1) When I am eating. I know that walking down the street eating a chocolate-covered banana seems like an irresistible opportunity for you, but I will not be impressed. This is true especially if you happen to be riding a scooter on the sidewalk while you oh-so-cleverly mention that you have a chocolate-covered banana for me. Nah, dude, I’m good. Even if you’re a delivery guy and the basket on your scooter is full of pizza, I’m not gonna take the bait. Get off the sidewalk and let me enjoy my preferred source of potassium privately. And seriously, why would you even try to hit on me when I’m eating something even more involved? Do you think I want to giggle and make coy conversation with a choking-hazard amount of rice and beans in my mouth? I’m one of those girls who like, stares at my food while I eat it, too; I go full-on cross-eyed when I have a burrito in my periphery, the world falls away and all noises cease while I chew and occasionally make soft sounds of pleasure. Actually, I guess that sounds kind of hot. Still, though, don’t do it. Unless you’re buying my dinner! (Ha, jokes.) And remember, if you are what you eat, someday I will stop being so hot and start being a cheeseburger.
2) When I am standing in line at the supermarket buying Alka Seltzer and ginger ale, and you ask me why I’m buying Alka Seltzer and ginger ale, and I reply that I think I’m going to puke. The right thing to do then is NOT ask me if I think you look like “the guy from Twilight.” You do not. You look like a creepy home-schooled Bar Mitzvah DJ who wears mirrored sunglasses and a glow-stick necklace and shouts “AWW YEAH, AARON, YOU’RE THE MAN NOW!” over DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat.” I want to vomit in your basket of beer and frozen pizza. Go away.
3) When I am crying. That’s really, really messed up. You don’t know why I’m crying and I don’t want to tell you, but I can assure you that it’s bad enough being That Girl Who Sobs on The Street without you telling me I’m “too pretty to cry.” First of all, how could you even know if I’m pretty when I look like some sort of wet, red troll shellacked in my own boogers? Secondly, tears happen, and sometimes they happen in public, and not everything that I do, whether it’s in public or not, is for your pleasure. So please, unless you are giving away free unopened boxes of tissues, leave me alone, or I’ll give you something to cry about.
4) At the doctor’s office. COME ON, MAN. There was this one time, though, when I was getting a pap smear from a medical student, and as I slid my feet in the stirrups, she clicked on a light and exclaimed, “Wow, that looks awesome!” I blushed and said thanks, then realized that she was totally referring to the new exam table lamps. So, uh, I guess I am kind of open to receive compliments at the doctor’s office. Just make sure I’m not crying (see above).
5) When I am with a guy who could be my boyfriend. When I am with a lady who could be my girlfriend. When I am with a child who could be my child. When I am with a dog that could be a friend’s dog. When I am with anyone, really. And also, when I am alone.
Of course, it's possible that sometimes the people who hit on me are genuinely nice individuals who want to make conversation (I mean, I personally would rather discuss literature than my luscious thighs, but whatever). I'm also lucky that none of these recent interactions blew up on a full-on scary scale- that has happened to me too, and it's anything but funny. As effective a weapon as humor can be, it's not always easy to laugh at a harasser when you feel endangered.
Check out iHollaback to share your harassment stories- and join the movement to stop street harassment.
image via Stop Street Harassment