If you're a woman in any city in the world, you know the moment I'm about to describe. You're walking on the sidewalk, sitting on a park bench, putting money in a meter, no matter. It's only germane that you're a woman and there's an obnoxious man who sees you. For whatever reason - arrogance, bad manners, sexism, the drink - he looks at you, all of you. Perhaps leers is more precise.
"Smokin'" he might say. "I like the way you walk." "Work it."
He could say you're a stunner or a fat cow, there's no difference because the truth is he shouldn't be saying anything about your body or the way you move it.
There's a moment before the verbal assault when you lock eyes with him and realize he's not going to just say "Hi." He's going to say something. And you brace yourself. Check your mood immediately. Are you going to snap at him? Or do you have enough patience to move on in silence?
I biked home from a workout this week and as I passed the gas station parking lot I locked eyes with a man standing there. "Here it comes," I thought and readied for the comment.
Only, this time, after the initial once-over, I saw what looked like a mental hiccup. He scanned me fast, then his eyes opened wider and he seemed to swallow a comment.
"You're in shape," he called out. "She's in shape," he said again as he slapped his buddy's arm.
I can't be sure but it felt like he was well on his way to saying one thing then realized I had the power to bust his face - hard - so he said something different.