Dear Middle-Aged Man Who Smiled At Me This Morning On the 7 Train Platform
Let me just confirm what you already know: I did see you and your pearly whites beaming in my direction. And I did choose to ignore you as though you were Medusa reincarnated and making eye contact would transform me into marble.
You see, you’re not the first man in New York to smile at me. You weren’t even the first man to be friendly to me this morning. That honor went to the elderly gentleman who heard me giggling into my Kindle and asked what I was reading. I told him it was Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman but purposefully failed to mention that I was cackling through the section about nicknames for one’s vagina. (Read it here. But read the whole book too because it’s refreshing and wonderful.)
Unfortunately, one of the many lessons I’ve learned during my nearly 7 years in New York is to never trust the kindness of strangers. Specifically men. Women have the capacity to be terrible, but in my experience penis-wielders routinely demonstrate a commitment to being awful that I can’t help but feel could solve the energy crisis, climate change and the appearance of cellulite simultaneously were it redirected in a more fruitful direction.
Here is a selection of the men that I—a women of only middling attractiveness in New York showing an amount of skin that only the most fervent followers of orthodox judaica would find notable —can expect to meet in a given day:
- That guy who asks you what time it is: If you tell him, he’s going to aggressively hit on you and then insult you when you try to beg off.
- The man who sits next to you on the subway car: He’s going to unnecessarily press his leg against yours for the next 40 minutes, unless you awkwardly choose to change seats or stand.
- Want to grab a drink at a local bar and read your book? Good luck. Either the oldest man in the bar or a real-life version of Jesse Pinkman (but not cute) is going to assume that you’re there so that you can meet men—specifically them. You’re going to be put in the position of either having to be rude (at which point you’ll get insulted by them, of course) or draining your glass and running out of there (hoping, if course, they don’t follow).
So, you see, how am I supposed to know in that split second whether you’re one of the nice ones, or whether if I smile back that you’re going to view it as an invitation to whisper something about what you’d like to do with my—and this is my favorite from Moran’s list—minge? I can’t. Maybe you’re just some guy who thought “Hey, she looks like my sister. I love [sister’s name]; I’m going to call her tonight!” and then smiled involuntarily. I’m sorry if I come off as unfriendly, but, well, I am. And I’ll continue to be that way until I’m a dessicated husk of a woman no one wants to violate anymore. According to Science, this happens at 35. So, if you want to holla back in 3 years, I’m sure I’ll be grateful for the attention.