“I just can’t…can’t leave this spot without a smile”

I was sitting at the bus stop in front of the San Francisco Main Branch Library with my boyfriend. Another gentleman was sitting, reading, next to me. We had just missed the bus so we had about ten minutes to wait.

A short, (possibly) homeless man with devil horns tattooed on his forehead slowly wandered in front of the bus stop, laughing to himself. He wandered over, standing too close to my boyfriend, still laughing and laughing. He gestures to my boyfriend and calls him “Prince Charming,” and says some other things I couldn’t understand. He was kind of wandering in and out of laughing to himself and annoying my boyfriend, until he started talking to me. First, “Happy holidays, merry Christmas, God bless ya,” which I responded to with, “You too.”

Then he stopped wandering around, stopped far too close to where I was sitting, pointed to me and told my boyfriend, “You know…I can’t leave this spot…can’t leave this spot without a pretty smile from her.”

I rolled my eyes and my boyfriend told him to leave. “I just can’t…can’t leave this spot without a smile,” he says to me.

I told him, “No. You don’t get to demand things from me on the street just because you feel like it.”

He protests and I tell him that he doesn’t get to demand things from women just because he’s drunk and feels like it. He starts to protest loudly and at this point the man next to me and another man nearby were staring at the offender. The offender noticed them staring and started to walk away when I used the phrase “public sexual harassment” and by that time everyone was staring at him.

He must have felt intimidated because he made a punching gesture at me as he left.

– Jen M.

Location: San Francisco, City Hall

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

One Response to “I just can’t…can’t leave this spot without a smile”

  1. Golden Silence says:

    Glad your boyfriend and bystanders had your back when you stood up to him!

    The San Francisco harassers are something else. I visited there last fall and was waiting in a very long line to board a trolley. (I can’t remember the street but it was a busy area.) Out of all the people in line a homeless man starts yelling “Yo, Dreads!” at me and tried to get me to look at his “poetry” (looked like dingy stapled papers). I kept saying “No” and “Not interested” and he didn’t seem to take the hint!

    When walking down Mission Street to go thrift shopping at Goodwill, some dork on a skateboard wolf-whistled at me and I responded “No!”

    I enjoyed San Francisco, but the harassment there was out of control.

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