On this recent soggy yet otherwise lovely Mardi Gras day, I was outside RBar and saw a male stranger try to kiss my friend on the back of her neck. She shoved him off and he came around to try the same on me.
I told him, "Fuck you, man...Get the fuck out of here." He wandered off, no doubt seeking another surprised victim.
I had spent the morning dodging raindrops and uninvited sexual advances:
"Hey baby, you look good. Come hug me."
"Hey darlin', want to sit on my dick?"
"Give papa a kiss!"
- "No, thank you."
Tiring shit, my dear Readers.
So when I encountered this fellow again outside RBar later in the day - this time as he came up behind me and grabbed my ass - I was beyond incensed:
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?? STOP TOUCHING PEOPLE!!"
I pushed him - violently - and kicked at his shins and midsection. My male friend stepped towards him somewhat menacingly. Thankfully, the guy left the area, or so I thought until I saw him a few minutes later skulking around, trying to kiss on women inside the bar.
I was seized with rage that this person could come into such a crowded space and feel fully entitled to paw at women's bodies, especially after he had been told off so handily just moments before.
Normally I might try to reason with such an individual, explaining that he was creating a threatening atmosphere and would be better off just backing away. This time, I was so furious that I grabbed him by the collar and pushed and kicked him out the door. The crowd parted like the Red Sea in front of us. I was screaming - no small feat for a low-talker like me - things like "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!" and "WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE! STOP GRABBING PEOPLE!"
He was stumbling, clearly surprised, and not bigger than me, which is why I think I was able to get him out of the bar.
I returned inside to high-fives and applause from strangers and friends. I couldn't help but feel hollow about this supposed triumph, because it was born from violation. I thought about the many times I've been touched nonconsensually and not responded violently or outwardly at all: Were those responses not also deserving of praise or public affirmation? Is there a right way to react to someone invading your personal space?
I saw the man sneak back through the door just moments after I threw him out. I told my friends I had to leave, as the space was no longer safe for me. The crowd of people who had congratulated me on expelling him was the same crowd that decided not to remain vigilant and protect me and themselves from such an interloper.
Upon reflection, I think my action was maybe fruitless. I felt not better nor worse. I'm glad I made it clear that his behavior was inappropriate; maybe he will reflect on this later, but likely he won't.
"Hey baby, can I buy you a drink?"