By Danica's Definition, Helio is Pretty Girly

↵When I read the many news reports that described Helio Castroeneves sobbing in his car after winning his third Indy 500 on Sunday, I could only think one thing: "Danica Patrick must think he's acting soooooo girly." ↵

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↵See, after the IRL's most famous swimsuit model won her first race, a 300-mile affair in Japan last spring, she shed a few tears herself. "The emotions came out, and that was a little girly of me," she later explained. Crying, apparently, being an emotion associated chiefly with weak-minded newborns and the fairer sex. ↵

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↵And it turns out that was just one in a string of "girly" utterances by Patrick, who has consistently spoken out in favor of her particular breed of girliness. "I have a very feminine side to me, and I don't think that there's anything wrong with wanting to be girly sometime," she told ABC News in 2005. "I don't feel insecure about being girly," Patrick told reporters that same year. "I don't feel bad about it. It's part of who I am. It's my personality. It's as easy as that." ↵

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↵And so what, aside from sexy photo shoots, is considered girly in Danica's World? Soon after she burst onto the open-wheel scene, she told reporters that fans were sending her "girly stuff, you know, jewelry and pieces like that." "I feel comfortable with photo shoots and the FHM, I enjoy being girly," she once told CNN. There have been frequent references to facials and pedicures, dressing up in fashionable clothes, collecting shoes and purses. This month, she told The Washington Post that her new relaxed attitude was letting her go shopping and get pedicures; "things girls do," as she put it. ↵

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↵Wait, wait ... you mean to tell me Danica Patrick isn't a man? Sheesh, never woulda guessed. ↵

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↵Look, if the Danica sensation -- which now includes two top four finishes at Indy in five years -- has taught us anything, it's that "girly" is pretty well a word without meaning. Dick Vermeil cries if he cuts into an avocado; is he girly? Adam Lambert has likely gotten a helluva lot more pedicures than most women; should we label him girly? Was Helio being girly in Victory Lane on Sunday? And if enjoying photo shoots makes you girly, does that mean A-Rod...you know, let's not even go there. ↵

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↵Point being, Danica Patrick can drive the wheels off a race car. If she enjoys other pursuits away from the track, well, good for her. Lots of people like driving cars fast. Lots of people like shopping. And lots of people, of every gender, sometimes cry -- just ask Brett Favre. So let Helio boo-hoo his face off without being labeled a girl, and if Danica one day crosses the finish line without tearing up, nobody call her a masculine son of a gun, deal? ↵

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↵For more of Dan Steinberg, be sure to visit his blog with The Washington Post, D.C. Sports Bog. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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