Thursday, January 22, 2009

You can stop that now.

You know what I am getting really damn sick of?

Sexual harassment.

Okay, I dress up pretty and go to the bar, and a sleazy guy offers to buy me a drink or grabs at me as I walk by. I get that. I may not always appreciate it, but I get it.

I'm not a wimp in this regard. My job requires that I occasionally work in a jail. I get the howls, the stares, the comments. It's not because I'm special. It's because I have boobs and I'm not a senior citizen. It's more for the benefit of the other inmates than getting my attention. I was just telling my guy the other day how I barely even notice most of the attention anymore, unless their comments get particularly clever or original, or their grunting is particularly loud.

But, really, it would be nice to be able to go for a coffee downtown, and not have the experience I did last night. It would be lovely not to have some creep start following me to my bus stop after I simply did the polite thing and said hi back to him. It would be super if he noticed that me walking quickly to get ten feet ahead of him, and ignoring his request that we spend time together. It would be bloody great if he didn't stand right beside me, staring unblinkingly, for several minutes at the bus stop, as I texted my boyfriend to call me so I could find a way to forcibly disengage from the situation. It would be fucking wonderful if he didn't start telling me he was coming home with me, and then, after I told him that was not going to happen, he stated that I could come home with him. And it was, at least, a damn relief when he finally got the point, and ran away after multiple refusals, before my bus came and he followed me home like he said he would.

It would be even better if this was a one time only type of thing, rather than a relatively regular source of stress.

I don't want to have to worry about this kind of stuff. My cousin joked about me bringing my new boyfriend home when I returned, and while I understand that he is just trying to diffuse the tension, these stories are no longer feeling very funny. Instead, I start to wonder what would have happened had it been later, darker, less populated. I worry about people's motivations, wondering if they had the nerve to say such things to me in public, what more they would do in private.

I also wonder why. Does this ever work? Does a girl ever simply agree to let this random fellow into her home, or hop in the car with him? Does it make them feel like big men to make me like I am but the sum of my female parts? Yeah, I am probably overthinking the motivations of some random pervert, but when it happens on a number of occasions, you can't help but think about it in a more systematic fashion.

I don't want to let this get to me or make it a big thing, as the truth is, it just a reality of life. It just feels good to rant sometimes, because, damn, being a woman in the city sucks sometimes.

(and now back to my scheduled hiatus...)

32 comments:

Deutlich said...

Man... that bites really damn hard! And it's freakin' scary.. more than anything. :(

distractedspunk said...

Well, the obvious answer is to stop being so damn hot.

I honestly haven't had much in the way of experiences like that - when I get stalked, it tends to be by bipolar girls who live across the country or guys who follow me around at my job - in which case, there's fortunately approximately seven guys to my one girl, who are more than willing to help me out of a sticky situation.

Thank gosh for cell phones. I remember being accosted on a subway platform just because I said hi. I just pretend they're not there. Always have a book on you. And shut them out.

Emily said...

i love this post because you totally nailed it on the head. what the eff does it accomplish when you glare at me creepily, repeatedly yell "ay ma" as if i didn't hear you the first time, grab at your genitals, ask me if you can holler at me and somehow expect a gratuitous blow job from a random woman in return? i think not.

but sorry to hear it's been plaguing you so frequently lately. no bueno.

Ana said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your request. It really sucks to have to think: is this the guy I take seriously and run away as fast as I possibly can? Or is he just being pathetic and is not a real threat? Living with that question daily is very stressful and tiring.

Enjoy our hiatus.

Psych Post Doc said...

I'm sorry. That totally sucks. I can't stand when this kind of stuff happens, it's scary and enraging.

insomniaclolita said...

It surely because you're beautiful :)

But yeah being followed and stalked is really annoying, it makes me afraid going to the bars by myself or something.That sucks. I hope you're feeling better now.

Liz said...

How funny, I JUST recently blogged about this very topic; http://lizfranco.tumblr.com/post/71578352/post-script

You don't see women (who aren't prostitutes) shouting HAY BAYBAY! to random men, so why do they think this is appropriate behavior? Retards.

Katelin said...

seriously i hate guys like that. it's so creepy and bizarre and ugh. glad you're okay though.

Tough Girl 101 said...

All i have to say is I really, really empathize with this. It's creepy, sometimes frightening.

Blaez said...

oh gods i'm sorry you had to go through that. its very terrifying. i'm so happy to hear your "relatively" ok. shaken up, but ok.

Mandy said...

That is scary! I hate situations like that. Once my friend and I took a self defense class for that very reason.

So@24 said...

Howdy,

I tried to find your email address on your page, but I think it was buried somewhere amongst the blog awards... and who has that kind of time?

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your comment today. I received quite a bit, but yours totally stood out.

I think I may have actually said outloud, "Fuck yes. THANK you." and my boss was like, "Did you just say 'fuck'?" and I was like, "Shit, my bad. I mean, shoot."

Anyway, you hit the nail on the head with your comment. It was exactly what I was trying to say.

Thanks.

- So@24

Bayjb said...

Ick. Unnerving experience but you're just too hot to ignore :)

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I hear ya - it can be really annoying and sometimes very uncomfortable when this happens a lot - I find that being somewhat standoffish and bitchy is the only way to deter it...

Paula said...

I totally know how you feel. I feel pretty safe in Glasgow most of the time but given that I tend to be a weirdo magnet (as in any freak in a 100 yard radius will decide to take a liking to ME) sometimes I wonder how safe I really am.

Hope said...

Perverts like that make me so angry. I was once followed by a man while I was in my car trying to find parking.

I parked and he passed me so I thought nothing of it; only that perhaps I was being paranoid. Minutes later, I walked past his car, which he had parked a few feet from mine, and he was howdoisaythis--pleasuring himself.

Its really, really scary how unsafe we feel at times.

t.k.foster said...

He might have had success, but you wonder, what kind of person would allow a creep into their home? If it's never worked, clearly he doesn't understand the concept of change.

EF said...

Sorry to hear the shit women have to put up with!

Maybe you could go to a nice gay coffee house where we would leave you alone- unless we were really digging your outfit or boyfriend!

The last recollection I have of women letting random men come home with them was "Looking for Mr Goodbar"- and that didn't end so well...

Matt said...

It must be hard being a girl.

Guys only wished we would get harassed like that.

Z said...

GAH. I've been in very similar situations, and all I can say is, it sucks. And I don't get it. But, then again, I'm a girl, not a pervert (at least not that way! ;)

myself said...

I'm mean, that's how I handle it. I apparently have a look that makes men's balls retreat back into their bodies when I use it (and don't realize I use it).

Just because I'm in a bar, it doesn't mean I'm there to pick-up...I mean really, I do have business in these bars, I'm involved in the Montreal music scene as a musician and I'm a live concert photographer sometimes hired by the band ... dudes, back off.

Don't be friendly, don't be polite, that's my only suggestion unfortunately, because anything else they seem to consider a come-on.

Melrox said...

It's a scary world. It's hard to know who is thinking what. What if you would have been mean and rude to him and he freaked out on you because you rejected him?

I work a second job one night a week at a bar. I try my best to be nice to the customers. Often times I will see one of them out somewhere else. Of course I won't recognize them and they use the age old line "let me buy you a drink since you were so nice to me last time I was at your bar."

NO. That leads to, "you're hot" and various other creepy antics.

Ughhh...

Princess of the Universe said...

You know, I've often thought that- does it ever work? Does it ever result in anything other than fear or rejection?
Why do they do it then?
To show off to their buddies?
To further decrease their own sense of self worth?
It makes no sense.

sequined said...

I've wondered a lot why guys do things like this. Once a guy drove past me and made an obscene gesture, and I wondered what he would do if I yelled "YES, PLEASE!" Do they expect anything to come of this behavior, or do they just love humiliating and scaring people?

Larissa said...

That makes me angry. Men who do that are being disrespectful, objectifying, and power-hungry. I mean, what would those men say if their daughter or sister or wife experienced that from another man?

Crushed said...

I think you can safely say it doesn't work and that these men do not experience much joy on that front.

But the worry is, as you say, that you were probably ok at that time of day, but did he rape someone later on?

EP said...

Oh my goodness! I cannot believe that guy! That's scary, and the worst part is that guys like that don't listen. :(

Samji said...

eww, creepy. I agree. So very not cool.

lspoon said...

Oh how I hope no one ever falls for that. It's depressing to even try and imagine how sad a girl would have to be to feel complimented by that crap.

Jeff said...

I don't know what to say. It made me sad hearing you say you have come to accept guys groping you but furious that some guy would be so stupid as to not realize he was frightening you. What ever happened to chivalry or just common decency? I'm really sorry Princess.

the frog princess said...

It really is one of the perils of being a female in a big city.

Years ago when I worked in a less-than-nice part of Brooklyn and got off work around 2am, I had a guy following me to my car asking me to have sex with him--even when I lied and said I had a boyfriend, his answer was "so don't tell him!" Fortunately he got distracted by someone he knew and I managed to dodge across the street and into the gated lot where I parked--and if he *had* followed me in, I had to pick up my keys from the guard who loved me, and I could have asked him to walk me to my car--but still. It's definitely scary.

Though I will say this: the next time a guy mutters something ridiculously sexual to you on the street, turn around and ask "I'm sorry, but does that ever actually WORK?" The look on his face will be priceless, trust me :)

Surfergrrl said...

it's official girl, you need a car! :) I rarely have that kind of thing happen to me. My friend Mark once told me that I have a, "don't fuck with me," face. hmm, i suppose that isn't very handy when I WANT to flirt. But what can I say sistah, you're a hottie! How can they resist. :) (I'd hit on you at the bus) :)