Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Easy There, Rider

As the only girl in my family, I'm familiar with man-toys. My dad was a hunter, so there were duck calls, blinds, guns, decoys, boats and beyond in our house at all times. Even out of season, there were decoys to carve, duck calls to tune, and shotgun shells to be reloaded. My oldest brother enjoyed most of these outdoor pursuits, and went on trips with my father and uncles. My other brother shied away from such things, focusing on the tech-toys instead. He owned the very first computer in our family - paid for with his own hard-earned cash. I distinctly remember dial-up internet that you had to pay for by the minute. My college only had 6 computers connected to the internet, and you had to book time to use them. I also remember there not being much to connect to - mostly we connected to other school's card catalogues to find journal articles to request for one of the never-ending string of papers that had to be written.  Typing term papers on the computer became a snap - if you remembered to hit "save" every few paragraphs. We've all had that gut-wrenching experience of marathon paper-writing at 3 am when the computer crashes and 10 pages of thought-provoking analysis of the different behavioral explanations of asynchronous hatching of eggs go straight down the tubes. No amount of Funyuns and Ben & Jerry's ice cream can make that any better. Don't judge - it was my go-to brain food at the time. My brother and I would hit up the local QT at ridiculous times of night to refuel and get a certified-quality fountain drink. I rated the quality of a paper with a "number of pints to complete it" scale. My senior thesis clocked-in at over 30.

That being said, nobody in my family was a gear-head. We were never the car and dirt bike types. My grandpa had an ATV. The one and only time I got to drive it, I got stuck in the asparagus patch. That was pretty much the end of my off-roading career. My uncle has a golf cart, but it has 3 wheels, which makes it impossible to avoid potholes. If you straddle it with the two wheels, you hit it dead-on with the third. If you go around it with the third wheel, you hit it dead-on with one of the two. Obviously I'm missing something there. A good friend of mine's husband has a vintage Harley named Tucker. We met him in the city for dinner one night, and it was decided I should ride back home on the back of the bike. It was a bad plan. First of all, I was in a dress. We solved that by slapping me into a pair of sweatpants dug out of the back of the car. Second, legally I had to have either sunglasses or a helmet. The only thing we could find was a pair of zebra-patterend sunglasses in the glove compartment. I was a sight to behold. And I kept leaning out of the turns. It's a miracle we didn't tip over. As a woman of a certain size, I couldn't get over the mental image of my rear end billowing over either side of the seat. It was all just too much. Upon safely dismounting, I made a solemn vow to never bulge over, I mean ride a motorcycle again.

This all becomes problematic when sifting through online profiles. I would say that 50% of the men online have a picture of their motorcycle as one of their profile pics. It sets a girl to wonder if single guys in their 40's are required to purchase a bike as soon as the ink dries on their divorce papers. It seems like a missed opportunity for dealerships - they should set up a lot outside the courthouse. Or advertise in lawyer's offices. Guys, I don't mean to be a downer, but we don't want to be your Harley-momma. Stop saying that you're looking for "A woman who is comfortable taking the back seat." I'm just brain-storming here, but maybe that mentality is the reason why you're still single.

If the single-man-over-40 stereotype ID card is a motorcycle, the single-woman-over-40 stereotype ID card must be a cat. Or 12.