I know it has to be hard for men. They’re always expected to make the first move and be the pursuers, yet they run into many women who rebuff their advances with the quickness, ignore them flat out, or yell at them for being a bother. Yeah, I get that it can’t be easy. However, there are just some ways of “hollering” that need to be banished. First on the list? How about trying to spit game at a girl when she’s walking home alone after 12 a.m.?
In my neighborhood in the city, sometimes you’ll find me walking the streets late in the evening (or early in the morning) after kicking it with girlfriends or hitting up festivals and events. Because of that, I’ve learned three important things when it comes to navigating my way home after dark, and they include the following: Walk fast, ditch the headphones, and always have my keys ready to open my door…or in case I need to jab a creeper in the eye. As a woman, you always have to be on guard for someone waiting to abduct you, assault you, rob you or follow you home, and because I live about three long blocks from my train stop (about a seven minute walk if I move fast, three if I run), I’ve gotten used to being paranoid. On the way to the train very late one evening, I had a man in a rapist-looking van drive slowly next to me and ask if he could give me a ride. According to him, I was too pretty to be walking the streets by myself. What he didn’t know was, I was also too smart, even in the slight downpour that had begun, to get in his car and go anywhere with him. I said “No thanks!” picked up the pace with these long legs and took extra long strides until he finally drove away. As uncomfortable as all of that was, it wasn’t as alarming as the time a young man actually followed me as I walked home to try and “holler.”
It was about 12:30 a.m. and I had just got off the train and was headed back to my place. I had my headphones in but planned to take them off once I got outside of the train station. So when a guy in the station tried to get my attention I really couldn’t hear him. I looked back very fast to see if someone had said something, as I didn’t want to slow play in the grimy station (which reminded me of that one scene from The Wiz) and saw no one right behind me. But as I walked up the steps, I felt like there was someone following me. I looked back and saw a man trying to rush up the steps behind me, and he tripped on the second step. Something about his clumsy behavior reminded me of a drunkard, and at that time of the evening, unless my a** was exposed or I dropped my wallet, there wasn’t anybody on those streets who had a reason to stop me to chat. So I put even more pep in my step, snatched out my headphones and did a speed walk that would make those Olympic power walkers proud. But lo and behold, as I came up the stairs, this man was running up the stairs, and as I got down the street, he was jogging in my direction. There were no police cars around to flag down, so I tried to cross the street to be sure that I wasn’t losing my mind (“Is this guy really about to try follow me home???”) and as I crossed, he crossed and cut me off near the middle of the street. Getting tired, and frankly, a bit pissed, I put my house key in between my middle and ring fingers, and decided that if he was going to abduct me, he was going to have to be ready for a fight first. As I turned around, ready for something out of a movie to happen, this is what he said:
“Heeeey, how you doing? What’s your name with your pretty self?”
Before I knew it, I was in the middle of the street screaming at him: “WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME!?” The man who had just tried to play smooth Casanova in the street was now a bumbling, somewhat scared fool: “FOLLOWING YOU!!? Ain’t nobody following you! I was just trying to talk to you for a second! I live down the street, what you mean “following” you!?” As he walked away from me in a huff, talking ish on the way, for a second there, I thought I might have overreacted. But then, I remembered that this was the same fool running down the street after me 20 seconds earlier. While he might not have been following me with the intent to harm me, he was indeed FOLLOWING me, and doing so while I was alone on an empty street at 12:30 a.m. By the time I got home, I was still shaking from the worry I had felt at one point, and the sheer tomfoolery of the whole situation. To be frank, I was grateful to be safe, yet enraged at his behavior. Is that how you approach a woman???
Look here men: I don’t care if Halle Berry is walking down the street in her birthday suit at 1 a.m., you don’t pull a stunt like this. Late at night when a woman is walking home or anywhere alone, you need to leave her be, because while you might think that you look like Rico Suave, chances are, you probably look like a murderer to her. Your advances most likely won’t get the response you’re looking for (except maybe from the thirsty chicks), and instead of getting us excited, these attempts to come on to folks can be very frightening. I don’t know when people started assuming that this was acceptable behavior, but it can get a guy just trying to innocently woo a gal a face full of pepper spray, or in the case of my fool, a bruised ego. In a society where roommates are killing roommates, husbands are offing wives, and women are being kidnapped in broad daylight from Target stores, it’s hard to trust anybody and assume their intentions are harmless. At 2 a.m., you might just want my number, but I might think you want my life. Therefore, brothers of all backgrounds, please refrain from thinking with your junk and think with your heads next time you believe that the nighttime is the right time to get your mack on.
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