Sunday, August 24, 2008

Perfect Timing

(This was written on Wednesday....oops!)

Ohmylord, after the INCREDIBLE sharing thread at SP (have you read it?!), the events of today were staggering.

My bestest friend ever and I took today to go to Coney Island. She's fat; on the slim side of fat, but she's probably a 14? I can't really tell. ANYWAY. She's still a chubby love. It was her first time and she was SO excited. She is not as top-heavy as I am, but she's got quite a rack nonetheless; I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit and she was wearing a tankini.

After our time on the beach and swimming, when we walked around, I put a shirt over my bathing suit and she just wore the tankini--because it is her every freaking right to do so. You wouldn't have thought that, though, hearing the men around us. We (she?) was catcalled at A MINIMUM OF 10 TIMES in just an hour or two. This was the most catcalling that either she or I had *ever* experienced, and thankfully none of it was "negative." She's VERY insecure about her body (which, yes, I'm working on) and I think she would have gone into a major tailspin.

We were confronted by SO many men, the majority of which were (I think) pinpointing her. Some undoubtedly thought they were being nice.
Some were just sleazy... "HEY BABY! YOU REAL CUTE!"
.....some were relatively tame... "HELLO GORGEOUS! I LOVE YOU!"
...and some were fucking TERRIBLE--men blatantly interrupting the fact that we were conversing, saying, "HEY! HEY! COME BACK HERE! I'M TALKING TO YOU!"

I can't even tell you the kind of shit going through my mind. The problem is, while I've gotten tougher over the years, my BFF has gotten softer. She is wont to respond to catcalling with a smile or a "thank you," because of course it's a 'compliment' and she appreciates it. So unlike me, who walks stoically through the streets and ignores everyone, she will put out the good vibes...which can invite unwanted advances.

Unfortunately, her smiles and 'thank you's culminated in some creepy, leering drunk man following us (I noticed he started after observing that she responded positively to some creep). I am WAY not saying this is her fault! I'm just saying that that's probably what legitimized it in the man's mind. Any way, he started following us while leering. I noticed this and grabbed her and we hurried ahead. HE FOLLOWED MORE QUICKLY. We had to nearly gallop towards the boardwalk (we were, at the time, in a pretty deserted thoroughfare--thanks, C.I., for the abandoned construction sites) to get ahead of him and shoot into a dark bar.

I stuck my head out to see if he'd seen us, and I saw him waiting for us and looking around RIGHT outside the bar. Thankfully, the bartender saw that we were anxious and offered us a way out through the back. We escaped the guy.

I kinda took this in stride. As per my story in that above post, I've had my share of creepy followers and threatening situations. My hyper-sensitivity to these sorts of encounters helped, too, since I was really on-guard and riled up from everyone's horror stories. However, it REALLY shook up my BFF. She's been so nice to everyone, and thankfully never experienced anything like this until now. She was very upset, and was definitely blaming herself. I said, "NO! This is NOT your fault, and it never will be! These people are not INVITED to comment on you or invade your space--you can wear whatever you want, and you can still be a nice person. You are NOT the guilty one here." I think I made an impression on her, but it was still so upsetting to see her taking the 'guilty victim' ideology, here.

I suppose the timing couldn't have been better, though--I was able to pull stories from all the brave souls in the FOS, and give her a sense of what catcalling REALLY is. It is not a compliment--and I feel badly for the men who honestly mean it to be nice, and not predatory. It is unsolicited behavior that comments on our bodies being public property. I hope this scary situation--and the stories of all of you--keeps her on her guard for the future.



Lindley said...

Wow, that's incredible (and not in a good way). It would have taken about two comments, positive OR negative, before I dove for a closet somewhere and refused to come out.

The Zaftig Thespian said...

Oh, I was just floored, I was convinced it was a sign from G-d. ALL those in such a short period of time? It was CRAZY! And disturbing. :-/