Yay, says I. But first, some background.
Tim ran in shorts on Thursday night at WOG. That was one of our really, really cold nights. After that, he decided he was not going to run in shorts again in this kind of weather, so he visited the Running Shop for something warmer. He came home with a pair of tights, saying that that was all the Running Shop had in stock. (Guess he wasn't the only one who decided running in shorts with temperatures in the 20's was a bad idea.) Today he wore the tights to the group run on the Rillito River, which started at 7:00 with the thermometer at 28 degrees. Apparently he took some good-natured ribbing from the other guys present. (I missed out on this, as I was lagging behind everyone else feeling fat, slow, freezing, and cranky. Tim filled me in when he waited for me at the halfway point.) There was some discussion about men wearing tights after the run as well. Let me state for the record that I am unequivocally in favor of men wearing tights! Here's why.
First, the obvious: tights let us see everything without having to work at it! I'll be the first one to admit, I love, love, love looking at men wearing tights. I guarantee that if I'm running (or walking, or riding, or driving, or doing just about anything really), and a man in tights passes me going the opposite direction, my head WILL turn. I can't help it! I don't want to help it! Why shouldn't I look? I know everyone says that they exercise for health, but isn't the REAL reason we run just because if we run, we look hotter, which increases our chances of... well, you know? I know that's the real reason I run. (The main reason, anyway. It's also nice to be healthy, and to impress and/or annoy sedentary coworkers with marathon medals and other race paraphernalia ostentatiously displayed at my desk.) Running pants, baggy shorts, et cetera are okay, but they make it hard to see details. With tights, everything is just sort of out there, and we don't have to squint or, worse, imagine.
Second: if you're wearing tights, you're a real runner and I will know it just by looking at you, and will treat you accordingly. (Please note that I'm not saying if you don't wear tights, you're not a real runner. I know lots of people who run 5 times my weekly mileage or more and do not wear tights. To those people: you're obviously real runners, but PLEASE! Go get a pair of tights, before the cold weather goes away!) Recreational joggers wear sweats or Nike shorts from Sports Authority. Someone wearing tights instantly commands some respect.
Some men think that they shouldn't wear tights. I think this is because they are either: suspicious that tights are maybe, possibly, just a little bit gay, and wearing them could send the wrong message; or else they think that they are too skinny (or possibly too fat) to look good in them. Tights are not gay, let me dispel that objection right away and move on to the second objection -- that you don't look good in them because you are too skinny or maybe too fat. In the first case, there is really no such thing as too skinny. Runners are skinny! Look at the runners who win big races -- they are all skinny. Skinny is hot. Besides, you're not stringy/wimpy/puny skinny. You are cheetah-skinny, as in the fastest land mammal on earth. Sure, non-runners might think you're too skinny, but what do you care what non-runners think? Wear the tights! In the second case, you probably are not too fat if you run enough miles to know that people run in tights and that you might want some. Tights do a pretty amazing job of compacting any little bit of extra mass you might have, and making someone of average build look like a real athlete. (Still impressive, though not quite as impressive as the cheetah-skinny men I mentioned above.) Now, if you really ARE too fat -- like say you are just starting to run and haven't lost the 40 extra pounds yet -- then, yeah, you should probably wait just a little bit to wear tights. (If the Running Shop can't order them in your size because it doesn't exist in tights, that's a sign you should hold off on wearing them.) As Tim said to me today, "Spandex is a privilege, not a right." But take heart! If you run enough, you'll be fitting in tights in no time, and then, by all means, wear them!
Lastly, if you keep worrying about people looking at you if you wear tights, you're right that they're probably looking. I know I ALWAYS look. Hopefully I will always care enough to look, even when I'm 90; when I stop looking I might as well be dead. But so what if we're looking! We're looking because tights compel us to look! It's a compliment! Take it as one.