It Would Be Nude To Not Ask

, , , , , | Friendly | April 13, 2018

(I’m at the park, sketching random people as they walk by. One guy comes up to me and sees what I’m doing.)

Guy: “Hey, that’s pretty good.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Guy: “So, do you artists also draw, like…. naked people?”

Me: “Uh… Occasionally. For study and stuff.”

Guy: “Cool. Can you draw me?”

(Before I could answer, he began stripping right in front of me, in full view of everyone. I grabbed my things and ran off. It’s been years, and I’ve yet to go back to that area in fear I’ll run into him again.)

Fragile Masculinity Requires More Armor

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 6, 2018

(A group of friends and I often get together to do adventure courses. On this day, we are at a white-water rafting course when we notice that the place also does paintball. I am female, and there is one other female and two males in this conversation.)

Male #1: “Hey, for our next day out we should do paintball!”

Me: “Yeah, I’m down for that.”

Female Friend: “Me, too!”

Male #2: “Yeah, same, but maybe at a different place. I went to that one for a mate’s birthday and it kind of sucked.”

Female Friend: “Really? How come?”

Male #2: “They were really sexist. They gave body-armour and protective gear to all the girls for free, but charged all the guys for it.”

Female Friend: “I mean, we kind of have a bit more to protect, ‘up there.'” *gestures to her chest*

Male #2: “But that’s like ‘built-in’ armor, isn’t it? It’s not like you’d feel anything when the shots hit you.”

(My female friend and I exchange looks while [Male #1] raises an eyebrow. [Male #2] doesn’t notice our looks, and continues.)

Male #2: “But for us, paintball really hurts, you know? Like, it hits you hard and leaves welts on your skin, even when you’re covered up. And then they make you pay extra for it! It kills, man, you have no idea. It hurts so much! It hurts!”

Me: “Yeah, sexism hurts, doesn’t it?”

(That shut him up pretty quickly.)

Finally Doing The Thing

, , , , | Romantic | March 30, 2018

(I’ve been dating a guy for a while, things have been going pretty well, and he finally proposes!)

Boyfriend: “I was thinking about us getting married. What do you think?”

Me: “Swiggity swing! You get the ring, and we’ll do the thing!”

(We’re getting married in three months.)

Being Hell-pful

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 29, 2018

(I bike around my city, which is fairly bike-friendly, and thankfully, a mixed-use trail and bike lanes connect my workplace, home, and dance studio. I’m leaving the dance studio one evening when I realize I’ve got a flat. I’ve just pumped the tires so I realize there must be a puncture, and resign myself to walking the bike home on the mixed-use trail. I decide to take the opportunity to call my mom. About halfway home, a middle-aged man and a young teenage boy ride past me. Suddenly, the man stops and bikes back to me.)

Middle-Aged Man: “Do you need help?”

Me: “No, thanks.” *returns to my conversation*

Middle-Aged Man: *interrupting me* “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes, thanks.”

(He rides off and returns to the boy, who abruptly starts pedaling back to me and bellows:)

Boy: “HEY! He was just trying to be nice!”

(I ignore them but start to feel nervous. They begin idling about the trail, staring at me; I can’t get home without passing them. I whisper into the phone what’s happening and ask that my mom stay on the phone with me. Another cyclist passes me and stops at the crosswalk ahead, so I feel better about continuing onward. As soon as I approach them, the man asks me AGAIN if I need help. I shake my head and continue talking to my mom.)

Middle-Aged Man: “Okay, I’m just trying to help,”

(He says this loudly enough that I can’t hear my mom, and starts following me. I’m not sure how else to hint, so I say:)

Me: “Please leave me be.”

(They continue to follow me down the trail to the crosswalk, and I hear the kid whisper:)

Boy: “She’s got a flat.”

(I wonder to myself why they offered help if they have just now noticed this; walking a bike while you’re on the phone isn’t unusual.)

Middle-Aged Man: “Sure you don’t need help?”

Me: “No, thank you. I’m fine.”

(I say this pointedly, making eye contact with the other cyclist, who doesn’t seem to catch my silent plea for help. The light turns, and she carries on as I sadly watch her leave me alone with them. The man and boy initially take off, and I pull my pocket knife from my bag and rest it on the handlebars. But, sure enough, they pedal back to me a few minutes later and start CIRCLING me like sharks.)

Middle-Aged Man: *with somewhat of a salivating grin* “I’ve got a pump in my bag you can use.”

(I’m feeling totally creeped out, and I am realizing that they are just going to keep bothering me. I’m still on the phone, but I interrupt my mom to tell them:)

Me: “I told you I don’t need help. The police station is right up the street. I will call them right now if you don’t leave me alone.”

Boy: “God, we were just trying to help!

(They pedalled away, finally for good, apparently realizing the proximity of the police station. Five minutes later, I was very, very relieved to get home, and found it ironic that I did start feeling like I needed help, because I was being harassed by people who would not accept that I didn’t need their help.)

They’re The Same In Any Language

, , , , | Friendly | March 7, 2018

Random Man: “Hey, hi! You know, you look so interesting. Where are you from?”

Me: “I’m originally from [Country], many years ago now.”

Random Man: *ignores my obvious hint* “Oh, wow! That’s so interesting! So, you must speak [Language], right?”

Me: “Well, yes.”

Random Man: *gleefully* “Ooh, say something dirty in [Language]!”

Me: *sweetly* “Sure! I charge $175 per hour for my interpreting and translation services. I only accept cash.” *holds out hand expectantly*

Random Man: “Haha, funny!”

(When I continue to hold out my hand with a straight face, he becomes shocked.)

Random Man: “What? But, but, but…”

(This was followed by a slew of predictable excuses about “just” being “friendly,” and “interested,” etc. while I said bye and walked away. I don’t want to come off as biased here, so I’ll emphasize that this is just my own personal experience: I’m female, and in the nearly two decades these incidents have been happening to me, absolutely every single one of these random strangers in these interactions has been male, and pushy and overbearing ones, at that.)

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