Thursday, March 25, 2010

Flyering for the league is weird when you have a penis.

The new bout poster is out, and I'm pleased as punch that Dreadnought and Splitter Noggin are the featured skaters for this one. The former is my missus, the latter is the captain of the team I served faithfully for two seasons. So proud am I, that I have flyered a couple of salons, my gym, and other store fronts.

Dreadnought's tiara cannot be seen through the contrast. 

Flyering for roller derby is pretty easy now that I announce, but I absolutely hated flyering with street teams when Dread started playing. Why would I feel uncomfortable? It's simple, really. It's an all-woman league, passing out flyers on roller skates.  As they were skaters, they could at least say things like, "I'm skating in this one, you should go," or "come watch me skate!" What could I say? 

Stuff like:
"You gotta see this, man." 
"It's amazing, you should go."
"You look like someone who would love this, and you don't look like a rapist..."

I was often taken aback by the weird comments random men on the street would whisper to me about the ladies as we shilled for the bouts. A few close-calls almost ended with me in fist-fights with guys who, if they had written online what they said to me about these ladies, would have had them dealing with an entirely different master of ceremonies.

Why don't you have a seat?

In some ways, I understood why some of these men thought it would be okay to talk to me, rather than the skaters. I don't have the parts they're ogling, and I'm around those lady-parts...therefore, I might actually be thinking what they were thinking. Perhaps I was the gatekeeper. A St. Peter of womanly delights. Alas, no.

Just being a widow meant that my promotion had to come about more organically and less public. I emailed my friends and families, I put up posters at work, and I networked within the sphere of people I knew wouldn't have to register with each city they moved into. Dressed as Drago, I was able to make a more public show of selling our games, yet you would be surprised how few people want to talk to man in a chimp suit in the middle of Harvard Square. 
Even with my announcing job, I still don't flyer on the street. Rather, I bring up bouts casually with people I am talking to and give them the information they need in order to get them to buy tickets. So my advice to widows going  out with their skaters to flyer: Don't do it. Stand slightly apart, hold bags, and watch for creeps. If you're a pacifist, or you would use your lady as a shield, have your cell phone ready to call the coppers or to take pictures of the nasty dudes. Avoid any awkward conversations while handing out leaflets; you can promote derby bouts it your own way on your own time. 
 Or don't. You're free to do what you want.

-Pelvis Costello


  1. Hearty Break-FistMay 11, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    I’m just reading this now. Somewhere I developed this fantasy, even contrary to first-hand experience, that everyone who casts an eye upon roller derby does so with equitable, respectful recognition of each woman as the hard-training, league-operating athlete that she is. (As this is a fantasy, I am allowed to end sentences with state-of-being verbs). While I’m sad to read that my dream-scenario isn’t really the case, this post also warms the heart(y). You are a prince amongst men and derby widows of all gender, Pelvis!
    PS. erhm, sorry to see you got the plague at our bout! hope it has long since passed.

  2. Hearty Break-FistMay 11, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    o, and thanks for the post in defense of BDD security, too. :)