“Last weekend, something happened that really freakin’ bothered me y’all.
It was a Saturday morning and my husband was at work. I drove downtown with my daughter Abby, who is five years old, and parked near a local seamstress. The zipper on my favorite pair of jeans had broken days before and I wanted to get a new zipper sewn in (thanks, mom bod) and then head to the bagel shop next door for some breakfast.
I was having a good day; I was in a good mood. Abby was relaxed that morning (FOR ONCE!) and there was no crying or accidents or fuss. So, I parked my car. Walking up the block, I expected to get in and out and done with everything I’d planned to do. Then, something stopped me in my tracks.
From the corner of my eye, I saw an older man in a red sweater and baseball cap. He looked about 40 or so years old. Mind you, I was wearing a black dress that fell below the knees, tights, a long wool coat, and cute little booties I’d found on sale at TJ Maxx. I was holding my daughter’s hand.
The man looks me square in the eye and says, ‘How much?’ Confused, I responded, ‘Excuse me?’ He proceeded to ask, ‘How much you cost? You’re a prostitute aren’t you?’ My cheeks burned red, my eyebrows furrowed in anger. He could see it on my face. ‘Oh, sorry miss. I thought you were a hooker. It’s just that your dress is so short.’
MY DRESS. WAS. SO. SHORT. It was literally past the knee. What??? I was really angry now. I half shouted back, ‘NO. I AM NOT A HOOKER.’ To which this man took the time to get in a last snarky comment, ‘Well, you fooled me. OW OW!’ He literally barked at me.
Livid. I was livid. I didn’t give this man any more attention. I just kept walking and did what I had to do. He didn’t say a word from then on. Now, as a woman, I have dealt with catcalling and street harassment my whole life. What bugged me most about this particular time was that I was catcalled in front of my 5-year-old daughter.
Lo and behold, I return home with Abby and a few bagels. The first thing she asks when we get through the front door is, ‘Mommy, what’s a pros-toot-toot?” Great. Just great. ‘Don’t worry about it, sweetie.’
These people have no shame. I am so tired of being barked at, yelled at, followed, pleaded with. It literally pains me to look into my daughter’s eyes and know one day that she will be subjected to this, too, someday. It’s just a matter of time.
This HAS TO STOP. This is not acceptable. Street harassment should be illegal and it should be FINED. No woman should feel uncomfortable or unsafe simply going through the daily motions of life. Unfortunately, for most, that is the case. As a society, we need to do better.”
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