Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Lady Glide"

marathon tattooFriends, let's talk about chafing for a moment.

No, it's not the sexiest or most glamorous of topics related to running, but it's definitely not something any of us can afford to ignore.

Lately, thanks to my own absent-mindedness and nothing else, I've been suffering from yet another running injury -- the painful, unsightly affliction known as "marathon tattoo," front and center, right where the front band of my sports bras sit. I'm pretty sure I have a permanent scar in this spot from years of neglect; occasionally, I also get it on the inside of my upper arm from rubbing against the edge of my bra or tank top, and all manner of places from the waist down that I'll do us all a favor and not photograph for the internet.

Which leads me to what I consider to be an essential piece of running paraphernalia (I mean, after shoes and clothes): BodyGlide. I can still remember when I first learned about BodyGlide from a runner-coworker. After years of using Vaseline (ew), I cannot tell you how THRILLED I was to find something made for athletes that prevented chafing but wasn't--how shall I put this?--completely gross and disgusting.

bodyglideThis was right before my first half-marathon, and honest to god, I rubbed it over every square inch of my body that stood even the remotest chance of suffering marathon tattoo or otherwise becoming a victim of unfortunate friction. 'Cause let's be real...Ain't nothin' ruins a long race like chafing. (Did I mention it's also good for preventing blisters if you rub it all over your feet? I don't get them anymore for some reason, but at that time, this was the most magical of discoveries.) Most of the time, slathering up before a long run is second nature. While it doesn't completely prevent 100% of chafing incidents (I'm guessing nothing will, probably), it does a damn fine job of minimizing it, it doesn't smell revolting (in fact it barely smells at all), and it's the perfect balance between sticky (keeps fabric in place to some extent, doesn't make clothes feel wet) and slippery (prevents friction). When I forget to put it on, as I have on my last few long runs, I can definitely tell the difference (usually because I am missing skin; see above).

The stuff also lasts forever--I just recently finished off my second stick ever, in five years. When I went to grab another from my local sporting goods store, though, I spotted the most curious thing: BodyGlide For Her.


lady glideI don't know about you, but I had a very difficult time trying to understand why regular non-pink BodyGlide would be insufficient for we ladies. Could it be that I've been using the wrong one all these years?!? (More importantly - could that be why I haven't broken 100 minutes in the half yet??)

There's definitely a phenomenon that happens, where a gender-neutral product will suddenly become available in a special "lady" or "for her" version. I guess it bothers me a little because it implies that the original product was specifically "for him," not all of us, and that somehow we ladies are incapable of making use of that version.

In the course of some Googling, I came across this post from Forward Foot Strides. It was somewhat reassuring to find I wasn't the only person who's wondered about this. Also, mad props for actually contacting BodyGlide for some info. Click through for her entire post, but to quote a bit from BG's response:

"We were asked (by women) to create a package that is more approachable, to introduce more women to the benefits of a product that they, too, may have otherwise perceived as for the professionals.

So, the difference is packaging... and the benefits are reliable and consistent as they have been since we came to market in 1996!"

(So yes -- it is indeed the exact same product as regular BodyGlide.)

I'm a bit confused as to why 'women' in this context is being contrasted with 'professionals.' This statement would make more sense to me if it read "We were asked (by women) to create a package that is more approachable, to introduce more women to the benefits of a product that they, too, may have otherwise perceived as for men." Why women would perceive that regular-ol-run-o-the-mill BodyGlide is only for men, though, is as mysterious to me as why we would perceive that it was only for professionals. I guess it bugs me because it reeks of feminine apologetic, which I've spent enough time dealing with (and being grossed out by) as a woman in the martial arts, thankyouverymuch.

But here's the main thing that gets me. Regular ol' BodyGlide is available in three different sizes: .45 oz, 1.3 oz, and 2.5 oz., meaning that unless you get the super-tiny travel size (.45 oz), you pay at most ~$7.70 per oz. As far as I can tell, BodyGlide for her is only available in a .8 oz size, so at best, the ladies who have decried the lack of an "approachable" sports lube will pay $8.75 for the privilege of buying the exact same product, post pink-and-shrink.

So....alright. It's a little hard for me to believe that women in actual need of sports lube would find a non-pink package to be "unapproachable" or that women would perceive such a product to be "for the professionals" when men don't (is this also because of the lack of pink?). But if we're going to claim that, could we at least give these women the opportunity to buy the product at the same price point as men/professionals?

Just saying.

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