The Talking Dog at the Men's Club (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 15 Mar 2005

The Talking Dog at the Men's Club

Dave and I went flying (radio controlled model airplanes) at Baylands last Saturday.

Dave got to the tables first, with the toolbox and one plane. I followed, carrying two of my planes. As I walked up to the table, some guy I hadn't seen there before chuckled, indicated Dave and said "Heh, I see he's got someone to carry his stuff for him."

I gave him a strange look and a "Huh?" and then "No, he can carry his own stuff."

It eventually dawned on the guy that those planes I was carrying were my own, and I was going to fly them (perhaps the transmitter hanging from its strap around my neck was a clue?), and he apologized.

It's amazing how often this happens; about every other time I fly there, there's some guy reacting like "Unbelievable! She has breasts, yet she flies airplanes! How can this be?"

It's not that they're unfriendly -- usually they're much more complimentary than this particular fellow. But it can get old being the phenomenal talking dog week after week. I'm reminded of the recommendation in Val's "How To Encourage Women in Linux" document: "Don't stare and point when women arrive". Fortunately, the Bayland regulars aren't like that, so it's not quite that "stranger walks into a bar" scene mentioned in Val's howto. But it's frequent enough that I bet it discourages women newbies.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, based on the state of model airplane magazines, which are still stuck at that pleistocene "Each month's cover shows a different scantily clad bimbo with big tits and lots of lipstick, posing with an airplane" stage from which most other male-dominated hobbies graduated ten or fifteen years ago, or longer.

I was thinking about that today after class when, as I was getting ready to ride home, a woman walking to her car hailed me with some bike questions, and we had a nice talk about motorcycling.

She said her boyfriend thought she might be too short to ride (she was about my height, possibly a little shorter) but she'd seen a Rebel at a Honda dealer and was pretty sure she could ride that. I assured her a Rebel should be no problem, nor should a small sportbike like a Ninja 250. I offered to let her try straddling my CB-1 (about the same height as a Ninja 250), but she declined -- on her way somewhere, and perhaps nervous about sitting on someone else's bike.

Anyway, she had already decided to take the MSF course and get all the safety gear before buying a bike -- she'd obviously thought it through, and had come to all the right conclusions on her own. You go, girl!

(I probably should have thought to tell her about the Short Bike List FAQ.)

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