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.

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Written by GRSeim

January 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm

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