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  1. #21
    Registered User Capt Nat's Avatar
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    I had never thought about it till I read this post but, now I realize that has been the way I and most men have always acted when the fairer sex is around. And, I remember some men who didn't follow this code and everyone in camp considered these guys creepy pieces of dungue. Women are special and my behavior and language will always reflect that. I hope this doesn't make me a dinosaur...

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    How about just The Golden Rule and leave the sexism out of it.
    ya mean the one about treating each other with respect? yeah, that do er too.

  3. #23
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    I gota agree with Bill on this one. I do my best to treat everyone with equal respect. I have seen the swarms of mostly young guys in the bubble, when there is a female hiker or two in the area and how uncomfortable it can be for some females. Then again, I have seen the girls eat it up, and that is ok too. I'm just an old fart out for a long walk. If you need something, I will help you out as much as I can, It doesn't matter to me who or what you are. If you would rather just nod on your way by, I'm good with that as well.

    It's just the way I live MY life.

  4. #24
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    I'm a section hiker, but whenever I run into a female thru hiker she is usually surrounded by a group of men, with good intentions, who she feels comfortable with.

    I think it's important to always be self aware especially on the trail. You never want your actions to cause someone else to feel uncomfortable. There is a greater sense of vulnerability when your in the woods with strangers. Female backpackers are generally strong independent women who don't need men to "look after them" however, I do think people in general need to be sensitive and aware of their surroundings. If you can see a women is being made to feel uncomfortable by some creeper, then of course you should find a way to intervene.
    But I'll stress again, we all have a responsibility to not make anyone, male or female, feel uncomfortable by our actions.


    Sierra - I completely agree about physical boundaries. It's simply disrespectful. I have managed a lot of people in my life and the # of complaints I've gotten from female employees complaining about male employees "playfully touching them" is astonishing to me! I'm sorry you were made to feel uncomfortable at work like that. I wonder what these guys mom's would think about their behavior?

  5. #25

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    JB, I've got to hand it to you...never have I witnessed someone spend so many words, putting something that goes without saying, so very well. Bravo!

  6. #26
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    Just Bill - You sure you're not a Southern Gentleman?

    Good rules to follow. 'Ditto' what tiquer said.

    Although I must admit, I didn't meet any women on the trail that I would consider my Aunt or Grandmother. Must have something to do with my age.

  7. #27
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Respect, courtesy, the golden rule; all good ways to live your life in any situation. Assisting your fellow traveler, regardless of gender, or just as important; not assisting them is good practice period. The trail is not town though, and I think we can all agree half the reason we go is because things are different in the woods. There’s always a little more to it.

    For all of us the woods are more magical, more romantic. We all find ourselves living with the open heart Hill Ape mentioned. As Rick shared, romance is alive and very real in the woods. As we open up and settle into the flow of nature it becomes easier and easier to believe that every encounter and unusual circumstance has been put there just for us, that each wonder is a gift. Sometimes the gift is real, sometimes it’s just the trail.

    Maybe this is just a younger gentleman’s rule, maybe as marriage and age brings wisdom we need the rule less and less. Maybe if we’re honest we no longer see ourselves as “eligible” so the issue is no longer at the forefront of our mind. Although if we pay attention, I think we’d agree that nearly every woman has a story like Sierra, and sexist or not, going a little out of our way to make a female know that problem stopped at the trailhead is worth the effort.

    For the lady, as for us all, the trail becomes home. Male and female alike we’ve all had that moment when walking along in our home and are shocked to find another human there. The surprise is no less than if we found a stranger in our kitchen in the middle of the night. We snap out of it, realize where we are, but for that moment we are vulnerable at the discovery of a stranger in our home. The simple reality is that women are still the minority, and the encounter has more layers to it than many of us feel comfortable admitting to. It’s not saying a woman is weak, it’s recognizing the strength needed to deal with things men don’t need to deal with and respecting those issues. The trail is a personal and intimate space that town is not, and a thoughtful gentleman comes to see things as equal but different.

    For the lady, encountering a fella on the trail is no more special than seeing another trail or rock. For the gentleman out and about encountering a woman is still something special, regardless of any attraction, women are a curiosity. This encounter is compounded by the open hearted nature of our travel and the feeling that each unusual encounter is meant just for us.

    While we aren’t all on the trail “finding ourselves” the bulk of those traveling are young folks doing just that, thoughts of not just finding ourselves, but finding someone to share ourselves with are common. Accepting what the trail gives you is part of the experience, but the gentleman’s rule is handy to combat that instinct; that wonder, romance and entitlement that this special encounter is a gift from the trail rather than just a fellow hiker passing by. It’s an easy trap for even the most polite and well-meaning of men to fall into, easy to confuse the wonder and buzz of the trail with the warm glow of attraction. It’s helped many a fella along the trail, and I’d like to think made many a lady feel more welcome along the way.

    It sounds like some of you know this rule, unwritten or not. It sounds like it still has a place on the trail. I look forward to the day when the female of the species is as common as the male, when an encounter with one is no more unusual than seeing a tree or a rock, although even when common it will likely be more like a waterfall or sunrise (beauty is still beauty). Has that time come? Probably not, until it does, I think the unwritten rule should be written so that the women who do visit continue to do so, continue to encourage others to come out, and help us gents one day toss the rule out the window.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    For the lady, encountering a fella on the trail is no more special than seeing another trail or rock. For the gentleman out and about encountering a woman is still something special, regardless of any attraction, women are a curiosity.
    Bill, I think I understand what you are saying, but I also think you're wrong in some ways in the way you perceive women. Women hikers aren't that much of an oddity on the trail, nor in too many other aspects of life anymore. A minority, yes, but not overwhelmingly, at least on New England trails.

    I'm not saying not to treat female hikers with normal human respect and common trail courtesy such as when changing, bathing, etc, but neither would I behave as if I was walking on eggshells around them (which, btw, can be creepy in itself) nor act in a patronizing fashion. Not touching and respecting other people's personal space just goes without saying.

    I would also hope that women hikers would consider me and other male hikers just a bit more special than a trail rock. I hike with my daughter and her female friends a lot, and trust me when I tell you this, "open to meeting a guy" women notice guys on the trail, just like guys notice women. That is human nature, and men don't have a monopoly on attraction.

    What's considerate/respectful? Following someone to the point of it being stalky like is creepy. But for example, when breaking camp in the morning and not hiking together, or leaving the trail and going separate ways, or separating for whatever reason, telling a woman that you enjoyed your conversation the night before at a shelter or a similar situation, and asking her out on a date would hardly be disrespectful or inappropriate. Boy meets girl on trail does happen, and there's no reason why it shouldn't.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    I am smiling, because yours was my way of thinking some 24 years ago when I first met my (now) wife at Ethan Pond Shelter.

    I knew from the start she was something special and we had a great deal in common, but as one who subscribed to your code, there was no way I was going to ask for her number. Just not right, I thought.

    Hiking out the next day, I began to think differently but the die was cast. My efforts to find Jen with the few clues I had led nowhere and I came to realize that code may not have served me well at all.

    Then I saw a Ford Festiva with a Middlesex Community College sticker on the window. The woman who I would almost certainly never see again had extolled the virtues of a small car (none smaller than a Festiva, right?) and said she was out for the long weekend prior to starting a new job teaching at a CC outside of Boston.

    I put put a business card on the car window with a short note asking if the car belonged to the White Mountain Hiker Scuba Diver.

    Ten minutes later came a knock on the door. Jen lived 1 floor up and 2 doors down in the same complex. It was rather easy to ask if she wanted to go for a walk.

    And the rest is history- but not so sure about codes. I got lucky. If it was luck.

    Yea, I love the Trail.
    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Rick, have you published this before, it sounds so very familiar to me, perhaps I read a similar story once.
    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    Yea. Like most people I like talking about myself and I am in reruns. I need a new story-- but definitely on a different topic!
    Yeah, maybe, but it's a really nice story.

  10. #30
    Registered User Sierra2015's Avatar
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    I dunno, Buzz. I kinda like this whole mystical creature belief Bill has going on.

    Because really... in my heart of hearts... I... am an unicorn in the forest.







    haha

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra2015 View Post
    I dunno, Buzz. I kinda like this whole mystical creature belief Bill has going on.

    Because really... in my heart of hearts... I... am an unicorn in the forest
    I'm glad you said it before I had to. lol

  12. #32
    Registered User Sierra2015's Avatar
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    Bill is super sweet. If he has a wife then she's a lucky woman.

    Bill! Your super sweetness is funny and strange in this jaded world:

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra2015 View Post
    I dunno, Buzz. I kinda like this whole mystical creature belief Bill has going on.
    No Doubt.

  14. #34
    Registered User hobbs's Avatar
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    I would have to agree with 4eyedbuzzard treat each other with respect and stepping on eggeshells isn't what its about...I know plenty of Female hikers that can hold their own and then some...
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by canoe:1851580
    Sexist? perhaps-
    .
    Yep. SO the woman can make a move on a man but a man cant make a move a woman. double standard..clearly

    Mutual Respect[/QUOTE]

    Pretty much. Overt moves by a woman are easily dismissed by a man that wouldn't be interested. Not so easily dismissed without concern the other way around if the "gentleman" comes off a little creepy. Men don't have that concern. If they do, they probably are a bit too dainty for long distance hiking

  16. #36
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Nothin worse than a Cad on the trail, I imagine they get figured out pretty quick though...who's on the hunt.

    ...trail name "Elmer Fud"
    Lana Turner once said "A gentleman is simply a patient wolf."
    what are you motives Bill ?

    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra2015 View Post
    Bill is super sweet. If he has a wife then she's a lucky woman.

    Bill! Your super sweetness is funny and strange in this jaded world:
    Sierra.. you and I are on the same page. I was impressed with JB right away for the same reasons. You gotta love the pigtails too. Welcome to the JB fan club!

    His wife is lucky to have such a sensitive guy. It's rather rare! I feel like I got lucky with my hubby too. He's awesome!

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiquer View Post
    I gota agree with Bill on this one. I do my best to treat everyone with equal respect. I have seen the swarms of mostly young guys in the bubble, when there is a female hiker or two in the area and how uncomfortable it can be for some females. Then again, I have seen the girls eat it up, and that is ok too. I'm just an old fart out for a long walk. If you need something, I will help you out as much as I can, It doesn't matter to me who or what you are. If you would rather just nod on your way by, I'm good with that as well.

    It's just the way I live MY life.
    You just described me as well....

  19. #39
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    you either know how to behave around women or you do not. my upbringing and the Marine Corps set me on the right path

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    How about just The Golden Rule and leave the sexism out of it.
    In this case, the OP suggests that it is proper for men to refrain from taking actions that could make women uncomfortable on the trail. I'm not sure how inaction could be perceived as sexist. Is a guy being sexist by refraining from making advances on a woman met on the trail thinking that the setting could possibly result in discomfort for the woman if the feelings are not mutual? It seems difficult to accept that the act of not taking action is somehow sexist.
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