Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
1. I was 17, well before cell phones. Walking down the street in Cambridge with two girlfriends. A car slowed behind us, rolled along for a short while. There was a bar up ahead and we thought perhaps they were going there. The car pulled into a parking spot in front of the bar and two men got out and began walking behind us. “Hey, what’s your name? Where are you going? Hey pretty…” non-stop, though we brushed them off. Crossed the street, they did too. Soon we realized we were headed towards the Charles River, not a good place to have two creepy men follow you at night.
Kept crossing streets, turning, picking up speed, and they just kept up with us, calling after us. We came across a cab at a streetlight and dove into the back, asking the driver to drive anywhere.
2. Walking to school in London, 8am. A van pulls up at a traffic light and a man opens the side door, “hey beautiful, get in!” “No.” “You ugly bitch, get in the van.” “Fuck off.” “Awwww, c’mon pretty. Don’t you want to go for a ride?” My cross light turned, they were stuck at the light, I managed to slip away.
3. Also walking to school in London. Pass by a buss stop with a group of middle school boys waiting at it. “Hey gorgeous, nice legs.” Are you kidding me? A child!? I asked him where his mother was, which shut him up.
4. Late night London, two men in a car pull up as a friend and I are walking to the bus. They say all sorts of nasty things and try to coerce us into the car. Follow us along for blocks until we found an open kebab shop to duck into. One followed us in. We watched our bus stop and made a run for it when the bus pulled up.
5. Also was followed home in London, no comments, just followed and then he banged on the door of the apartment building for awhile. After that every time we were followed (not uncommon) we kept walking up the street to a night club where we knew the bouncer.
6. Seattle: Waiting outside a bar for a friend. A man walking down the street swerves towards me, comes right up in my face and hisses: “pull my panties off with your teeth…” Ugh.
7. Seattle: Walking to the bus (again!). Man standing on street: “Hey, are you a guy or a girl?” I opt not to respond. As I get closer, “oh look, a girl. Hey, you’re really pretty.” I stay silent, keep walking. As I pass him, “Hey, you should grow your hair out.” Keep walking; hear from a distance as I go, “hey, you should gain some weight though.” Thanks man.
8. Seattle: A man is standing talking to a another man, who I know. I give them a look as I pass by them as I caught them talking about someone being cute. As I pass the man says to my acquaintance, “she’s cute too.” My acquaintance says, “yeah she is. She’s married though.” (Thanks. I love being talked about like I’m not even there.)
9. Seattle: A man starts hitting on a friend outside a club. Won’t take no for an answer. Grabs her arm and tries to pull her into a cab. I jumped in, pulled him off her, yelled, and the two of us retreated back inside. A crowd of people watched this, including a bouncer. No one said anything.
10. Bonus, San Francisco style: Walking with my husband. A man says “hey, why you with that guy? Why don’t you give this a try?” My husband thought that was pretty rude. I wrote it off as yet another day where I left my house.
And those are just a start. Reading this site I am flooded with memories over the past 20 years and how angry, vulnerable, and diminished it always makes me feel.
Submitted by KM
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