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Refusing To Prop Up Hypermasculinity

July 3, 2007
I will not prop up masculinity, no sir, I will not. The other day my daughter and I were out riding our bicycles, with our dog. I was the one handling the dog. Traveling east, we came to a stop sign. At this intersection, stop signs are posted east and west but not north and south. The speed limit on the road going north and south is 45 mph. Clearly posted before the intersection going both north and south are bicycle crossing signs (see first picture). However, there is no painted pedestrian crossing on the street. In other words, the north and sound bound traffic are not legally obligated to stop, just to yield and take caution and perhaps extend some courtesy. To cross in an official painted crosswalk, one would have to North to the next block or South, both about 1/8 or 1/6 of a mile down the way. Nevertheless crossing over going east or west is not illegal, hence the bicycle crossing signs. There are two lanes for traveling both North and South. Normally, a bicyclist will have to wait for a break in the traffic or if by chance a motorist will stop and allow him or her to cross. As we were waiting, a Mercedes with a male driver stopped in the left-northbound lane and waved us across. However, we needed to be sure the southbound lane was safe and the other northbound lane on his right. Two cars stopped in the southbound lane so we were free to cross. A big ass shiny Hummer comes racing up in the northbound left lane, directly behind the Mercedes and had to stop. Once we got across, I gave the man in the Mercedes an appreciative wave. Within seconds the Hummer turns east, something he would not have intended to do since he was traveling in the left northbound lane. Immediately I knew he was coming after me. Instead of riding along and pretending as if I did not see or hear him, I stopped and got off my bicycle. This has been a technique I have experienced my entire life, men riding slowly along side me when I am walking, jogging, or riding a bicycle, him always in a vehicle, hence a faster and more aggressive mode of transportation than I have during the incident. I have endured countless incidents when this would happen, especially if I was jogging. I could immediately tell he was surprised that I stopped because he was suddenly struck with silent stupor. So I asked him before he could get started, “What the fuck do you want?” He replied with “There’s no crosswalk at that intersection you tramp.” Since this is impromptu and I am not that quick on my feet when someone is trying to intimidate, I said, “Your mama’s a tramp, prick.” Then oh my gawd, one would not believe what he said next. He said, “Do you always talk in front of your daughter like that?” Of course, I had to retort with, “When I am dealing with fucking assholes.” Here is the deal, he had a child, a boy child about ten or eleven in the fucking front seat with him. Here he is, acting as if he has the authority to shame me for first, crossing the damn street, because a woman, her young daughter, and their dog is just such a threat to his fucking manhood and second, scolding me for using language that he obviously thinks is only reserved for him. Actually, even though I was not at the time as confident as I may be sounding right now I did want to laugh. My mind was so expecting bitch or cunt from him that I was taken off guard with being rated just a tramp. He tried to continue rambling on but I just started shouting obscenities and pointing at him, no particular order, no particular meaning, just obscenities. I must have drowned him out because he surrendered and left, but not before having to back up while trying to make a u-turn at the neighborhood intersection because he did not have enough room. I could tell he was the little pookie-butt insecure type too, the too starched white shirt, silk tie, and light wool pants.

For so long, men have relied on women’s conditioned passivity. No more of that from me. I was not going to be his dog he needed to kick after a day of competing in the world of his own making. It was the man in the Mercedes who stopped, who caused this asshole to stop, but he chose to come after me. Not the other man.

Anyway, to cleanse that passive-aggressive bastard out of my thoughts, I decided to post some lovely signs I found while looking for the bicycle crossing sign.

7 Comments
  1. Pippa permalink
    July 3, 2007 8:31 am

    Heeeeee! You amazing woman! You showed your daughter how to be strong and unafraid. You showed that silly man and his son that there are women who won’t be threatened. That’s a fantastic day’s work. That experience will stay will all of you. Well done. Pippa x

  2. momo permalink
    July 3, 2007 11:27 am

    I remember seeing a man with his son in the car do something similar. A person crossed the street in a way he didn’t like, and he leapt out of his car and screamed, “You weren’t in the crosswalk! I had the right to kill you!” I remember the terrifed look on his child’s face.

    I love the crossing signs!

  3. Chris permalink
    July 3, 2007 9:15 pm

    I had some guy just walk in front of me today driving back to work after having lunch w/ Alexis. It was not an intersection, it was just a stetch of road and there really wasn’t any destination on the other side of the road. He was just walking along and decided to cross the road so he just stepped out into traffic. Scared the crap out of me.

    Dude in the Hummer sounds like a grade A asshole. He obviously has a lot of anger/hostility to feel that it is necessary to stop to tell someone that they were in the wrong, especially when he’ll never see them again. He isn’t trying to genuinely “educate”, he is trying to validate his manhood (or lack thereof).

    I’ve worked hard to let those things slide, even if I REALLY believe the other person was wrong. Why should I take offense to someone cutting me off in traffic? Sure they were wrong but that’s a reflection of them, not me. They would have done the same to any other car, had I not been there. It wasn’t personal.

    Then again, it would have been funny as hell to hit him with a blast of pepper spray and yell for the police;)

  4. lilacsnwormwood permalink
    July 4, 2007 7:57 pm

    as a fellow biker and walker:

    PEDESTRIANS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY REGARDLESS–

    DOESN’T MATTER–HE WAS IN VIOLATION AND…

    the SECOND HE GOT OUT OF THE VEHICLE–HE WAS BREAKING THE LAW–ITS A FORM OF

    ROAD RAGE–

    when you run into assholes like that [and i’ve actually encountered several when i had to walk with a stroller–once time two womyn were speeding out of an alley way almost hit the girls–one in the stroller-and they had the gall to scream bitch and etc at me–it wasn’t till afterwards and talking about it that a man said to me that they could have been ticketed–cuzz doens’t matter–you have to stop at the end of an alley–but when we are startled we often react–esp when its a man coming towards us]

    the second you see a man slowing down and intimidating [esp with your daughter right there too–thats endangerment to children] or when they get out of the vehicle–

    get the license plate number, make of vehicle–and

    REPORT THEM.

    cuzz what he did–IN EVERY STATE–IS ILLEGAL,

    and i would file it as a form of vehicular assault–

    even if the police don’t do anything–its reported–and

    it puts Them on the defense–because even if you step out of crosswalk [jay walking thats different] but on bike or foot–

    pedestrians still have right of way and its illegal to intimidate, harass, threaten with a vehicle–and him getting out like that–is not only a threat to you but to your daughter–and he endangered his son==

    by leaving him in an unattended car on a road.

    Just that there–the could have slammed him good.

    so–

    license plate–make of vehicle–and know your street/pedestrian rights–

    when enough of bikers/walkers do this–the police will start enforcing the laws. Its because its become so rampant that people driving think they ‘own’ the road–and we’ve come to tolerate it–

    it needs to stop–because more and more pedestrians and esp children–are killed in this country by hit and run–that attitude that just because they are in a car–they have entitlements,

    BY LAW–NO THEY DON’T.

    when i learned this–a car one day, full of kids, almost ran us off the road–i called, turned them in–they got pulled over–

    and all of a sudden–they’re calling me bitch and cunt in front of my girls–

    they weren’t so ‘cocky’ when the police were there and they did get a ticket–

    and i walked away–knowing they–would not be so cocky next time. Or not as easily–sometimes its using their own ‘justifications’ against them–cuzz 9 and of 10–they are the ones in the wrong,

    and they usually know it too.

    next time you see that asshole–turn him in…i would–if anything to make him realize–

    he ain’t king of shit.

    🙂

    other than that–sorry that you had to deal with that–i hate people like that–and its enraging to know thats what he’s teaching his son–poor kid–all it would have taken was someone to be hauling ass and swerving and hitting his car/with kid inside–

    yea what a stupid jerk as a father.

    Tasha

  5. Kitty Glendower permalink
    July 5, 2007 7:36 am

    Thanks Pippa!

    I know Momo, it is as if he wanted to kill someone. How can anyone say they have the right to kill? That is horrible. The right?

    Chris do you think the guy was drunk? Or high? You know I never thought about the politics of crossing the street until I was about 20 or 21. My girlfriend’s husband was driving downtown to catch the bus (they lived on the other side of town) and downtown was half way. So we were going down this downtown street and a man walked across the street, in front of the car. Joe (common name I know, I bet you cannot guess is last name, LOL) sort of just dismisses the guy and says somthing like “power tripping.” That remark stayed with me forever. My whole life I had always just been trying to get across the street. It never occur to me that getting across could be a power play.

    Tasha, luckily the guy did not get out of the hummer, but I will remember the child endangerment angle the next time.

  6. lilacsnwormwood permalink
    July 8, 2007 12:13 am

    hey–I was telling my husband [who bikes to work every day] about what happened–

    he does a lot of byclist advocacy

    told me to send you this–Huge Bycliclist advocacy group on Just this issue–

    and other issues–and support group as well as protests and environmentalism

    but suggestions too and knowing your rights legal, etc…

    http://critical-mass.info/

    they even have like hubs and forums and like–the aggression of motorists against bikers is a Huge problem

    AND in cities they’ve been addressing this and demanding enforcement of laws or redress of laws.

    also–they [like if some of you have to ride to work] have alternative bike routes–times of day that are really bad–things like that–

    if you are an avid bycliclist [spell?] this is the place to keep on your bookmark.

    from their webpage:
    Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists’ right to the road. The idea started in San Francisco in September 1992 and quickly spread to cities all over the world. This site attempts to be the most complete guide to local Critical Mass rides around the globe.

    Critical Mass has a different flavor from city to city — there’s a big variety in size, respect of traffic laws (or lack thereof), interaction with motorists, and intervention by police. So if you want to know more about Critical Mass, you’ll really need to find out what your local ride is like. For those who must know more right now, here’s a link to Phoenix, Arizona CM, which I suppose is a “typical” CM ride, if there is such a thing.

    Critical Mass has no leaders, and no central organization licenses rides. In every city that has a CM ride, some locals simply picked a date, time, and location for the ride and publicized it, and thus the ride was born.

    CM is an idea and an event, not an organization. You can’t write to “Critical Mass” — certainly not by writing to me.

    Some CM riders try to tie up traffic as much as possible and be otherwise confrontational with motorists. Such riders are missing the point about Critical Mass. CM is a celebration of cycling, not a war against motorists. CM is about asserting our right to the road, not denying others their right to the road. Those who want to play juvenile games are encouraged to stay at home instead.

    would be worth looking into–I know Boston has a huge hub–

    the reason I thought about posting this here is that in two years–my husband has been hit like four times by motorists,

    only once–did the man get out and check to see if he was alright–

    and its usually people on cell phones or who don’t want to stop or yield and who don’t care and who have just pushed him literally off the road at crosswalks.

    men and one woman that I know of–one time we had to replace his entire bike [he rebuilds bikes so thats no big deal] but CO is a HUGE biking state–

    so like Critical Mass is strong here.

    and I would bet anything–talk to other womyn bikers and they will have many of the same experiences.

    thought of this–I keep thinking of these road signs here–never have seen like kangaroo crossing before, LOL. The ladybug one is adorable.

    Tasha [to the sides–there are like other bikers support groups too–these are really good like if you need maps as cities don’t always provide them of bike paths, etc.]

  7. lilacsnwormwood permalink
    July 8, 2007 12:20 am

    Momo–

    this will sound terrible but years ago–when living in Louisville–it was like really bad trying to cross the street because people so many of them had that same mentality–

    so this guy I knew–carried a brick–and when they would scream or try to run him over–

    he would throw the brick at the back of their car–usually made them mad enough to stop–and if they called the police–he’d say–

    ‘they tried to run me over’

    he was crazy though LOL so I wouldn’t like advise this–You got to be like a little street crazy to pull something like this off–

    but LOL–you know when he was carrying that brick and he would like–I dare ya–

    be surprised at how nice people get LOL.

    your reply made me think of him, I’ve often thought–at times like that–esp when I used to have to walk with my young girls–that I should have a brick–but of course always in a rush and running late and never thought to bring one.

    LOL

    [bit of humor there–no-don’t go throwing bricks at cars…ok, just to humor]

    tasha

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