A few weeks ago, I left my office to pick up the pairs of pants I had gotten hemmed. My tailor is in Dupont-ish. I work in Adams Morgan. I walked back to work—north—on the east side of 18th Street. Around Marie Reed, a guy pedaling his bike quite slowly passed me in the opposite direction. We acknowledged each other. I thought about telling him to ride his bike in the road, because I am aggressively anti-sidewalk riding, but didn’t.
I turned right on California Street, carrying four dry-cleaning bags—and saw that he had, too. He was very clearly following me. “What’s your name?” he asked. “You’re cute.”
He was cute, too. He was riding a cream-colored Linus single-speed with swept-back handlebars and a milk crate on the back, and had the vaguely hipsterish, sorta-muscular look that I warm up to easily.
But I don’t fuck with creepy sons of bitches who think it’s OK, or acceptable, or charming to reroute their bike ride down a side street to ask me what my name is.
“Stop following me,” I told him.
“I’m not following you,” he said.
“You’re following me. Please stop,” I said. He turned his bike around and rode away.
I bring this up because I saw the same guy today. He was riding west on Columbia Road (in the bike lane this time), and I was walking back to my office. “It’s you again,” he said, loud enough for me to hear. I didn’t look at him.
I’m not scared. I’m not even creeped out. I’m mad as hell. I am no stranger to going for advances that toe the line between pleasantly forthright and unacceptable; I met my ex when he followed me out of a bar and introduced himself. But James was direct, and he gave me his name before asking for mine. I am so burnt out on catcalling—so burnt out on screaming back in the faces of men whose mouths twist into “hey baby”s and “what’s your name”s and “gimme a smile”s, so burnt out on flicking off anonymous drivers that howl and whistle, because I have decided I will never walk by silently again (and that Tumblr post that circulated about a woman who surprised her catcaller by telling him to fuck off? I do that every day and no man is surprised. I just get called a fucking bitch)—that I now have a hair-trigger response to how men act in my presence.
And this guy, on his Linus—this guy who I was not not attracted to, and who in another context I probably would’ve talked to, and might’ve even given my number to!—got raging within me every desire I’ve had to castrate every male who’s ever said shit about my ass or my tits or my legs or gave me one of those extra-long glances that is infinitely more offensive and invading than a full-body TSA scanner. Because I’m so fucking tired of all of it, and I’m angry, and I want the men who make me feel this way get what they deserve. Which, at this point, I believe is the slow, painful dismemberment and removal of their sexual organs.
Fuck off, Linus, and guys like you. You’re not doing any of your peers any good.
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- redneckzilla said: Is it possible to say I really appreciated this post without getting into a tangle of gender politics? Maybe not, but still I appreciated this post. If you ever actually do castrate a bro, I am available as a character witness for you.
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- thatluciegirl said: AMEN
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