A hasher named Chef Boy R Dum from Southern Pines H3 in North Carolina wrote up a public service announcement for new hashers, explaining the spirit and “rules” of hashing. Rules in quotes, of course, because Rule One is There Are No Rules. And yet here’s a PSA full of them.
Another hasher, Black Snake Chicken Chugger from the Oklahoma City Wild Wild West H3, made this nice poster out of Chef’s PSA. Don’t worry that it’s too small to read … click on it and you’ll see the large version, easy on the eyes and suitable for framing.
You probably think I’m poking fun, but I’m not. I agree with most everything on the list. Don’t fuck your buddies. Hare once every ten hashes. Treat the opposite sex with respect. Expand your hashing horizon with road trips. Don’t drink and drive.
But really, it’s stuff we all know, even newbies. None of it’s rocket science. So why a PSA?
My informant tells me Chef Boy R Dum wrote it after the American hashing community was rocked by two recent rape attempts. Well, that’s not new either. Last year, after a red dress run, some DC harriettes said someone at the hash put roofies in their beer. Over the past 20 years we’ve heard multiple stories of attempted rapes at hash campouts and on-after parties. Word always spreads throughout the hash community … back in the day on hash-l, today on Facebook and Reddit … and every time it happens we earnestly express our shock and try to explain to newbies that the hash is not a sex club. This PSA isn’t the first: DCH3 mismanagement put out a similar one after the roofie incident.
Here’s another line from the new PSA: “Promiscuity is the rule not the exception.” The author doesn’t just say it once, he says it twice, kind of implying that hashing actually is a sex club, so deal with it. You can argue, and some have, that the attitude toward sex conveyed by this statement testifies to American hashing’s descent into frat boy culture, subject of many a rant I’ve written over the years.
I’m not going to beat that horse again, but here are some additional thoughts:
I still think it’s important to educate outsiders before bringing them to a hash. The first time I heard about hashing, it was presented to me as a healthy activity, a hare & hounds cross-country run with beer and camaraderie afterward. That sounded like fun, so I went. Almost 30 years down the road, that’s how I still think of hashing. That’s how I tried to portray hashing on my original website, the Half-Mind Catalog. That’s how I try to portray it today on this little blog. That’s how I describe it to outsiders, on the rare occasions I try to bring in new blood. I firmly believe that if you give outsiders the message that the hash is a drinking and sex club, you’re going to recruit an element you may later decide is more trouble than it’s worth.
Having said that, I think misbehaving newbies are less of a problem than long-time hashers. The attempted rapes I know of? All committed by experienced hashers, and I suspect the roofie incident at the DC RDR (if it actually happened … it was never proven, I’m told) was too. The Tucson jHavelina hasher I helped kick out of the kennel for habitually feeling up and forcing himself on harriettes at on-afters? He wasn’t just a senior hasher, he was the fucking founder of the kennel. The Okinawa hasher who tried to rape a passed out hasher at a drunken off-base post-trail party the week I left Japan for Hawaii? I knew him well. I’d hashed with him for two years. The adulterous couple from the Osan Bulgogi Hash … he a married officer, she a married NCO … who damn near got hashing outlawed by the military in Korea? Seasoned hashers. And not just sex: hashers have been exiled for starting fights at the circle (one of them, right here in my own town, punched a harriette in the face and knocked her down), others for waving pistols around and making threats. Every one of them a named hasher.
And every one of them was drunk at the time. Sex and fighting and all that other shit is a symptom. The underlying problem is drinking too much. So here’s a PSA for you: quit drinking so fucking much and doing stupid things. Quit trying to turn hashing into a frat party.
I realize that as a non-drinker, I’ve lost some hashing cred with you all. But I did drink, and once I started hashing I gradually came to drink even more. Many hashers my age have been down the same path. Some, like me, have stopped drinking entirely. Many others have cut back. They’ve seen how too much drinking, and too much emphasis on drinking, hurts the hash, and they don’t like it any more than I do.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not anti-drinking. Hashing and beer are the two legs we stand on. When I was recruited beer was part of the sales pitch, but what sold me was the idea that hashing is a healthy outdoor activity. So long as the drinking that goes with hashing is seen as a social activity, something you do to unwind after a tough trail, great. That’s how it mostly was at the first hashes I went to. That’s mostly how it still is. But there are an increasing number of exceptions: hashes where circles get more emphasis than trails, hash events where drinking and drinking-related shenanigans are the primary draw, hashers who turn out primarily to drink. I don’t know how to put that cork back in the bottle. I don’t think anyone does.
If your hash is tipping over into frat party territory, what can you do? Simple things, really. Do more A to A trails (so hashers aren’t stuck at the circle, miles from their cars, with nothing to do but drink until the B-van starts giving rides back to the start). Have more food and snacks on hand at the end. Keep the circle short and get the pack moving to on-afters rather than hanging around trying to float the keg. Don’t let the frat boy wannabes … and there are a few in every kennel … take over.
More and more, when I mention I’m a hasher, people give me side-eye. They’ve heard of hashing and they don’t like what they’ve heard. I look around and see beer running clubs popping up everywhere. What’s the pitch? You get together for a nice run with friends (or people who soon will become friends), a good healthy way to unwind after work, and then you visit a pub for a couple of beers and some camaraderie. Hey, I like the sound of that! So, probably, do you. It sounds like hashing, at least how hashing was when I first heard of it. And really, it sounds like what hashing still is to many of us, in spite of the reputation we’ve given ourselves.
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About Flying Booger Hash House Harrier, man about town.