This is a guest post from my friend, who has in one swift post of justified rage encapsulated street harassment when cycling. #shoutingback
Man in blue pickup. Did you think it was somehow hilarious to drive your vehicle alongside me whilst shouting “Oi! Love! Do you get saddlesore?”
I’m so pleased I didn’t hear you properly. Because when you are riding your bike you can’t hear that stuff y’know.
The conversation went:
Wanker : – “Oiouour a! Lifjovi! ckmoirun;ljga!!!”
Me: - “What?”
Wanker: – ” Ouiu mrjiourei ffciuwporuie!!”
Me: – “WHAT??”
Wanker: – “Oiur ariui3urhoiewue!!”
Me: – “WHAT?? WHAATTT???”
(at which point, thinking you were asking directions, I slowed down and paid attention).
Wanker: – “Do you ever get saddlesore love? On your bike?”
Now, my partner has always said that whatever I am thinking, is completely transparent because it’s written all over my face. The message written on my face must, therefore, have been: “Are you fucking stupid or what?”
Me: – “Er, well, yes sometimes.”
Wanker, realising I was old enough to be his mum: – “Well, when I’m riding my bike love, I get saddlesore. On my bum. I just wondered if that was normal and natural?”
Me: – “Yes.”
Now, the fact that the small boy in your pickup probably thinks that it’s fine to accost strange middle-aged women in the street and ask them questions about their arse pain, is a bit sad really. But not as sad as you, you pathetic Australian excuse for a human being.
See, for the next half hour or so, I was so thoroughly intimidated that I seriously was looking to see if you were coming back for another go. Because a harmless bit of fun for you, and your passenger, and your son, isn’t really harmless at all. And when I passed another car parked on the verge with a man in it looking at me, I actually felt quite scared for a minute.
But then I remembered how appalled you looked when you saw my face and realised I was old enough to be your mum. And thought, actually, the fact that I’m not sexually attractive to this piece of scum makes me feel safe.
And I hate that I feel like that.
You think you leave this stuff behind when you don’t get the abuse from workmen in the street any more. When men don’t look any more. At last, I thought, I can walk down the street and be as invisible as anyone else. Because it really isn’t flattering. It makes you feel vulnerable.
But today I felt vulnerable. When, actually, I’m feeling pretty vulnerable already.
How fucking dare you behave like this.
You know what? In the end I had a really, really brilliant bike ride. Doing something that makes me happy. Have you encountered “Happy?” I doubt it.
Near the end of which ride, someone politely said “Hello!”.
That someone, as it turned out, was someone I know. J, who can out-climb and out weight-weenie anybody. He said hello because he was overtaking me on a hill, and he’s just nice like that. Like so many men I know, he is an exemplary father and husband, who is friendly, and respectful. He does his best to live his life with integrity. He is an honourable person.
Whereas you, pickup guy, aren’t worthy to be in the same room as anyone who deserves the label “Man”.
Go fuck yourself.