Operation Caffeination

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Uphill battle

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“Hey,” the fat, pimply man smiled lewdly at my sister, simultaneously hiking his filthy, ill-fitting jeans up in the back to cover his exposed rear. “Damn, you’re looking good. Give me your number and we’ll kick it sometime.”

“She’s sixteen,” I snapped, stepping between them on the sidewalk. Cynthia looked queasy, but still managed to roll her eyes at my outburst. I was a constant embarrassment to her back then.

“What are you,” the man sneered, “Her mom?”

“Yeah, I am,” I countered, stepping towards him with more than a little aggression in my stance. “And I don’t appreciate perverts like you butting in on our mother-daughter time.”

“Jesus, alright, sorry,” the man laughed, backing away. “I didn’t realize she was a kid.”

“Well, now you know.”

“I get it, I’m going,” he shook his head, still grinning. “I’ve gotta say, though, you guys have some amazing genes. I wouldn’t have ever guessed that you were old enough to be her mother. I thought maybe you were sisters, you know? I mean that, whatever you are doing, it is working for you!”

I could hear Cynthia laughing behind me.

“I’ve got more kids at home,” I replied evenly. “And a husband.”

“Ok, I get it,” the man said again. “You ladies have a nice evening.”

And he was gone.

“Why did he just clear out?” Cynthia asked, genuinely surprised. “I’ve never seen a guy just give up like that.”

I didn’t have the heart to answer her, to explain to her the sexist dynamic we had just witnessed. I discovered a long time ago that the mere suggestion that I may be “taken” (ie, the property of a man) holds more clout than anything I can say or do on my own as a woman. As an “early bloomer,” I have been wearing a ring and deterring persistent men with mentions of a husband since I was fourteen.

Our world needs feminism. It needs feminist voices to make themselves heard. We have made so much progress, and we have so far to go.


Written by GRSeim

January 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm

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