This was not my aim. These were not my intentions. That is not what I was thinking at all.
I was thinking of my 11 a.m. meeting. I was thinking of the strawberries I ate earlier. I was thinking of how wonderful it would be to deposit my tax return. I was thinking of that delicious tea I would make when I got to work, the drinks I would have after work, the beautiful kiss this morning, my upcoming 50mile race, my long training runs this weekend, my cat's punishment of not being fed soon enough with hairballs.
I was not thinking of impressing him.
Him being a male stranger. Him being the gross guy in the bank this morning. Him being the guy openly staring at me on the subway. Him being the guy leaning over the edge of the building. Him being the guy serving me my chai.
I don't want to be mean.
Well, why not?
They're not being nice. Not at all. Nice is my grandma baking me those cream cheese cookies with cherries in the middle, nice is my boss telling me I've been working too hard, go home early. Nice is my best friend sending me that Feist CD I lost. Nice is Iliana offering to drive me all over the planet.
Nice is a million and one things, but those men, they are not being nice.
"I was just calling you sweetie." "What's wrong with baby?" "You are sexy, why shouldn't I say it?"
"God, you're so uptight." "You're such a bitch." "You can't even take a fucking compliment." "Shut up, ugly bitch."
I thought you just called me pretty.
Men don't seem to understand it. It's really frustrating. I don't take being stared at in that way, that uncomfortable way, that way that makes you want to say, "Hey, I'm not your porn star." I don't want to be called a term of endearment by someone who doesn't even know me. My grandma, my partner, my family...but not some strange guy. Him calling me "sweetie" just dirties the meaning. And maybe he thinks he's being nice, telling me how pretty I am, telling me how sexy I am, telling me how bad he wants me...
But really, he just makes me feel uncomfortable. Dirty. Maybe even scared.
I've gone home and changed my clothes before to something showing less skin. I've worn sweaters over my clothes until I got to my destination. I've thought about what I've worn. I've held my head down. I've lied about having a boyfriend when I haven't. I've hated cleavage. I've chosen comfort of being ignored over comfort of temperature.
I haven't spoken up when I wanted to.
I haven't spoken up when I should have.
And what does it come down to? Seen as property, something belonging to the pleasure gaze of strangers.
And you are being punished for being pretty.
Note - This post is a reaction to unwanted male attention. This is something that bothers me, and many other women. Ask your sister, your girlfriend, your best friend. And speak up for those who can't, who won't.