If there's a news story that leads "young woman shanks man with her housekeys. 'Bleep-er deserved it, she says with no remorse,'" that's most likely going to be me when I finally flip out on a bastard on the street.
The streets put me on warrior mode. I walk around with selective vision and bitchface. Very point A to B oriented. No time for bullshit. I suit up before heading outside. I'd rather not show much skin (as if I do anyways) because I think of the sidewalks like a safari walk. They are hippos or elephants, throwing their weight around and making a lot of noise. I am a lioness in a gazelle suit. I may look lithe and smooth and slightly inviting, but if you fuck with me, I'll cut you.
Despite many males friends, I don't understand male street psychology. I'd like to debunk a myth: you will not meet a woman by yelling crap at her on the street, despite the urban legend of your boy's cousin's friend meeting his girl that way. Unless she was a psycho chickenhead that has since been ruining it for the rest of us. And especially don't pretend that you're being so deep when you're hollering. You're not complimenting me on my ambition and very big brain. You might like my hair/clothes/style, but you've got a snowball's chance on the equator because you might as well be a predator. Especially with the "rack of lamb on a plate" look. No matter what you say, I saw that. Everything said gets an added unspoken disgusting conclusion. "Hi, beautiful...bitch, I want to strip naked and parade on the street like a dog." Not in this lifetime.
Enduring the stares, the comments, the general hyperaggressiveness that I have to put up with has led to a change in my behavior. I use to think that I've got on my coverups and blinkers, so it'll be okay and I can ignore them and get on with my life. And then I realized that I'm getting bothered even more with my baggy clothes. It's a strange thing that women have to internalize street harassment as having to change their behavior so they will no longer be wrong. When they are wrong for making me uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm an attractive woman with a good figure, confident in myself and dressing how the fuck I want for me and no bastard with home training is going to intimidate me out of going wherever I want.
At the last blogger function I dragged myself out for, some women and I were displaying our "street mode" faces while talking about the annoyances we have to deal with. I was showing it to P. Frizzie and he remarked that my bitchface had a hint of a smile. I called it the "I wish you would, motherfucker" smirk. The tomboy in me has made me tough. I'm not a small woman, though I'm only 5'5". I've got big ass bones and weight and have been in enough fights in my younger years that I know I can hold my own. I may mentally want to fight every guy that cross me, but I'd probably just Mace him and run away if push came to shove (and if I had a can of Mace).
A couple of weeks back while working down my work block, a dirty old man puffing on a cigar was walking towards me on the street. I noted him but thought of nothing more than my chicken parm on a hero waiting at the deli. As he got closer to me, he cornered me at this storefront in construction and tried to shove his cigar at me, mumbling something unintelligible. I tensed up and sidestepped his touch, disgusted. One of the girls from my job was walking my way and saw the expression on my face and we conferred about how dicey it looked for me from her perspective.
A few days ago, I was riding the J train home. I was sitting in the conductor's car and I guy plopped himself down diagonally from me. He wouldn't stop staring, despite me giving him a few narrowed eyes looks and playing with my nails while wishing if I possibly ignored him, he'd just disappear. When the conductor left the car because the doors were opening on a different side, he made his move. He slithered across the aisle and made moves to sit down next to me when I pushed past him and walked down the car before getting off and switching to the next one.
Last night, I was standing on the corner of Parsons waiting for the bus. I had a soda and a snack to pass the time. It was around 3:30am and there were a few other people around also waiting, but I was the only woman. A man in a minvan pulled up and gestured with his finger for me to approach. I openly sneered, "you must be out of your fucking mind."
"Oh, come here, baby," he cooed.
"Fuck you. What do you think this is?"
He looked a little hurt. "Well, I just wanted a piece of chicken."
"You have got to be kidding. What do I look like? But, the store's right there, jackass."
He looked at me another a few seconds, mildly surprised, and drove off.
The guy standing closest to me, smoking a cigarette, asked me if I knew that guy and I responded, "fuck no. He's obviously crazy though."
He seemed puzzled about the whole incident. "So, you didn't know him and he didn't say hi or anything. He just gestured. That's weird."
Indeed. A lot of weird shit happens on the street. Personally, I think if male bystanders helped a girl out by administering beatdowns, things would change considerably.