My dear man, a word with you?

picDear Random Male Walking On the Street,

I want to smile at you, you know, like all human beings should at each other, be polite, probably make some small talk, but I am scared you may take it otherwise. You may take it to mean that I am easy, or take the friendly look on my face to be my “come hither” look.

I don’t want special seats or compartments or trains reserved for me. I don’t want to ask my male friends or relatives stand in queues in my place. I know all this “special treatment” bothers you, a lot. It bothers me too.

Believe me, I want to mingle.

But I don’t want that intention to be misinterpreted as an invitation for you to accost me, molest me, abuse me.

Unfair, you say?

Well, yeah. Maybe. It’s not your fault per se that I feel this way.

But, you see, I have been burned; burned by my experiences. Burned by so many others like you, just randomly walking by me on the street, or travelling in the bus, or just while doing anything that was the random business of living my daily life.

When I was thirteen and a school girl travelling by the bus alone, and you were a a person my father’s age, you asked me if we could be friends, and then if you could kiss me since we were “friends”.

When I visited a fair with my family, you were among the group of 20 year olds, whose hands would snake out of nowhere to pinch women’s bottoms and other unmentionables, and just as soon disappear amidst the sea of humanity.

When I got delayed at work one night, and was driving back home, you were the person in the car next to me, making lewd gestures, forcing me to run through traffic signals forsaking my safety.

When I was at the movies with friends you were the one whistling, making catcalls/lewd comments ostensibly targeted at the screen.

I am just tired of being at the “receiving end”. And I am tired of “giving it back”. And I am tired of all the restrictions on me. And I am tired of every space being contested.

And I am tired of distrusting you. And others like you.

Believe me, I would rather just smile. Wouldn’t you?

Random Female Walking on the Street


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