Jul 7, 2006

Is it satire?

Nowadays, when you google "professional walkers," you see page after page of dog-walking advice. Now, many people outside of New York City think professional dog- walking is a ridiculous job, indicative of the laziness of upper middle class households, and the ingenuity of people who will find a way to get paid big bucks for anything.

But they don't know how very sensible dog-walking is. At least, when compared to what "professional walkers" used to mean. In the late 1800s, people were paid to walk. It was a sport. And there were big bucks to be made.

The walkers who best captured the public fancy were often female ("Such pluck! Walk on, ladies!"), and were called "pedestriennes." The competitions, though often held in New York--Brooklyn, specifically--were international affairs, with pedestriennes sailing over from France, England, and Germany. The winners received large purses, and much prestige and publicity.

Of course, life was not entirely easy for a pedestrienne. Organizations like Women's Christian Temperance Union saw walking as degrading to women, and comdemned the sport and its contestants. Indeed, pedestriennes often walked on Sundays.

But these ladies stood their ground against naysayers, and proclaimed their right to walk for money.

1 comment:

Guy said...

That's crazy. I'd never heard of such a thing. Thanks for the history lesson, teach! (Unless it came from Wikipedia, in which case it just might be bullsh*t.)

Oh, and Happy Anniverary, honey.