Most men who are friends with me would never dream of treating a woman in the ways I'm about to describe.
I'm talking about guys who sexually harass women they don't even know . . . and honestly think they're doing nothing wrong at all.
There is a certain kind of man in this world who sees a woman he finds attractive and responds by propositioning her based on nothing else. Usually in terribly straightforward, rude ways (like screaming from cars or trying to touch them at the bus stop), and almost always reacting to rejection with an insult or sweeping judgment of the woman's character (like "fine, you stuck-up bitch" or "you'll be sorry, you got no idea what you're missing!").
I actually don't mind it at all if a person is attracted to something about me--be it my choice of clothing, the creativity of my hairstyle, or the physical attractiveness of my body. But unfortunately, many men in this world believe that females are obligated to respond positively to them if we are "chosen" in this way--that we are required to "give them a chance," be "open-minded," be willing to entertain their requests of what we're doing later and all-too-cheerfully offer up a phone number when asked.
Let me tell you a secret. I have been known to meet people on the bus or on an airplane or sitting on a bench . . . and should a common interest pop up or a conversation go very well, I am more than willing to propose or acquiesce to an offer of further conversation (usually by e-mail). I'm a little different than most women in that I'm not going to be interested in a romantic relationship with whoever talks to me, but my being unavailable shouldn't be that difficult to imagine. I'm not required to wear a sign to warn them that they're wasting their time should they actually be pursuing sex or a relationship. Plenty of women are off-limits. Doesn't matter what the reason is.
The problem develops when this kind of guy, despite offering no good reasons for why the "chosen" woman should entertain his requests, begins to get frustrated, combative, offensive, and sullen if he is not humored in this situation. They behave as if they expect it. They behave as if there is an unwritten social rule stating that if I am not wearing a wedding ring I am therefore wearing a neon "hit on me!" sign, and that I am some kind of prize to be plucked from the soil with no choice as to who harvests me.
I want to make sure I'm not misread here, so let me just give a quick nod to respectful guys. I am NOT automatically thinking you're this kind of douchebag when you speak to me, and nearly all of the male people I know have never, ever acted like this toward a female. Women are also not completely innocent in these situations sometimes; there ARE women who tease guys and then act offended that they got hit on, and there ARE women who take advantage of being pretty to screw with men, and there ARE women who deliberately encourage "the chase." There is also a stripe of "female privilege" in some cases, where the woman is the one who gets to be selective and gets to be the one who hands down rejection based on nothing but physical attraction. Believe me, I have been friends with guys who get this kind of crap from extremely bitchy women a lot. I am not talking about that. I am talking about the much more frightening--and, incidentally, much more COMMON--experience of absolutely unsolicited, aggressive, unwanted advances by men toward women, and that experience is really the only one I'm qualified to speak on since I am not male.
I'm a bitch if I don't respond. I'm a bitch if I'd really rather this guy get away from me. I'm a bitch if I "overreact" when a guy I don't know touches me. Me. I'm the bitch. I'm to blame for not being accessible if some guy just happens to choose me. And yes, sometimes it is scary when men do these things. If you've never met them before, obviously you don't know what they might do next if they suddenly start staring at you, sitting next to you, or following you home. Men who do these things are often kind of overconfident. You never know if they'll snap and do something unthinkable when it's clear they expect a positive response. When faced with that possibility, it's sometimes very difficult to be friendly.
And I'm not talking about this from a safe, distant vantage point from which I can shake my finger and hand down condescending, elitist statements about male privilege even though I've never been hurt by it. I have repeatedly had to deal with this in my own life, and my crime is being attractive in a normative fashion. I'm a petite, thin, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, light-skinned woman with reasonably attractive features, and I look friendly and approachable. Truthfully, that last is something I value about myself--that I exude a benevolent air. My idealism streak runs deep, and I would really hate it if my experiences led me to automatically think less of people based on the actions of others. So no, I don't enter every conversation with a random man expecting to be spoken to disrespectfully, nor do I expect my outlook to become more jaded because of what these people do.
What does make me feel less hopeful about the human species is that more and more often, when I describe my experiences, people tell me I should be taking their advances as a compliment. I think that is the worst thing about the whole phenomenon: that people whose opinion I actually respect are going right along with the status quo and expecting, along with these men, that I should appreciate being propositioned on basis of nothing else besides my physical attractiveness. I'm being told how I should feel by people who don't receive this treatment (or used to but don't anymore, or personally like it and don't see why I don't).
I'm told I should want to be so attractive that people scream from cars. I'm told these boys are trying to compliment me, not hurt me. I'm told I'll wish I could get that kind of attention once I get old enough that it doesn't happen to me anymore. No I won't. It doesn't feel good now. I do not feel flattered when someone expresses, in various disgusting ways, that they would really like to stick their dick in me. There aren't really standards for what is attractive enough to screw, anyway, since plenty of supposedly ugly people get laid, and considering I don't want people basing their opinion of my self-worth on the way I look, let's just accept that I absolutely do not feel better about myself when someone ogles me, makes a comment, or makes a move.
Please look at this cartoon about "Street Harassment"--credit to Ampersand by B. Deutsch. This is all very familiar to me. Just going outside while daring to be female--especially when you're not in a car--invites these kinds of comments and forces you to figure out how to deal with them. I have a whole bunch of logs and ruminations on my experiences to share with you, which I'm doing below, but my examples are a bit haphazard and I don't whine about it every time it happens to me. Believe me when I say it happened all through college and sometimes even before then, and continues to happen today.
I had to stop riding my bike to poetry readings at night because I had to ride past a frat house and they would always be out there drinking in the yard like they were waiting for me, sometimes blocking the sidewalk and yelling after me if I didn't talk to them. I had a panhandler ask me for money outside the ATM once, and when I told him I'd been depositing checks and didn't have any money, he replied "How about some sex then?" as if I had to give him something for his trouble. I once abandoned a performance while I was on stage because I was too rattled after some ass yelled from the audience that he didn't want to hear my performance; he just wanted to see me take off my top. (And then I got shit from people afterwards to the tune of "Come ON, he was just KIDDING, you shouldn't be so OVERSENSITIVE.") I've been told I should wear ugly, unflattering clothes instead of clothes that look good on me if I in fact do not secretly want this attention.
Never is it suggested that the men should be expected to control themselves or treat me respectfully if it's clear I'm not interested in their advances. I think it's disgusting that this is always put on ME for "inspiring lust" or whatever, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The story of Adam and Eve is one of a man blaming a woman for "causing" him to disobey, and since then, supposedly, women have worn the temptress robes. Men aren't encouraged to resist, and are free to blame women even if the supposed temptation wasn't initiated through their conscious actions. So I should be flattered. I should feel complimented. I should be honored that the shape of my body--something I did not choose--gets them sexually excited, and I should respond to their attention only with the submission they deserve.
I did laundry, and after putting in the first load I went to the bank to get quarters. I went without my contacts. On the way out, some nasty men yelled, "Hey, girl, Hey, you, hippie girl!" Since when am I a hippie?
I stopped briefly to talk to Bobby, and then continued to the bank. I got my quarters and returned. On the way back down my street, the men were at it again. "Hey, girl. Want a beer? Wanna get married?" Yuck. I did not comment.
I guess some people might think I'm being haughty or something here, but I really, really hate it when men whistle at me.
Most of the people who read this diary probably know what I look like. If you don't, I'll tell you: Nothing particularly special, I'm a reasonably good-looking girl who may get more than her fair share of second glances owing to a combination of slightly off-kilter clothes and unusually long hair. Average weight, undertall, pale-skinned and blonde. Just some girl.
I also don't wear particularly revealing clothes, or tight jeans, or anything designed to put my cleavage on display. So it really bothers me that today I was riding my bike home and some guy hung out the window and shouted "HAAAAYYY, Bay-BEEEE!"
And yesterday I was riding my bike home and some dude wolf-whistled, sticking his head out the passenger side as he passed to give me a shit-eating grin.
Once at poetry jam I was on stage and I happened to be wearing a halter top. I did one poem and then announced that I was going to sing, and the asshole in the back yelled, "We don't want you to sing, we want you to take off your top!" Not having expected to hear such a thing in a place where there are historically fairly intellectual people with some freaking decorum, I was too rattled to sing after that, and said so. Biking home that night, some slob stuck his head out the car window and yelled "WOOOOO, WOOOOOO! HAWHAW!"
I guess they think they're expressing their appreciation of my body, or something. I guess maybe they even think it's a compliment. But there is nothing about it that makes me feel good, and if only there was not a barrier of distance between my hand and your quickly receding face, there is nothing that would have stopped me from slapping that sucker.
It's not cute. It's not admirable. You are a slob and a pig, and if you want to express your appreciation, maybe a nice little wave would do it, or nothing but a smile.
But then again, there was very little consideration for how I would feel in the situation. That wasn't the point. It was all about you. Surprise!
Yeah, so today crossing the street to catch the bus some dork leaned out the window and hollered something unintelligible at me, but (forgive me for judging by looks) he seemed like the type of idiot who would yell sexual comments at girls from convertible windows, so I assume he said something fresh. I just kind of stopped where I was and kind of looked at him, like "excuse me?" And I was like, oh, you're hot shit now aren't you--you didn't anticipate that traffic would prevent you from driving off and not having to look the girl you yelled at in the eyes. I just kept looking at him and then he brightened and said, "Seeeeexy!" I just shook my head and rolled my eyes, and kept walking. I hope people like that realize they're being dickfaces, not pimp daddies.
Yeah, so the other day I got three things I didn't want:
One, I got grumped at by a customer.
Two, I got wolf-whistled at by a homeless man. (Twice.)
Three, I got squirted in the eye by a grapefruit. Feh.
The homeless guy whistling was irritating. Maybe some girls find being whistled at a nice compliment, but it pretty much makes me feel dirty when a guy expresses his appreciation that way. It doesn't say to me "Wow, you're pretty." It says "Yeah, I'd sure like to do the nasty with you." I don't mind someone tastefully giving me a compliment but wolf whistling is just disgusting. I was wearing jeans, a tank shirt (because it was hot and I was biking), and no makeup or anything (well, this is me we're talking about--of course no makeup). It's not like I was dressed up sexxayyy and then I "can't take a compliment." I had to ride by the guy twice and he was standing by the road holding up his homeless sign--fairly young guy, probably around my age--and when I got closer he put his sign down so I couldn't see it I guess, wouldn't want me to think he was pathetic. He gave me one of those slimy gazes and whistled at me. Bleargh.
BOTH on the way there and the way back, assholes hollered at me from cars!!! Must be the shorts. One dumbass leaned out the window as they were going by the corner and shouted "Hay girl whazzaaaaaaaaaahhhh?" I think it was supposed to be a "what's up." What the hell do you think is up? "Not much, man. I was just going along here and this assmunch started yelling shit at me from his car. Can you believe people?" I even heard an old-fashioned wolf whistle. It does not bother me that random people might think I'm attractive, but it does bother me that they express it like that. It just kind of makes me feel dirty, like they think they KNOW I'm wearing this sleeveless shirt to be sexy and it's a signal that I want them to act like that, even though I'm really wearing these clothes because IT'S HOT.
And besides, who wolf whistles at a girl wearing pigtails riding a bitty girlie bike? Feh.
Bunch of pervalopes.
So first I'm walking home from the corner where the bus stop is because I want to time how long it takes. I've got a bike-load of groceries. Walking past some development. Two guys call out to me:
"Hey baby. Need a ride?"
I pretended not to hear.
"Okay, see you later!" they called after me.
And then I was biking home from Walgreens today and the same dude that called me "gorgeous" over by the mailboxes was driving his car out of the development, and as I rode in he slowed down and called out, "How's it going, sexy?"
I hope he understood that the look of 15% confusion and 85% pissedness will equal in his brain "okay, don't say that sort of shit to her anymore." But more than likely it will not. I would much rather he just figure it out on his own, see me going to Mikey's house and assume I have a boyfriend or something, than me have to be frigging walking to the mailbox later and have him stop me and start asking me personal questions.
All I can say is damn am I glad I have my defense spray and my cell phone with these assholes around.
Dude! Okay so I was sitting on the bench waiting for this bus on the way home from work. The sky was very threatening and I was sitting there with my work folder and benefits package from the new job, a shoulder bag, my purse, and an umbrella at the ready. Then the heavens opened up and I opened the umbrella just in time. I'm sitting all the bench all pathetic listening to my mp3 player in the rain.
Kind of cool, except for my ass occasionally getting wet from the dripping of the rain off the umbrella.
And traffic stops enough for these two guys in a sportscar to roll up right next to me and start yelling out the window.
I couldn't hear them because I was wearing my earphones, but they didn't seem to be being abusive and one of them made a motion for me to take the earphones out, so I took one out and said "huh?"
The guy shouted to me that they'd just come from a perfume fair and they wanted to know what kind of fragrance I wear.
I said I don't wear any and started to put the bud back in my ear.
"YEAH YOU DO," said the driver definitively. I just shook my head and he started yelling very insistently, "YES you DO, you DO. You DO!"
Ohhhkay. Yeah I wear perfume.
If anything I wear essential oils, but that's mostly not to smell good.
The guy kept making his exaggerated head motions and yelling until the traffic started again and they moved off.
I don't know what that was about. Dumbasses.
So then the bus actually came, and I got on and there were two ladies getting on behind me who seemed upset that there weren't two seats together. A guy near me moved to sit RIGHT next to me to make room for the ladies, but that didn't make sense because there was also only one seat on one side of HIM, and then they didn't take the seat and he stayed there.
I didn't look at him and just listened to my earphones, doing that sort of head-nodding thing that I do to show everyone who might not have noticed my earbuds that I am listening to music and can't hear them if they talked to me.
I think he did say something but I pretended not to hear.
Then when I got off he got off too.
And he started walking right next to me so I couldn't pretend I didn't see him, and just nodded at him to be polite and just kept walking. So did he.
And then he started talking, and he started describing to me the dry cleaning store where he worked--I guess that's where he was going--and he started telling me I should come in and get my clothes cleaned.
I told him I don't wear clothes that need to be dry cleaned and he's like "Yeah you do, you wear nice clothes, come in sometime, do you know where such and such is?" I told him I was new in town so I didn't know where anything was and I had no reason to go there anyway. And he was like "OH you just moved here, did you move here by yourself?"
Translation: "So you got a husband or boyfriend?"
I told him I moved down here at the same time as my friend Mikey. I hoped that would do something. He didn't seem to notice. He said that the cleaning place also did regular clothes and I should do my laundry there, "So where do you do your laundry?" I told him at Mikey's house. More Mikey. I wish Mikey had actually been there because if he had SEEN Mikey he wouldn't have come within ten feet of me. (Not just because I'd be with a guy, but because Mikey could have given him the look of death.)
And then I guess he was going into the gas station and I was planning on continuing down the sidewalk and he pushed into me like he was trying to guide me to walk with him into the gas station. Um, yeah. So I sidestepped him and went on down the sidewalk and said I was going home, bye, whatever.
I wonder if guys who are trying to be friendly have any idea what CREEPS they are??
Yeah so on Tuesday I came to the bus stop and there was a guy sitting there and he watched me arrive so I figured there'd be some kind of comment. I was wearing a pretty dress (hey, I usually look nice for work after all), and I guess that means "I want you to talk to me," so he did.
Which of course isn't a big deal. People speak and that is friendly. He introduced himself and said a couple stupid things like "So . . . you waiting for the 33?" even though the 33 is the only bus that stops there.
I was listening to my mp3 player, which is kind of a nice way to pretend I don't hear people if they're saying something I don't want to respond to. But because he seemed a friendly sort, if I noticed him saying something I'd take an ear bud out and say "what?" So he kept like saying stuff and then being silent for long enough that I'd go back to listening to the music, and then he'd say something again. I guess it took him that long to think of something to say to the girl.
And then I had the earphones in and I thought I heard him say "boyfriend" in a sentence. I took my bud out and said "what?"
"I said, 'Your boyfriend's lucky.'"
Lucky? Someone who's in your imagination is "lucky"?
Of course I knew better than to say "oh, gee, I don't HAVE a boyfriend! Please keep talking to me now that you know I don't have a man, regardless of the fact that it's a possibility I WANT IT THAT WAY!" I just kind of said "Uh-huh, okay," and started listening to the phones again.
I mean what does that mean, my boyfriend's lucky? Just because I'm cute? I mean obviously it is a line to find out if I have one, since when you're online it's acceptable to say "A/S/L??? SINGLE????" but in real life you can't do that.
After I didn't confirm or deny the boyfriend issue, he mumbled something about how his girlfriend is waiting for him and he's taking the bus to meet her right now. Sure you are! Have fun.
Yesterday I went out riding my bike to the store and this loser wolf-whistled at me.
But this was a special loser.
His first whistle didn't sound very good, I guess he had dry lips or something.
So he licked his lips and then whistled again so it would be a clearer whistle.
It was really funny. Like "*whoo-hoo*--wait, wait, I messed up. *WHOOOOO-HOOOOO!* Yeah that's better!"
Tell me something, guys. But don't answer if you've never wolf-whistled at a girl. Seriously, do you think girls find that flattering?
And tell me something, girls. Have you ever felt prettier or appreciated because some dude on the street whistled at you to express his approval of your HOT BOD? Or did you feel more slimy and disgusted and violated?
I know it's just a stupid whistle. But I still feel so grossed out when it happens.
I was really close to my place--could see the flags of the complex--and I actually started thinking, "Hey, I might make it home today without some guy making an ass of himself."
Because so far every day that I've walked by myself from the bus stop, some idiot decided it was his manly duty to announce his appreciation for the female figure by honking, hooting, whistling, or screaming something at me, or making a dumb comment.
So yeah, I was almost home but it wasn't in the cards today for me to be able to write in my journal, "Wow, I actually got home without a moron making animal noises at me."
A sportscar pulled up and started going really slow next to me. He was IN THE ROAD. Like, in traffic. And he did that and probably he was calling something at me but I pretended not to notice because I had my earphones in.
Those things really come in handy when you're trying to ignore people.
Anyway, obviously I can't pretend I don't SEE the car so I kind of glanced at it and away again. The car didn't stop creeping along, so I took a better look so that I would know if there was cause to, I don't know, take my ninja weapons out.
Some scary-looking dude was sticking his head out the passenger window (which was a trick because he was the driver), saying something I couldn't hear because of the earphones and pointing down the street, an obvious inquisitive look on his face.
He made a hand signal like he wanted me to get in the car, then pointed toward downtown again.
I just pretended to have no idea what the hell he could be wanting, adjusted my earphones, and deviated my path so I was walking away from him.
Yeah, dude, I'm a block away from home but I want a ride.
Sure thing, scary guy.
Luckily he drove off after that.
I swear to God it's like I'm six again and having to be on the lookout for people trying to tempt me into their cars with candy.
I'M JUST NOT THAT STUPID.
Yesterday and today weren't that bad as far as the drive-by honkings and wooings went. Only a couple honks and a woo-hoo this morning and afternoon, and yesterday there was a moron whose car happened to stop in traffic so he was halted when I walked by. He looked out the window and made a kissy-smooch face at me.
Yeah baby that gets me hot and bothered.
On Friday (yeah, almost a week ago), I was riding the bus home, with my earbuds in for my mp3 player as usual. I was sitting there listening to the music and on come a couple dudes dressed in orange traffic vests, probably on their way home from a day of work.
One of the dudes seemed to be signalling to me, but I pretended to not really know or care and just waved back and looked out the window.
About halfway through the bus ride the guy said "HEY, EXCUSE ME!" really loud. I gave no visible reaction and pretended like I had no idea he might be trying to talk to me.
At that point the guy started talking--really loudly--about really gross things. To his buddy.
"HAVE YOU EVER HAD TWO WOMEN AT THE SAME TIME? OH MAN. YEAH IT'S AWESOME."
Of course I continued my Emmy-Award-Winning ignoring procedures, and as I was getting off the guy called out to me again. I pretended to be all friendly and just noticing that he might want to talk to me, took one of my buds out, and brightly said, "What?"
"I said 'See you later,'" he said.
"Bye," I replied, and got off.
After me, he called, "You're pretty . . . !"
Um, that's nice.
At least he didn't say I had a hot ass or something. Meh.
And then the other bit of news is that on Tuesday I was walking home and the same scary dude who offered me a ride another time came and did it again. He slowed down at the curb, rolled down the window, and kept signalling to me and pointing downtown, making motions like "come on, get in."
I just made a dismissing motion and kept walking, and he left me alone.
Don't these people know that cute little girls' mothers teach them not to get in cars with strangers?
I know I've said this a bunch of times before, but I REALLY hate being ogled, vocally/visibly lusted after, or screamed at by men who appreciate my body from afar. It is not a compliment to me that some guy wants to express his desire to put his penis in me. From what I understand, a large percentage of men (even those who wouldn't ever behave that way) have rather low standards for what they stick their dicks into, and mostly the standards are "is she female?" and "is she alive?" So, no, I don't think it's flattering in any way when men yell or scream from cars as they go by, or when they sit in chairs outside stores and call "Hey sexy!" and make beckoning motions, or when they stare at my boobs at the bus stop with a big grin on their faces.
Yesterday I was almost home and this douchebag rode by in a car and startled me with a really piercing wolf whistle as they sped by. (It had to be pretty loud, considering I heard it while listening to my mp3 player.) Once they were past, the ass stuck his whole head and shoulders out of the passenger window and and gave me a big leering grin and a thumbs up.
I was wearing heavy black pants, a white tank shirt, and a green flowered sleeved shirt over it.
And what's sad is all I can do is preach to the choir, because I doubt anyone who's reading this behaves that way toward women.
Jeeeez, am I glad I'm moving.
Today I walked down the sidewalk on my way home from the bus and some dude yelled out his car window "NICE TITS!"
I'll be so glad to get out of this neighborhood.
So I was walking home from the bus stop. It was very hot. I had been wearing a black sparkly tank top with another shirt over it while I was at work, but the sun was pretty much unbearable underneath those layers so I was walking home in my tank top. It wasn't hoey or anything. It was just frigging JULY IN FLORIDA.
I was maybe halfway home when I passed some guy who was standing at a bus stop for Bus 1, and he was very, well, FRIENDLY about saying hello to me as I passed. It was the usual hey how ya doin' type greeting but once I was past he called something else out to me that sounded like he was wishing me a blessed day or something. Regardless, I had my headphones on and I couldn't make it out. I didn't stop to care.
I was then almost home when I realized . . . he was following me!
I didn't really care because, well, people are allowed to walk on the sidewalk and just because he was going in the same direction as I was didn't mean he was stalking me or anything, so I just didn't look and kept going. But he caught up to me and greeted me again. So I just said hi back.
And he tried to start a conversation with me. He was all wanting to know my name and told me his name was JosÚ. "Do you have far to go?" he asked, obviously wanting to walk with me. I told him I didn't have far to go. That was my complex right there.
"So what do you do?"
Ehh. He was nice enough, so I just was polite and told him I was a secretary, and he's like WHERE and I'm like "at a transportation company." He wanted to know how long I'd worked there. I said about a year. He wanted to know how long I'd lived here. I said about a year, but I was moving.
And then he started volunteering to help me move. WTF?
Okay, forget the random following me, forget the inquiries about where I LIVE AND WORK. He wants to help a stranger move because he saw her walking down the street and she has titties. CREEPY. Cue to leave.
I told him I hired movers and that was fine, and I gotta go now. But he's like "Well how about I give you my number?"
Dude! This is not a frigging club, and being a reasonably attractive female, contrary to popular belief, is NOT A SIGNAL FOR SEX. Go away!
"In case you want to call me for help, I can do it for free if you want. Or can I have YOUR number?"
I couldn't resist. "You want somebody's number you don't even know. Okay, no thank you."
"Let me give you my number, I am also a handyman, if you ever want my help. . . . "
"No thank you, see ya 'round, bye now."
So he called to me to have a blessed day again. I went over to the mailbox instead of to my place because I didn't want him to be able to see from wherever he'd gone that my apartment was literally right there. If he knew which one it was that might be trouble.
So, like, is there some universe these people come from where it's acceptable behavior to try to follow someone home and ask for their number? Sickos.
I stopped at the corner store to see if they do cash back because I didn't have enough money in my wallet to tip the movers very well and I knew I wanted to do that. So when I stopped in the store and asked, the guy said he didn't do that, but then proceeded to hit on me. And he said he sees me every day going to the bus stop, walking past. (Gah. You never know who's watching your ass go by.) "But you never stop in to see me," he said, making this stupid hurt-and-wounded face like we're friends and he's offended that I have spurned him so. Then he was like, "You do not smoke cigarettes?" Like it's unthinkable that I could possibly not smoke. He kept trying to keep me there to talk to me and I'm like "Okay, gotta go, I have to meet my movers."
To all my guy friends who are respectful, loving, and secure enough in their masculinity to not have to prove it all the time in disgusting ways:
Thank you, and this post is not about you. Please rest assured that I do not judge your gender by the actions of a few. I love you guys.
That said: Sometimes I really frigging hate men. If any of you think sexism is not alive and well in this country, try being a "chick" someday and tell me what you think.
I keep encountering men who either think they have a RIGHT or a DUTY (or sometimes both) to make advances toward me without even knowing me, or just to pass by and make some comment or gesture that reminds me that I am a sex object and should appreciate being one. It's not very fun. It wouldn't be fun for me even if I WAS interested in sex. Without being interested in sex, it's doubly un-fun.
I took a Greyhound trip this weekend. On my way home, two men approached me during the Orlando layover just to do something shitty. One of them passed really close by me and made a leering kissy face at me before going into the bathroom. The other one commented "Hey there, BABY," ogling me before swaggering on his way.
On the way home, I shared a taxi with an 82-year-old man and the cab driver said we'd split the fare. Cool. My fare was probably supposed to be astronomical. But on the way home, after the man got out, the driver started talking to me, making regular conversation . . . and then he started pressing to know WHERE I like to sing karaoke when it came up, wanting to know if I want him to take me sometime, he won't charge me, blah blah blah. When we got to my place he's like "I going to give you my phone number. I like to hear you sing, you nice girl. You call me!" No, dude. I told him I wasn't going to do that. He didn't seem to care--seemed to think he was doing something appropriate when he offered a business card with his personal number scrawled on the back.
He charged me only $15. The cab ride was like half an hour long.
I almost insisted that he should charge me what I REALLY owe, so he doesn't go thinking he gave me a break because I'm a cute girl. And then I figured I should at least get something for my frigging trouble. In the words of Ani DiFranco:
I want you to pay me for my beauty
I think it's only right
'Cause I have been paying for it
All of my life
Screw that, man.
I came back from early voting yesterday (yay!) and some campaign volunteer stopped me on my way back to my bike and asked if I wanted a sticker. (Not the "I Voted" sticker, some other kinda campaign sticker.) I took it and he started asking if I wanted to volunteer and help with phone calls or something, but I told him I probably couldn't. He said, "Yeah, well, you underage." Huh? I'm not underage for much anymore except running for President. When he asked my age and I told him, he denied it loudly, then started asking me where I work and saying he wants my help in his business trying to help him sell houses. What? I shook his hand when I left and he kept holding on. Like it was a joke. Let go of my frigging hand.
While on my way to visit my mom the other day, I was riding my bike and some people in a passing truck called something at me out the window. Of course, I couldn't be sure they were talking to me, but it felt like it was directed at me, and furthermore it didn't feel nice. Some of you might know what I mean; I had no idea if words were even said, but nevertheless whatever was expressed, it felt lewd. I didn't like it.
Traffic was bad so I ended up riding my bike past the same truck again when they were stuck but I was free to go forward on the sidewalk. Again someone called something incomprehensible, and again I ignored it but passed thinking it was both directed at me and deliberately inappropriate.
Traffic started again. They passed me again. Slowed down. And yelled:
"HEY, do you got a phone number I can call you at?"
That settles that.
I let them watch me just shaking my head like I'd just witnessed the most pathetic thing in the world. I hope they understood.
But seriously. Guys just don't seem to do this unless there are at least two in the vehicle. They're not doing it for me, or for themselves; they're doing it to show other guys how much they just LOVE girls. It's got to be one of the more infantile things on the planet. And I have to admit I felt very depressed the rest of the way to my mom's, thinking there are people out there who believe such things to be compliments and believe liking the way I look is more than enough reason to call at me from a moving car hoping to get my phone number. Ew.
Any comments left here are PUBLIC. If you are not comfortable with that, mail me directly.
Comments from others:
Also, you get that near everyday? How do you keep from screaming? You have some serious self control.
bs_08: here's my favorite one. i'm sitting on the subway. SITTING. a guy walking by says "nice ass" YOU CANT SEE MY ASS I'M SITTING (and i'm skinny it's not like i have excess butt hanging out the sides on me) how is he expecting me to respond? "why thank you? nice dick btw. would you like to put your hands on my ass?" i mean on what planed does "nice ass" EVER get a positive response?
i have seriously given up on wearing form fitting clothes outside. the most skin i show is arms BELOW the elbow, neck/face and feet/leg skin below the calf. i just want people to leave me alone. even when i notice their eyes lingering on me for too long, evaluating my looks it feels like a violation. NO I AM NOT A POTENTIAL MATE FOR YOU, MOVE ON.
anyway, thanks for letting me rant. i'm glad there's somebody else out there who knows how it feels and HATES it. (no i have enough self esteem that i don't find attention from rude people validating in any form, any woman who tells me that i should be happy to be assaulted by that type of negative attention really needs to reevaluate their own self worth.)
honestly, i was on the subway one time and a guy came up to me and VERY RESPECTFULLY told me how he loved how i'd put my outfit together and how he really liked my style and we got into a conversation and we did end up going out on a few dates. the key is to NOT be a sleaze bag. he was a good guy and it was obvious from the way that he approached me.
Wolfgang: Conventionally unattractive girls get this more rarely, from what I can observe, but
when they do, it can look something like this (rendered in Victorian Novel dialogue
so as to contain the stupidity)
GUY: Would you like to have intercourse with me?
GUY: But, you are conventionally unattractive. I am doing alms by merely propositioning you. Surely, on such as yourself would never otherwise have any chance at experiencing coitus, were it not for my generous charity.
And another thing, I wonder how most of these men would react if I asked them out.
At first, when I see these situations, I imagine this going down:
ME: I find you attractive. Would you like to have caffeine-filled drinks made from from fair-trade Columbian beans sometime?
HIM: I find your proposition to be immoral, as I have given no indication that I am attracted to you.
ME: That female person has given no indication that your attraction to her was reciprocal.
HIM: That situation is entirely different; the majority of the male population is not attracted to men.
ME: It occurs to me that the majority of the female population is not attracted to you.
But it would probably go something like this:
Me: Would you like to date me?
HIM: Are you proposing I "bust a cap" in your posterior, as it were?
Wobot: Thank you for writing this. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks receiving comments like that from strangers isn't flattering at all... It's frustrating and rude, really. A couple years ago I ended up cutting off my hair and dressing as a guy just to make it stop, which it did for the most part. Now I've got a big, wolfy looking dog with me whenever I go out walking and he deters a lot of the catcalls/sexual harassment I would normally be getting. He's a big baby, but he looks scary and will bark at people if he senses I'm uncomfortable. I don't get bothered on the street much anymore, but I still deal with it a lot at my job.
I work in a bakery at a grocery store; my uniform is too big which devoids me of any figure I could possible have plus I wear a hideous hair net. I couldn't make myself any less attractive if I tried and I still constantly get harassed by customers. Probably one of the worst customers I've dealt with started out by telling me I was beautiful (I get that all the time; It's annoying but tolerable) while I was writing on a cake for him. Then he took it too far by asking if I came with the cake, to which I replied no. "So I can't put you on top of the cake and take you home with me?" I don't remember the rest of the conversation, only that I was feeling extremely uncomfortable and repeating "no" a lot and then left work really upset and seriously considering quitting my job because I shouldn't have to deal with sexual harassment at my workplace. I had another guy at work approach me by asking "Are you into black guys?" I told him I didn't have a racial preference and I wasn't int erested in dating. He bothered me for about a month or so asking when I'd be ready to date before finally giving up. Another really offensive one was "What's your ethnicity?" I'm half Caucasian and half Filipino and he told me it was a good mix and that I had a "nice color" like I am a dog or something. I can't imagine why anyone would think that was a good way to pick up women. Most recently, I was paged over the intercom to assist someone and as I soon as I got there the first thing the guy said to me was,"They sent me a pretty one." That upset me because the way I look has nothing to do with my ability to do my job or me as a person. Plus, it was flat out rude. To me it's the same as if he had said, "Oh. They sent me an ugly one." I don't like being judged on my appearance, positive or negative.
36524: THANK YOU! Ugh. Ugh. UGH!
That I should be flattered is a HUGE consensus amongst those normal whatevers- but not only can I not take a normal compliment, I'm sure as hell not going to be able to take a compliment that hollers so superficially at me. I look at them with disgust, and I actually can't help that.