“Can I Touch It?”

I was sitting in the back row of the bus, and speaking quietly on my cell-phone (mostly listening to be accurate.) A man sits down next to me and after looking at me for a moment asks me a question. I didn’t hear his question – but I smiled politely and said “I’m sorry I’m on the phone.” He continues to leer for a moment and then says – “Did you hear what I asked you?” I shook my head, and once again repeated: “I’m on the phone.” He then says loudly, “I like your tattoo.” Now I have a small (conservative) tattoo above my heart – a small bird – and I’m used to comments from men about the location. I was beginning to get annoyed, but once again firmly, but politely indicated to the man that I was on the phone. (There were a few people sitting near us, and one older gentleman kept catching my eye – asking silently if I was okay.) Anyway – the guy asks me: “I like your tattoo. Can I touch it?” There was no shame in the question – no mumbling, or awkwardness, just flat out: “Can I touch it?” At this point I tell my friend that I’m talking with that I’ll call her back and look pointedly at the man sitting next to me. (By the way, the older man sitting a row in front of us is about to stand up by this time.) But I respond: “No, you can’t, because it’s mine. But, thank you sir for asking before touching something that you have absolutely no right to.” At this point he looks pretty confused, and the other people sitting next to us have started to laugh a bit. He’s looking a bit ashamed at this point – and says “Can I buy you a coffee? Are we near Dupont or the red line?” Once again I smile (a bit sarcastically, obviously) and I respond: “The nearest red line is about a mile up – and I hear there’s coffee there too. You look like a healthy guy – why don’t you just walk it.” And then he raises an eyebrow at me, and the older gentleman says: “You heard the lady – take a hike.” I then pull the stop-requested chord and everyone on the bus stands up until he gets off the bus. Overall – a terrible view of an obnoxious man, but an encouraging view of DC residents!!

Submitted by anonymous on 9/16/2010

Location: N2 Bus – Near Dupont

Time of Harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

3 responses to ““Can I Touch It?”

  1. Awesome for standing up for yourself and awesome that people on the bus had your back! This story has a great ending to start Monday off with!

  2. HELLS YES!!!!!!

  3. Sweeeeeet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s