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Last night I went out with a girlfriend who was on my course with me to celebrate having finished, to talk about feminism, to go dancing, to just generally have a good night.  It didn't start off badly, but around 11 we popped into a bar to have a beer before deciding what we would do next, and encountered one of the most angering and frustrating things: drunk, horny, pushy, persistent men.

We walked in and immediately noticed the high percentage of the male population.  I should say that both of us-- my friend and I-- have had an experience with sexual assault over the last two or so years, so we're both really conscious of keeping ourselves in safe situations.  The bar was a bit crowded, with only one place to sit: two chairs wedged in a corner behind a huge group of Eastern European men.  We opted to sit on the stairs instead since they'd closed the balcony area off already.  We figured, sitting on these steps, we were safe....and for a while we were.

The staring started the moment we walked in.  Even sitting on the steps ,we were being stared at.  We were engaged with each other in conversation.  I actually don't think I've ever done so little "checking people out" in a bar.  We did not want to give these guys any encouragement.  But that wasn't enough for them.  They started talking about us loudly behind us, albeit in what sounded like Russian, with enough gesturing and English vocabulary that we realized what was going on.  At this point, we started getting a little flustered, but it was fine.  Not too bad to ignore.

Then they started coming up and trying to talk with us, one after another.  I would say we probably asked four or five different men from the same group of friends to leave us alone.  It isn't that I wouldn't have been happy to be nice about it, but my friend definitely didn't want to encourage them, so she was pretty direct.  I actually think I could use lessons from her.  Finally, this guy comes up and sits between us on the steps, about one or two up from where we are.  We tell him that we're not interested in talking, and that we're having our own conversation, but he doesn't leave.  We try to go back to talking and he starts loudly communicating what we're talking about to the rest of his friends.  At some point they started loudly saying things like "I like vagina."  and "Pussy, pussy, pussy."  Yes, really.  We made some comment about preferring if he would leave.  His response was.  "You're bitchy, bitchy, eh?"  At this point, we are infuriated, done with our beers, and leave.

I ended up shouting down the street any number of loud obscenities.  I was just so angry, and a little confused.  How can it be okay for men to talk loudly about my genitalia and to stare and confront me but not okay or bitchy for me to be like, "Nah, really."  I just don't understand how that is appropriate behavior in anyone's mind.  Seriously.  If you are male: please do not be an asshole.  If I smile at you across the bar or you catch me looking at you, that's one thing, but if I ask three of your friends to leave me alone, I probably don't want you to come and sit down with me and ruin my night.

Needless to say, we came home early.  I guess I'll have to hope for better luck next time.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:41 pm (UTC)
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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )