Uncomfortable

Photo by chenines via flickr

There was a strange guy on the bus yesterday who made me feel uncomfortable. (There were actually two strange men, but one bothered me more.) He boarded right before we crossed the bridge into Rosslyn, squeezing himself in the middle seat between me and someone else. He kept stretching his arms out and knocking into us, not seeming to care.

He then stretched his legs out and put his foot on a girl sitting across from me. The girl gave a weird look but continued her conversation with her friend. He then reaches under their seat without saying excuse me, which made me feel nervous for them though they showed little reaction to this. He ended up grabbing a fragment of a newspaper that was under their seat and pretended to read it, by turning it forward and backward and staring at it. He put his arm on the back of the seat next to him, not caring that someone was sitting in it.

When we got to Rosslyn an end seat freed up across from me, and he took it. Another guy boarded who then for some weird reason took the middle seat, though more open seats were free. The second guy grabbed the pole between our seats and his arm was in my face and he did the leg spread. Wanting a way to get him to respect my space more, I decided to spread my legs similar to what he was doing, which made him take up less space. (I realized that the first guy had his arm spread out on the back of the seat again across the aisle from us, and I assumed that the second guy was one of those hyper-heretosexual guys who thinks contact with any male is “gay” and decided he’d rather squish in the middle seat than sit in the seat where the other guy’s arm was. Shaking my head.)

Anyway, the first guy, in between pretending to read his paper and stare out the window, stared at me. It was so obnoxious and annoying. Normally I yell at these creeps to “Stop staring at me!” but with all my negative reactions to standing up to harassers, and with no one coming to my aid, I was just not in the mood. I was heading to an event, and didn’t want to get riled up from handling a harasser. I was trying to stay in a good mood and not head to this event with an attitude because of harassers.

When my stop was coming up, I immediately got up and went to the back door. It seemed as if the first guy was going to stay on the bus. He puts his hands behind his head, leans back, and turns to stare at me. ACK!

Seconds before we got to the stop, the first guy then decides he wants to get off too. He stands really close to me and I move closer to the door. He then says “Excuse me” as if he thought he could walk past me, though there was narrow space and the door hadn’t even opened yet. As soon as those doors opened I walked off really fast, and looked behind myself constantly. I didn’t see the guy outside at all. Weird! I walked to my destination continuously looking behind myself. I thought he was going to follow me.

When I realized he was nowhere in sight, I figured he went to sit back down right before I got off and I hadn’t noticed. This guy was very strange in his behavior (I’m assuming he has mental problems) and I hate that I became the intended target of most of his attention.

I also hate that I was too concerned about other people’s reactions to me if I stood up for myself. I normally tell these men to “fuck off!” but I didn’t want people staring at me as if I were the problem, or ignoring what was going on, which happens too many damn times. So I suppressed myself and my reactions just because I was too concerned with others. I should’ve told the first guy to leave me the hell alone, and I should’ve told the second guy to get his damn arm out of my face instead of the passive-aggressive tactic I’d used.

Then again, instead of getting bent out of shape and worrying about what I “should’ve” done, I’m going to concentrate on how I can react if this ever happens again in the future. Screw worrying about others’ reactions…I need to worry about myself.

Submitted by Anonymous on 8/20/2010

Location: B38, VA

Time of Harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

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