Sorry, long rant ahead…

When I was 19 I was going to university to meet some friends and was going on a bus route I wasn’t familiar with. It had the right destination, but I didn’t realize that it took the very scenic route to the university, so most people got off and transferred when it got close to university, but I stayed on, not knowing that the bus went on an extra like 40 minute loop. When most of the people off to catch a transfer, it was pretty much empty, and I was by myself a couple rows from the back when a man came and leaned over my seat and asked me “Got a smoke?” I said “No, sorry” and he took that as an invitation to sit down right next to me and keep talking to me. I thought it was weird but couldn’t really stop him from sitting where he wanted.

He kept asking me more questions, starting with why I don’t smoke, then if I drink or party or do drugs. When I said “no” he called me a “good girl” which is also weird but I didn’t mind because he was an older man and exactly the kind of person who would be disappointed by someone doing drugs. He also asked where I was headed and ended up being the one who told me about the stupid bus detour and that I had a long ride left but he’d keep me company. I wanted to be alone, but I still said “thanks” to him. He kept asking me questions and I kept answering out of politeness, even though they were getting weirder, like what my name was, if I had a boyfriend, etc. and he’d sneak in some comments about my body, like how cute my shorts were or how I filled out my shirt nicely. But I was stuck in the window seat for apparently like another half an hour so I just kept thanking him and telling him what he wanted to know.

He started asking me about more personal things and slowly got more sexual, and even though I noticed and knew what he was interested in I didn’t do anything about it. I just kept answering what he asked about, waiting for the bus ride to end. A few times when I was too uncomfortable or embarrassed to answer, he’d just change the question to something a little less embarrassing (but still super inappropriate to ask a 19 year old girl). I almost felt like I was responsible for answering his questions and whenever I couldn’t do it I’d feel like I did something wrong and tried to make up for it by opening up with some other detail he wanted. I thought there was maybe something wrong with me for even having bad feelings about the guy. The only time I did stop him was from trying to put his hand somewhere more sensitive than my leg. He didn’t get mad or try to force himself on me, and I even apologized for it and preferred going back to discussing intimate details of my body (and what he wanted to do with it).

I felt so stupid for not just standing up and leaving, and for letting him do that to me for the whole bus ride. He was bigger than me and probably a lot stronger, but he hadn’t threatened me or hurt me. But somehow I still ended up feeling almost powerless and that there was literally nothing I could do but answer his questions, be honest, and keep him happy until I could leave. What made me feel so weird about it though was that even though I was freaked out and scared and my head was filled with all the things he COULD be doing with me, it still seemed like I WANTED to answer him and I felt bad for even thinking about lying or not answering. By the end of the bus ride I felt like an open book for some man twice my age to read about any very intimate details of me, and for some reason I still thought I was doing the right thing. Even gave him my phone number and let him take a picture of me, although I tried to hide my face the first time.

He didn’t follow me after we got off the bus fortunately since there were enough people around so he couldn’t be weird anymore. But once I was gone from him I had to run to the washroom and sit down to panic and figure out what had just happened. I felt totally violated even though he never did anything to me and I answered everything willingly, and I felt like a slut for even allowing such gross conversation from an obviously creepy old man. I eventually met up with my friends an told them about the creepy guy (but seriously downplayed how involved I was), and still refuse to take that bus ever again in case I accidentally run into him. He texted me a couple times, and asked for selfies to prove that I didn’t give him a fake number, but fortunately I got a new phone soon after and got a new number and didn’t have to deal with it for long.

Nowadays I still get some creepers hitting on me but I have definitely learned to ignore them and definitely not apologize for it, but I still feel pretty dumb for not knowing how to deal with someone like that at the time, and for thinking it was my responsibility to be polite and helpful. I totally could have gotten him kicked off the bus if I had actually stood up to him, and hopefully someone else has done that to him by now.