08 January 2009

Secret Weapon: The Ponytail Bomb

Hooray, the sun has finally come out! The weather here has been on the ass end of suck, treating us to a kaleidoscopic array of cold, damp, grey and rain. Put it together however you like, it all sucked. I don’t mind cold so much, but cold, damp and gray just knocks the stuffing out of me. Today, however, it is cold, breezy and SUNNY: not perfect, but invitation enough to leave the cell, er, the house and pay a visit to the park at my favorite local lake. I dig these mini-vacations, even though it is winter. The outdoor forays I am privileged to take offer ample opportunity to observe the flora and fauna hereabouts. After hours and hours of staring at a computer screen, the walls and my own navel (just kidding about the navel), even bare trees and brown leaves are a tonic for the eyeballs. For the mind, as well. I took leave of my “home office” (read: dining room table, with computer) and hightailed my moderately out-of-shape self over to the lake for some fresh air and exercise, bird watching and leaf peeping. A short drive later and I was there.

Normally I take my iPod and headphones with me, for a little musical accompaniment. Today I decided to forgo the hardware and give the old ‘drums a rest. I have been listening to music almost non-stop since I got laid off, and this way I could listen to the geese and ducks and the wind instead of man-made noise. Lovely sounds all, and no fiddling with the cords and volume. No earphones also meant I could hear bikers and joggers when they were coming up behind me. I have only been startled to the point of embarrassment once (sorry, lady with the small child and big wheel stroller!) but today I wanted to be more careful than usual.

I have taken a lot of walks around the lake in recent weeks. I have noticed that after enough practice, it is very often possible for me to accurately guess the gender of joggers and runners from the sound behind me before I actually see them. Not perfect, mind you, but often enough to be amusing. So it was today on my walk. As I approached a particularly curvy, uphill portion of the path, I heard someone jogging up the path behind me. I guessed it was a female. When the person passed me, some things jumped out at me:

1) The jogger was indeed a woman. So my guess was right.
2) The woman had a very shapely physique. When you can tell under the layers of winter jacket (but with tights), it has to be good.
3) She was wearing a baseball cap, with a ponytail threaded through the loop.
4) The ponytail, and presumably the rest of her hair, was a deep reddish coppery hue.

I promptly forgot what I was doing and wandered off into the grass beside the path, nearly braining myself on a low hanging branch. I am sure it looked quite funny from a distance.

Now, I have no bias against short and medium length hair; some of the most beautiful women in the world (The Spouse, Halle Berry, etc.) have it, and I can dig it. But there is something about a well-shaped ponytail that just knocks the pins (and maybe the sense) out from under me. When combined with the coppery red (oh, lawd) and the ‘through-the-loop’ arrangement (duuuhhh, ohmygod, huuuhhh) well, you might as well just smack me with a billy club and toss me in the trunk. Yeah, I may have a problem.

It’s possible that this woman was really not all that and a bag of chips. As I never got the front view (she was jogging away, and I was walking. Jog? Uh, you mean me?) and the line of sight rendered that impossible, it could have been a case of ‘dreamboat body and shipwreck face!’. The glimpse I did get implied otherwise, though. But that was really beside the point. What really gets me is the overall look of it, and I am not really sure why. On one level, it is a simple case of attractive woman in my line of sight, a fairly standard condition amongst many of the males on the face of the earth. On other levels, though…I just…its…what? Maybe it’s the curviness of it all. Soft, feminine, rounded, these are all tropes that I key on. Maybe it is the motion of the ponytail. It reminds me of the ocean. And jaguars. And belly dancers. And horses. I mentioned that last one to a female acquaintance of mine some years ago, and she was mildly offended, leaving me to explain and defend myself. I didn’t do a very good job, at least in the sense of convincing her that I wasn’t saying that women with ponytails looked like horses, or were horses. And I was in no way implying that women were animals. It took me a while to dig myself out of that hole, I can tell you.

I believe I have it figured out now, at least in part. I think it befuddles and fascinates me because of the sum total of all those impressions: the femininity, the curviness, the association with oceans and jaguars and horses running. To my mind they are all exemplars of the beauty and the overwhelming mystery of Nature, and I cannot help but be impressed. I want to be a part of, submerge myself in this mystery. It makes me want to give thanks that I am allowed to experience all this beauty that is so good for my psyche.

So if you are a woman with a ponytail out for a jog in the park, and you see some goofball veering off the path and into the trees, don’t be alarmed or take offense. That will probably be me, out for a walk and communing with the Universe.


  1. I love a man who loves women. There's nothing to apologize for there. And since I'm a curvy woman, it's even nicer to hear when men appreciate curves. So there you go -- you are appreciated!

  2. If you see a clodding out of shape woman with redish brown hair running out of breath, bending over and having a heart attack, it might be me. hehehe

  3. Makes me want to grow out my hair and dye it red.

    I'm so happy to read appreciation of the female form (especially when exercising) from a man.

  4. Beautiful...I look like more of a cyclone than an ocean wave : ) but I still appreciate your apprecition of us women

  5. tits.

    word verification: soissent
    defined as the overly saucy nature that a woman exudes while swinging her ponytail.

    the end.

  6. Ditto to Mama Dawg. Appreciation is always appreciated ;)

  7. So, you like tall, good runners, and ponytails. Sounds like you have a bestiality horse fetish. Not that I'm judging.

  8. I love going for nature walks too. :D

  9. Side note - if you haven't already done so. Time to read "Walden" again.

    As for this post. I have never heard of a man going ga-ga over a pony-tail. You march to that drum. You danced around thinking she might be a "butter face" pretty artfully I will say. haha

  10. Hey Kat,
    How's about me and you suit up and go run circles around him and see if we can cause him to pass out?
    Red hair - check
    Ponytail - check
    Baseball cap - check
    Shapely physique - Uhmmm
    3 outta 4 aint bad I guess
    And if I hear you say "must be an elephant jogging behind me", be warned! I have a deadly ponytail swing!! It'll put an eye out!!

  11. I have your answer Gumby. I happen to be a curvy female with a pony tail (Chestnut colored though.)
    Mr. Cheeks also digs the hair. I asked him why once. He said it goes back to man's earliest ancestors. You know, when men lurked in the cave. They used to pull their women around by the hair...especially when..um...mating (also usually enhanced by loud grunting.) You just happen to be in touch with your inner 'Caveman'.
    You Beast! :)

  12. I think Major Nelson was only into Jeannie for her ponytail too.

  13. I will join you aboard the good ship Ponytail, if you'll have me sir. The ball cap + ponytail combination is just... yes please.

    Also: taking a break from the iPod when going for walks is really lovely and I should do that more often.

  14. Comedy Goddess: Well he wasn't into her for her belly button, because he never got to see that!

  15. Totally not cutting my hair. RedSox cap ok?
    Fun post, Gumbo.

  16. I'm not likely to bump into you that way but the visual was hilarious :)

  17. To all: I think a lot of it has is rooted in the days when the Kate Moss ‘heroin girl’ look seemed to be all the rage, that just never did it for me. So when Laetitia Casta (http://www.chickipedia.com/laetitia-casta/)
    became the ‘it’ girl, Oh happy day! ‘Victoria’s Secret Catalogue Day’ in the Gumbo house was almost a day of worship. With the full knowledge and bemused acceptance of The Spouse, of course. That said, on to the comments:

    24@Heart: Squeee! I mean, Why thank you so much, ma’am!

    Kat: Out of shape woman, running out of breath? If you hadn’t told me that, I wouldn’t have guessed :)

    MD: And I bet you would look smashing !

    Sarah: Cyclones have their beauty, my dear…especially if one is a stormchaser ;)

    MIW: Jeez, would ya stop distracting me with those? Well, not stop, but a little less? ;) I would also like a copy of your dictionary, there are some new words I want to learn.

    Michelle: I wish I had realized that much earlier in life. But better now than never!

    Grant: Wha? They told me those records had been expunged . Damn…

    Goodfather: Ah, Nature, she’s so nice, really, really nice…

    PPR: I believe you are right. I have a copy of that in the stack next to my nightstand. There’s a lot about the “aesthetic” that hits the ga-ga button. That story I mentioned over at the Room? It is a core theme.

    Chris: Pass out? OMG, I would probably burst into flames!

    Sweet Cheeks: Yes, but a well-mannered caveman, I hope. And chestnut? Yeah, that’s cool!

    CG: If I may digress, I refer you back to my “Goddess Belly” post, op. cit. for supporting data.

    Marc: Testimony out there, brother! I have a witness! (and I can recommend walks “unplugged”, too).

    Wild Child: Actually, I did…but a gentleman never tells, does he? ;)

    OAM: I’m honored! Red Sox cap, very okay! One of my favorite songs lately has been “Tessie” by Dropkick Murphys :)

    Braja: One of the few times in my life where I wish I was on video. But if I ever get to West Bengal…

    Janie: Thank you, and I hope you are feeling better, yes?

  18. I'm staying out of your park. More for your own sake than mine. I've got a ponytail of loose curls that hangs to my lower back. And if I caught you peeping at me like that... well... let's just say I carry mace and a pretty mean right uppercut.

    Another great post! I laughed out loud a couple times.

  19. To bad my ponytails end up looking more like a knotty frizzed up mess haha!

  20. I think it may have started as a cheerleader thing.
    Look into yourself, my son.

  21. Being neither female not having enough hair to assemble a guinea pig's tail I reckon I am safe in your park. But I would like to watch. From a discrete distance, of course.

  22. wait, where's that dang ponytail? I KNOW i put it here somewhere. Did the dog get it????

  23. Diane: Ponytail, carries mace, AND can slug it out…’dream date’, perhaps? ;) (peeping? Madam, why I never! I mean, she was right in front of me, and, well, I did avert my eyes…eventually :) Thank you!

    IAG: Practice, practice. The fact that you try it is appreciated :)
    Pearl: You mean in a ‘high school crush’ way, and not in a ‘Charlie Sheen/Heidi Fleiss’ way, right? (grins). There was that one cheerleader, way back, I recall her name was Terri (sigh)…

    Lee: I recommend the safe distance, once I’m distracted who knows what or who I’ll crash into.

    VM: With a martini glass like yours, who needs a ponytail? ;)

  24. I wear my hair in a ponytail all the time ... long long hair .. too bad I'm not a redhead, I's just a brunette :p

    I left ya a little somethin on my blog, by the way ;)

  25. Hmmm...the man likes ponytails.

    So, how are you affected by poodle skirts?

    Have I mentioned that my home office is a laptop on the dining room table? Here, have some Scotch - it'll help you recover from beaning yourself while contemplating ponytails during nature walks.

  26. I have so much to say here and so little space.. *sigh*

    Suffice it to say I felt a small twinge of regret over cutting off my long red hair and dying it black last spring.. but it was just necessary at that season in my life. I needed.. change.

    And a small part of me is glad I did after reading this.. but that's because.. I have issues. ;) Still, I am at ease with you, it's obvious that your attraction is simply innocent appreciation. And *that* is beautiful.

  27. Ponytails are convenient for holding on to (or so mah Honey says)... sorry, the song I was just listening to did me in ;)

    Never apologize for your love of all things feminine.

  28. Ok, so my hair is short even though it has a touch of red to it..
    Back when my hair was long..hmmm..I never did look good in a cap let alone with a ponytail sticking out the back..

    But I must say, I have had quite a few compliments about the "twins" when working out at the gym! LOL

    Love this IG!!

  29. I love that game.. when people are running by or from a distance in a long coat I am trying to sort out the gender from the mannerisms or shape.. haha. It's silly but it is fun. I have been in a car with a buddy and saw a bent over figure - calling"nice ass" and it indeed was a man.. with apparently a shapely backside. Hilarious.

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    humanus augmentis It is a new blog for tech-gadget fans and the like... I have re·[frac]·tion the photo blog at and as always.. see you back over at
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  30. Mmm...I am so with you on the ponytail... and coppery red hair. There's nothing wrong with avid appreciation.

  31. DC: Madam, I never let one ‘like’ get in the way of another. Brunettes, they aiight! On my way!

    Jan: Poodle skirts! OMG, there was a girl in my class in high school, she occasionally wore those or something like it. She made me nervous…And thank you for the wee dram *gulp* ahh, all better…

    CPM: I have long been able to appreciate deeply without the need to possess, a trait that set me apart (it seems) from a lot of the typical guys I grew up with (no judgment on them). And by all means, you do what works for you; you have to. *blush* Thank you.

    Anndi: Was that the Led Zeppelin song you posted? (grin) I am finally coming to terms with not having to apologize, and it feels pretty good.

    BEW: You aiight! And you didn’t tell me you had twins? Awesome! What are their names? (double grin) Thank you!

    Jiggins: It is a pleasant way to pass the time. It has been a long time since I made the wrong call, though…whew!

    Heinous: We could get together with Marc (see above), I sense fan club!

  32. I think I might have to take up jogging if it will help me to acquire a new set of stalkers. Er, maybe not. That would require too much energy.

    I like that you like real chicks.

  33. yup, crying here too. At first I thought oh my God, something happened to your wife and it was a horrible ending. Thank God. It was beautiful. Just beautiful. the Irish, best storytellers around

  34. truth be told, i believe a good ponytail is the result of good works in the world. well, maybe anyway. i actually happen to have this whole ponytail theme going on in my blog. here was the first one: http://katydidnot.blogspot.com/2008/03/early-dividend-paid-on-my-benevolent.html

  35. Casey: Depends on the type of stalker. Actually, I think of myself as an awestruck observer, not a stalker. I wouldn't stalk you. I mean, unless you wanted me to :)

    Katydidnot: (!)...uuuhhh...hahh...(wiping drool off chin)...madam, that may be one of the most magnificent ponytails I have ever seen. Thank you for that.

    Would you go out with me? ;)


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...