This is the first time I’ve posted on this forum, and I wasn’t sure which story I should include. But, seeing as already today, before 9am, horns were tooted at me and I was ogled at on the tube, 4 times, I feel it appropriate to share this.
It’s the last day of August. I live and work in London. I have a 45 minute commute on the tube and it gets very hot and very uncomfortable quickly. So, naturally, one would prepare to wear clothing to keep cool, without getting to work looking like a frizzy-haired, sweaty bear who’s just failed at running a marathon.
So, today I have on a dress. Not my normal every-day wear, but seeing as it’s summer and beautiful weather, why not. It’s sleeveless, red and black, has a bateau neckline (no I didn’t just Google that) and sits just slightly above my knees. God Forbid.
Cramming onto a tube in rush hour is bad at the best of times, but when it’s sunny and warm outside, so many people are in the worst moods ever. Me included: it’s early, I’ve not had my coffee fix, and I’m crushed into a little tin can that’s hurtling below London’s hot and busy streets. So sure, if you bump into me, I’ll more often than not give a wry smile and a nod of the head – it’s ok. But not this morning. I managed to get a seat about halfway through my journey, once I’d changed from the Northern Line to Piccadilly. And immediately a man who had been sat across from me came and sat right beside me. A little weird, sure, but hopefully harmless. It was as his man-spreading increased and his leg was pressed against mine that I wanted nothing more than to actually get to work and type up my Finance meeting notes.
When I jumped off the tube and walked out the station, a builder standing smoking immediately wolf-whistled. On my 5 minute walk to work, 2 white vans honked their horns and the men inside laughing who legit looked about 14 drove away on their merry way, leaving me to feel conscious and walk that little bit quicker and warier of any men around me.
All for wearing a dress. The most frustrating thing about this is that I feel there is no way to change this behaviour, because it’s all just a joke and lads are being complimentary, innit. Don’t get so worked up about men paying you attention. Well the thing is, I don’t WANT or NEED this attention. I was on my way to work, as I do every day, and I expect to feel safe and normal like any other person. How can this actually change and what needs to happen before men stop. Just stop.