Sit Down. I Am Not For Your Consumption.

27 Apr

“Excuse me, is it Mardi Gras?” A man I’d guess to be at least in his mid-40s approached me and asked me.

“Ummm. No. I’m just dressed like this for a corporate scavenger hunt,” I replied, turning back to the bar. I was wearing a white, fringed flapper dress, a sequined-feather headband, leopard-print high heels, and rocking some seriously smoky eyes.

It was about 4 in the afternoon on a Saturday and I was tasked with sitting at a bar and when the teams on the scavenger hunt came in and gave me the speakeasy code word, I handed them an envelope with a voucher for sweet tea vodka shots from the bartender. As far as gigs go, it was pretty easy. Sit in a bar, look cute. Pass out envelopes. I was enjoying myself, until that gentleman who asked me if it was Mardi Gras decided to sit down next to me and proceeded to attempt to woo me with a series of increasingly bizarre comments.

“We just came from Kiawah and the Ferrari Club. Do you like sports cars? Do you like fast cars?”

“No. I don’t care. I have a Prius.” I deadpanned, “I really don’t care how I get from point A to point B as long as I get there.”

“So, what do you do?” he leaned on his elbows and gave me what I guess he imagined to be a winning smile.

“I’m a professional dancer.”

“Oooh. A dancer?” He raised his eyebrows and looked me up and down. “I can tell.”

“Get this,” he says, opening Facebook on his phone. “My wife is in Jamaica. She just took the maid and went to Jamaica without telling me. I found out because she posted it on Facebook.” He showed me a picture of a blonde woman who I guessed to be about 30. “Can you believe that?”

I looked at him. “I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to answer that. That sucks man.”

He would punctuate his stories by touching my shoulder, knee, waist, and at one point, my derriere. I was zero-percent amused. But I was also in a bind. I was working. I was waiting for the rest of the teams to come through. I had been specifically instructed to sit at that area in the bar and didn’t really have any other options, any other places to go. I had gotten a ride and was waiting for the gig to end and for my friend to pick me up…I had never felt so stuck.

Luckily, there were two girls sitting on the other side of me who I knew were looking out for me. They talked to me, let me angle myself toward them so I could direct my attention to them and ignore the man.

After what felt like an eternity (but I think was only an hour total), the man and his friend got up and left. The girls sitting next to me raised their eyebrows.

“We didn’t hear all of that, but that was bizarre.”

Tell me about it.

If I had just been wearing jeans and a t-shirt, if I didn’t have a lot of makeup on, that man would have not paid me that kind of attention. He wouldn’t have felt the license to be all up in my business, to be touching me, trying to flirt with me, trying to get me to go out on his boat or in his sports car. But since I was dressed up and alone, he decided that I was sending out some signal that said “Hey man who is probably my dad’s age…Come and get it.” Which I was definitely NOT.

“So, what are you doing later tonight?” He asked me before he left.

“I’m going to a party.”

“Do you have a date?”

“Yes of course.”

“You gonna call me if he cancels?”

I looked him straight in the eyes. “Do I look like someone who a date would cancel on?”

So this whole event made me really think. I saw a picture on Facebook recently where a woman was standing nude with a sign that said, “Still not asking for it.”

We as women are NEVER, EVER “asking for it.” I did my best to deflect his creepiness, but to me it was such a great illustration of how some men just think that because a woman is dressed a certain way, they have free reign to act like idiots. Usually when I go out, I’m with other people and more likely than not, out dancing. I keep the creeps at bay because I’m surrounded by guys that I know. I also think being a good dancer creates a good “fuck off” bubble. I realized that we women unconsciously run through a mental checklist evaluating every scenario to keep ourselves safe—am I dressed appropriately? Do I have a friend nearby? How am I getting home? Does my phone have enough battery? Does at least one person know where I am?

At the end of the day, I could really only feel sorry for that man. Sorry that he was in so much pain about his wife boosting that he had to try to make himself feel better by bothering me. I don’t usually say this about people, but he was a little pathetic. I wasn’t concerned—it was the middle of the day and I knew the bartender and those girls were looking out for me. If I had been in different circumstances, I would have simply got up and left or whipped out the Krav Maga. As a petite, white, female, I understand that there are certain situations I should not put myself in. Yeah, it kind of sucks that we can’t walk around anywhere at anytime dressed any way, but that is the reality of the world we live in. I just didn’t think that being dressed like a flapper at 4 pm on a Saturday afternoon would be one of those situations I should avoid.

Live and learn?

Ladies, what do you think? Have you experienced something like this before? Unfortunately, I have a feeling that every single one of you will say “YES.” Guys—how can we eradicate this behavior?

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One Response to “Sit Down. I Am Not For Your Consumption.”

  1. Karen April 27, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    Sadly this kind of rude behavior is all too common. I experienced this far too often when I travelled for business at your age. How disappointing that it’s still happening to you. I hoped that we humans would have evolved a bit past the Neanderthal view of men and women. I have a friend who can speak harsh truth with a firm voice, but a smile on her face. She might have said something like, “Your attention to me is not welcome. I’m not looking for company. Thanks for respecting my right to sit here alone and enjoy the atmosphere.” Wish I could do that firmly, with a smile.

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