There’s this man who used to come to my classes when I taught at different studios (where I no longer teach) who I run into at the gym every so often. I worked out this afternoon and went to get a coffee. This man happens to be behind me in line, totally fine. I go and wait for my coffee, he comes over to talk to me. Whatever. But the thing is, half the time he was talking to me, half the time he was talking to my chest. He kept talking, kept stepping in closer, kept glancing down. It got so obvious and uncomfortable that I crossed my arms and held my freaking clutch purse over my top 1/3 to literally create a shield from his darting eyes.
I go to the same place every workday to get lunch. The floor staff around the produce and smoothie area is mostly male, and I’ve gotten so much kindness from them I can’t even count the instances. They’ve even cracked jokes with me when we both witness something absurd (and that happens a lot). But there is this one “bro” who on multiple occasions has given me the look-over or even muttered a “Daaaamn” as I walked away from him (although – or maybe because – he knows I’m in earshot). While he is on the job. I love this place and I will not stop going – but I will also not stop zipping through the salad bar area making no eye contact, ice queen demeanour’d, until this guy either quits his ogling, or the kind, humanly treatment by others makes me feel safe to walk through without anticipating that anger will get the better of me when I hear his leers.
I heard a couple of grocery store men talking about me one day in Spanish while organizing carts. This was in the San Fernando Valley, in the summer, so naturally I was wearing a tank top and denim shorts so that I would not die of heat exhaustion. Now, I don’t speak Spanish well (at all), but I can understand. I later called up the store manager and let him know that his employees, while I did not want to get them fired, were acting completely out of line. To this day I still zip through grocery stores unless there have been established acts of genuine kindness and human treatment to make me believe otherwise. These guys are not only souring their own reputation, they’re making it worse for every great guy out there – and believe you me, there are a lot.
I sometimes wonder if men realize that it is more risky to say “don’t say that/don’t look at me like that” than to just put on a “bitch face” or pretend to ignore them. Continue reading