street harassment

Turns out I’m still very vanilla thankyouverymuch

My gym is located in an interesting area of Montreal. As a refresher, in the past 2 years:

  • 2 dudes attempted, and failed, to mug me at the nearby metro station (story here);
  • I got offered a really good deal (no sales taxes) on a underground artist’s music album because I am white (story here);
  • I got the most colorful cat-call of my existence, in front of one of the many strip-clubs of the area, on my way to a wedding reception (story here).

Yesterday, as I exited the metro station, and started the short walk to the gym, at the reasonable hour of 7:30pm, a homeless man walked beside me and repeatedly asked me for $5, alternating between English and French. I politely smiled and refused several times, in French – because growing up in Quebec, I’ve long accepted that it is just easier to speak French to strangers to avoid triggering words of abuse about being an anglophone and a hater (not that those unpleasant episodes happen frequently, but still. I prefer avoiding hateful comments whenever possible. And really, it doesn’t cost me anything – I speak the language well, and enjoy it. I just wished I had learned to enjoy it without the context of discrimination and sour politics. #naive #wishfulthinking)

The homeless man walked alongside me, crowding me, until he abruptly stopped right in front of me, showed me his cigarette and whispered,

C’est parce que j’ai vraiment envie d’√©craser ma cigarette dans ta face.

Which translates charmingly to:

It’s cuz I’d really like to stub my smoke in your face.

He stayed there, standing in front of me, with the burning cigarette 2 inches from my face just long enough to make sure I believed him, and then he walked away.

While he did that, the full irony of the situation (I was on my way to boxing) was not lost on me. Yet I stood frozen, and scared, not sure how to handle the situation. As always, afterwards, I was left with the uncomfortable feeling having been too passive, too accommodating, too female. Wondering how I could have handled it better and more assertively.

I also wondered if any of my feelings would have been shared by Marie-Antoinette, long ago. Poor scared little (relatively) rich white girl, and all that.

#stillvanilla

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It’s the details that matter

So… I was walking home after the gym tonight, when I got flashed. I was in my bubble, looking forward to my BFF’s visit in town, and then boom! there I was staring at some random stranger’s poorly man-scaped dick and ballsack.

Balls. There were balls. And pubes.

Dude had been standing next to a parked car, staring off into space. As I approached he just yanked down the front of his nasty basketball shorts.

Took me a few heartbeats to understand what I was seeing. What really helped was when he scratched his balls. Al fresco. That age-old movement really hammered home the importance for clothing in most circumstances.

Just scratchin’ me balls. NBD.

Now y’all might be wondering if I was rattled by the incident – reasonable, since I am Princess Vanilla. But no! You see, after scratching his balls, Flasher Dude scratched his chin. Same hand.

HYGIENE MATTERS. IT MATTERS A LOT.

Mr. Flasher Dude, let me explain something to you: the point of flashing your package at a woman is to make her uncomfortable by means of this micro-aggression. It is a power trip. You do NOT want to undermine your objective by distracting her with your inadequate hygiene. You do not want her to feel pity for you because your mama didn’t raise you well. You definitely don’t want her to have uncontrollable giggles because of your poor social skills. You’re better than this. Next time, wear clothing that flatters you (sweatpants could work), and aim for a little smoother approach. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, scratch any part of your face after having scratched your balls. The ladies, they don’t find that move impressive.

You can thank me later. Or not.