Street Harassment with a Happy Ending

Comments

1
My new hero. This is how we help change behaviors for the better, gentlemen...
2
"Homophobia is the fear that gay men will treat you the way you treat women"
3
That's excellent. I'd be afraid that I would be stabbed or shot, though. I'm a chicken.
4
Good story but I need some clarification. Is this guy a writer?
5
@3

It's a great story, and the writer was courageous, but in the full post, he reveals that he was expecting to get his ass kicked.
6
I wish I could say I would do the same thing but I don't even like to make eye contact with strangers on BART. Security cameras and the kindness of strangers are pretty much you're only line of defense if shit goes down.
7
Yay! The world is not completely horrible.
8
@4, As a writer, I'm really curious what trope or narrative scope in the piece gave you the impression that he might be a fellow writer. (Like me.)
9
I applaud this dude for what he did and for writing about it. (Also for the line about the wispy skirt -- that was swell. I know exactly what kind of skirt he's talking about.) Because the thing he did, the very most important thing, was he let that girl know she wasn't alone. And he let the creepy guy know there were other people who saw what he did, and weren't afraid to get involved. And yeah, he could have gotten hurt and I'm glad he didn't, and it would have been easier to be afraid and not speak up, but even one more voice raised in protest and acknowledgement is important. Drop by drop, spoon by spoon is how we get it done.
10
Awesome. Thanks to Rob for the tip and to Cienna for linking to it.
11
4, 8, aaaahh.... *Now* I get it! I didn't understand the whole thing & why he did what he did, but now, of course, it makes sense.

He's a *writer.*

Got it.
12
I've thought about what sort of tack to take when trying to intervene in a situation like this; Reversing the roles is a pretty good one. Although yeah, it could totally escalate to violence.

If anyone else has any ideas on what conversational direction to take as a guy intervening in situations like this, I would certainly appreciate hearing them.
13
As an old fat lady, I'm totally looking forward to doing this too!
15
I'm glad he didn't have a knife or gun. Because...
16
Awesome, but when douchebag says "you don't have to be so rude," yes. Yes you do. Be rude. Enjoy it, savor it, revel in it. Being rude to douchebags is incredibly satisfying.
17
I call bullshit. Bloggers, well, they don't do shit like this!
18
In my (admittedly narrow), experience, it only takes *one guy* standing up to casual sexism or racism in a space for that shit to get dialed back. It's a sad and frustrating dimension of privilege that it has to be a guy, because if a woman steps up she's a "feminazi," but there it is. I try to be that guy. Admittedly, I don't always step up -- sometimes it's late and I'm tired, sometimes I don't catch on to what's happening. But more often than not, that kind of thing rubs me wrong, because I know that as exhausting as it is just to be a PERSON, being a woman or a person of color or queer makes it all the harder. I wish I had the free hours in the day to volunteer, or the money to donate. I don't, so I speak out. It's the least I can do.
19

So much for all those find love on light rail articles (weren't there about 20 of them) that SLOG and STP foisted on us...no, please tell us more about No Pants days.

Not that it matters, these three people are clearly in some No Exit version of hell...where each time the harasser gets close to getting his date, the writer pops out to ruin it and the beauty sinks down into her seat and turns up the volume.

The only thing that could possibly be worse on the trip is if George Zimmerman got on the next stop, brandishing a Glock, and telling 911 that he was about to "protect his train".
20
You are all trashing this guy with names such as sexist, douchebag, etc. Maybe he's not a creep and just doesn't know how to talk to women? Maybe he was taught to keep talking and to get them to pay attention? Don't be so damn quick to judge.
21
@20 It would be better if people just said some guy who acts like a sexist creep. It's true, we don't know what is in his head, all we know is that he acts like a sexist creepy douchebag. Which is why what happened to him was a favor to him. If he doesn't know better, now he knows he ought to educate himself on how to behave better. However, it doesn't matter whether he is a poorly socialized person who is harassing women or a jerk who is harassing women to the women he harasses. They get harassed either way. So, either way, standing up against him is useful. I'm all for educating children in how to not act this way, so that decent people learn how to act decently. But since he's a bit old for schooling, the writer did him a kindness and a service in teaching him a lesson that either way he needed to learn.
22
@19, I can't believe I have to explain this to you, but if the guy tried to start a conversation with this girl and she were receptive to it, and they ended up finding love, then GREAT! No problem. Or if the guy tried to start a conversation with the girl, realized quickly that she was NOT receptive to it and then shut up and minded his own business, there would again be no problem. The problem is that in this story the girl was NOT receptive, it was obvious that she did not want to talk to this guy, she even said so when she said she just wanted to read her book, and this guy kept trying to hit on her anyway, disrespecting her obvious desire to be left alone. Fuck that guy.
23
@3 imagine being the subject of this *all the time*. So, you know...you're right, and being a chicken is actually a luxury. Any woman who travels on public transit or walks around by herself, we really have no choice in encountering this sort of thing over and over. When men encounter it- aggressive male behaviour that is meant to be intimidating (x1000 if they feel threatened by gay) they go into automatic fight or flight mode. So it makes it socially justifiable for, say, a scared scaredy chicken man to shoot a black teenager. But if a woman, say, punched in the face every single man who ever crossed the line into harassment on a day to day basis, there would be a lot more women in jail for simple assault right now.

My thing about street harassment is this: there needs to be a consequence for it. The reason it keeps happening is because men like to get their jollies doing something they KNOW is wrong, but no one will call them to account for.
24
I just wish he hadn't described her "wispy" skirt. The writer objectified her in a way also and who knows, maybe even expected a date for being the "knight in shining armor." That's kinda creepy too.
25
@24 Nah, if you read his blog, he wasn't looking for a date. If you want to go that route, he was looking "knight in shining armour" sex with is girlfriend when she asked about his black eye. In fact he admits to that in his blog.

He recognized a common narrative playing out and disrupted it for the good. Actually a fairly easy thing to do. Though I'll grant the first few times you do it it feels really scary and ballsy.
26
@23 - I understand. Street harrassment is sickening and everybody should play a role in stopping it, and I would try to do something if I experienced this. I'm just not sure that provoking a potential homophobic attack would be the best approach. Thus, my cowardice for using this technique.
27
@22

I can't believe you "have to" explain it to me either. Nor can anyone else who has a sense of humor.

But looking for love on transit is clearly hopeless...if you depend on someone else willing being around, but the DIYer has a differing approach...

New Jersey Bus Driver Caught Masturbating On Video

A commuter videotaped 41-year-old George Simpson Jr. masturbating behind the wheel. The video shows him maneuvering the bus through heavy traffic and the Lincoln Tunnel while pleasuring himself on June 24.


http://akwaibomtowncrier.com/index.php/f…
28

And here's some tips from Vitaly:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60J2Z9pt…

29
@26 Rather than play it as a pick-up, you could try to sell the guy something. Tell him you're an Amway dealer, and make up a bunch of crappy products you'd like him to buy.

When he finally says "I don't want to buy ANYTHING," switch to "negging" him and tell him he doesn't have the financial skills to be a real investor, then offer him a chance to join you in an investment scheme.

It should become clear to him that incessant PUA nagging is tons of fun!
30
When I was travelling in Italy by myself, a middle aged woman gave a strong scolding to the man annoying me.

Although I don't understand Italian it was obvious what was going on, and now occasionally, I stick up for girls being harassed.

But since at 63, I occasionally still get sexually harassed in public, I'd welcome anyone else who'd stick up for me.
31
It's alright for him, but what am I, a writer, supposed to do in the same situation?
32
For those of you asking what else can be said in these sorts of situations to "change the narrative" (or whatever you want to call it), I think almost any kind of interruption can work. Just saying "hey, I don't think she's interested, maybe you could leave her alone" lets the harasser know that someone else notices what's going on and doesn't think it's cool, either. If you're not sure what's going on in a situation you can always ask the harassee if they are uncomfortable/would like some help, if they don't want you to intervene they are free to say no and you are free to go about your business.
33
@32 right. Even just sitting down next to her would probably do it (saying something nice so she knows you aren't with him).
34
So instead of being creepy we can be the knight saving the damsel in distress? Trope a dope.
35
How does helping out a stranger qualify as white knighting? Is it just because the stranger's a woman? The linked post would be similarly encouraging were it a woman who intervened. I admit that the fact it was a man gives it a slightly different feel - it hits the same emotional chord in me as stories of straights intervening when gays are harassed.

I understand the concept of white knighting, but it often seems stretched to include any decent act of kindness extended toward a woman. It vaguely reminds me of high school. Back then, I was surprised to discover I had a reputation as a slut. I was a virgin, a deeply closeted lesbian (even to myself), and had a single, nearly-platonic relationship with an on-and-off boyfriend. When I asked how the hell I came to have that reputation, I was told it was because I talked with a lot of guys. Not flirtatiously, I just spoke with them. It was apparently too mind-blowing to believe I'd be interested in talking with people regardless of gender. The over-extension of the white knighting accusation feels frustratingly similar.
36
@34, yeah, you're right - no one, man (or woman!), should take any responsibility for any woman (or man) being harassed or even assaulted in public places, lest they are seen as robbing the victim of harassment of their agency.

You're totally right: just mind your own business, no matter how uncomfortable that person is. Totally right.

Wait, sorry: I meant dumb. Totally dumb. But if I see you being harassed in public, I definitely won't stick up for you. Deal?
37
Considering he's a writer, and goes to great lengths to make sure you know that, I'm pretty sure this situation didn't happen nearly the way he said. It seems more like he saw something in public, failed to do something about it, then fantasized about what he should've done while embellishing all the characters into stereotypes so more people can visualize it.

Not saying there's something wrong with defending someone being harassed. Far from it. But his little notes about how she was reading an ASOIAF book like that's an unusual thing these days, that he'd get sympathy sex at home if the guy beat him up, the canned dialogue, the too much wit in the moment, the mouthed thanks from the victim, and his self-congratulatory way of telling the story pretty much gives it away as Didn't Happen Nearly That Way territory. In any case, there are better ways to deal with people like this than throwing a bunch of gay at them.

If anything I'd rather he wrote a social commentary piece on people who act this way, or a story involving something he witnessed with characters other than himself, rather than a story about what he did BECAUSE HE'S A WRITER embellished with details about how attractive she was and how big the other guy was and how she was totally reading a nerdy fantasy book you guys (which really isn't nerdy considering it's a massive crossover hit). But I guess I can't be surprised when a guy who makes SURE you know he's a writer inserts himself into a story full of cliche details.
38
Also the dude's deleting comments that question his story, even non-inflammatory ones. That's kind of telling.