9.03.2009

"I Feel Pretty oh so pretty..." or do I?

Today I decided to make an effort. 

For no reason at all I curled my hair, spent some time on my make- up, and actually ironed my shirt. As I took a final look in the mirror I liked what I saw. "See! I can be beautiful!"  I thought to myself and smiled. 

As I grabbed the keys to head out the door I heard a little wimper. Tucker (my roomates pitbull) gave me the look. You know the look- the adorable tilted head, ears perked, big eyed look. It melted my heart. "Ok!" I said. "Let's go out." His tail immediately started wagging as I put his leash on; I couldn't help but smile. 

All that effort and all that time, wiped away by a single dog walk. 

I live in Washington Heights (which is located directly above Harlem) on the West Side of Manhattan.  It isn't the safest neighborhood; being predominatly Domincan, home to two gangs, a lot of hoodlum children, and little to no english spoken. I am not racist. Never have been and thought I never would be, but living here is trying my patience.

As I walked out of my apartment on the third floor, down the stairs, and into the lobby I was immediately bombarded by my first intrusion. "Hola Hermoso" (Hello Beautiful) said the gruffy looking man who involuntarily held the door open for me; as he looked me up and down, front and back. I ignored him. YOU HAVE TO! My roomate Lauren and I have learned that you can't win in these situations. If you say thank you, they continue to harrass you like they actually have a chance to get you home. If you ignore them, they reply with some snide remark like "didn't your parents ever teach you to say thank you?" 

As I continued out the door and across the street to the park I was repeatedly hollered at, wistled at, cat called and flat out "eyed down" by every male oustide. (Trust me, there were well over 25 of them) With each whistle or rude suggestion I began to feel more and more unattractive. I wished I hadn't made that extra effort. 

Some people may be confused as to why I don't take it as a compliment and move on with my life. If the men who harrass my roomate and me were genuinely saying "you look lovely today" or "I really hope you have a wonderful day" then I would. However, that's not what they want. It plays out more like the scene from West Side Story where Anita goes to Doc's store to warn Tony about Maria meeting him (minus the touching). It's vulgar, it's rude and it makes me feel like a dirty unnattractive woman.

Shame on men for treating women like this, and shame on women for giving them a reason to treat us like this. I am a God loving woman who works hard and deserves to be respected. I deserve to have the door held open for me without expecting something in return. 



1 comment :

  1. That is absolutely the truth. You do deserve to be respected! I wonder if they think their approach might actually work. Nothing like a lack of manners to melt a woman's heart.

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