The world is full of creepy people. I don't need to explain this to you. But I had a scary moment in the subway last night that made me want to push someone in front of an incoming train.
My original plan was to have a lovely evening of ice cream and The Secret of Kells, but a friend put me on the list for a new wave dance party in the Village. How could I refuse such a thing? I threw some rollers in my hair (which... didn't do anything...), poured glitter everywhere, and skipped down the hill to the train.
Around 175th street, a man wearing a forest green fleece and light wash jeans sat down across from me. Apart from his tragic white sneakers and obvious inability to shave evenly around his chin, he was kind of cute. This is as far as my thought process went before I closed my eyes and went to sleep, because, you know, that's what you do when the train goes local and you have to ride for an hour just to get downtown. Sleeping on the train isn't really sleeping, though, because it jerks passengers around with the equivalent force of crash test dummies flying through the windshield of a 1993 Volvo during its safety evaluation.
Every time the train stops you have a small panic attack, and quickly look out of the window the make sure you didn't miss your stop, only to realize you've made it five blocks. Last night, every time I did this, I would awkwardly make eye contact with the cuteish guy sitting across from me. Around 80th street, he winked at me and grinned, AND NOT IN A CUDDLY WAY. And then, when he patted the empty seat next to him for me to sit there, all cuteness in his existence died and turned to vomit, which was slowly making its way up from my stomach.
As grossed and creeped out as I was, there were tons of people around, and at the next stop all of the seats were taken and a group of people was standing between us. "Good," I thought. "I won't have to fend him off with my shoe."
By the time I stood up to get off at West 4th, I had forgotten about the guy, until he FOLLOWED ME THROUGH THE STATION. He started saying filthy things to me in Spanish, which I can't say with any certainty were actually filthy, but he was clearly talking through his penis. I turned around quickly, performing the best hair flip ever witnessed, and said firmly and loudly, "NO!"
I suppose this turned him on, because as I walked away he put his arm around me and tried to plant his huge, insanely chapped lips on my FACE. Luckily my purse weighs about the same as a midsize sedan, and his stomach couldn't handle its impact. Then a super tall black man with arms the size of my waist pushed him away. I yelled "THANKS!!" and ran away as fast as my six-inch heels could take me; which, to everyone's amazement, was very fast.
People around us were laughing and enjoying the scene, and I probably would have been too if it had happened to someone else, but I felt genuinely violated and somewhat terrified. I get yelled at by men all the time. In fact, later in the night when I was walking back to the subway from the venue, a man yelled, "Hey, sexy! I'll eat that pussy good! Let me be your sex slave!" This is a foreign concept that even sympathetic men don't really understand. Women, and people who look like women, get yelled at, winked at, pinched, followed, etc. all the time. Most of these men are easy to ignore, but never have I been pursued and grabbed by someone before.
And, what's even scarier, to me at least, is that I'm not even sure he knew I was a guy. There have been quite a few instances where men have hit on me and gotten quite upset when they realized I am a man. I'm not trying to fool anyone, and I never lead anyone on, but I get mistaken for a girl even when I'm wearing a sweatshirt and no makeup. People can get very angry, especially men who are very proud and somehow feel violated when they suddenly discover the person they were groping isn't what they were hoping for. I'm honestly terrified that one day my purse won't be heavy enough to blow the wind out of someone, or that there won't be a kind stranger around to help. Then what will I do?
I think I'll be investing in one of these soon.