I just wanted to see my friend.
It had been a long time since we’d seen each other. In those in between years, sometimes we were apart because of various obligations. Many years there were entire oceans whose expanse, and expense to cross, gleefully confirmed that yes it had been awhile, but no we would not meet anytime soon.
Today, however, we not only happened to be in the same city but also had a few hours that weren’t occupied by other responsibilities. A handful of text messages was all it took to agree on a time and place. We were off!
Since it had been so long, I wanted to make sure I looked cute. Not “your spouse better lock you up!” cute but cute enough to avoid “what happened to you?!” No, he wouldn’t have cared either way because he’s an actual friend, but I wanted to at least maintain the pretense that I have become a grown up who looks like I know what I’m doing.
Today’s ensemble was a navy floral dress that fell just below my knees when I was standing. Driving meant that the hem would sometimes creep above my knees, but who cares? It’s not like anybody would be peering in my car, ogling whatever could possibly be –
At a stoplight by one of the city’s major intersections, I heard a whistle from the car next to me.
“Heyyyy!” a saccharine voice drifted through my open passenger window. “Excuse me? Ma’am?” He whistled again. “Miss? Helloooo! That’s a pretty dress! You look good, girl!”
In the miniscule space between each of his very much unwanted words, I considered my options. My favorite included a flurry of words I wouldn’t dare to breathe around my parents, small children, or cute and fluffy animals. Another possibility was to fling something hard and sharp from my glovebox towards his face. For an even tinier fraction of a second, I wondered how good my car insurance was.
Ultimately, I kept my eyes on the road and rolled up my windows. Inside, I was positively seething, but the choice was the one least likely to result in harm. While I feel confident that I could most likely defend myself, I don’t haphazardly live my life trying to find out whether I can.
He continued to call out to me through the closed glass, but thankfully drove off after the light turned green. If he hadn’t, I would have pulled into the nearest public, heavily trafficked place, and called the police (making sure to note the make and model of the dude’s car, as well as his license plate).
Men, this attention is not flattering. I can say with certainty that my girl friends and I don’t like your random attention. It’s not a compliment. You are definitely not “just being friendly,” especially since none of you ever do this when we are with our boyfriends or husbands. I hope that someday you will see this for what it is: a gross invasion of both person and personal space.
To the dude who couldn’t just let me enjoy my day, and to those of you defending him, I hope that 2020 brings you a solid decade of your fellow man choosing the urinal right next to yours, eyeing your junk, and “complimenting” you. That’s how appealing your attention is.