Mattie Oister

After sharing a few drinks with some girlfriends at a downtown restaurant, I hopped on a bus home. An older guy (probably in his 50’s) got on a few stops after mine, and sat down beside me on the bus. Since I am a large woman, I was rather surprised by this, as the bus was fairly empty; there were only 3 or 4 other people riding at the time. I turned to ask him if he was sitting alright, and then turned back to looking out the window. Over the course of the next 3 stops, his body started pressing towards me, and his hand comes to rest on the outside of my thigh. I may have had a few drinks, but I am by no means drunk and am very aware of what this guy is probably trying to do and where his hand is. A few more stops go by, and his hand starts to slowly stroke my leg, moving closer to my inner thigh. Without turning from the window (which is reflecting his torso, legs, and hand), I grabbed the offending hand, shoved it onto his own lap with a death grip, holding it there long enough to get the message, and let it go. The man immediately froze in place, and then ran off the bus at the next stop.
I’ve never had anything like this happen before; it’s a strange feeling having someone try to take advantage of a woman they thought was vulnerable. I am proud of myself for taking action and not letting his behaviour continue, but I have all these strange feelings that’s hard to sort through… like anger. What gives him the right to act like I’m his plaything? I did nor said anything that could have been remotely thought of as an invitation. …like confusion? Did I really feel his hand on my leg? It’s not like you see on TV or the movies… all obvious and easily over the line. Did I misunderstand what was going on? …like guilt. Should I have gone all vigilante on him, causing a scene on the bus? What if he just gets on another bus and tries it again on someone else? Have I just made someone else’s night worse? Is this man experimenting with techniques and mannerisms only to escalate to something more in time?
By the time I got home, I was so out of sorts, I ended up cleaning my house and pacing. Only now, hours later, am I able to sit and begin to sift through the incident and emotions. I’m not sure why I’m so completely worked up about this, but I do know that no matter the headspace I arrive at, the memory of this night is something I won’t easily ever forget.