Last evening, I was walking to meet friends for dinner on 14th Street. As I rounded the corner from U St, headed south, I saw a group of men hanging out on the right. One of them seemed to be chasing after another, about to throw something, while a third man was yelling at second, telling him to “stop the violence.” I happened to walk in between the second and third man just as the third man was shouting. As I passed, he said, “Hey, baby, I’m just trying to stop the violence.” I gave him my tight-lipped “whatever, man” grin without breaking my stride, but in my move to get past him, I turned my body slightly, trailing my arm behind me for a second.
On my right wrist, I have a tattoo of a sun in green ink. I got it many, many years ago and have noticed and been told many times since that it can look, at a glance, like a marijuana leaf:
I am guessing that’s what the man saw that prompted his next comment:
“Hey baby, you look like you got a tattoo of a marijuana plant on your behind. Can I smoke it?”
I kept walking south on 14th, somewhat pissed and somewhat stunned. I know street harassment happens a lot in DC, but it doesn’t happen to me very often at all, for which I am grateful every day.
I crossed T Street to encounter another group of men on the corner, a couple on each side of the sidewalk. As I passed, I heard a small, muttering chorus of “hey baby,” “that shit is fat,” and “damn, you know you look good.”
As I crossed S Street, a man stopped at the light began to wave as if he knew me, and when I looked at his face, he licked his lips and made kissing noises.
I was dressed for a nice dinner in slacks and a sweater – same thing I wore to work – and I was wearing sunglasses that I like to think of as some sort of armor. I didn’t have my headphones in, which I almost always do when I am walking around DC, so I am not sure if last night was just really out of the ordinary, or if I usually don’t notice.
Location: 14th NW
Submitted by Mazzi
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