I am pretty sure I encountered this man`s running partner yesterday. He was the one who swept past me on the running trail wearing a black base layer and red lycra tights..
Yes, base layer. Twenty degrees Celsius here on the Emerald Isle, I`m sweltering in my clima cool sleeveless top and shorts and this guy is wearing a base layer.
But it`s the tights that just killed me.
Despite my advanced age, I am still immature enough to feel a giggle rising every time a male ballet dancer bounds onstage. And no, its not just the front bit(you know, that teeny tiny little bit) that bothers me. No. It`s the all over fitted look.
It just looks all wrong.
My trail partner last night, well, I only saw him from behind, after all. I can tell you, from that perspective, running tights on men still look wrong.
It would have been bad enough if the leggings were black. But red? Why?
There must have been a time, maybe the first run, or maybe even every time before he heads out his front door, that Mr Tights actually takes a good long look at himself in the mirror. Obviously, he thinks it`s ok, then. There could even be a Mrs Tights in the background reassuring him that he looks manly, desirable even.
Well, if that`s you reading this, Mr Tights, I can tell you right now, your missus, is lying to you. She has another agenda.
Dammit if I know what it is. Maybe she wants you to be a laughing stock. Or maybe she`s the jealous sort that wants other women to recoil at the sight of you just so she can lavish all her attention on your lycra-clad body. Either way there`s something dangerously unhealthy about your current relationship set-up.
And surely there`s something dangerously unhealthy about running in tights? It must at least impact on your fertility. Not to mention the heat rash, chaffing, and overheating possibilities.
One thing`s for sure, you`re giving me every incentive to pass you out on the track, because looking at your lycra clad posterior is not my idea of fun.
Oh, and here comes your much cooler brother….
I met him-or at least his likeness-on the trail just a couple of months ago. Before the heatwave. In fact it was a decidedly chilly May morning. But there he was,in shorts and runners, waxed chest, heart monitor strap, and six pack, all revealed to the world
To add to the effect, Mr Body Beautiful had two black Labradors on leads. And somehow, man and dogs were all managing to keep pace with each other, striding sleekly along the trail. Oh, it made him seem all the more macho and virile and desirable. In his eyes, maybe.
But to me, it all looked a tad too vain.
Now, here`s a man I have time for
Well, no, not the daft Borat stuff. Just the mankini.
Oh, I know they`re awful things but that’s just the point.
Last summer, I swear Mankini Man got me through two long runs. I caught a glimpse of him at a ten miler. He passed me out at around eight miles and I swear I ran faster in the vain hope of catching up with him.
I mean anyone who`s brave enough to wear one of those things has to be FUN. They certainly haven`t a shred of vanity. And chances are they`re doing it for charity too. So three cheers for them.
And Mankini Man made my first half marathon. There we runners were, slogging it out through the last couple of miles, when Mankini Man doubled back and ran all along the edge of the running pack to urge us on. Oh! it was just too funny for my suffering self. This was no trim tanned Borat after all. This was a slightly out of shape, very hairy, blue-white Irish man running full speed in the opposite direction clad in that ridiculous lime-green garb.
A lot of running can be tedious. Miles and miles of dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum. Throw in sweat, pain and tears along the way and your average runner is only dying for a distraction from it all.
Which is why we welcome any ridiculous sight with infantile glee.
You won`t mind that if you`re Mankini Man. You know, in every sense of the phrase, exactly what you`ve got yourself into. You`ll be pretty much oblivious to the sniggers if you`re Mr Gorgeous. But Mr Tights, c`mon. You don`t need that kind of bashing.
Robin Hood could pull off the look.
So could the Tudors.
So, history once again comes to the rescue and tells us, it can be done: there is a way for you to wear those tights.
No need to run with a quiver on your back, though. Or to don a doublet and ruffled collar.
Just get yourself a little extra coverage where it matters.
Wear a longer tee well below, shall we say, hip level. Better still, don a pair of running shorts to break the whole silhouette effect. That way, you can wear any running tights, in any colour, as long as they`re black.
And, before you head out to shock the general populace, ask Mrs Tights, or someone who loves you,
“Do I look ridiculous in this?”
Look at your pal square in the eye when you ask this. That is really important. You`re watching for the slightest hesitation, the hint of a smirk, the faintest of stammers on the word “No.”
Your partner may, indeed, have ulterior motives. Or they may care so damn deeply for you, they can`t burst your bubble. So watch for the response. It`s all down to you after that. You`ll have to decide then, whether you can pull off the look.
Or if it`s time to pull off the tights.