She comes to a skidding halt spraying dust into the gaping mouths of spectating guys. You know the woman—the one equally at ease on a multipitch as on class 4 whitewater. She’s the life of the party around the bonfire and the first one up in the morning making coffee. She’s assertive and kind, positive and self-assured. She’s confident. Girls wanna be her and guys wanna be with her.
Find out how to keep up with and gain the approval of one of these free-range women. Learn how to date wild.
DITCH THE OLD-SCHOOL ‘TUDE.
Cool confidence and humility is far sexier than an attention-seeking big mouth. She can smell your ego the second you step into a room. You threw a front flip? Show don’t tell. And accept that she’s going to be better than you at some things—from starting a fire with damp wood, to beating you down the trail at the bike park. Swallow your pride, and your old-school ‘tude.
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON PERFECTION.
If she’s on the go and constantly chasing adventure, the time she spends in front of the mirror is limited. Chipped nail polish and prickly legs are still beautiful. Dusty hair and t-shirt tans are signs of a good day. And, sweat happens. Don’t expect her to look like a climbing calendar supermodel. Strong calves and blistered feet are par for the course. She will smash your Instagram-saturated preconceptions of what real outdoor women look like.
COMPLIMENT AND GIFT APPROPRIATELY.
Forget the flowers and chocolate. Plan to go cliff jumping then get pizza, skate park and sushi. Pay attention to what she likes and throw in some creativity. New gear is always an acceptable gift, especially if it replaces something worn out. Maybe she rocks a pink helmet, or prefers all black. Her boardshorts may be short and cheeky, or long and baggy. She can pull off both. Be observant. Want to compliment her? Instead of clichés like “you ride like a dude” say, “you crushed that second berm.” It shows you were watching and appreciate skill.
It’s okay if she checks the motor oil and you check the olive oil.
CHUCK OUT GENDER ROLES.
Maybe you’re a killer chef and she knows how to fix dirt bikes. This is 2021. Pull your weight in the kitchen and the garage. And don’t expect her to do all the muddy mountain bike laundry, because she won’t wait for you to help load her kayak on the roof.
DISCARD JEALOUSY. EMBRACE TRUST.
Most of her riding partners are dudes. Remember, the only feelings she has for them are kinship. She thinks of them as brothers, so you should too. There is no room for a self-conscious, jealous boyfriend in her world. If you both communicate well, trust will soon follow.
CALIBRATE YOUR EMOTIONS.
If emotional capacities were measured in colours, it’s fair to say that boys deal in black and white. Maybe sepia. While girls work with every imaginable shade in the rainbow.
This can translate into hard-nosed frustration during a technical climb, or tears of joy after landing her first tail press at the cable park. It’s not a “time of month” thing (and don’t ever ask). It’s a hard-wired, passionate, expressive gift from Ma Nature.
DROP THE “SWEETIE”.
Wild women have adapted. They use brains over brawn and make modifications to many “tried and true” techniques. Tips, hints and advice are welcome, when delivered properly. Using a condescending tone or dropping a “sweetie,” “honey” or “babe” will earn you a searing glare or even a night outside the van. Expect that some advice will be heeded, while some might be immediately dismissed. The moves you take to top out on a 5.10 might be completely different than hers due to weight-to-body ratios, limb length and mental capacity. Women do things differently. And that’s OK.
The lady you are after likely has high standards. She’s not going to settle. She’s looking for the right fit, not some pre-determined calf size or genetic makeup. She doesn’t need to be rescued. She wants a partner. Someone to share the fresh pow of dawn patrol, and to cuddle up with at the end of a long day hiking or riding. Just a real guy.
Excerpted from Mountain Life–Blue Mountains, Fall 2018.