**Warning: The below broad generalizations regarding people and what cars they drive are presented as fact ... deal with it or buy another car**
Being hollered at could be viewed at as flattery - a primal mating call and/or whistle letting the runner know that "I'm in my car and I see you running ... how about a night out on the town?". 98% of these “hollerings” are made by Toyota Celica driving men towards female runners while the other 2% are made by those same men towards male runners that look like female runners at first glance - lanky and feminine bone structure and all. One might think that hollering out “WOOOOO HHHOOOOOO” or “YYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” is the best compliment you can give somebody in full workout attire as they stretch at the stoplight or trotting down the sidewalk, but think again. Women out for a real-womans-run are out to sweat, work hard, and get it done … they’re pits stink, they don’t have the right jeans on to start a relationship, and they don’t need you reminding them how much of a primitive dummy you are.
My limited experience in hollering is nothing towards myself, but in the chance I might be running with my wife and kid – we’ll get the occasional Celica or Mitsubishi Eclipse humming by with some dude noticing and vocalizing about our legs (my wife’s legs). Think about that … in the comfort of their tinted windows and giant muffler these cavemen will make a pass at a woman in front of her husband and kid! Unless of course he’s yelling “Hey family I don’t know! You guys want me to babysit so you don’t have to push that baby stroller? Here’s a personal background check I did on myself with references and my social security number”. It’s no coincidence I’ve NEVER received a holler while out alone – gotta be with a female. When I’m alone I’m used to the good ‘ol fashioned random insulting yell … you know, just because.
Although you really can’t understand what’s being barked in a holler or a yell, they are altogether quite different. Unlike the holler, the "yell" is a stern and bold statement proclaiming “I’m in my car and I see you running … that’s exactly why you’re stupid and I’m not.” Contrary to the holler, 41% of all “yellings” are made by high school junior varsity bench warming 17 year old jocks driving either a pick-up truck or their dad’s Escalade. 35% of all yellings are made by a group of middle school punks (and every so often a bold 3rd grader) waiting for their school bus - by far the most uncomfortable of the “yellings”. 21% are made by people of all ages driving any make/model of vehicle simply requesting you wear longer shorts while 3% are made by people yelling at somebody else in their car with the window rolled down. Male runners receive 99.99% of the yelling while the other 0.01% is directed towards women runners as their husband drives by at 45mph to shout “I’M GOING TO THE HARDWARE STORE…. DO YOU HAVE YOUR HOUSE KEY?”. I’ve run in the snow, the rain, the ice, through the woods with freaking crazy deer jumping around me, while crapping my shorts/pants, but the most uncomfortable and awkward moments of any run are when you turn the corner to see those darn middle school kids waiting for the bus. I’m a grown man with a family and mortgage, but it only takes one 12 year old shouting “LOOK EVERYBODY … that guy’s running with no pants on .... PUT SOME PANTS ON!!!!!!” to have me on the verge of tears until lunch time. The situation is completely lose-lose-lose with the following three options:
- Quickly turn around and approach the group of punks to explain the undeniable upside to tiny shorts – lightweight, less chaffing, full range of motion ... they just feel “right”. Nope, they’ll never understand.
- Quickly turn around and approach the group of punks to start my first fist fight, take care of business, and throw my fair share of haymakers. Nope, I’d probably loose and still eventually go to jail.
- Keep running away, act like I didn’t hear anything, fight off the tears, and remind myself they probably can’t run one mile the pace I can run 26.2 (not that they care in the least bit anyways)….. DING DING DING!!!!
As stated earlier and proven by science (yes, just general science), the most common drive-by yelling is performed by a group of high school jocks to an unsuspecting male runner … again usually sporting tiny shorts. The controversial shorts usually lead the hormone charged ultra-manly-men to believe they’re about to encounter a female runner so as to get ready to “holler”. As they approach and see more hair on the legs, no ponytail, and bushy eyebrows, their joy turns to despair when they realize it's another dude - a small framed lanky dude that could NEVER warm the bench like they do in their awesome jock sports everybody knows about. The only logical response to being deceived at a proper chance to holler is to now yell at this 137 pound nancy that seems to already be crying after running by the bus stop earlier.
Strength in Numbers
Those that choose to "hollar" find strength in numbers by having more runners they're hollering at any given time. The whole woman's cross country team running by is just too much for most Hyundai Tiburon owners to remain silent. Having the opposite effect when it comes to the "yellers", they like to hunt in large packs and prey on the stray skinny (also thought of as weak) male runners. Although large packs of men running together usually deters the "yellers" to voice their disdain for tiny shorts, some yellers decide to take it to the next level and yell at large groups of male runners. When this occurs, the pack of male runners - having their own strength in numbers now - have three options:
- Yell back - often referencing the other's mother, girlfriend, and/or favorite musical group
- Pull down the very shorts that started the whole back-and-forth
- All of the above
When it is Okay
There is a time and place for non-runners and runners to communicate out there on the roads. Being serious, there are car accidents that involve runners every year that are very serious and can be fatal. BOTH runners and drivers need to do their part to avoid these situations.
Runners – Run facing traffic, run out of the road when you can and always assume the driver does not see you or is looking in their glove box. If you have to be in the road be aware when two cars might pass you at the same time (from opposite directions) – it’s up to you to move at any given time. Make your presence known by waving arms and making eye contact with drivers at intersections when you’re going to take your turn to run through. THANK DRIVERS that let you through, it will leave an impression and create awareness!
Drivers – Please watch out for runners and give them extra space if you have it. If you don’t have extra space, flash the lights and tap the horn as you approach as if to say “I see you, but I gotta hold my line” not “HERE I COME!!! I might hit you, I might not …. whatever.”
- “Hollering” at women runners will never land you a date … fix your muffler
- “Yelling” will certainly NEVER EVER EVER make that guy wear longer shorts … the short ones are just too functional and comfortable.
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--Adam from ThinkPlanRun.com