Like a police uniform or an Elmo costume, running shorts are an article of clothing that’s only acceptable to wear around New York if you’re engaging in a specific pursuit. In this case, that activity isn’t patrolling the streets or posing for tourists but exercising. But when your run is finished and you’re still out in the city, a problem arises: Where can you go while still clad in mesh? The answer is murky.
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I live on the East Side and often finish my runs on the West Side. After that, I’m constantly made to face a moral quandry. Can I stop at my local bodega on the way home? Yes. My fave bookstore? No. Will I feel comfortable strolling into a dive bar? Sure. A restaurant for brunch? No, probably not. It might help if local businesses put up a little decal in their windows—perhaps a tiny sneaker—signifying that New Yorkers who’ve just taken their constitutional are welcome and that their attire will not be met with sneering condescension. This is a safe space. Go ahead, bring your Gatorade!
Not even the sidewalks are safe from judgment for post-run walkers. We’re often having to saunter with an extra pep in our steps or wipe a phantom bead of sweat from our foreheads as if to say, yes, I really did just finish a run and was not just too lazy to get properly dressed for a schlep to Duane Reade. Please, please, don’t judge me.