Warning: Rated R for adult themes
I am walking in downtown Brooklyn. I pass a man reading a newspaper as he waits for the bus. He gives me the once-over. “Ooh, baby, I could tear that ass up!”
Um … what? I mean … WHAT?! This is your idea of a come-on? Is that really supposed to attract me?
I am wearing headphones, so I decide to pretend I haven’t heard him.
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I am walking up the stairs after leaving the N-train and I pass a young man as I hit street level. He licks his lips and gestures toward me with his chin. “Mamí, I would rip that pussy apart.”
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Thursday at the year-end open mic at my night job the second place winner in the poetry contest read her poem to loud shouts of approval from the audience. Most of it’s unprintable enough to make me blush. Then she got to this couplet:
“You say, ‘Girl, I can make that pussy bleed,’/As if a broken pussy is something I need.”
Exactly. How is it that this is the new thing? That men think there might be something thrilling for women in the offer of violent, damaging sex?
This isn’t the time when I’m going to talk about street harassment. This isn’t where I detail all the ways this is frightening and offensive. This isn’t the time for me to point out that these men can’t even handle the pretense that they are talking to another person: “that ass,” “that pussy,” with eyes never raised high enough to acknowledge that an actual whole woman is involved. This isn’t that time. No. This is my Public Service Announcement. Here is where I talk directly to the harassers.
What are you thinking? I can’t imagine the result you are aiming for when you offer to rip apart or tear up any part of a woman’s body. Trust me: no woman is turned on by this. No woman gets that weak, swirly, heavy-pulse feeling at the thought of being raped by you.
It seems unlikely that you are actually thinking you’ll come away from these two-second encounters with a phone number or a date. Women, after all, mostly know better than that. No, it’s much more likely that your sole interest is in letting us know how little you see us as people, how we exist only as sex toys for your violent pleasure.
All the same, be careful. I’m sure there is someone somewhere in town who cares about you, who worries about you, who would be sad and distraught to have you come home bloodied and maimed because you offered violence to a stranger on the street and she met you with violence. Think of your friends and family. Think of your nose, your teeth, your beautifully prominent cheek bones. Think of your woefully small and neglected penis and testicles.
Keep your mouth shut.
We’ll do the same.
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We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.