Red Dress Runs – Why

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					Red Dress Runs – Why??

                         Over the next few weeks Hashers in Noosa and the Hinterland will go to quite
                         inordinate lengths to scavenge, scrounge, borrow or buy that gorgeous little
                         red number that will get a public airing at a Red Dress Run. Submitting to
                         embarrassing, even compromising circumstances in their search for the most
                         fitting apparel, male Hashers will be found rifling through the used women’s
                         wear at second-hand shops, checking out the red bargains at boutiques, and
                         putting the word on wives and girlfriends to borrow just the thing for the
                         occasion. What’s this phenomenon all about, and how did it begin?

                         Sitting in a little eating place in Bali in 2004 after a run in the hills, three of
                         us wearing Hash T-shirts were accosted by an urbane-looking gentleman
                         speaking with a melodious Welsh accent. “I have a shop in Cardiff”, he said,
                         “and there’s something I want to ask you people about.” Now this was
                         immediately after the Cardiff Interhash, and he continued: “Could you please
                         tell me why, last week in Wales, 5000 hairy Australians ran past my shop
                         wearing red dresses and yelling ‘On On’?” Well, what can you say?

Some explanation is clearly in order. The next time someone asks this of you, here’s a brief hashtory
of how this tradition got its start, with due thanks to Stu “The Colonel” Lloyd (Hare of the Dog).

America’s most significant contribution to the world of Hashing must be The Red Dress Run. Now a
key component in the calendars of many kennels, and a drawcard event at Interhash & Nash Hashes,
thousands of Hashers have taken part in them without perhaps knowing where it all started. As “The
Colonel” notes, “Most Hashmen don’t care … it gives them a legitimate excuse to do on public streets
what they’ve been doing in private all these years anyway.”

As for the more reticent or conservative among our number, the fact that a Red Dress Run is
traditionally a charity event organised for a worthy cause is sufficient incentive for them to overcome
their inherent shyness, dress to nines (to the point of being unrecognisable!!) in red, and take to the
public arena with gusto.

The story of its origin goes thus: The oriinal ‘Lady in Red’ recounts that “Way back in 1985 a friend
that I’d known since high school days convinced me to come to Long Beach, California, for a visit, some
beers and to meet a few friends. So I grabbed a flight from Phoenix, Arizona, a toothbrush and not
much more and headed over to visit.” Her friend explained over the beers about the double life he
was leading, one as the upstanding businessman, and the other as “3M”, the Hasher. He invited her
to go with him that evening – “You’ll see, you’ll understand. Oh, and there’ll be beer!”

And so they headed off to the Long Beach HHH meeting point. “As I got out of his truck I looked
around. They looked like a mismatched group out for a field trip to the zoo. 3M yelled out ‘Listen up!
I’ve got a virgin here that we need to make into a new recruit so make her welcome!’ I’m outgoing and
trusted 3M fully but this I didn’t know about. I was far from home with no ID or means to leave by
and this motley crew was now descending on me! Here I stood in nothing but a summer dress – red
with buttons all the way down the front – 4 inch red heels and a red ribbon tying back my blonde
Accepting the offer of a pair of shorts, into which she stuffed the dress, and a pair of sneakers, she
reported to the On Sec before heading On On, on what proved to be quite an eventful run. “Then I
drank my first Down Down at record-setting speed and demanded a refill …” So far, it sounds like
many a virgin’s experience, but then things moved up a notch. The On On moved to a bar at TGI
Friday’s where more imbibing went on, pub songs were sung and a few limericks were learnt and taught.
The Hash was then thrown out of the bar, despite having ordered food which hadn’t yet arrived.
They repaired to the apartment of one of their number – the opening of the Calgary Winter Olympics
coincided with that night – and being winter, the apartment’s hot tub was a big drawcard. Wearing
nothing but The Red Dress (“underwear is not too important to me”), she jumped in and spent the night
hot-tubbing and flirting with the guys.

The Lady in Red enjoyed her first Hash run so much she begged 3M
to take her on more that very weekend, was dubbed The Lady in Red
by three Hash groups, and was hooked. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t end
there. San Diego H3 decided to commemorate that eventful evening
the previous year, and honour all those who wear flirtatious red
dresses, by staging a “Red Dress Run”. They tracked her down in
Houston, sent her tickets, and demanded she attend the first Lady in
Red Run held in her honour. Goulash remembers that first Red Dress
Run in 1986 when on that morning “I called B100 radio and requested
Lady in Red as a reminder to Hashers to wear their red dresses.
They actually spoke with me live on the radio about the Hash! It was
a great free advertisement.” There and then it was decided to make
it an annual event.

Says The Lady in Red: “After the first annual Red Dress Run I suggested the one thing that would
make me most pleased was to see a portion of the proceeds go to worthwhile charities so as to benefit
others and help build a bit of a positive image of the Hash … if that were ever really possible!”

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