said and b) the assholes drive away (cowards in their cars) before you even open your mouth to say something back.  BUT – in my head I challenge the butthead to run with me. Since they think my running is worthy of commenting on, then surely they can do it better? Come one, run with me, just for a kilometer and if you can do it you can shout abuse all you want. Just note that I will be running about twenty times that distance. Though anyone who has tried to run will never abuse another runner. They would know what it takes to get out there and to keep going. They would know the demons you have to overcome to put on those running tights instead of a pair of baggy pants and not care if your ass jiggles as you run.

Do you ever get shouted at when you run? Would you want to hear positive comments on your training runs or do you prefer people just kept all their opinions to themselves?

5 thoughts on “The season for insults

  1. i’ll take whatever they want to throw… out of their stupid mouths or passing cars. sincerely, i am a mother of three sons. i survived a lot of illness. i run a lot of miles…. in a row. i rock this sports bra complete with scars across my abdomen and these short shorts, and i don’t give a damn, because i can’t hear a feckin’ thing they had to say anyway over katy perry. so whatever. 🙂


    1. My issue is that I usually get very aggressive when I run. I think it has something to do with adrenalin or something. So I worry a bit about attacking one of these idiots if they happen to shout the wrong thing at the wrong moment. 🙂 Though yesterday, after my tempo run, I ran past a couple of guys putting up scaffolding. One of them pretended to throw something at me (I couldn’t see what) but I didn’t even slow down. I wasn’t annoyed or angry and I am normally NOT zen at all. Even though the guy seemed to me a bit threatening I just ran on – normally I would have stopped and given him an expletive filled piece of my mind. I think tempo runs are good for me! 🙂


  2. One of my runs this winter (the last 13+ miler when I hurt my knee), several teenage boys hanging out along the trail thought the old woman plodding along was a joke. Catcalls and comments ensued. One of them left the group, ran up to me and fell into place along side. At first I was alarmed, but decided to try the tact of “making friends” (and as soon as possible, since it wasn’t the best of areas). After exchanging a couple comments, he asked me how far I was going. He was taken aback when I asked if he would mind going with me for a couple miles since I had already done close to ten and had five to go. He quickly split off, and returned to his buddies. I was doing loops on a running track in the park and next time past the gang instead of catcalls I got nothing but encouragement from them.


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