Pretty bird.

sunny boy   oh sunshine

Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, a green t-shirt, and red shorts.

No khakis, y’all! No shoes either. It’s sunny, and Gabe loves it. So much so that he’s said hello to his most fun-in-the-sunny shorts and he hasn’t looked back.

I love the sunshine too. In fact, I like it so much it’s part of my twitter bio. But one thing I don’t like about the sunshine is that it encourages people to sit outside and get to feeling kind of punchy.

As a lady, I have been yelled at and hooted at and jeered at by dudes all around the world. And guess what — I hate it every time. It is demeaning (I am a person, I am not walking here for your amusement, and your shouting at me is dehumanizing) and I hate it. A lot.

This goes for people who tell me to smile. This goes for people who say, “Hey, where are you walkin’ to tonight?”. And this goes to the man in the park who called out, for no apparent reason today, “Hey, I think you’re really pretty.”

So — maybe he was doing it to make his friends laugh, or maybe he was doing it because he really just wanted to give a nice compliment. But in the world we live in — the one where I get spoken to by people who think it’s funny or impressive or powerful to holler something at a woman just because she’s walking by — it still made me mad that this person hollered at me from the other side of a fence in front of his group of friends, knowing I would just keep walking and have to deal with what he just laid down.

Which sucks. Because sometimes you really do just want to say something nice to someone!

But I guess, now that I’m thinking about it, if he had passed me and made eye contact, and said, “Sorry to interrupt you, but I really like your outfit, you look really nice,” or something where I felt like we were connecting and he was trying to make a genuine person-to-person feel-good moment, and not that I was just some passing entity he felt like he could say whatever he wanted to and get away with it, then it would have been different.

But it wasn’t that. He said something nice, but it still made me feel like he was getting away with something and that I just had to deal with it.

And there’s this unfairness that if I were ever to turn around and say, “Don’t talk to me like that” or anything confrontational to a man who was jeering at me, that somehow it would be my fault for starting something. That it was no big deal until this woman went nuts and couldn’t take a joke, and that I was the one being unreasonable.

But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to walk the places I need to go without being spoken to like I’m a zoo animal just there for you to say whatever you want to and who isn’t allowed to say anything back.

So that’s where I’m at. The weather is great, and everyone is the worst.

My day today wasn’t all bad, though. I wrote my first post for a pretty cool site called Medium (read it here; I am pretty happy with it!) that I am excited to keep writing on because the platform is beautiful and simple, and many of the things written on it are super smart and interesting. I also got sushi with my two best buds, and enjoyed a long peaceful walk around Capitol Hill listening to my favorite podcast. (Holler-free.)

I guess every day comes with some good and some bad. But if I’m walking down the street, and you see me jamming with a podcast and minding my own business, just don’t tell me to smile.

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2 comments

  1. [meta]realist parables

    I haven’t seen that outfit before! Shakin’ it up.

    I relate to what you’re saying; it feels violating to be cat-called or hit on when you’re just trying to go about your day. I can’t really jog most places because people will honk at me or whistle. It’s really awkward and I feel incredibly weird about it when it happens.

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