I had a few bizarre episodes lately where people thought it was ok to inappropriately touch me or expose themselves in public. *Coworkers – uh um….TMI for you, read at your peril.*
One was back over before Pride. I’d gone to a friend/coworkers pool party. Being in Martinez and there was most definitely drinking involved, I opted to take BART vs riding my motorcycle. And naturally plenty of ‘drunks’ occured. On the way home I apparently forgot about the “last car” rule on BART.1 Being in my somewhat inebrieated state, I’m relaxing in my exuberence when I notice the guy in the seat directly across from me touching himself. And not just a little, he was going at it.
At this point, two things are working in his favor. One, I’m obviously drunk and two, I’m obviously drunk. And I know what you’re thinking, but no, nothing untoward happened on my part. lol I did however watch in a rather unfocused fascination as he finished his manual labors, which did not take long. I promptly giggled and then rolled back over and rejoined my previous half-sleep delirum. Later I almost thought I dreamed it till I ran into him and he made some overt attempts to engage me. This episode didn’t end poorly as it was more of just an experience. Sadly, the next two did.
About a month ago. I was walking thru the hood mid day doing errands. This youngish kid comes stumbling out of Sadlands with an older girl in tow. He was sort of on my awareness but didn’t give it much thought. That is until he promptly reaches up and grabs my nipple. Then he had my complete attention as I whirled around and confronted him. The ONLY reason he didn’t get punched was because I immediately noticed his age and drunkiness. Had he been neither I think I would have actually decked him right in the nose. I was furious. That restraint; however, did not stop me from cussing his ass out and telling his rather snotty friend to shut her pie hole before I did. The part that infuriated me the most was when I realized what he was doing, I shrugged him off and he tried again! Keep in mind, this is mid day and I’m not leaving the bar with him. I’m not standing around outside cruising. I’m some random guy walking down the street with my dog doing my thing. I’ll be the first to admit I can be incredibly incorrigible and not the least bit shy. But I also know that unwanted touching is considered an assualt in all 50 states. Had I given this guy any eye contact or the remotest idea I was into him this story would have gone much differently. Having only registered him on my radar in passing and then have him brazenly try to grab me twice was not acceptable. Was I worried he’d harm me? No, of course not. I was twice his size. It was the blatant disrespect and lack of contriteness that set me off. So anyway, I think he will think twice next time before attempting to fondle a random stranger. On a funny side note, I have never seen Cooper be aggressive. And while not aggressive this day he clearly knew something was up. All the jovial antics to get attention went out of him. He made no moves or growls but his body went into a locked rigid position and he was ‘eagerly’ focused on the guy. For a dog this is a clear sign of agitation. It is very unwise to try and touch a unknown dog when it is giving off such body language. Anyway, I’m curious if he would have done anything had the situation escalated. Since he did not growl or move he didn’t get scolded but it did make me aware my lovable pup can be defensive. Something to this point, I thought impossible. Even when other dogs are aggressive, Cooper usually just shrugs it off.
The last episode was a couple weeks ago. Apparently, a local guy who’d seen my ‘social’ profiles decided it was ok to walk up and start touching me. Literally, he walks up to the side and just behind me and starts playing with my butt. And not in a ‘hey how are you‘ sort of touch either. lol And again, in the right situation and the right cues, I’d could just as easily do the same thing. But this was none of that. I’ve never seen this guy in my life. We’ve never interacted directly. Once again I confronted said person with a few choice words peppereed with a few colorful words. And his response was the real surprise. He said he thought it was ok because he’d seen me on a couple of ‘sites.’ And of course my response was, “and how the hell does that in anyway translate into you sexually assualting me in public?’ Now that I had his undivided attention he begun to realize his behavior was over the line. Short of my profile having some sort of declaration that said behavior was expected or encouraged, it is not ok and I said as much. Just because you saw me online doesn’t equate to you assaulting me in public. He was miffed and more than a little embarrassed because I was not quite in my admonishments but I think he got the picture. He also ruined the chance to make a friend because of his behavior, which from the gist of his statements indicated that was his intent.
It wasn’t that I personally felt violated or in danger from either of these guys2, it was the absolute lack of respect and assuption of familiarity that upset me. I’m not a stand-offish person either. I like physical contact. But that contact needs to be appropriate and/or warranted. Any behavior that encourages it like flirting, eye contact, conversation; anything that would have shown a two way interaction and acceptance of physical contact is perfectly fine. But to assume you can touch or grab someone in a non-sexual situation is liable to get you one punched or two arrested.
The moral of the story boys and girls? Look, don’t touch until the offer to touch has been expressed. Otherwise, the outcome might not be pleasant.