My very good female friend lives just two doors down from me and I was leaving her flat tonight – we stood on the steps together and were laughing raucously as we said goodbye. A guy walking past started to shout something up at us, which we couldn’t hear, but he kept at it and was determined to interrupt our laughter.
I left my friends to enter the front door to my flat – which is opposite a bus stop – and was carrying a pizza box. Some guy standing at the bus stop waited until I was just going through the door (coward!) and shouted ‘You want someone to share that pizza with?’ (Er, yeah – I just shared it with my friends. You know, friends, not seedy older men who shout at women in the street…)
So a nice double whammy for me there. What I find very interesting about this harassment is that in the first instance my friend and I were laughing very loudly, and in doing so were noisy and in ownership of the street were we live. I think the man walking past just couldn’t bear to let that go unchallenged. He had to remind us that the street was male space – and only ‘manslaughter’ should be heard, not the laughter of women.
The second instance was just the usual, but I think there was an inference of ‘you shouldn’t be eating a whole pizza by yourself, you should be starving yourself for the sake of making yourself tiny and skeletal so men will find you attractive’. I don’t think he seriously expected me to invite him in for pizza, so the only motivation for him to shout was to intimidate and weirdly ‘guilt-trip’ me.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, England UK