The other day as I was biking home from work on an otherwise quiet street I heard the following:
"Wahda waba... B***H!"
And apparently it was directed at me. I don't know what the words were that lead up to the very charming term at the end of the sentence, but I hardly think it matters. I somehow doubt it was a piece of wisdom that would have enriched my life like "always separate your colours and whites, b***h" or "stop meat scraps from making your kitchen bin stinky by storing them in the freezer until bin day...b***h!"
This kind of thing has happened to me numerous times over the years and it always makes me furious, sometimes with myself as much as with the "boys of little brains" who are really responsible.
I was only a few minutes away from home when this happened and I had to give myself the "do not cry while they can still see you" pep talk to myself as I had the misfortune of having to stop at a red light only a dozen or so metres from the parked car where the four (let's face it, probably genitally malformed) dropkicks were sitting. As a side issue, why do so many idiots seem to favour baseball caps? Do they have the little plastic adjustable strap at the back set too tight or something?
I made it home okay before blubbing at the Silver Fox, who offered to go and have a "talk" to them. This was very nice of him to offer but would have been completely pointless and also not particularly empowering for me. I like that he feels protective of me but a guy going to sort out some other guy over a woman doesn't really do anything to "smash the patriarchy", does it?
Neither does my reaction to this incident. Immediately after this happened I found myself analysing my own behaviour. Had I done anything to annoy them? Bike too close to their car? Give the impression I wasn't in control of my bike? Was it because I was wearing a skirt? It was a knee-length skirt, surely that was long enough?
And then I stopped myself. Long enough for what? Was I actually entertaining the notion that my choice of skirt length was somehow the deciding factor in someone else behaving inappropriately towards me? Exactly how far away from "she was dressed like a slut and therefore deserved it" was this line of thought? Not nearly far enough, I decided.
That even a stroppy broad like me goes straight to trying to identify what I did to deserve abuse is bloody worrying to me. I do not like that that was where I went. I like even less that as I sat at that red light and watched the bored-looking sex worker on the corner that my thought was "I bet she gets even worse on a daily basis". She probably does, but I don't like that I was so willing to accept that as the normal order of things, or that that lessens the unwarranted verbal abuse I'd just received.
Mind you, I'm not a total wuss. When idiots in cars yell at me, my immediate response is always to yell back. If abusive obscenities are the language you speak in, dear stranger with whom I am unexpectedly conversing, you need to know that I am fully fluent, not to mention quite loud and not prone to letting embarrassment stop me from doing things. Like yelling swear words. And making unladylike gestures.
I don't know if this is ultimately helpful. I want "People Who Yell Stuff" to know that I'm not going to just take that, thank you very much. I want them to know that I can yell too. But it would probably be more mature of me if I didn't engage, I suppose.
Anyway, I found myself wondering a couple of things related to this episode. Like is it only women who get treated like this? I feel like "boys yelling at random girls" is probably more of a thing than "boys yelling at other boys" but I don't really know. Also, if this has happened to you, have you focused on your own behaviour as the cause rather than laying blame with the instigators, because if you have you need to know that it's really not about you. It's about them. And their tiny, tiny appendages.