Bitches Say No

The Tour de France is a grueling, multiple stage bicycle race that totals over 2,200 miles, primarily located in France. The first race was staged in 1903, and quickly became a famed and time honored tradition. Another decades old tradition, unfortunately, is the idea that a hero deserves a woman as a reward.

We promise the hero a prize, and that prize is usually in the form of a girl, though she usually doesn't have much of a say. Cracked lists some examples, "Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity. Marty McFly gets his dream girl, John McClane gets his ex-wife back, Keanu "Speed" Reeves gets Sandra Bullock, Shia LaBeouf gets Megan Fox in Transformers, Iron Man gets Pepper Potts, the hero in Avatar gets the hottest Na'vi, Shrek gets Fiona... and so on."


You've probably all seen this picture. So romantic. Nobody seems to care that it's nonconsensual, or that the sailor was drunk, or that his girlfriend (and later wife) was looking on in the background, or that the nurse (who was actually a civilian dental hygienist) wasn't strong enough to fight him and resigned herself to be forcefully kissed by a stranger. Nobody cares, because the soldier is a hero, and a hero deserves his reward and celebration.

So why is this relevant to the Tour de France? Well, we're still seeing a kiss from a beautiful girl as a reward, part of a well-deserved celebration. The hero, in this case, is Italian cyclist Vincenzo Nibali who won Stage Two of the tournament this past Sunday, July 6.


He goes in for a kiss, and she turns away. Not a big deal. I don't think he's at fault for trying to kiss her, it's pretty customary, and I don't think she's at fault for turning away (though it may have been a bit of a faux pas, as la vise is fairly common). Could've simply been a miscommunication. What bothers me is what a big deal this has become.

The podium girl has been accused of denying him and being a bitch. We could all just shrug this off as awkward, but instead, many people have gotten worked up about how she could have the nerve to shun him. The YouTube of the clip has been taken down, but there's no shortage of commenters.






Whether or not she actually rejected him doesn't seem to be an issue on anyone's minds. Regardless, the reaction has blown a tiny awkward situation into a big deal. When we treat rejection like a big deal, we make it into a big deal, and when it's a big deal to say no, it can become very difficult to do so. Everyone has the right to say no, it doesn't depend on how attractive they are or how much the other person "deserves it".

The other issue I want to mention here is this: in the same way that women aren't defined as rewards, a man's worth shouldn't be defined by how much women like him or how much "action" he can get. Daily Mail captions a photo, "Nibali was able to have a laugh on the podium with a cuddly toy lion after being rejected".

Of course he was able to be happy. Being rejected, or snubbed, or whatever you want to call it doesn't take away from what he just accomplished. A person's worth doesn't come from successfully kissing another. Rejection isn't the end of the world.

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