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Today, I decided to walk home from work. It’s only a mile from there to my front door, and it would take me longer to get home if I decided to wait for the erratic bus that travels most of the way. My husband was in the ER this morning. I wanted to get home.
Today, it seems, harassers were also out in full force. About halfway up Old Court Road (a fairly busy road), I notice a black 4×4 pickup with tinted windows just sitting in the middle of the road. Cars are moving out of the lane to get around it. I assume it’s a disabled vehicle, but something just doesn’t seem right. Sure enough, as soon as I pass, the window rolls down and the “hey sweetheart” stuff starts.
To preface: my boss keeps the workplace arctic. Therefore, on an 80 degree day, I am wearing jeans, big stompy boots, and a long sleeved cardigan buttoned all the way up when I encounter this douchebag (not that it should matter, of course). Cars are whooshing by, so I can’t clearly make out much of what else follows, thankfully. I just keep walking, eyes ahead. He starts creeping up on me with his truck, still trying to get my attention. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. After about a block, he gives up and drives off with an angry shout. I cross the street, in case he’s only turned off on the next side street to holler some more.
I ponder what would have happened had I pulled out my camera to take a picture of his license plate. It’s always a calculated risk, when stuff like this happens. You don’t know who’s just a run of the mill harasser and who will follow you home and hurt you with more than just words. I have had cars follow me home before. I have had guys harass me until the honking of cars bottlenecked up behind them forced them to move on.
Before I can finish pondering this, a bus honks at me. A city bus. Probably the same bus driver who actually pulled over to ask for my number last month.
By the time I get to the convenience store at the corner of my street, I am near shaking with anger. So it’s the perfect time for dude #3 in his silver PT Cruiser to pull up along side me and start, again, with “hey sweetheart, can I talk to you?”
“No,” I grunt at him, and keep walking. I must look really upset, because he rolls his window back up and does a U turn.
One mile. One. simple. mile.
My most recent happening was a couple of weeks ago when I was coming home from my job at a local gym and I stopped to get a gas. I wasn’t in the nicest area, but since it was 10 at night on a Friday I chose a relatively populated station. So I’m filling my car with gas and this guy comes up and starts talking to me, and offers me a job at his “insurance” company saying that his office was in an apartment complex behind us. I was in my staff tshirt so I said no thank you and booked it.
My boyfriend and I had just parked the car and were walking across the street to a restaurant in a fairly residential area. Then a car stopped at the stop sign in front of us, but as it was pulling away a man in the open back of this jeep yelled really loud at me “Yeah, baby” – and not in a funny Austin Powers way. A totally creepy, dehumanizing way.
My first instinct? I said “FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE” as loud as I could, and (while the driver kept driving, mind you) this scrub in the back made a point to laugh as loud as he could, over-exaggerated, so I could hear it, “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA”.
My boyfriend remarked “That was awesome how you yelled at him, you sounded badass!… But it’s surprising he said anything with me next to you.” I agreed, then we spoke about how the only thing that would have upset the harasser (because they pretty much love any response you give them, whether angry/ignoring/polite) is if I had turned it around on him and joked “Don’t call my boyfriend ‘baby’!”
Implying that street harasser’s are gay seems to be the only thing that will actually insult them, but since I don’t think of being LGBTQ as a negative, it goes against my principles to use that “easy insult” against them.
We walked into the restaurant, my body calming down from fight-or-flight mode (no matter how badass my response might have been), met up with our friends and immediately forgot about that idiot.
I heard what sounded like cat meows coming from these 2 dudes. I ignored them so as not to antagonize them, but then I got so physically agitated from “having to” ignore them, that I made a point to take this picture & post my story. I feel better already!
I’d just done a decent amount of shopping and had my hands full, both of them, with bags. Sure, one of them was a bit heavy but I’m perfectly capable of carrying my own bags. Cue in two guys smoking near a bench on the sidewalk. As I pass by, I hear “Hey slow down. You don’t want to hurt yourself.” Seriously?!
Getting into my car this morning…
” Hey beautiful”
“I love you”
Still not fucking interested.
I was at the train station waiting for the train when a very young man sat next to me. He then told me I was pretty and touched my leg. I was shocked and felt very uncomfortable.
The first time I came to live in Bel Air, I was walking back from the mall and a guy came up to me on his bike and asked me for my name, told me I was cute and asked if he can hang out with me and followed me back.
Coming out of the Starbucks in Mt. Vernon a car stopped in the middle of the street. I was waiting to cross and confused, I gestured towards the light. It was green, so why did they stop? Oh, right, they were asking for my number and how I was doing.
My gesture turned into a finger shake and I mouthed no. I was in shock. 6 seconds longer and curse words would have emerged.
In response they said something along the line of ‘just cause I’m black you gonna say no?’
I’d say no regardless.
I was riding my bicycle westbound on Lombard when I stopped at a red light at Howard. I heard a pedestrian whistle and ignored it. As the light turned green and I was about to ride off, the whistler groaned saying “Ride that bike, girl.” Since the weather has warmed up I’ve been harassed on my bicycle more often, at least twice daily, so I took this opportunity to tell this guy off. I screamed, “I KNOW you’re not talking to me! You shut your disrespectful mouth!” I was shaking as I rode away, but I’m glad I finally figured out what my comeback will be next time something like this happens.