This is to the men on the bus. The ever faithful, the ever vigilant men on the bus.
Not a day goes by that I can’t feel your eyes on me. The 90-degree weather nudges my blazer from my shoulders to the inside of my bag. My knee-length skirt keeps my walk cooler. You take these things as an invitation. Or maybe my outfit doesn’t even matter.
You started out by simply saying hello. I didn’t want to be rude. “Baby.” “Sweetheart.” The compliments kept coming. “I’ll give you my cousin’s number. He does tattoos. I know you’re into that sort of thing, tattoos. So am I.” I simply smile and giggle, only half listening. “How was your weekend? I spent mine thinking about you.” I try to avoid eye contact, but that doesn’t stop my cracked grimace and nervous laughter. “I better stop talking like that before your boyfriend comes and gets me.” Yeh, something like that.
I know I am an accomplice in this game. It’s just easier to yield to the periodic interruptions on my ride. Brush it off. Don’t be too nice – that might give them the go ahead – but don’t be disrespectful either. The charade will be over soon enough: They have to get off the bus sometime.
But it’s worse when they just stare. I pretend not to notice, keeping my nose perfectly poised between the pages in my book. If my enthusiasts try to chat, at least I could pretend they were just being friendly. Nope, the starers are the worst. There’s no mistaking what’s behind those eyes; I know they just want to have sex with women.
I just want to scream out, “Did it ever occur to you that so do I? That I too can appreciate the finite features of the female form?”
I hardly ever mention that I am not with a man when a wannabe suitor questions me about my boyfriend. How was I supposed to know if he meant b-o-y-friend or b-o-i-friend? Submitting tends to end the conversation there; far be it from him to encroach on another man’s territory. If I reveal the truth I am subjected to the likes of, “You haven’t met the right man yet,” and “Let me show you what a real man can do.” Do these sort of strategies even work on anyone?
And what am I to do? I am a woman and available for the taking by any man that will have me, right? My own agenda never even crossed their minds.