“Look out for those creepy guys scouting for women & tell them ‘Trenchcoat Girl’ said hi”

It was my first time leaving the country and I was extremely excited (I also found an escape from the Australian summer) but at the same time I was a bit wary of America’s reputation. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised how friendly and respectful everyone we encountered was. I came back with many positive experiences, but there was just one incident I thought might be interesting to share.

We were shopping at the Horton Plaza in the Gaslamp district I just came off a ramp my trenchcoat soaked trying to get shelter. I needed to get back to the meeting point asap, I was already pushing it by looking at the last store.

Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder I stopped and saw a  man I guess to be in his late 20s-30s (I’m 19 but I look about 22) he asked if he could ask me a question, at this point I assumed he was going to ask me the time.

“I’m not coming onto you or anything” he assured as he rubbed my arm a bit too familiarly. Immediately alarm bells went off and my stomach clenched bracing me for whatever was going to happen.  I looked around and I saw two other men behind him I assumed to be with him I was outnumbered…

He claimed to be with a casting agency (of course he didn’t name his company) and they were scouting for ’25 ladies’ for a gig…..I think you can see where this is going. This was no false alarm. I had already heard about the dodgy practices of the porn industry and I wasn’t interested in becoming a ‘star’ regardless of my state of dress. This may be my first time out of the country but I wasn’t going to be taken advantage of.

I could tell by the way he talked to me was trying to charm me, it felt grating considering he was clearly overestimating his ‘charm’. In a few short sentences I could tell he assumed I would be thrilled to have this job opportunity (Which I couldn’t accept no work visa, no work) and would jump at chance to cater to his whims; I was a just some naive desperate little girl in his eyes.

That’s when I turned the tables.

I looked him dead in the eye and asked “Is this for porn?” in a nonchalant tone. He chuckled nervously at my pre-emptive strike clearly put off by my bluntness. Feeling satisfied I visibly smirked at him and walked off hearing them behind me shouting “I don’t even know what she’s talking about!” for the benefit of anyone in earshot. I made a waving off gesture without even looking back and kept walking I looked back a minute later and they were gone. I felt empowered I felt so proud of myself. They couldn’t answer the million dollar question and came off worse for wear. He wasn’t  expecting a ‘lady’ (his word) to outright ask him his intentions and ended up sounding like a schoolboy trying to defend himself. My only regret is not thinking of better comeback.

But the more I think about it I was extremely lucky, that this was only a minor incident. I was in a safe area and left almost immediately so I could afford to be sarcastic. Many other girls and women can’t risk that in fear of escalating the situation it’s terrifying and extremely depressing but I think blogging about helps. All I can say to anyone who can snark back and remain safe is go for it. You might find your harasser at a loss for words and a smile on your face. : )

Also look out for those creepy guys scouting for women tell  them ‘Trenchcoat Girl’ said hi.

– Trenchcoat Girl

Location: Horton Plaza, San Diego, California

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.

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