One evening last week, I was planning to go to the gym and then go to KJ’s house for dinner and a movie. She very considerately offered to let me shower at her house in between, so that I wouldn’t have to go home and then out again.
Things you need to know:
- I have been blessed with a pale face that turns the color of tomato soup as soon as my heart rate rises above two or three beats per minute.
- This particular day was a high cardio day at the gym.
- It had been raining in Indiana for almost a week straight.
- I had just purchased new rain boots (specifically for our 100 Hole Golf Challenge at work, but that’s another story.)
- KJ lives two minutes from a Walmart Neighborhood Market.
So. I wore my new rain boots to the gym, changed into my CrossFit shoes there, worked out, put my rain boots back on, and then drove to Walmart to pick up a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream to contribute to dinner, since KJ was cooking.
Once I arrived at Walmart, my face still brick red and sweating profusely, I headed past the checkout lines toward the frozen food.
When the first gentleman addressed me, I looked at him to see if I knew him. Why else would someone say, “Hey, girl,” when I was in that state?
I did not know him.
“Hey,” I said, and kept walking. I only went a few more steps before I heard a wolf whistle come from the chip aisle. Really? I looked and saw another gentleman, a man you would expect to see at Walmart, looking back at me. I kept walking. During the no-more-than ten minutes I was there, at least five (I wasn’t counting because I didn’t expect it to happen, let alone to continue) different men either made comments or gestures in my direction.
Now, I do consider myself to be a feminist. I get annoyed when people don’t respect me, and straight up angry when people don’t respect the amazing women I know. But this particular situation just baffled me. Really, guys? You want a piece of what’s happening here? If I was in a grocery store and saw a woman buying a pint of ice cream and a bottle of wine, I sure wouldn’t mess with her. Even if she wasn’t dressed like this:
Not only that, but we had been practicing double-unders at the gym (jumping rope where the rope goes around twice for every jump) and I’m very bad at it, which means I had red welts all over my hands, arms, and legs.
Now don’t go getting worried about my self-image. After a lot of years of battling doubt and fears, I have reached a fairly healthy place, where if my body feels good, I feel good about however I look. Part of that has been a process of accepting that strong can be sexy. I’m not a magazine model and never will be, but I can deadlift 200 lbs on a Monday morning and then just go to work. I like being that kind of girl.
So it’s not that I don’t think I’m the kind of girl who could have 5-7 men notice her in one trip to Walmart. It’s that I was so clearly not asking for it, in any way, shape, or form.
Can we all just eliminate the, “she must have been asking for it or dressing like she wanted attention or behaving in a way that invited that” argument from our defense bank?
And can we all acknowledge how AWESOME my new boots are?