It’s amazing to me how many times I’ve seen this photo on Pinkbike, the “guy doing stoppie kissing girl” photo. This one’s from the UK, but I’ve seen them from the US and Canada, from France, from Poland, a lot from Poland actually, from Russia, and even from the Phillipines and Indonesia. It’s truly an international phenomenon, crossing all races, religions, and creeds.
I’ll admit this one has a slight twist in that the guy and girl are both doing stoppies, but that does nothing to remove them from the kill list. If anything that only makes the case against her more damning, because it proves she knows anything about bike riding and was still complicit in this criminally, offensively stupid idea.
The only comfort I take away from the widespread proliferation of these horrific photos are these two thoughts that help me sleep at night:
- If this many people have tried the “stoppie-kiss” picture, somewhere someone has bashed his teeth or even better his girlfriend’s teeth in or broken a nose doing it. Knowing that’s happened and savoring the thought of the awkward silence and shock after the toof-bashing gives me some sense of justice in this cruel, cruel world.
- Even if the stoppie kiss photo worked out and no one got their teeth bashed in, my hope is that the shared experience and teamwork from the stoppie photo strengthens and enriches the relationship just long enough for the delusional misguided girl to discover that her boyfriend is an uncreative no-talent toolbag, but that this revelation of hers only comes after years of marriage, a whole litter of kids together, and maybe 20 years and 30 pounds later when her street value is down and she has to seriously consider the costs of going back on the market. So she finally realizes that the stoppie-kiss photo wasn’t the kickstart to years of unbounded creativity and mutually shared aspirations leading to a lifetime of adventures and exciting new beginnings together, but instead it was a poor copy of someone else’s idea, stolen in haste to prove to his girlfriend that he’s totally into her and he wants to combine his love of riding with his love for her. Except he never really loved riding and he never really loved her, he was just using both as an external affirmation of his value to prove to himself why his parents should love him too instead of always showing their affection to his older brother Steve. They never gave him the attention he deserved. Steve was the team captain, 4.0 student, and on top of being a great boyfriend and later husband, proved in recent years to be a loving father and a great guy. Steve, Steve, Steve, that’s all he ever heard about. But then he had mountain biking and he had photography, and that was cool, too, right? But he stopped riding in college, when he started the art classes to study photography formally, but with the art classes came the drinking. And the drug use. Up until all hours of the night with his art school friends, coming home too drunk to go ride the next day. And he was so angry after that. College changed him. He gave up riding a long time ago. And the photography is just work for him now, no love, no passion, just going through the motions so he can get to the end of the day and drink again. And it seems like that’s all he does anymore, coming home drunk, even on weekdays, and when you bring up the bills or the broken refrigerator or the kids college fund he never wants to hear about it, he just goes into one of those rages, he’s yelling and he’s saying all those hurtful things. You know he can’t mean it all, but it still stings when he says it. He knows where you hurt and he just keeps saying all those things. You tell him again and again that you didn’t mean to go against him at the wedding last summer, that even his family was asking what was going on with the two of you and you felt like you had to come clean. Maybe they could help. And that’s all you want now is just help. He was able to hide it for awhile, but now the kids are older and they know their dad isn’t just “in one of those moods again.” Everyone can see it, it’s so obvious. And you just wish you could go back to those days, when you were still doing stoppies on your BMX. Things were so much simpler then. Sure you probably weren’t going to “do anything” with your riding, you weren’t trying to win races or “go pro,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. After all you were just a girl and it seemed like no one took girls who rode seriously back then. But the freedom. The freedom. And the simplicity. You could just go riding and forget about everything, it seemed like all the other worries slipped away. You wish you could go back there and tell that girl what you know now. You thought he shared that love of yours and you wanted to share that together, forever, but he wasn’t in love at all. Would your younger self even listen to you? You were blinded by it, you would never have believed the truth. And now you’re here, where you never thought you’d be. How did it come to this?