M

YESTERDAY
I had just dropped my friends off to the cinema as we were running late and I went to park the car a 5 minute walk away. It was around 9pm and it was dark and cold outside. Where I had been in the car with the heating on, I had taken my coat and jacket off and so was wearing a flowy vest top with jeans and trainers. I got out the car like this to pay to park when two men walked past. Before they got to me one said “Put some clothes on”, I didn’t even look at them, I carried on at the pay machine, the same man then repeated “are you not cold?” I ignored them again. His mate then said “fine, ignore us then” and they carried on walking past me.

I have such complicated thoughts on this encounter as if it was a women who past me and said that, I would have laughed and explained or said something funny back or at the least, acknowledge her. So why is it that because it was two males I felt scared, alerted and suddenly very naked. I still do not know whether that was an act of sexism or if I am the one being sexist. I live in a society where I am taught to be afraid of men when I am on my own at night, to hold my keys between my fingers and to not make eye contact or walk bit more ‘manly’. That is not acceptable behaviours, I should not be made to feel this way.