Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Babes, Bitches, and Ol' Ladies

When I was a teenager in the late 60's, my boyfriend affectionately called me his "Ol' Lady", and he was my "Ol' Man". We thought it was cute and signified possessiveness or ownership of one another. The bikers we knew called their women "Ol' Ladies" too, so it was "cool". You never called another woman a bitch, unless you wanted to get into a cat fight. But plenty of things were very "bitchen", which was another word for cool (and one my parents absolutely hated).

My mother laughed at us and thought were just silly teenagers, calling each other "old". At the time I had no concept of what it like to be old, so I, of course, scoffed at her remarks. No one since then has ever called me "Ol Lady", for whatever reason. And now that I'm old-er, I'm not sure I want to be called that.

Now, I'd say I could be called a "bitch" on occasion. I suppose most women could. I can't blame it on PMS anymore at my age, but I still have my moments. I never did figure out what the male equivalent was for men when they have "PMS" moments; bitchy works.


Bitch is not a female word necessarily, though it is derived from the female of the canine species. I have three dogs, one of which is a bitch. The two males are called simply, dogs. But if I were to vehemently say to a man, "You dog!", it wouldn't have the same connotations as calling another woman a bitch. That could start a war. And we won't even go into the cruder words that have no place except perhaps behind closed doors.

"Broad" is another term reserved for women, although not so much these days. Back in the WWI and WWII eras, it was a common term for a woman of lesser "class", with Sinatra and Bogart making it acceptable, or cool. It's a word I don't particularly like for myself. It brings a coarseness to mind and I don't like to think of myself that way.

A "Babe", on the other hand, signifies the young and beautiful, much like the term "fox", also a 60's and 70's term. I don't see myself as that either. Perhaps when I was much younger. But I haven't been called either of those in many years (except by my SO, who is biased anyway).

A "Diva" also has the same flavor as "Babe". Same thing but different.

The really scary part of all this narrative? When I started looking up current slang words, none of these are listed. Some are in a modified form; such as "babelicious" defined as a "hot chick", and "divalicious" defined as "larger than life bitch diva" (go figure that one out!). Bitchen, Fox and Broad are not listed. I already knew Ol' Lady wouldn't be there.

Riding a motorcycle, however, has brought some of these terms back to life, especially being a woman rider. Recently, a computer repair technician came to my house to repair one of my laptops. When I brought him into the house through the garage, he noted my motorcycle parked there.

"I see you're a member of the Chrome Divas", he said, pointing at my license plate frame. "I guess that makes you a bad-ass biker babe?"

"Nope, I'm just a bad-ass mother who rides, and who also happens to be a member of the Chrome Divas", I replied.

I guess I took exception to his forwardness. After all, he was making an assumption based on my gender, and that I ride a motorcycle. I certainly didn't "look" that way, as I was still wearing the sweatpants and baggy T-shirt I wear around the house when I'm working.

I am a bad-ass mother though. I take my job of being a mother very seriously. But riding a motorcycle didn't make me a bad-ass mother. Being a mother did.

I don't consider myself a "Biker Babe" either. Biker Babes are those pretty girls who wear bikinis and pose on big motorcycles like it might give them an orgasm or something. They have more brains in their tits than their heads. Don't get me wrong - I've seen some drop-dead gorgeous women who ride, but they don't pose half nude on their bikes, and can carry on a normal conversation with someone else.

And "Biker Bitch"? Don't even go there. That's a term non-riders give to women who ride. And what I've been called, after striding into a store in my leather chaps, jacket, and jack boots, by whispering patrons who think I can't hear them.

Which brings us to the phrase "riding bitch", or more politely, riding pillion behind someone, something most of us women who ride our own machines avoid like the plague. Unless you're out for a leisurely ride on a comfy dresser, with your legs wrapped around the man in front of you because you do that all the time anyway, "riding bitch" is something you don't do by choice when you own and ride your own machine.

Take for instance, a good friend of mine was recently out late and had too much to drink (name withheld to protect the innocent). Her friends wouldn't let her drive her cage home. A friend was going to take her to pick up her cage the next day but had car trouble, so her friend's husband picked her up on his motorcycle to give her a ride. Not her choice, and I am sure she hid her face all the way across town, and prayed they didn't pull up next to anyone they knew.

I mentioned I might author a blog about "riding bitch" and tell her "story". All in good fun for sure, but I know the thought of having it known she rode "bitch", and on a Honda no less (she rides a HD), was absolutely mortifying. Needless to say, it might happen to me one day, but I surely won't admit it here.

It has long been a stigma that women who ride their own machines "must" be more masculine than feminine, or lesbian, or ugly. And the truth is, women from all walks of life, young and old, straight and gay, tall and short, ride for the same reasons other bikers ride. It doesn't make us Babes or Bitches, or Ol' Ladies. It makes us Bikers. There is no part of the anatomy that makes it easier for men to ride any better than women. It stands to reason that women would want to ride too. Other than the non-riding population, I think most Bikers can see this plain fact.

When I come home, and peel off my chaps and boots, I'm still the same "bad-ass" mother I was before I rode out that morning. And I say "bad-ass" with tongue in cheek, since I'm just like most moms. I work, I pay bills, I clean house, and I worry about my children. Maybe bad-ass means I'm independent and self-sufficient? I like to think so.

Am I a "bad-ass biker bitch"? Well, perhaps not all at the same time, but ya, I suppose I am, if that means I ride my own machine (biker), ride with confidence and self-sufficiency (bad-ass), and have the predisposition to bitch out cagers who try to violate my right of way (bitch). Otherwise I'm just your regular kinda mom, who happens to ride her own motorcycle.

I am woman (babe, bitch, ol' lady, all rolled into one), hear me roar. Lead, follow, or get outa my way, cuz I'll be out riding my bad-ass bitchen Harley......
but I'll be home in time to make dinner.

Man or woman, ride safe, ride free.

2 comments:

Shirley Vandever said...

A great piece of writing ! Really made me smil.

I "ride bitch", but know plenty of bad-ass biker babes who ride their own, and I'll be sure to send this on.

GirlGeek

Sam said...

LOL! Thanks! I rode "bitch" for 4 long years after breaking my ankle in a very bad way (not on my bike). I learned to love the "comfy" aspect and became quite spoiled. I still ride bitch on occasion too, but it has to do with how much I love my man, and is a "closeness" thing. But I must confess to being extremely picky about who I ride bitch with and on what *BG*