Friday, August 7, 2020

Men have long shunned protective gear

A.G. Spalding
     Albert G. Spalding was a fine specimen of a man: 6-foot-1 with dark hair and a thick mustache. He was also a heck of a pitcher: 47 wins, 12 losses for the Chicago White Stockings in 1876.
     If you read the above and thought, "That's a lot of games" you're right. Spalding pitched 61 of the team's 66 games that season. Most teams only had one pitcher. Spalding not only threw every pitch, but caught every ball, eventually, whether thrown back to him or hit. Unsurprisingly, Spalding’s hands were beat up with “severe bruises.”     
     So Spalding noticed that Boston first baseman, Charles C. Waite. wore something on his hand — a leather glove that matched his skin tone because he was “ashamed to wear it” and hoped fans wouldn’t notice. Men were aghast at the idea of protective equipment. In his 1911 book on baseball, Spalding notes the first catcher’s mask was ridiculed as “babyish” and “cowardly.”
     Spurning personal protective equipment didn’t begin with COVID-19. When you look at the history of PPE, the current uproar over wearing cotton face masks is simple to understand: it’s a guy thing.
     Men take risks. A 2012 National Institutes of Health study found that while toleration of risk has no effect on whether women working on farms wore PPE when spreading dangerous pesticides, it does affect whether men do. Men are prone to underestimate the hazard of any activity and to exaggerate the bother of safety measures, such as seat belts.
     Masks are indeed a bother. Most protective devices are. They diminish the pleasure of an activity: motorcycle helmets and condoms, for instance. Women have an easier time trading comfort for safety: about 60 percent of women wear motorcycle helmets while barely half of male riders do.

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  1. Right on time. Even I, a fervent believer if everything Faucian, find it hard to be as cautious as a 78-year-old with a history of heart trouble should be. My youngest sister is a worry-wart whose crazy policeman husband is planning a trip to Las Vegas -- she's already told him that he has to quarantine somewhere else when he returns. After she reads the column, she might tell him not to bother coming back at all.


  2. I do not believe that Orvis sells masks. But I like their shirts.

  3. Well done. If only Trumpers were as good at accepting analogies as they are at ignoring hypocrisy.

    Though I'd seen photos like that of the Maximum Leader wearing the mask flanked by generals, the not-so-subtle message being conveyed (Yes, losers, I'm wearing a mask, but I'm still a tough guy just like these other manly men) didn't register. What a freaking toddler.

    Also, that was an elegant "Safety also is good for business" closer. You'd think Republicans would be motivated by that concept.

    But, it ain't just men, alas. Take a look at this wacky crusader:

  4. My friend just had cataract surgery (she doesn't have a car), and I took her for surgery and other follow-up visits. None of her doctors' offices allow non-patients in the facility. I just had 2 months of PT for a shoulder problem, and they don't allow non-clients inside the buiding. What doesn't this goof get, other than "it's my right to be here, and you can't stop me". Yeah, they can.

  5. I wonder if our idiot leader needs a special mask that can be put on with small fingers. People are saying that he didn’t wear a mask for a while because he was waiting for his to be custom made for that reason.

  6. While Tony Conigliaros beaning resulted in a horrible injury it wasn't due to his not wearing a helmet .Some Hitters had been wearing protective caps since the 30s and helmets were mandatory in the late 50s. His injury resulted in the helmet evolving to include the ear flap which became a requirement shortly thereafter. Men get a bad rap for resisting protective gear though most items used for this purpose come from dangerous activities they engage in at work. Pro sports being a job after all. The last vestige of resistance is actually the pitcher often struck in the head by batted balls with little protection beyond the cloth of their hat. Batters still have no protection for their faces though caged helmets are readily available. Never been used in a major league game. Obstructs that precious vision needed to see the pitch.


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