Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Where are my Steeltoes?

Ah, Spring....I have long since shed my steel-toed boots and am digging the warmth. Unfortunately so are all of the assholes who have been cloistered indoors, silenced behind car windows and hunched in scarves, hats and jacket collars.

Here is a big Fuck You to every sexist pervert asshole who has fouled my mood in the past few days by yelling or murmuring nasty comments. Since I know that boys don't really get to experience this, here are the memorable comments (add at least 3 'hey babys' and 2 'can I have a ride' and several 'kissy' noises for each unique remark). Welcome to being a woman on a city street/sidewalk:
  • "Hey, come back here so I can touch you!" demanded a limo window-hanger-out-of. 6:30pm.
  • "Mmm..work what your momma gave you" bus stop jerk. 8:00am. (was this a request for an outburst of bitchy, short-temperedness--because that's what I inherited maternally-- except for the plumbing, my body is almost all from my dad)
  • Most disturbing, while I was on foot, was the guy who walked behind me for more than a block murmuring pure nastiness about ways that he was imagining touching me. blech. His eyes were weirdly glazed from either drugs or mental illness, so I didn't confront this guy. 8:00pm.
  • Foreign language guys--my new neighborhood has both hispanics and eastern eurpoeans--many who blatantly stare at women. With these guys, I don't know what they are saying--but I know the tone and imagine that it is best that I don't understand the language.

I know these pricks will never read this, but damn do I want to deliver violence to them.

I've started walking around my neighborhood to explore after work, and the creepy guys do not make this a pleasant experience. My feet itch for my steel-toed boots and my hands ache for my U-lock when I encounter this nasty behavior. These comments are much easier to deal with on my bike because I am usually past the men before the comment actually registers. If I am in a position to interact with the guy, I am much more aggressive and vocal on wheels than hooving it because I'm used to yelling at drivers. My speed and nimbleness probably also embolden me (along with my U-lock) to be more confrontational when I bike.

Regardless of the mode of transportation--I hate these comments and the men who spew them. I don't at all understand the motivation behind the remarks--coming from a small, rural town, this behavior isn't what I grew up with. It was the hardest thing for me to adapt to when I moved to Chicago. Although it no longer surprises me, it still angers and mystifies me.


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Sascha said...

jumpin' jeezus on a pogo stick, girlfriend! Where do you live??? I ride through some unsavory areas, not to mention downtown and I *never* get stuff like that.

'Never' includes the afternoon I rode from my house in a tiny red plaid mini skirt and tights for Critical Mass last month.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger jojo said...

Never? Really?

When I bike commuted in Minneapolis I got at least one of these comments a day. The most prevalent place on my route that comments occurred was the Chicago/Lake area.

A prime reason I get comments is that I prefer to bike on arterial streets--so there are lots of bus stops--which means lots of bored people looking towards oncoming traffic. The dimwits have enough time to formulate a super-original, super-charming comment.

My neighborhood is also a great place for creapy guys to linger: it's in the gentrifying stage, so there are lots of hoochie-yuppie-arty young women trotting around to gaze upon. At the same time, the progressive attitude of the community is very tolerant of grittier elements. Creepy dude paradise!

Plus, to be fair, I am far from modest in my clothing choices. Usually I wear a skirt, so at any given time that I am biking the odds are good that I am flashing.

BUT I don't think this is a license for nasty remarks. PLUS, I tend to hear more remarks when I am walking (very low flashing odds).

Additionally, I am apparently one of the least threatening & most approachable-looking people. Normally this is cool, because I get to help out tourists and strangers trust me--but it doesn't help deter the creapies.

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Jim said...

Yeah, I get this a lot. I'll ride by Hooters and a bunch of really hot waitresses, just off the clock I guess, will shout out nasty things to me, like "I'm gonna break me off a piece of that", and "pedal that hot ass over here", etc. I think they're just lonely.

Probably with my revealing wardrobe, I'm 'asking for it', but why shouldn't I flaunt my tasty vittles? It'd be a shame to keep all this under wraps.

It's not easy to be objectified by total strangers like that, but I just let it roll off my back.


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