I’ve started running home from the office.
It’s about 15km from a client’s building northwest of central London to my house in the southeast, and thanks to the number of stops my crowded Tube makes, running home isn’t that much slower than commuting, although it’s obviously harder to carry your briefcase. It’s a fun urban route through crowded West End streets, across a Thames bridge, and taking in a lot of the South Bank. But there’s one problem when you wear skintight running gear… what to do with one’s male equipment.
It’s all about context, really. Got called into a short meeting at 6.40pm – just after changing into my running gear. Drifit T and calf-length tights that cleave to every contour, and a couple of velcro arm pockets for phone and keys; I look like a transvestite Lara Croft, but it’s ultra-efficient. But at the office, everyone’s attention is drawn to your groin, so the issue is with minimising it – covering your crotch unobtrusively, pulling at the lycra to make the bulge less obvious, that sort of thing. I mean, displaying your physical assets should only go so far in the modern workplace.
Once outside, though, the dynamic changes completely. On a cold-ish evening and with lots of strangers around, the main task becomes MAXimisation – plumping up the area for maximum effect; wish I’d brought a spare sock along, except that creates problems of its own. I mean, there were about 2000 people milling around Tot Ct Rd waiting for a Pearl Jam concert last night – and EVERYONE glances at your crotch.
It’s not that I’m hugely sensitive about prancing around London streets in something resembling a bodystocking; I do Triathlon after all, and people who run in their swimsuits and ride bikes while soaking wet tend to have a high embarrasment threshold. But the basic contextual issue remains – when your route includes both the unwritten rules of the workplace and the free-for-all parade of the Street, how exactly do you treat your package?
Conversely, the best bet is probably to ask some female pals. After all, their equivalent problem (boobs) is much more widespread, and they know far better how to deal with it.