Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Apologises for the less than inspired title of this post, but I think it covers my reaction just fine.

I was out delivering my leaflets yesterday.  Now I clearly don't need to dress up for it, so I wear comfy trainers, jeans and a plain top, with a hooded jacket for those spats of rain that come down unexpectedly.  I don't bother with make-up and my hair is in a ponytail to keep it out of my face.

I'll be the first to admit that even when I am 'made-up' and make an effort with my appearance, I don't often look my age.  Probably down to a lot of lifestyle choices of rarely drinking alcohol, drinking lots of water, regular exercise and never touching a cigarette - but in spite of edging closer to 30, I'm still ID-ed on a fairly regular basis when buying age restricted items.  Apparently I look around 10 years younger than I really am.

Might explain why a group of rowdy young idiots decided to try and get my attention by yelling "Hey!  Kid pulling the trolley!!"

Kid!?!?   I may have a youthful appearance but come on!  I'm probably older than they are!
Apparently you don't have to be dolled up to get harassed -
obviously don't take much to impress some people

Yes, I had the pleasant experience of idiotic young men catcalling and wolf whistling at me.  Yelling out 'kid', chanting the name of the delivery company displayed on my trolley bag, followed by lewd remarks of 'sexy mama' and references to my 'booty', sloppy kissing noises ... honestly, I didn't know whether to laugh or not.

Boys thinking they're men, crude remarks, and sticking in groups because they're too scared to do it alone. 
Be still my heart, I'm weak at the knees!

I'll be frank - I was not particularly intimidated by this.  I found it all quite pathetic.  What kind of response they were expecting to get from me, I don't know.  I didn't even look around to see exactly where they were, how many there might have been (although I think there were two or three voices), but I just carried on as if I couldn't hear them.

I kept my head up, kept doing my job at a steady pace and just moved on down the road until I was out of range.   They didn't follow me or try anything.   If they had they would have realised the following errors:
  • I am not a 'kid' by a mile - if anything, judging by their attitudes, I'm probably a good decade older than them
  • I am not going to be scared or intimidated by such childish behaviour
  • Had they dared try anything (by that I mean physical contact of any description) they would learn that people who have black belts don't wear them outside of the dojo so could be anybody - even a young woman who looks like 'an easy target' for sleazy jeering.  (Not saying I'd go all Bruce Lee on them, but they'd damn well back off.)
I've never understood why young men do this.  What are they expecting to get out of it?  Do they think this is how to talk to women?  What on earth is the mentality behind it?  Is it some sort of fun or a genuine attempt to get a woman's attention?  I just don't understand it at all!  Which leaves me feeling a smidgen of pity for them because it is childish and pathetic, not to mention cowardly when it's so often done in a group.  They think they're 'hard men'?  Sorry, you're just little boys without a clue how to behave.  Your mothers must be so proud of you.

Having been bullied as a child, then regaining my confidence over the years with the help of martial arts and good friends - I have the confidence not be frightened by such childishness.  Plus a little saying I came across some years ago - "A woman brought you into this world and a woman can take you back out of it!"  Well said sister!  :)   That thought kept me smiling slyly to myself through the whole thing.

Obviously I did the smart thing and walked away, rather than attempting to confront them.  Main thing was that I did not allow them to scare me.   There's a line between being cocky and confident - had they tried to hurt me, I'd have fought back hard.  I'm under no illusion that I would have sent them running with their tails between their legs whilst I stand victorious having done a Bruce Lee style combat scene.  More likely I would have been hurt too - thankfully it was unnecessary, but I have the guts to fight back and defend myself should I need to.

I wonder, does this count as workplace harassement?


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