May 15, 2017

I Prove I'm Not Gay by Kissing a Guy

Many non-runners don't realize that runners get harassed a lot.  People yell out criticisms, slurs, and epithets, Over the years, I've heard:

"Run faster!"
"Run!  Maybe you'll catch up with them!"
"Where's the fire?"
"You lost your pants?"

And the standard array of epithets:

They throw things or spit out of cars.

They mimic your actions,

They try to trip you.

Sometimes they even attack.

Rock Island, June 1976

It was the summer after my sophomore year at Rocky High, about a month after my date with King Carl Gustav of Sweden.  I had been running for a few months, in preparation for joining the track team in the fall (which never happened).

I know now that you should always vary your route and time o day, to minimize harassment, but in 1976 I always followed the same route: down 20th Avenue to 38th Street, down to 31st Avenue, over to 24th, up to 18th, and back, about three miles.

At the same time of day.

Past a school.

I know, dumb!

As I passed, I always saw a group of three boys, one junior high age, two younger, playing basketball or hanging out in the school yard.  Sometimes they were in a kiddie pool in the front yard of one of the houses across the street.

The junior high boy was sort of cute, with thick brown hair, and a tan chest with pinprick nipples, but too young for me (I was 15, and he was probably 13 or 14).  So I didn't pay him much attention.

Not even the day he grabbed his crotch and yelled "Fag!" while his cronies laughed.

The full story, with nude photos and a forced kiss, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

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