My classics from the college years…
I worked for a concert promoter and one night I was waiting outside a rock club to pass out fliers to the people exiting. It was cold, like it is in Chicago. So I had on a big coat. The bouncer let me come into the foyer to get out of the cold, where I took off my coat and he felt it appropriate to say, “I thought you were cute before, but after you took off your coat, I thought, damn, you’ve got a bangin’ bod!”
Walking down the stairs of the L train station in my neighborhood, I heard someone behind me yell, “Hey! Nice ass! NICE ASS!” I hoped against hope that it wasn’t directed at me. I didn’t look back to see. After I exited the station, a man came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. He said, “Hey, back there when someone yelled ‘nice ass’ at you… that was me! THAT WAS ME!” I was really surprised by his excitement at telling me that he was, in fact, the grotesque man cat-calling me. Until, of course, he explained to me that you are supposed to say ‘thank you’ when someone gives you a compliment. Where were my manners? Then he asked if he could walk me home, to which I declined.
Standing on the corner of Western and Addison, in the winter, snow on the ground, puffy winter coat down to my knees, a man in an SUV made a left turn onto Addison and rolled down his window in the middle of the intersection to yell at me, “That’s a nice pussy!”
None of this made me feel beautiful or special. But it definitely made me uncomfortable and I wanted to hang out at different clubs, move to a new neighborhood, and find a different route to work. I should not be forced to change my life to avoid harassment. I deserve to walk down the streets of my city in peace.
Location: Chicago, Illinois