Ladies and Gentlemen of the Guangzhou Hash,
A few years ago, “In The Red” published an article on the Red Dress Hash tradition. Unlike the magazine, the article is a timeless piece of art that does not only tell you everything there is to know about the event, but also offers you a close look into the very soul of the Hash.
I use it as this week’s hashvertisement and hope that you can learn as much from it as I could when I first made it up. Like in previous years the Guangzhou Hash will support the Orphan Education Society of Guangdong which makes sure that less poor kids end up on the streets of Guangzhou and Dongguan.
“On a hot and humid day in May, a local TV station aired an interview with the elderly Mrs. Wong, who had just returned from the Long Yan Dong reservoir, where she fetches fresh spring water.
‘I had finished my break, and was carrying my bamboo pole with the water containers hanging from it,’ the visibly annoyed woman reported to the instigative journalist on the scene, ‘when I heard a noise coming from the undergrowth. A few moments later, two large and hairy gweilos broke through the bushes, sweating like pigs, and gooey flour smeared all over their bodies and faces. Even more terrifying though was the fact that they were wearing red evening dresses, which didn’t even fit them. They looked at me with a mad grin and…to my great relief…spared me…and then set off. I felt it was safer to let them get a bit away from me and so I sat down again. But…oh no…I hadn’t even shut my mouth yet, when all hells broke loose. Forty or so of the red cross-dressers appeared, shouting something unintelligible… obscenities I presume…that sounded like ‘On On’, or’ Ice the Hares!’ Later though, I was told that these creatures were not dangerous, but merely wanted to play. Go figure…!!!’
What happened to the indignant Mrs. Wong happens to many unaware residents, every time the Guangzhou Hash House Harriers celebrate their Annual Red Dress Run. The flamboyant red dresses and costumes that the hashers wear to show off are certainly worth staring at. Even though the Ladies of the Hash have worked very hard on their outfits – this is the one day of the year when the men dominate the Hash fashion, and the air in the circle is filled with their giggling and excited high-pitched chattering. One of the hares, still wearing his gooey red pajamas, is now carrying a cute orange parasol. Another hasher, a 100kg man, is wearing a ballerina skirt, his bushy leg hair sticking out through bright red stockings. Two guys, who got the same red blouse that had been on sale at their favorite factory outlet on Zhanxi Lu, start a cat fight, while a stocky hasher begins to feel claustrophobic in a sexy red top an unknown girl left in his apartment a few years ago. It’s the same top he had already worn in previous years, and year after year the sexy top seems to have shrunk. Now it’s about four sizes too small for this rather large fellow. Others make suggestive remarks about the proud wearer of a slutty shine-through negligee, and whistle after a young local hasher who is dressed in a traditional, figure-hugging red qipao. Like everyone else here, he, too, is hopeful to be voted for Best Red Dressed Hasher.
No one knows where the ancient Hash tradition of running in red dresses originates, except of course for Wikipedia. Nevertheless, for real hashers this event isn’t only about showing off, or startling the locals, or ridiculing ourselves…it is foremost a charity event. As such the Red Dress Run is celebrated by many Hash Kennels around the world. Last year, we collected money for two hospital patients from neighborhoods we often run in. These patients couldn’t afford to pay for much needed dialysis treatment. The Guangzhou Hash donated the entire Red Dress run fees to help them. Individual hashers were even more generous, and at the end of the day we donated over 6,000 RMB. This year, the Hash is going to support the Orphan Education Society of Guangdong, an organization run by dedicated volunteers who provide the unfortunate children with food, clothes, study material and much more.
Back in the circle, towards the end, the stocky hasher with a sexy top from the now forgotten girl wins the contest for Best Red Dressed Hasher – as he has in previous years. The crowd cheered – or shrieked – louder for him than for any other contestant. The losers respectfully bow their heads to the victor, and pray that the darn top won’t fit him anymore next year.
But until that next Red Dress Hash, our boys will be boys again, and most of our girls won’t be mistaken for cheap whores when they hit the bars in town, after just another Best Hash Ever.”
The Red Dress Hash is on May 10th. If you want to join the fun, please obey ancient hash customs and wear a red dress. As usual the run fee is 50 RMB, but bring a bit more if you want to help children in need. Like every Saturday, the Hash meets at the Gold Mango Bar at 1.30.