Ahh, to be female.
Plenty of weird shit happens simply because we walk around wearing boobs and possessing a vagina. Comes with the territory.
Don’t get me wrong: Plenty of fellow vagina-carriers deal with far more than I will ever likely experience in my privileged life, and yes, I used that wince-inducing word.
I’m a white female in a free nation, so whether I identify as “privileged” or not, I have a responsibility to recognize that my life is heaps easier because of my skin color. Which, for the record, is the stupidest fucking reason to discriminate or dislike ANYONE. Dislike people because they, as individuals, are shit humans, not because of something as superficially stupid as the color they were born. Fun fact: That’s not something you can choose or change. A cool piece of advice I read says something to the effect of, “Unless someone can change the thing you are about to comment on in the next minute, keep that shit to yourself.”
You know what does matter: Are you a good person? Are you kind? Compassionate? That counts, not some arbitrary oppressive bullshit. I don’t get how this is still a thing. WE’RE ALL FUCKING HUMAN. JESUS. BE KIND. IT’S NOT HARD.
And now that I’ve ranted myself into a frenzy entirely off-topic…
I write at Java House a lot. I like the atmosphere, the baristas have my face-name combo down, and the new ones always spell my name right. ALL HAIL THE ELUSIVE E!
Occasionally I hang at other caffeine drips, but Java is Bae One (because those Banana Chocolate Chip muffins. Extra YAS).
Obviously, frequenting a place increases the probability of making friends (yes; love), being recognized (because LOL you’re here all the time! Bet they’re secretly wondering if I have a life. The answer is: Does the gym count?), and it also ups the possibility for weird shit.
Lately, I’ve been getting hit on while I’m there writing. A lot. Like a strangely high amount. I’m starting to wonder if Ashton Kutcher is bringing Punk’d back.
While it’s never not weird, compliments are neat I guess, even if they’re for the way your parents made your face.
Generally, it’s harmless, well-intentioned, and after a few minutes of polite chat, I resume working. While I love meeting new people (FRIENDS THO), I am actually doing work, and no, I’m not interested in starting some emotional what-the-fuck-ever with some stranger. I’m quite happily covered in the attention department, thanks.
LOL BUT THIS WEEK THO…
I set up at a high-top facing the door; it was unusually busy and tables in the back make me feel squished and claustrophobic. Music’s up, bobbing my head, trying not to dance in my chair (failing), contemplating what to do with my project… when a hand plops down.
I look up to an expectant stranger. Hesitantly, I remove one earbud. The stranger (younger male, presumably collegiate) says, “You look busy, and I don’t want to bother you, but I just wanted to tell you that you’re gorgeous.”
I pause. I don’t know what I expected; a remark about the Spartan stickers littering my laptop, a “you look familiar,” some kind of commentary about the purple in my hair/bling on my ears. The possibility of getting hit on entered my mind, but I clung to the foolish hopes that he wouldn’t take it there.
“Thanks,” politely, though clearly not encouraging further interaction. I’m negative percent interested, but I can appreciate the courage this takes.
He notices I’m working on something, as I’m repeatedly glancing at my screen to indicate, “Yes, busy, please leave, thanks.” He’s willfully, determinedly oblivious, and he asks about it. Internal sigh.
“Writing for a blog.”
“Ahh.. are you in school?”
“Nope. Graduated a few years ago.”
This is my favorite “let-em-down, send-em-packing” line, because the visible disappointment when they realize I’m not an early 20-something, binge-drinking, hook-up hopeful never gets old. Yes, I’m an asshole.
“What are you writing about?”
“A dog I had.”
“Did you like the dog?”
I internally roll my eyes so hard I’m afraid I’ll tear the muscles attaching them to my skull. How is that a question?! Did I fucking like the dog? How bout I let my backhand elaborate for me?
Shadow was everything to me, and suffering is a word that doesn’t do justice to the hole in my life where wolfdog used to be. But I don’t know this kid, and I definitely don’t want to talk to him anymore, so instead, “Yes, I did. Very much.”
Pause. Have we noticed a pattern here? My answers are short. I’m not attempting to keep the conversation flowing.
TIP: If you’re hitting on someone and the exchange of information is you asking questions, and them giving short, non-elaborative answers without effort to keep the conversation going, this is a social cue for polite disinterest. Do your Little Pride Feels a favor and gracefully see yourself out of the conversation.
He reiterates that he doesn’t want to bother me because I look like I’m busy (now I’m nodding because fuck subtleties), and then he says, “I should get your number.”
Uh… what? What about this interaction made that seem like the right next move?
“Ahh. Sorry. I’m seeing someone.”
In true overdramatic fashion, he clutches his chest and drops his jaw. “You’re breaking my heart. Ugh.” He continues the theatrics.
I’m fully irked.
I click my lips in a very “ooooh bummer don’t care” way, offer an insincere, disinterested shoulder-shrug sorry, and stare back. You’ve been dismissed.
He pivots. “Is it committed?”
I balk. “Yeah… I’m not really the type to fuck around.”
He pauses. “Well, we could be friends and talk. You could tell me about your writing.”
Pleasantries are done. “I don’t feel comfortable with that. I don’t think so.” He begins to make a case, mistakenly assuming I can be swayed. My hate-fire is beginning to brew. Meanwhile, the 7 other people sharing the space stir; everyone is listening.
I feel uneasy. I’ve been in situations like this before where I’ve repeatedly declined only to be threatened with force. Every request I rebuff causes more agitation to seep from his pores. I flick through a list of escape options.
I don’t want to leave; he can follow me, and I’m alone. I don’t want to get up; there’s a mighty high table separating us, and I feel okay about that. I glance at my phone, contemplating asking a friend to call, but he’s been persistent, and I’m not convinced he won’t just wait til the call ends.
In a last ditch attempt, he asks, “Do you have Snapchat?”
“I do, but I’m not giving you that, either.”
He starts to ask something else, when a guy nearby breaks conversation. “Hey, bro. I think she said no. You should leave.”
Everyone stops pretending they aren’t eavesdropping. It’s silent. I want to melt out of my seat.
Can we just… I FEEL FUCKING WEIRD BECAUSE THIS GUY WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE. WHY DO I FEEL WEIRD? I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING. It’s fucked up that, as a female, I feel responsible for someone else’s disrespect of my boundaries.
Anger plainly plastered on this kid’s face, he attempts to collude with me, muttering, “Cockblock.” I regard him coldly, wondering if he thinks we’re gonna bond over that. I look down, and after a long, uncomfortable pause, he stalks out.
The entire area breathes a collective sigh, everyone turning.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine, that was… odd.”
“He was not taking no for an answer.”
“No. No, he really wasn’t.”
“Gotta hand it to him… he had balls.”
“Wish he didn’t. That was uncomfortable.” I turn to the boy who helped me out. “Thank you, for jumping in. I really appreciate that. I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Hey, no problem. He was being creepy, and I could tell you were uncomfortable. Don’t worry about it.”
I tried to resume working, but was so frazzled I couldn’t concentrate. I called my best friend, who’s always the most kickass, supportive human while making me laugh at how ridiculous life can be. I packed up, leaving shaken, but alert, to see someone who can hit on me anytime he wants.
Look out for each other, people. Some people don’t get that “no means no,” no matter how many times you say it.