“I’m not a prude, I just want some respect… no, my first name aint baby. It’s Janet. Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty.” ~ Janet Jackson, Nasty Boys
By now, most women are used to hearing the “say ma” and “hey baby” comments when we walk down the street. We’re probably even used to the whistling and the “psst psst” noises. We don’t like them, but we’re used to them.
If you live in major city like I do, you might even be used to hearing the proverbial “why don’t you smile little lady” question, as if you’re supposed to walk down the street grinning like a Cheshire cat all day long. (No seriously, I love to laugh – but that question is just stupid.)
But you never get used to the ones that attempt to make personal and sexual statements about you. And you certainly never get used to anyone trying to follow or touch you in the process of heckling.
The other day, I experienced two out of those three while running to another building in DC in an attempt to handle some 9 to 5 business before the office closed at 5pm. I stepped off the train at 4:52pm and while I was looking to make sure I went in the right direction to get to my destination, I was immediately approached by this guy who had it on his mind that he was going to say every lewd comment under the sun to me. He walked up to me (and continued following me while I made my way to the building) and started mentioning how I was “just like he liked ’em: thick and bright.” And how he had all kinds of sexual acts he wished he could do to me if I just gave him the chance. If you’re wondering – yes, he was about to start listing them.
Now, this was not the first time some random dude in DC thought it was a good idea to comment on the fact that “I was just like he liked ’em.” I talked about the most memorable one in one of the Girl Talk podcasts (a guy on the train who told me he liked ’em thick and light skinned and if it were up to him, he’d have me bent over in a thong and heels all day long), but there have been more than a few occasions where men have made similar comments. And yes, I’m usually more upset about the denial of my chocolatiness than the assertion of my thickness.
Anyway, that day, I wasn’t having it. It was now 4:54pm and I needed to get to that office before they closed at 5. I took off my sun glasses, turned to him and gave that man the meanest stare I could conjure up. I never said a word, but I didn’t need to – he got the hint. I was neither in the mood for his shenanigans nor was I okay with them. I’d just finished running through the Metro like OJ in the 80’s, but with a bum toe. And if I’d had the time, he might have gotten more than a 5 second stare down from me. [Yes, when I’m pissed, I think I’m more gangsta than I really am – moving on…]
Luckily, he backed off.
Now, I’m not naive enough to think that my death scare frightened that man off, although it was pretty epic. More importantly, I think that he got the hint that I was not going to turn around and find his words amusing. I wasn’t going to laugh or giggle or give him any kind of positive reaction. Thing is – I don’t think any woman ever does.
And this is what amazes me about the heckling thing anyway. It’s definitely not new, as evidenced by Janet Jackson’s song from the 1980s. And yet, I’ve never heard anyone say “oh, I met my boo when she was walking down the street, and I told her I wanted to phone her, not own her. She turned around and the rest was history.” That ish doesn’t happen.
All heckling does is make the woman either angry, creeped out, or scared (depending on the level of heckling involved). And then the man doesn’t end up with a phone number or a possible date – he ends up with a death stare or finds himself at the end of a curse out by said woman or maybe even in handcuffs if he really went too far.
Who’s winning here?
If you answered no one, please go ahead and give yourself a cookie. You’re right – no one is winning. So why does it constantly happen? Why are women subjected to this kind of thing on a daily basis and what are men getting out of doing it? It seems to me like most men would understand that you have a greater chance of getting a woman’s positive attention by walking up to her, saying hi and introducing yourself.
So what causes so many men to venture into this lose lose opportunity? Any theories? Cuz I’d really like to know.
PS: Thanks to some of my amazing readers, Choices, Voices, and Sole was nominated in 4 categories for the Black Weblog Awards. Please take a moment to head over to their page to vote for yours truly in the following categories: Best Writing in a Blog, Best Personal Blog, Best Blog Post Series (for the Shoe Stories) and Best Sex or Relationship Blog. You can vote here –> Black Weblog Awards voting page. Semi-finalist voting ends October 1, 2012.