Frisky Rant: Stop Telling Me Not To Be Rude, Asshole
Yesterday, at the farmer’s market, I encountered a man starring at me all googly-eyed and weird, who then sidled up next to me and said, all breathily, “Excuse me, what’s your name?” My instinct was to say “My name is Fuck Off And Die You Fucking Prick,” but I was so caught off-guard by a guy looking at me all googly-eyed and weird and asking me for my name in a breathy voice when I didn’t know him at the god damned farmer’s market that I just stammered, “Uh, Rebecca?”
“Rebecca,” he said breathily, again, his eyes boring into mine. “Nice to meet you.” I walked off and he sort of half-whispered, “Have a nice day.”
Why did that guy need my name?
I should have followed my instincts, because I don’t need googly-eyed half-whispering weirdos asking for my personal info while I’m attempting to purchase my fucking Michigan apples, whether or not they’re ostensibly being polite or just asking an innocent question. You and I both know that the next thing that would’ve happened if I had not rushed off to the next station in a “PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE, RANDO” sort of way would be that he would attempt to monopolize my time, ask me if I had a boyfriend as if that’s the only thing that could ever stop me from going out on a date with him, and probably, once I affirmed that there’s a different guy who owns me (in the mind of a street harasser) whose feet shouldn’t be stepped on (but stepping on mine is JUST FINE), he’d tell me I’m beautiful and then half-whisper “have a nice day” in a creepy fashion. And that’s only if he’s not the kind of asshole who would try and convince me to leave my boyfriend, who has seen me through my recovery from rape, my horrific PTSD, my flashbacks and nightmares, me losing my job, me trying to travel the country and failing, and me getting my life back on track, so that I could go out with Googly-Eyed Half-Whispering Random Dude At The Farmer’s Market, About Whom I Know Nothing But That He’s Probably A Good 10 Years Older Than Me And That He Would Totally Bone Me (Which Is What This All Comes Down To, Ultimately). I know this, because it has happened, in some fashion, time and time again.
I should have told him to fuck off and die. Or just said “Piss off.” Or hissed at him, or told him I don’t fucking know him, or asked him to please leave me and other women he doesn’t know the fuck alone so that we can go about our business in peace, just like men get to do at the goddamned farmer’s market.
Recently, when I tried to stymie a cat-calling street harasser, I got a ton of weird looks from the other people on the street corner, all of whom were men, of course. He said “Baby, do you know how beautiful you are?” and I asked him why the fuck he thinks I care and basically told him that I would like to just go about my business. “It’s just a question!” No, motherfucker, it’s an intrusion on my peace and privacy while I run errands, plus it’s a reduction of my entire being to the way I look, and I don’t fucking appreciate it.
They look at me funny because I’m overreacting or being rude, just like a casual passerby at the farmer’s market would’ve thought that it was rude for me to tell Googly Eyes to fuck off and die. The thing is that if I’m polite to them, they see it as an invitation to tell me further things that I don’t want or need to know about my looks and what their penis wants with me (in so many words). I know this, because it has happened, in some fashion, time and time again.
It’s not like I enjoy being an unpleasant person to other human beings. It gives me a visceral sense of joy to be kind to people. But I have no idea if Googly Eyes is even worth being kind to — and I’m not going to pretend that it’s worthwhile or right to be kind to everyone regardless of how they treat me. The bottom line is that anyone who decides that they have to talk to me based on the way I look is judging me incorrectly and being disrespectful to me in the process. They don’t have a right to my kindness.
Guys get away with it. If a guy says an asshole thing to someone, he’s just jokin’ around, man! Lighten up. But women are told to be polite all the time and we’re bitches if we don’t give every single person the time of day and respect that we’d give our best friends or boyfriends or families. So we tell women that it’s no big deal even when we’re stalked — we’re just being paranoid. It’s us who are being rude to them, you see, and judging them before we can give them a chance, because as women we have to give everyone a chance. We don’t get to discriminate about who gets a chunk of our lives. We owe everything to everyone. It’s not like we’re making educated guesses based on their behavior and making an attempt to keep ourselves safe, or anything.
We’re rude. That’s it.
Fine, I’m rude. And don’t ever tell me not to be. Please.
Give me a holler on Twitter.