I am going to take a deep breath and concentrate really hard to channel this anger that is eating me up inside in order to sound as eloquent as possible and to alleviate the dismissing comments that may ensue.
Standing at the bus stop, waiting patiently for my number with a coffee and a newspaper in hand, I am aware of my surroundings as always, without necessarily getting involved.
I notice a man by the smell of his cigarette. He stood too close to others if he intended to light one up. Handsome. I wonder if he works in construction due to his boots but he’s cleaned up nice today. Handsome fellow. Nice blue eyes. Blues eyes going up and down the girl’s skirt standing 3 meters in front of us. Lingering.
I am generally insulted from the inside out when I am a witness of such a situation and today is the day where I have had enough. My gaze towards him turns to disdain, incomprehension, disconnection. I look at her; she is going to work, wearing a cardigan and rain boots. Sure her skirt shows her inner thighs. Please explain how in thousands of years of social evolution, this is enough to grant her devouring empty-eyed stares from random men on the street?
It doesn’t stop there. She is followed around by his gaze everywhere she moves. When she gets on the bus the men picks another favorite and repeats the same pattern. All he is missing to look as if he is about to pounce his prey of choice is a lick of the lips. I want to stand between the two of them, look straight in to his eyes and say something but I just wouldn’t know where to begin. This is surely a lost cause.
Stoping my train of thoughts in order to stand back from the situation and re-assess my interpretation of the scene, I find another man with suitcases and expensive clothes doing the exact same thing to every passing woman. A quick scan is all he needs. You can see in his facial expression how he checks the « yes » or « no » boxes as they pass by.
Are we asking for this when we wake up in the morning? How hard is it to have respect for your fellow citizen and forbid yourself from such judgments? More importantly, why do they look at US in THIS particular way? In their conception of the world, are we nothing but moving, passing mannequins dressed to titillate their imagination, spice up their morning commute? I don’t look at men this way, and believe me, it is not for lack of enthrallment for their naked bodies. In fact, I find myself often wondering what people in general look like when naked. It’s a game I love to play; it makes me feel better about my body since it turns into a field study on how we are all unique, and of course it turns me on sometimes. Still, NEVER, EVER in my life do I look at a men or a women with those degrading « I could so fuck you » eyes unless it is consensual and/or part of a game that has been agreed upon by both parties. How do I shake off this feeling of disgust I get from seeing this woman’s integrity being completely violated? How do I explain that it’s not jealousy, nor feminism, rather that it stems from the most honest well-intentioned sense of justice and equality?
My bus finally arrives and I rush to my phone’s notepad in order to scribble a few notes. I am lost in thoughts when the bell rings for my stop. As I get out the door, a body right next to me speaks out : « This driver kept jerking the breaks! ». « I know I almost puked my coffee », says I with a giggle before I realize that construction boy is actually making small talk. I spent my entire bus ride hating on you and, I will dare to say, « your kind ». Now, because I am polite, curious, and perhaps a little masochistic, I am fully invested in the most natural casual conversation with you, your blue eyes, and your honest smile. If I hadn’t seen your earlier, this would have made my morning.
If they still look at us this way. We are all being fooled.