Sunday, May 08, 2005

A decidedly disgusting pizzler

Following on from last week's sucessful bike ride, I decided to get back out there before I remember I am lazy and don't enjoy exercise of this sort. My plan was to reach the other side of the Canning Town flyover - a round trip of about 10 miles.

My backside unfortunately rebelled as soon as it touched the seat and the wind was blowing so strongly into me that at times it felt like I could go no slower without coming to an actual stop. I made it as far as Plaistow which, ultimately, I was more than happy with (there and back roughly 7.5- 8 miles).

There was only one incident of note just shortly before the turning point. Through the green railings of Newham Angling (Members only) I was confronted by a teenager/young bloke taking a leak into the bushes on the other side. This wouldn't be noteworthy if he hadn't then wiggled his decidedly disgusting pizzler at me and asked with a leer, "Do you want to come over for a better look?".

I stopped, changed a withering-teacher-look into a you're-disgusting-look and managed a rather feeble, pathetic "pervert" before moving on. One of those moments that bug you for quite some time because you really wish you could have come up with something witty and scathing. As it was, he nearly took me out a couple of moments later on a mini motor. When will grown men realise they look totally ridiculous on these nuisance machines?

I'd become quite accustomed to men harrassing me in the street but that's the first time in a while. Either men are getting their act together or as I become older I'm less of a target. When I first moved to Barking I did wonder if it was a requirement that male inhabitants abuse women both physically and verbally in the street. Past incidents include:

1. An Asian man blocking my path near the train station to tell me I had a great pair of tits and could he touch them?
2. A man who, while speaking a language I didn't understand, performed some kind of Slavonic mating ritual which made him look like a clucking chicken into which he tried to drag me (on the way to and from the shops).
3. An old white boy sticking out his walking stick for me to trip over; "I can still get it up, love" wink, wink, leer.
4. Three young men sitting next to me on a bench in the shopping centre; one of them puts his hand on my legs and says, to the laughter of his mates, "nice tits".
5. While queuing for my car tax in the Post Office, a man came in, gripped my arm and tried to pull me backwards while telling me he liked the look of me. I actually had to be rescued by the man in front of me who shouted at the man in his own language.

These all happened just before I read an article in the Guardian (back in 2003 I guess) which said women needed new laws and a fightback. Rather than responding in an aggressive or confrontational way women should say very firmly and calmly "Don't harrass women". Simple, to the point and clearly stating a desired behaviour. Much like talking to children who don't realise what they've done wrong.


pat said...

given that it was near an angling area you could have told him "not going to catch much with that..."

on a completely different subject - i was approached in the street the other day by a chelsea who was trying to sell me a flag or something. i said no.
he said why not, i am an arsenal fan i replied.
but they haven't won anything.
so there you go thats how you decide who you support.

Shep said...

I was once stalked by an ex-girlfriend, but that doesn't really count. It's funny that men don't get harassed...when I was at school, some girls clubbed together and made sure I was sent complimentary sanitary towels to my folk's house for 3 months. Not sure the thinking behind it, but it wasn't nice.

From the other perspective, I do from time to time smile at girls I find attractive, but their eyes show that they look on me with nothing but pity.

Here in Totnes (voted one of the ten best places in the world to live, The Observer told me yesterday) there's never any problems for women. Apart from my smiling thing. Which in retrospect looks pretty idiotic so I shouldn't be surprised.

ems said...

Smiling is a good thing. I regularly talk to strangers (men)who make the mistake of smiling at me. They probably regret it later.