The dichotomy of both loving and hating the biker lifestyle
Motorcyclists see things differently. They move with passion, driven to experience the full flesh and flavor of life. Edgy, spirited, self-reliant, willing to hurl their bodies through the air at breakneck speeds, there is something at once fascinating and repelling about them. This makes us both attractive and scary.
Preconceptions about motorcyclists swirl though the head of every citizen who crosses their curious path. Tinged with Hollywood images of reckless lawbreakers and life takers, bikers are an essential yet often misunderstood part of our folklore. In a country formed by rebellion and settled through aggression, the wild rebel is both feared and admired. It’s the American way.
The author striking the quintessential biker pose.
But where does this leave us in the real world? In the garbled line between who we are and who people think we are, it can become difficult to even understand our own identity. As far as I know no motorcycle magazine, or likely any magazine, has taken a look at this issue. How do bikers relate to other people when so many stereotypes stand in the way?
Not only can non-bikers come to quick and false conclusions upon first impression, but enthusiasts themselves can trip over egos wrapped up in leather and bike culture. So, is who we are who we portray ourselves to be? If you’re not entirely sure yourself, then just think how confusing this all can be to potential mates.
Did she fall for the roaming rogue, the “Easyrider” persona? Did she stick around for it?
Biker matches come with their own set of unique challenges. Consider what attracted your significant other to you in the first place. Does your other live the life gladly, or were they attracted to its raw and savage sex appeal like a moth to a flame, burning in agony when touched by the hedonistic excesses of our daily life?
Have they embraced the weary days in the saddle, the bone-cracking cold, the scorching heat, the drinking, cussing, wild partying and crazy boogie woogie dancing? Or do they shrink away, defiled and disgusted by the blasphemous music and feel of animal skin on their naked bosom?
Marlon Brando, “The Wild One” 1954. He singlehandedly set the stereotype, so long ago.
According to clinical psychologist Natalie Low, Ph.D., “The facts of life are very grinding, so the reality of marriage is grinding.” Some relationships grate like one big endless bad gearshift, but I asked my resident social advisor and guru, Madame Lorraine, to shed some light on this most complex and dark mystery.
“Oh, that’s an easy question, just ask any teenage girl (which I’m afraid to admit still tries to live inside most of we middle-agers). It’s that bad boy thing you guys have going for you. Bad boys are great fun when all we are looking for is fun. Unfortunately, things get serious, biology hits and that survival of the fittest thing gets switched on in our heads. It’s a sneaky subtle thing that we don’t even know has been activated until we hear ourselves arguing about the very things that we once thought were a good time. It’s a bummer for us, too. You try waking up and discovering you’ve turned into your worst nightmare—your own mother! Or you change into the very opposite of her, which does us no good either because we’ve still become the house mom!”
“I think it has to do with the social illusion that future generations depend on we girls to help them continue on,” Madame continues. “Hmm, must have hit a sore spot. Didn’t know I had all of that stored up! Anyway, I’m not sure how much of that change we women go through is hard-wired or cultural—you know, when we think the fun has to stop and the business of ‘living responsibly’ begins. I’m also not sure if it’s the maternal instinct (yes, we have a maternal instinct toward you bad boys!) that blooms or the cultural beliefs about what a good mother is.”
Can we “Ride Life” and live responsibly too? Photo by Harley-Davidson.
My melon was maternally twisted. Confused and scared, I asked Madame Lorraine what the hell she was talking about. She was happy to continue: “There are lots of beliefs we carry with us that come from our upbringing. We like to deny that they are not ours alone (does that make sense?). I don’t understand why women feel that living life responsibly must be rule-ridden and boring. In essence, that is what happens when we turn into the self-proclaimed Den Mother. Of course, not all women do this, but most.”
I’m ruined. If I understand Madame Lorraine correctly and I’m never sure I do, then women might like me because I’m a biker and then one morning wake up and don’t like me because I’m a biker. There’s no winning for losing. But, of course, this is a mass generalization, right? There’s hope, right?
Can the initial attraction continue? Can we go on to share the “Ride Life” through the years?
I have to wonder, what the hell happened to the devil-may-care, free-spirited, skinny-dippin’, hard-biking wild banshee I married? Had I become too sexy? She thought I had time enough to get fun out my system, settle down and commence to the sober misery of responsible, adult, blamable life. Apparently yes since my other is now an ex.
I’m sure there are men and women out there who really like that their others are motorcyclists and all the late nights, beer swilling and obsessing over their bike is very sexy and edgy and any other way would drag on their spirit. I’m sure love can be kind and unselfish. But to make it work you both must be committed to the lifestyle and realize that some days rain will pour on your ass, darkness and gloom will fall upon you, and other days will be sunshiny, full of glee and the road will open up before you. You just have to roll with it.