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Well, it isn’t the first time it’s happened – I’d be standing on the side of the road, tired after a late evening at work (once, even mid-afternoon actually) and suddenly a man would slow down his car, roll down his window and peep out expectantly, or another would drive by and ask how much. It takes me a minute to respond somehow and I’ve actually responded with a very unseemly “what?” every time, before realising that the men who stopped by thought I was soliciting sex, simply because I was standing on the curb, apparently doing nothing other than waiting.
So anyway, just last week, I had parked my car and was walking to a café nearby to meet someone, when I noticed this slightly middle aged man staring. I noticed him walk into the café too and sit quietly staring at his cup of coffee, during the 20 minutes I was there, but I am a bit slow with these things – and presumed ah well, I can’t connect dots here, the man was just heading the same direction, who’s to say or care? Then suddenly, as I was walking back to the car, I realised he was following me – when he finally caught up, he wanted to know if I’d like to “make some money?”
Thankfully, I am a lot quicker to understand this situation but I am just as slow at thinking on my feet when I am put in a situation like this. I blank out. I say no and walk away. But every time, as much as I know I should avoid the question, I ask myself whether it was something in my manner or clothes that attracted the attention. Why me? What would make a man simply watch me walking on the street or waiting and presume that I was out to have sex for money? Just as a disclaimer, I don’t mean sex for money is a degrading thing, it’s a subjective matter or personal opinion, but the fact that a man can look at me and presume anything of me as a woman, is disturbing.
Because of course, I’ve never known what else to do. A friend says I should have called the police, I know another who actually got two middle-aged men who asked her this question (in mid-day, in a busy main road) in trouble with a cop, who happened to be standing nearby. But me, each time this has happened, I always belatedly wish that I had said or done something smarter than just walk away.
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