I am a WWWSB—a Woman Who Wears Skirts on a Bike. What is it about a woman on a bike wearing a skirt? The looks are brief, the glances so quick as to almost be unnoticed. The bold stares, from men and women, are unnerving. And the looks, glances or stares are always between my legs. What is it that draws the unisex eye between my long, sweaty legs straddling a hard piece of red metal? Well, if I put it like that …
The looks are never at my face or tattoos or my doggie in the basket mounted on the front of the bike—I mean, really, that is such a cute picture. It’s as if between my legs lie the secret to the origins of God or at least that day’s winning lottery numbers. The flash of undies or lack thereof (not that I would ever go commando on a bike, ouch) is never longer than a nanosecond or two. But I see them, and I purposefully stare back. I giggle and think, “Go ahead, look. Don’t be ashamed, you’re not going to see much.” But I’ve come to understand that it’s just the promise, the hope and the maybe of that space between my legs. For me it’s just another body part that does, indeed, become something special when I share it with someone else.
When I see a woman on a bike in a skirt, I see confidence, boldness—a I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-what-you-think-you-see-or-hope-you-see-or- think-of-me. And, if that, not-pants, piece of apparel is billowing, dancing with the wind, flowing, cascading as she rides, I think—FREEDOM.
Back in the day, when the women in my family would gather to cook for some occasion or other and before pants were universally accepted by them, sometime I’d enjoy time with gramma, aunties and women friends gathered out on the back porch in the shade and cool part of the day—sometime with discreet sweaty glasses of rum and coke or Old Grandad—who was the only man in sight—legs splayed, opened wide. Their skirts hiked up or the more modest women with the skirt gathered up and billowing between their open legs. Oh, my, did I learn some lessons in that company! After a day of cooking, the battle cry was “we’re just airin’ it out.’ The “it”, of course, was that hot, sweaty, aromatic, spicy, alluring, no-Brazilian space between their legs, I grew up knowing that where my thighs met was hot stuff and there was nothing I could do about it and I never tried. It was a part of being a woman.
I know my gramma, aunties and their women friends, from that time, never rode bikes. And it was in the absence of men (and therefore no competition amongst them), with skirts hiked up, that they acknowledged their woman-ness and were free.
I ride my bike in a skirt.
Not the kind of bike I meant, but I can ride this too … in a skirt. Thanks to my neighbor who let me warm the seat.