To The Dude Who Was Offended By My Lack Of Escort
I didn’t think much of it. There’s often dudes pumping gas on the other side of the pump I’m using. They mind their side. I mind mine. We are, after all, just there to purchase gas.
You locked eyes with me as I walked to the pump. No big deal. Strangers lock eyes with each other by mistake and on purpose all the time.
Then, you turned to your wife and said, “All these girls going to the store by themselves every day. When [daughter’s name] is old enough, if she doesn’t have a boyfriend, I will be taking her to the store. She’s not going to be running around this area on her own.”
And I stood there, stunned into silence.
Like, I hear about dudes like you every day on Twitter, but there you were, with your puffed up bravado, using me, a 35-year-old woman who has been safely pumping gas since she was 16 (even in areas like this one), as the basis for your patriarchal bullshit. So for a very brief moment, I stood there, staring at the back of your head, marveling at your ignorance, thinking, “But…uhm…and…uh…”
I’m so very eloquent.
In the blink of an eye, you were hanging up your nozzle and climbing into the passenger seat of your car. I smiled for a moment, wondering if you’d missed the memo that women shouldn’t drive, especially when there’s a perfectly capable man around. And then, now that you were just some brake lights in the distance, I had a whole fuckload of things that I wanted to say to you. So here they are:
First of all, I had an escort. My husband was sitting in the driver seat. I don’t drive because I hate driving.
If you must know, he didn’t pump our gas because I’m a grown ass woman who knows more about cars than he does (though I’ll admit, that still doesn’t amount to very much) and he’s still recovering from back surgery. Plus, I’m a slave, but you’re Random Joe in the parking lot of my neighborhood gas station, so you don’t really need to know that.
The fact that I actually had an escort (almost always have an escort, if you must know) is irrelevant and only serves to add another point to the “Wrong” box for you.
Cuz dude…DUDE…This is fucking America, right? The land of the free? Including our women?
So like…okay. Society is dangerous AF for women right now (one could argue it has been for most of history), and the gas station you stopped at is on the border of the neighborhood that is on the border of the neighborhood that is considered “the bad part” of town. I get that. But your insistence that women should just concede their freedom in the name of their security is part of the problem, not the solution.
Ask yourself…why is it dangerous for women to be in public in that part of town?
You’re going to answer, “Because they could be robbed, or assaulted, or raped, or killed.”
So the next question you should ask yourself is, who’s going to do those things to those women?
Probably men, right? I mean, while women are arrested every day for robbing, assaulting, raping, and killing other women, there’s still no question about the fact that men are the #1 danger to women in our society, right?
So women should just hide themselves away from the danger? Fuck no and absolutely not. That doesn’t solve the problem. That, instead, compounds it by sending the message that women are the ones in the wrong by existing in a society where men also exist.
You want to protect your daughter? You want to make sure she’ll be safe if (and when) she decides to venture into “the bad part of town” alone?
Teach her to stand up for herself. Teach her how to stand up for herself. Teach her when to stand up for herself. Teach her to be strong in the face of adversity. Teach her that she has the right to exist in the same spaces as men without fearing for her safety. Teach her that she doesn’t have to accept abuse from anybody, and especially not from some rando on the street.
And while you’re at it, teach your son to respect a woman’s right to exist in the same spaces as him and his buddies without fearing for her safety. Teach him to stand up for the girls he knows. Teach him how to stand up for the girls he knows. Teach him when to stand up for the girls he knows. Teach him to be strong in the face of adversity. And teach him to never abuse anybody he comes into contact with, especially some rando on the street.
If we teach all of those things to all of our children (because, let’s face it: some women are robbers, bullies, rapists, and murderers, too), who knows? Maybe there won’t be a “bad part of town” when our great grandchildren are growing up. We can hope, right?