Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
December 18th, 2000

Do I Look Like Barbie?

By Ol' Red, Aurora, Colorado

I've just been informed of something I would have found absolutely hideous to the point of requiring renting a hall, giving everyone who showed up access to the Internet and all postage machines I could find, and having a complete knock-down, drag out fight that would last the next ten years and leave 98% of the combatants on both sides stunned and speechless for the rest of eternity had I heard it ten years ago.

Luckily, I'm a little older, a little wiser, a little more balanced.

No. I'm still ticked. You can add "highly" to the front of that. Just when I think people are still no darned good, but there might be a few out there slowly but diligently heading up the evolutionary path, along comes proof positive that no matter how advanced these few individuals get, evolution has the same plan for them she did for all the other long-died out species we keep finding bits of buried far below the earth's crust: None whatsoever. It's like she's teasing us. "Hey! Lookie here! This is where you could be heading as a whole. But I thought it would be more fun to just make a whole slew of ad executives and people who think they know what you'll buy even though they'll never listen to a word you say and could care less that their every move humiliates you as an individual and only gives people who think less of you anyway more fuel for their misbegotten beliefs in your lowliness."

Thanks. Thanks a bunch. Now, please allow me to set you straight before you entrench yourself too firmly in very stupid beliefs about women, whether they're fly fishing or not.

This whole thing started when I heard that some time ago, some dim-witted company had put out (get this) "color coordinated fishingwear for women." Adding insult to injury, they apparently come in purple and pink. Were you insane or just really stupid? Who came up with this idea? Who drew these things on a plotting board? Which one of your corporate leaders was unlucky enough to not have his IV changed in time so that he became permanently and hideously impaired beyond all criteria? If you had to pick only one question you're willing to answer here, please make sure it's the one on how you could for one second believe a woman standing in a river fighting fish to the breaking point would want to do it looking like some lost, gigantic Easter leftover?

I know, I know. Some men out there are going to roll their eyes at me. I'm getting "emotional." Allow me to inquire of these men, and all men in general, how would you feel if you woke up one morning, went to buy a suit, and every store you normally shoped in was filled with new lines of suits designed by women executives who, based on false and misleading stereotyping of the male caste, designed everything to fit their ideas of what you would look good in and what your wife would buy for you. Without consulting YOU. Without showing the slightest regard at YOUR righteous indignation and clear, unsullied complaints?

You'd feel like we do. I guarantee it. We roll our eyes at this stuff too. We wonder, silently most of the time, aloud when a bunch of us are together, about what in the hell goes through people's minds sometimes. I wondered if they were planning a "seasonal" type of match-n-wear line, where colors coordinated, not with nature, but with whatever silly holidays fell and in what order. I'm not wondering that because I think it would be a great idea, I'm wondering how far these people will go to make us look so utterly childish and foolish and honestly believe they had their fingers on our "female pulses."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not blaming the guys here. Well, not exclusively. I'm blaming those incredibly stupid women who believe we'd fall for this garbage as well! Shame on you, and shame on your mothers for not imparting better standards to you! It's hard enough walking past moronically posed, completely malnutritioned, faceless, fleshless mannequins who are silently screaming, "this is what you should look like and what you should wear," but it's sheer atrocity when it's being designed, plotted and planned to nail you in your weak places by one of your own. I've got news for you, girlfriends. It ain't working! In fact, it's having the completely opposite effect. It's ticking us off unlike anything has in a very long while. And, amazingly enough, it's making our men mad too. They see through your cheap ploys and stupid toys like they see a river bottom through a clear stream. You're not fooling anyone anymore.

We are raising our daughters and our sons to see us as human. Lumps, bumps, bruises and baggy things all included. We are raising our sons and daughters to laugh at you -- long and hard for trying to fit them into the mold you used to use on us when we were younger. When we didn't have a fully-formed backbone. When we never spent all day trying to catch a fish for fun and it turned dark and we suddenly realized someone left the cooler at home with all the food and we had to seriously catch a fish, gut it, find wood, start a fire and spit that beautiful creature over it so we wouldn't have to go hungry until we could pull camp the next morning.

You see, you've got us all wrong, and you don't care. You make it a point to laugh off our protestations, figuring we'll eventually shut up. So this isn't for you. This is for anyone, man, woman or whoever who sometimes wonders, "Am I the only one who sees how stupid this is?" You aren't alone, bud. Yes, women do wonder about what they're wearing on the river. In the same way you guys do. Let's drop the male/female thing here for a second and talk like people who hunt the mighty trout. Or any other fish, for that matter. Trout are sight hunters, right? Lots of fish are, right? So you want a shirt that doesn't clash against the sky and make you stand out, right? You want pants and/or waders that don't look like candy canes abruptly stuck into a river. Brown, green, dark blue or anything along those lines are fine, right? You know, the same colors used to make men's waders and clothing the same colors that fit into the scenery . . . the colors that are somehow exclusive to the male fishermen because the women are ooh-ing and aaah-ing over the new Spring Pastel Floral Fields collections of fishing clothing and gear?

Thought of that way, it's just danged silly, ain't it? Yeah. I thought so too. We all have a thing in common here. We have all stood in a river or by a river and seen, actually seen a fish floating there, staring up at us, wagging its tail and smiling. Actually, physically smiling at us! Because he or she knows we're there. They can see us, plain and clear no matter what we're wearing. So, we know something, us and those fish. Even at it's most sincere, even when it's a matter of wills clashing and someone being victorious and someone losing, if only for a little while, it isn't what you've been wearing all day that brought you both to this challenge. It isn't whether your skin is brown and mottled or multi-colored and shiny. It's the little, tiny thing left when you've stripped away all the gear and clothes and clatter-trap and skin and bone that answers why you're both here, at this time, this place, hopefully with other ill-garbed heathens like yourselves and fishy friends of all hues. And no matter what name you give it, no matter what size you think it is, you know all the colors of it. And it don't match a dang thing. But it does make all the colors around you come together and, maybe they seem just a little brighter, deeper, sweeter. ~ Ol' Red

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