I was out with my then boyfriend in Nottingham where I was living whilst at uni. It was the middle of a heatwave so I was wearing shorts and a sleeveless tie up shirt and trainers. After we’d had our meal we began walking back out of the city when these two men were coming towards us. Both looked to be between 40-50 and had beer cans in their hands. As we got closer, I saw them looking at me and then at each other, and then back at me. We passed and as we did, one of them smiled at me and then turned to his friend and said “Ooh, I’d have a go on that.”
At the time I tried to laugh it off with my boyfriend. But it really stuck with me. Firstly, the fact that I wasn’t even called “her”. I was called “that” as though I was some object. Secondly, the phrase ‘I’d have a go” made me sound like some sort of fairground ride people want to go on. The more I thought about it the more it upset me.
But in a way, afterwards was worse. I have a lot of guy friends and I later mentioned it to them. The mix in reactions was a surprise. Some of my friends got angry and called the men out on their behaviour. Others didn’t really react massively. One person even said ‘well it could have been worse.” And whilst it could have been, the fact he dismissed the way it had made me feel and acted like the comment was nothing to get upset about really hurt. He did later apologise because I pulled him up on it later and explained how he made me feel. But that didn’t take away how his initial reaction was that I shouldn’t be bothered by it.