Walking down the street even if I am what I deem my most frumpy, feeling two droplets away from getting my period and I am fucking sure I have put my “don't fuck with me face” I am seen.
Across the street I see him turn his head all the way around to what would be in skating terms a great formation to turn your wheels around and face the other way, towards me.
‘Don't make eye contact’, I tell myself and keep walking with my back to him knowing at this point he has stopped just to watch my ass. I turn the corner and see another man coming out from a gate in a dirty white t-shirt and dad jeans.
He sees me.
Far enough in front of me to just walk by he stops and stares smiling at me so intently a shiver goes up my back. I want to run the other way with the sexual aggressiveness of his stare.
Let me be clear, It is not reciprocated. I am sweaty, tired, and just trying to take my measly 30-minute lunch to escape and go for a walk to clear my head. I just want to walk off the world and take an emotional shower to come back clean and ready to continue working with fresh eyes.
This gross man with his greasy hair and mustache unkempt and unclean licking his lips and smiling at me waiting for me to pass by him is getting in my fucking way.
I want to yell at him and scream that he can keep walking and look the other way…but I don't
I want to tell him to FUCK OFF and smack him in the face…but I won't.
For my safety, unfortunately, I cannot.
I need to walk that way so I do. He makes groaning sounds as I pass and I once more keep my head up walking past letting him suck my life force and visually engulf me as I pass by.
I cross the street, turn the corner and release the breath I realized I had been holding that entire time. Another man is walking towards me further down the street on his phone, I cross again to avoid passing him.
It is not until I am 5 blocks away do I realize that I felt touched. Nobody physically had their hands on my body but it felt as though 1000 men's hands were groping every inch of me. I realized again that I wasn't breathing and I stopped moving.
I knew what those stares meant. You don't grow up getting catcalled from age 12, having old men make inappropriate comments about your body and being "accidentally" grabbed in the ass as you walk by in a bar or yes, at work without understanding what is under the tone of those words and looks.
It’s aggression and ownership. A reminder of the threat that they can inflict at any given second.
I want to scream "DONT TOUCH ME" but they didnt. Somebody did, long ago. Before my memory blacked the entirety of my childhood. Those men, those specific men did not touch my unwilling body. But they did.
They didn't but they so fucking did.
And they know that loophole was created for their pleasure and my demise. Me and every femme identified person out there. They drink us in without our permission and put their dirty grabby hands all over our space.