Today I was reminded why I don’t ever want to be single again.

I was at the park with my best friend and our toddlers, sitting on the grass and enjoying the gorgeous summer weather when this random guy rode past on his bike. For some reason he waved at me, even though I had no idea who he was. To be fair, if I had known him I wouldn’t have been able to realize this fact because a) he was wearing sunglasses and b) he was riding his bike a few feet in front of me at a pace that couldn’t possibly allow me to catch a good enough glimpse in order to figure out where I knew him from. But I don’t think I DO know him, because IF I did then what happened after I didn’t respond to his friendly wave wouldn’t have.
So I’m sitting there with my friend, and he waves, and I don’t wave back because I’m having a conversation with my friend and don’t know this dude, and therefore I assume he must have me confused with someone else. And then he angrily shouts back at me “fine, don’t say hello, WHORE!”

He says this in front of my friend, her toddler and MY toddler, and while there are several other people and THEIR kids around.
My friend and I just look at each other; stunned.
“Did he actually call you a whore?” she asks, confused, because seriously she MUST have misheard that last bit. There is no way he called me a whore, because WHY?
“Yeah, he did.” I confirm, because it was pretty clear to me that’s what he said. There is no mistaking that word for something else. Unless there’s a woman out there whose name rhymes with and sounds like “whore”; which I very much doubt.
The sad thing is, I’m used to it. I’ve never actually been called a whore for not acknowledging male attention before, but I’ve been called other things.
It’s one of the darker sides of being a woman, and it freaking sucks!
When I was a teenager the boys were more idiotic than aggressive in their pursuit for my attention. They’d make offensive comments about how I “just needed to get laid” or that my “gigantic breasts” (which at the time were only a B cup) made it hard for them to concentrate. They would try to “talk” to me, and I’d roll my eyes and tell them to piss off because they weren’t my type. And then they’d get all butt-hurt over the fact that I wanted nothing to do with their stupidity and called me a bitch.
As I got older there were male “friends” who thought that I should give them a chance (romantically). They didn’t outright SAY that, but it was pretty clear by how butt-hurt they were whenever I would sleep with some other guy, but not THEM. And some of those “friends” followed me around like a lost puppy and didn’t take “I’m not interested” as a permanent answer. These were the guys who thought that if they became my friend “first” they’d get what they were REALLY after, and then they disappeared off my radar whenever I had a boyfriend.
And then there were the random guys who would talk me up on the bus or just anywhere that I happened to be. They’d hit on me at parties and I even had a few CUSTOMERS come back into the store I was working in to get my number or outright ask me out on a date. I got VERY good at ignoring my phone, because whenever they asked for my number they called it while standing right there, to make sure I’d given them a real number.
I’ve been called a tease because I wouldn’t sleep with a guy I had been flirting with. I’ve been called a bitch because I used a few guys just for sex, with no interest in an actual relationship. Or because I slept with them once, decided it wasn’t going to work out, and turned them down for a repeat performance.
And now I’ve been called a whore for not waving at some random dude.
For what? For not giving him the attention he is “entitled” to, you know, because HE waved at ME? Please explain to me again why this is okay.
Why is it that as a woman, I am not a person but merely an object that men can look at and validate themselves by? Why is it that I am not permitted to have my own mind, my own agenda, and be able to choose whether or not I engage conversation or wave to another human, just because they happen to be the all-important male species?
And why is it that the ONLY time I DON’T have the “obligation” to be “friendly” to a man is when I’m in the presence of my husband? Because if they can’t see the ring on my finger then clearly I’m just waiting around for some man to pay attention to me. Of course I’m a “whore” because that attention didn’t come from someone better looking or richer or smarter than whoever just paid me that attention. THAT’S why I didn’t wave or smile back! It’s not at all because I happen to be busy talking to a friend and spending an afternoon with my son, and that I don’t even KNOW this person and honestly don’t FEEL LIKE waving in the first place. You know, because I’m a bitch. And a whore.
So thank you, random asshole on his bike. You reminded me that misogyny is still alive and well in this broken world. Also, I need to give my husband a big hug and kiss as soon as he walks in the door and thank him for loving me and not being an entitled dickhead who thinks women were put on this planet just to validate his existence. ❤

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