Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When did it become okay?

On the weekend when I go out to run errands, as in going grocery shopping or doing laundry, my goal is to finish what I'm doing and get back to having fun or being lazy as soon as possible. I mind my own business. I bring the iPod to discourage conversation. I don't make eye contact. I do not dress up for these activities. Generally wardrobing includes a fleece pullover and yoga pants. Yet, in my neighborhood, no matter how awful I look when out doing errands, I still manage to draw unwanted attention from nasty men.

In the course of two hours at the neighborhood laundry, I experienced the two following come-ons. The first one was mildly funny...at first. I climb out of the car and wrestle my laundry basket from the trunk. Some random guy loitering in the middle of the parking lot watches this and proceeds to state the obvious; "You about to do some laundry?" "Tryin'," I answer. "You tryin' to get my number too?" I almost had to give the guy props...nice segue. "Nah, man, I'm full up on numbers. Thanks though," I reply. So I go get my laundry started and then come back outside to put my detergent bottle back in the trunk. By this time he has wandered back toward the Metro stop. But he has excellent eyesight apparently because the next thing I know he's yelling at me from the waiting area. "You change your mind, girl? That's a bangin' ass you got." Thanks guy, I and the other twenty people who heard that really appreciate that you appreciate my ass. Awesome. Asshole.

The rest of the laundry doing went fairly smoothly. So, an hour or so later, I emerge again with my basket of Gain-fresh, neatly folded laundry. 20 feet or so to my car and I can go back home and take a weekend afternoon nap. I'm not that lucky. "Damn, girl, where you from?" some guy shouts in my general direction. Rudeness two times in one day is more than I can handle. I roll my eyes (and those of you who know me know that I do this with particular contemptive flair). "What you too good to talk to me?" I'd frankly had enough, "Yeah, asshole, I am. When the fuck did it become alright to yell at women on the street. That method working out for you?" I'm very brave when it's daylight and there are lots of witnesses around. "You ain't gotta get mad." Too late, buddy.

Seriously, when did that become okay? I don't know you, you don't know me, but I'm supposed to swoon when you yell at me across the parking lot? I'm supposed to believe that my good looks are so inspiring that there's no other possible reaction (fleece pullovers are hott!)? Whatever happened to non-threatening flirtation like smiling and saying hi?

I've never understood this courtship method...what about whistling and yelling from cars? Really, guys, what do you think is going to happen? The girl is going to be so turned on by your ability to whistle that she's going to flag you down to get your number? This is particularly offensive when women are out running. Yeah, laugh it up, fellas. I'm out here sweating my ass off in shorts and a t-shirt just for your viewing pleasure. Woohoo, legs!!! Seriously, get a life.
My question is are there women who actually respond to this? Have these behaviors been reinforced by some woman somewhere signing up for a date with one of these morons?
Shouldn't repeated failure signal a need to change tactics? Unless you are President, you think the correct answer here is yes. I get a little up in arms about stuff like this because at its deepest level, I think agressive come-ons like this are just that, aggressive. Call it a "cultural difference" or whatever, but I don't buy that. Can't we all agree on a cross-cultural definition of general politeness? I can't just be "flattered" by random ass comments because from my perspective in this context of blattant objectification, I'm being verbally assaulted. And that's just not cool, regardless of the initial intention.

I don't know when the neighborhood shopping plaza became a pick-up joint, but I'm not having it. Let a girl do her laundry in peace!


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