Man, I totally forgot that it was Tuesday, my day to post over on the SGU blog and cross-post here. Boy, do I have absolutely nothing. It’s mostly because I’ve had a rough few days, with nightmare commutes last night and this morning. Also this morning, before work, I was standing in a coffee shop quietly sipping a cup and looking out the window while waiting for my bus. I was wearing a short jacket, a skirt that comes to my knees, and boots that come up to the middle of my calves. I was feeling pretty good when I left the house, since the boots are brand new and I’m in love with them. They’re badass, with thick soles and long laces and metal studs. They look like they are made for kicking things you don’t like.
A man walked up to me and said something along the lines of “You sure look like you like to freak, girl.” He leered for a second, then turned and walked back to his seat. WTF.
It bothered me a little, not necessarily because I felt threatened â€“ after all, it was in a public place during the day with lots of people around â€“ but more because I knew he wanted to be threatening, and I knew that there are many women who would feel threatened.
We’ve discussed the problems with catcalling before on Skepchick, but it’s something I think about a lot. Most of the time, I really genuinely enjoy interacting with strangers. I like smiling at them, talking with them, making random people on the subway laugh. So if a stranger gives me a compliment, I accept it cheerfully.
Of course, this was not a compliment, nor was it intended to be. It made me wonder: is there anything a woman can say to a man she does not know that will instantly make him feel powerless, or worthless, or degraded? And if not, is that just because of the fact that most men will always be more physically powerful than most women, or is it because as a society we still have a ways to go before we achieve true equality of the sexes?
I imagine that were the sexes reversed in my situation, a guy would just roll his eyes and turn away . . . which is exactly what I did. However, I think a guy in my situation wouldn’t have given it much more thought.
I’m curious how the women here react in situations like this. I considered leaving the coffee shop, but it was cold outside and I had a good ten minutes before the bus arrived. After thinking it over, I decided that I’d rather stay anyway, instead of being driven from a coffee shop by one inconsiderate jerk. So I stayed, drank my coffee, and ignored him completely. What would you have done?