If there’s a god, he’s a misogynistic jerk-face. All you atheists can come watch The Shining’s elevator scene looping in my underpants monthly for proof. I can’t blame “god” for the societal pressure I feel to look cute and feminine on the daily, though––not directly.
I was once pretty fashion forward: putting lots of thought into my outfits, makin’ my hair all fancy and even smearing on eyeliner every day––but my entire look changed when I started cycling.
I won’t go into some self-righteous lecture on fashion industry evils. I’m atypical in the fact that I hate the “shopping” part, but I get just as giddy as the next guy/girl when I find pants that fit over my butt without mushrooming out my love handles. The sad truth is that your wardrobe says a shit-ton about you, whether you like it or not. Say what you will about my gender stereotyping, but ladies have it way worse than guys. A man dons a torn button-up and some dirty jeans, and he looks “rugged.” That same outfit looks “trashy” on me, and I might as well accessorize with a faux hawk and a thumb ring, ‘cause everyone who sees me will assume I spend my nights playing with scissors and rubber cement––and I’m not talkin’ arts and crafts here …
When your main transportation is a bicycle, that cute sundress you pull from storage that highlights your supple winter boobies, and the matching sandals that showcase your fresh pedicure … Well … their story won’t end as happily as The Brave Little Toaster’s. In fact, unless you enjoy pulling down your hem at every light, curls stuck to your sweaty forehead, exposed feet getting mangled by asphalt, and barrages of verbal harassment coming from all directions via every homeless/truck driving/teenage prick you pass, that sundress is getting folded into a dark grave in the depths of your closet.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t look cute and ride a bike. I rode my fixie in a plaid mini skirt the other day (you’re welcome), and I look more natural biking in heels than walking in them. They’re neither practical nor comfortable for a real ride, though, and because most women’s-specific “bike clothes” are cut in yoga-mom style, I’m left with one option: the men’s section. Before my “fuck you” rant, I should publicly thank Helen and Ian at Fresh for carrying such hip and arguably unisex clothing at their store on 9th and 9th. If not for their impeccable taste, I’d resemble an ugly boy. Thanks to the clothes snagged at Fresh, no one calls me trashy, but damn you Levi’s Commuter Series! You make cool cycle-friendly jacket/pant combos for guys, but what about the ladies?! Why do you think we organize tweed rides and bike proms?! ‘Cause the little girl inside of us still wants to play dress-up, AND ride a bicycle!
Statistics show that women are making the big bucks these days: If you’re involved in the clothing industry and are reading this, wake the fuck up and start exploiting young, female professionals who like looking good and riding bikes! Hey American Apparel, I’ve developed your next ad concept: chick riding a bicycle in some curvy jeans, stretchy enough to pedal, strong enough to withstand the saddle friction, with some reflective tape and a seamless crotch. She can be topless if that’s what it takes.