Amelia’s Story: “I was self-conscious”

Every day I take a short walk from my office to Lake Michigan. This incident was the first time I walked alone and was not wearing sunglasses – I guess seeing my eyes makes me more vulnerable? I make an effort to smile or say, “Afternoon,” to folks I pass on the street. Twice that day I was catcalled – “Hey, how you doing? I like that smile! That’s what I’m talking about!” and “Hey, how you doing, boo?” while he looked me up and down. I realize these are relatively tame responses but I was self-conscious and had not experienced this kind of attention while previously walking with others. Should I not be polite and acknowledge fellow passersby? I feel comfortable enough doing so in this area, but those interactions made me sufficiently uncomfortable.