Carly’s Story: “You deserve this”
The following is typical of my daily commute. I travel by metro and foot between Petworth and Takoma.
I’m footsteps away from work and passing the bus stop at the intersection of Carroll and Laurel. As I walk by I notice a man sitting on the bench and wearing sunglasses is making all kinds of hissing and sucking noises, but don’t realize it’s directed at me until he says “mad fine” as I pass by. Normally I’d ignore him or even smile, wanting to avoid any possibly dangerous conflict with a stranger, but today it caught me off guard.
I’m hunched over carrying a heavy backpack, wearing a dirty old hoodie with my hood pulled over my head. The only thing that could have possibly been sexy were my legs, fully covered in denim and visible only from the front when he had already started making a scene.
Baffled, I pull my hood off to reveal my fully shaved head and just shrug at him, thinking, “what are you even talking about?”
The entire time I’m still walking towards work and suddenly I hear him yelling from behind me, “Enjoy being a girl!” He says it as if it were a command.
I go into work and open shop, but it ate at me all day. It’s sad that a passing rude remark can send me spiraling into an anxiety attack, but it just got to me and I guess that’s the point. I was relieved it didn’t escalate further: I waited and watched him board the bus, having become suddenly neurotic he would follow me into work.I was distracted for the rest of the day, regardless, thinking of his words over and over.
“Enjoy being a girl!” ?
It could mean so many things. I think to him it simply meant “You deserve this”.