I run regularly at a local county park with a lot of trails in the foothills. I’ve noticed something about running there that changed in the last few years. When I was in my 20’s I was in good shape and when I passed an unaccompanied girl on the trails (okay, feminists, a “young woman”) she would sometimes make eye contact and smile at me or return mine. Sometimes she would initiate it, sometimes I would. I suppose I was a potential boyfriend candidate in their minds. By my 30’s, and lasting through my 60’s, they seldom made eye contact or acknowledged a wave, nod, or smile. I remained in good shape through those years, and I’m still very fit for someone in his 70’s. But that didn’t seem to matter. I’ve noticed that now that I’m there, pretty girls (I’m including quite a few 40- and 50-year old “girls” in that term, since one’s perspective does change with age) will once again often smile at me or at least acknowledge a wave or nod. They usually are passing me nowadays, but whatever.

Recently a very good-looking young woman named Elisha (phonetic) caught up to me from behind and started chatting when she drew alongside. She ran with me for almost a mile before splitting off a different direction. I could take this as a compliment since she was obviously a serious runner preparing for a race and probably took me for the same, since I was wearing my half-marathon T-shirt, but I could also take it as an unintended insult. I think she and other young women are now willing to make eye contact and smile because they no longer see me as a potential threat. I just look too old. My hair is almost totally white, and despite being slim and fit, my age is evident. I don’t blame them for ignoring me all those other times; there are a number of creeps out there and all the experts say to avoid eye contact with men, etc. I was just as harmless then as now, but they had no way to know that. Now I appear to be a #safe70. It makes me a bit rueful to be perceived that way, but on the other hand, I enjoy having a run and chat with a pretty girl from time to time, so I should consider myself fortunate, I suppose, because it can now happen again.

4 thoughts on “#Safe70

  1. David

    She is really an avid geocacher and knows that you solve D5 puzzles. She was hoping you’d stop to find one along the way and she could sign the log.

    Or maybe she’s an EMT and was concerned about you collapsing. Once you were in a more populated area, she figured someone else would spot you on the ground and she felt comfortable running at her own pace again.

    Or maybe she thought you were some rich guy and could be her sugar daddy,

    Lots of options to ponder.

  2. Russ Post author

    She had been running with her sister a bit behind me. I heard them talking, then the sister split off. Elisha told me about her mother who lived on or near Mora Drive and told me she and her sister checked on her regularly, which suggested the mother lived alone. Maybe she was trying to set me up with Mom. I wasn’t wearing my wedding ring. (I’ve lost weight and it falls off too easily). Or the EMT theory works, too.

  3. Russ Post author

    Yesterday a young (30-ish) Israeli woman came running up beside me. I’d heard her behind me for a quarter mile or so. When she got next to me she said hi and we chatted for a minute or so. She said she had trouble staying up with me — then proceeded to leave me in the dust.

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