Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday's Things New Yorkers Say: Words Best Unspoken


I don’t know who reads my blog.
Professionals, parents, friends, Virginians, New Yorkers, Canadians, kids – I’m not sure of the details, but statistically I know a few hundred tune into this website over the course of a week. And I truly thank you for the support.
That is why I’m also giving your fair warning; this is probably my raciest post to date. But it’s one of those stories that just must get told. So here is your chance to pull out… no? Okay.
Then let’s start at the beginning…
First you should know that I live in a very safe neighborhood. My roommate and I have never encountered any problems, even late at night. This is why yesterday, on my walk home around 10pm, I was surprised to stumble upon a persistent heckler.
I had just gotten off the phone with my sister, who was going to call me back in a few moments. Turning on Steinway, I passed two boys (and yes, I use the term “boys” in the most belittling of senses here) who were probably between ages 20 – 22.
“Hey… hey,” the one furthest from me says. I turn my head only slightly, keeping my pace.
“Are you an angel?” he asked with a serious face.
“Oh my gosh,” I say, rolling my eyes and passing him on the sidewalk. Not original. Not cute. Not anything I want to hear on my way home from work.
“I like your boots,” he calls ahead at me. This guy really wants to be heard. “But they clash you outfit! Oh burn…” he continues. Now I’m a ways in front of him and no longer interested in this child’s whiney request for attention. And I’m hungry.
Not a good combo.
“You look like Brittany Stone! You know who that is?” he says loudly. I didn’t, although I just Googled her. Turns out he either meant a past American Idol contestant… or a porn star. You decide.
Then he went there. He really pissed me off.
“Hey. HEY! Do you want to give me ****? HEY! Umbrella!” he shouts, I’m guessing because I’m holding my large plastic umbrella – which I’m now considering using as a weapon. “HEY UMBRELLA! DO YOU WANT TO GIVE ME ****!?”
You can interpret those 4 little stars any way you please, but let’s just say he was screaming an insulting, demeaning sexual request at the top of his lungs.
Now… I’m tired. I’m starving. I’m coming home from Bloomingdales after a long evening. And presently, someone is yelling at me. So no, I did not take the high road. No, I didn’t shout, “My body is a temple!” or “Back away from me crazy devil boy!”
I swiveled abruptly on my heel and screamed:
“DUDE. Shut the F*** UP!!”
Yes, I said that. I don’t curse at people very often – but this warranted something more powerful than a “Hey, can you stop that?” I wanted the whiney devil boy to know that it is not okay to scream insults at anyone who wonders by. It is not okay for women to walk home thinking they could be verbally harassed. It is NOT OKAY because you don’t treat human beings that way. And I wanted to be very loud about the whole situation so everyone on the street would know “I. Am. Not. Okay.”
He looked like a deer caught in headlights. I pivoted back around and saw a group of 5 guys appear out of nowhere. “Hey whoa – okay, we’ll take it from here,” one of them says. Another tells me to “just keep on walking.”
I don’t look at any of them. The offenders, the defenders – they’re all behind me now. My phone rings and I continue talking to my sister, like nothing happened. Just a regular night in New York.
Could I have handled the circumstances better? Yes. My anger attacked any form of reasonable vernacular. Would I suggest my outspoken tactics? No. Though I will admit, there was something very freeing about “talking back” to a force that degrades your existence.
In fact I have an exceedingly positive feeling about standing up for my standards of respect. Maybe one day I’ll have the matching maturity to not drop the F-bomb?
Eh. Well it’s a start.
So this “Thursday’s Things” is about the time Britney cursed out someone on the street and how she was a little embarrassed and a little proud of that fact.

All time favorite sign - Virginia Beach, VA.

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3 comments:

Stephen said...

When certain people are harassing me around Dupont Circle, I refer to my complicated relationship on facebook. Now, I can tell this story along with it and let whomever know, if they mess with me, I have a complicated partner who doesn't take **** from anyone!

Dad :( said...

could you maybe take a different route from the subway to your apartment for the next 3 years so your father can sleep at night???? Sigh........

Dilly Howard said...

one word"NICE!"