I always feel really conflicted when men come up and do things that they clearly think are nice when really they’re just making me uncomfortable.
So…for example, one time a guy sang at me. I say he sang at me because I sort of just sat there, bewildered, while I was accosted by Justin Bieber lyrics. He had approached me in the student union, asked me my name and told me I had a “beautiful smile.” He then proceeded to ask me if I had a boyfriend, because he’d “seen my boyfriend this morning. In the mirror.”
Clever. Also why is this happening?
Then he grabbed my hand (stop stop I do not do well with random strangers touching me please stop) and sang “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber. I think at that point we might’ve gotten engaged, but I really don’t know because I think maybe I have PTSD and also I was focusing on trying to extricate my hand from his grip while simultaneously not seeming like a bitch.
And that’s the issue. I didn’t want to seem like a bitch. He was invading my personal space, particularly because I was trying to do my homework and didn’t really want to have a weird conversation with a random guy. But somehow I was concerned with making him feel comfortable in the situation; my entire life I’ve been subtly told that it’s my job to make sure that men feel comfortable, which…barf, no.
This is the type of thing that women navigate daily. It can be really lovely when people come up to you and say nice things and or just want to brighten your day by giving you a compliment. But it’s can also be really frustrating, because sometimes men assume that women want that sort of thing all the time, and we don’t. Sometimes we just want to get on with our lives without someone assuming that it’s okay to invade our space and make us uncomfortable. I didn’t know that guy. I didn’t want to go on a date with him. I actually told him I had a girlfriend, which was a total lie, and I still don’t totally know why I did that. I wanted to show him that I was both uninterested and unavailable for him while not having to actually say that out loud (thinking back, I probably should’ve just told him I wanted him to leave me alone). But even after I outed myself as not heterosexual to a random stranger, he stayed. That was when he started singing to me and holding my hand.
I laughed about it later with my roommate, because it was so random and out of nowhere, but I definitely felt more bewildered than happy about what had happened. Often, women have interactions with men that make them uncomfortable, and we just walk away from those encounters feeling bad and confused. I think we typically don’t feel justified in being upset about these types of things, because often men’s response is “why can’t you just take the compliment?”
I don’t want to be “complimented” like that. I do not want to be touched by strangers. I do not want to be sang to by strangers. I do not want to be hit on by strangers when I’m minding my own business at 4 pm in the student union.
I don’t know. This post was originally going to be a funny story about a weird thing that happened to me, but I couldn’t write it that way. As I wrote, I just felt weird. I don’t want people to do that; I don’t do that to other people. I just want to go about my life without people touching me without my permission simply because I’m a woman and they assume that I’ll be flattered. It was kinda creepy, to be honest. And I’m aware that some doofus is going to comment on this post and tell me I’m being a bitch, but at least people on the internet can’t try to hold my hand.