His eyes searched me up and down as we walked in opposite directions, toward one another. I ignored him. I'd gotten good at ignoring men like that over the years, but I wish I hadn't needed to. As he passed, he leaned toward me slightly and moaned into my ear. HE MOANED.
I ignored it. I kept walking. I was angry. I was disgusted. I wished I wasn't in uniform so I could say something to him or do something about it. But really, what difference did the uniform make? Flight Attendants are harassed day in and day out by passengers we are dedicated to keeping safe from all harm. In thanks, we get poked, prodded, pinched, harassed and fondled. We are treated as though we were nothing more than an amusement put here to make them horny and then satisfy their needs. He looked at me, not as though I were a human being, but as though I were the star of a pornography film or a stripper dancing around a pole. He didn't see me as the professional I was, but as an object of his lust.
I couldn't let it go... I tried, but I couldn't.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I turned and walked after him.
"Excuse me," I said in s sweet, gentle, sultry voice. He turned. He stopped. His grin expanded and I could read what the hamsters in his head were trying to spell out through the spinning of that wheel. 'I knew it' his eyes seemed to say. 'She's mine. She wants me.'
"Excuse me," I said again, this time loud enough to get the attention of people passing by. People turned to look. "But you're a disgusting human being, and I hope the next person you say that to has the fortitude and strength to punch you in the nose and break it. I might give it a try myself if I weren't in uniform." I smiled, proud of myself. "Have a nice day."
I wasn't proud for standing up for myself, but rather I was proud of standing up for my profession. We are SO much more than walking sex symbols.
I'm not too upset by it now. At the time it angered me. But having said and done something about it gave me the feeling of control back that he tried in vane to take away from me.
It happens. And it will continue to happen as long as people don't do or say something about it. If we don't take a stand they will continue to think it's ok.
In a classic 1940s film called "The Lady Says No" a woman counteracted this kind of behavior in a very peculiar way.
"Oh, was that for me? Little old me with no makeup. I'm not even wearing my lipstick."
She then pulled out her lipstick while saying this, leaned in like she was going to kiss him, then drew a line from the center of his brows to the tip of his nose, being sure to "dot" the exclamation mark she had drawn down his face.
He pulled out a handkerchief to wipe it away. She told him "you don't want to use that. Use this." Then she grabbed his shirt and yanked it out from his waistband and handed it to him, exposing his white flesh beneath.
I've always wanted to do that. He was lucky I wasn't carrying my lipstick.