Sculpture in the Palais Garnier Opera, Paris
So, I’m in Paris. I just took the metro home from visiting my friend, and as I exited the station in Belleville, a guy noticed me. He noticed me enough to follow me up the stairs and across the intersection. He clearly spoke no english, but started talking and talking and I heard snippets about getting food together or getting my number or me being pretty. I went through the motions.
“Je ne parle pas Francais.”
He shook that off, insisting that he could tell I speak it.
He said no.
“Less moi s‘il vous plaît.”
He took my please and said “S‘il vous plaît, listen.”
“Je ne comprends pas.”
He clearly thought I was lying. I wasn’t.
“Less moi tranquille.”
“Do you want me to tell you to leave me alone in English?”
“LEAVE ME ALONE.”
He followed me every time I crossed the street to avoid him, every time I sped up or slowed down. He followed me home. I walked through a giant puddle in my haste, my shoes are stained. I punched in my code for the building as he tried to get closer and I slipped in the door.
So did he. He was wedged halfway through the door, with his hands in the “call me” position, still trying to get in, before I pushed him out and slammed the door in his face. I turned and unlocked the second door and willed myself away from turning back to check if he was still there. I ran up the stairs, fearing that he saw the code or that he would follow another person in. I found the door that I belonged to, fumbled my key into the lock, and entered as quickly as I could. I stood in the apartment breathing and breathing and being angry and scared.
So yeah. I was nice. I was polite. You can’t say I wasn’t. But clearly, that means nothing to men who feel entitled to your space and your time. Street harassment is real, and acting as if it isn’t an issue leads to invasions like this. If you do this shit to women on the street, even “small” things like catcalling, you can go fuck yourself and die.