Some of you might already know what a “raging feminist” I am (insert eye-roll here), but I have to remind you of an unnecessary nuisance that’s still thriving on the street. That, of course, is street harassment, or “hollering.” You might already know what I’m talking about and have experienced it yourself.
I was held up at a local pita shop, trying to get my lamb gyro on, by a young man who took upon himself to tell me how gorgeous I was. I’m not one to turn down compliments no matter how random they are. My mom always taught me it doesn’t cost anything to say “thank you.” But the compliments didn’t stop there.
“You are so beautiful.”
“I love your hair.”
“You have amazing eyes!”
“You’re gorgeous now, but you’d be so much more gorgeous if you didn’t smoke.” Thanks MOM. Though he might have been correct about that, I still call it unsolicited advice. But then he asked for a smoke. Which I gave him because it’s only polite. Was I fueling his interest? Where does one stop being polite and start being annoyed?
“You’re married?” he asked in amazement when I told him. “Jesus, for how long?”
None of this was his business, but I felt held hostage by this conversation.
“If you weren’t married, I’d ask you for your number or something.”
I laughed it off and said: “Okay, I think my gyro might be ready. You take it easy, man.”
The whole interaction reminded me of Chappelle Show’s Holla, Holla, Holla Guy:
This wasn’t a conversation that I wanted to have with him. I will accept one compliment, but the rest of them mean that you’re asking for something else. They were not given freely, without obligation, if you will.
Now, what if I had stopped him in his tracks? There’s a good chance I would have bruised his ego and he would have lashed his insecurities out at me.
“I’m just trying to be nice.”
“Damn, you don’t have to be like that.”
“Just take a compliment”
I’ve heard all of those before. Especially the last one. When you don’t want to be bothered by unwanted advances it’s your problem. Not theirs. If you can’t be accommodating, you must have a problem. What’s wrong with you that you can’t be NICE?
Well, now I’m increasingly becoming a supporter of fuck that noise. I don’t have to be nice to you all the time, I just want a damn gyro!
If you find you have a problem with this and to a more severe degree, you need to see this website Hollaback! These women keep an eye on street harassment all over the world. Women who experience this share their stories and the photos they take of their perpetrators. It’s helpful with identifying pervs in your neck of the woods and it’s comforting to know you’re not alone.
“Can I holla at you? Let me holla holla hollaaaaaa!!!!”