Sunday, December 18, 2011

"you should have punched him in the face"

[TW for harassment and discussion of real and imagined violence]

Ok, so I've been known to talk about the time a guy cornered and then leaned over me, so I punched him in the face. Whatever. That was an appropriate action to deal with that particular guy in that particular situation. It had the desired effect of getting him away from me immediately.

Fast forward in time to now. I went to the Opeth concert at the Enmore Theatre on Friday night, and holycrap the audience was obnoxious. People were yelling for the band to "play metal", and other people were yelling at the yellers to "shut the fuck up". People also threw a few bottles onto the stage. I'm not sure whether the "play metal" yellers had been listening to the concert... perhaps they were mis-informed of what "metal" is. In any case, the band usually has a setlist they go through. I suppose some bands take requests from the crowd, but getting mad when they don't play your personal request smacks of an incredible sense of entitlement.

Anyway, the final piece of obnoxiousness that I wanted to talk about was the guy behind me who kept touching my ass.

(Seriously dude. WTF was that about? What exactly do you get from lightly stroking the back of my jeans?)

There are two main questions/comments I've got from people I've talked to about it: Did I report it and maybe I should have hit him. (Is my faith in humanity so low that I'm mildly surprised (and glad) that none of my (male) friends have questioned that it really happened?)

I'm pretty sure that if I'd tried to report that to someone (assuming I knew who to tell and could pick out the random dude standing behind me in the dark), I'd be unlikely to be believed or blown off. Assuming I was believed, if they questioned the guy, he'd probably have sudden onset of amnesia, and/or claim it must have been an accident, because it was crowded and everything. Further assuming that authorities decided to believe me, I don't even know what action is appropriate in this case...

The second common response was a variation on "why didn't you hit him?". There are many reasons for this one; he was much bigger and taller than me, so if he hit me back I'd be in big trouble. Starting a fight with someone stronger than you is generally a bad idea. He may or may not have socialisation against hitting women, however I don't know which, and he was drunk, lowering any inhibitions he might have anyway. Secondly, the crowd was already ready to brawl. I wouldn't want to be the first to start that. I just wanted to watch the damn concert without obnoxiousness from the crowd. Thirdly, where would he go after I hit him? We're standing in a crowd thick with people. If I hit him and it doesn't cause him to leave, then he's... still standing behind me. (Say I hit him, and he's not hurt and laughs it off, and stays standing where he is.) That strikes me as an even less ideal situation than the first. Would he try and goad me into doing it again? If I hit him, what would the response of the combination of his and my friends be (knowing that none of them would have been able to see the ass-touching in the dark)? There are probably more reasons than I can think of for why hitting him would have been a poor move on my part. (Many of them went through my head when I was deciding how I'd respond.)

So what did I actually do? I swapped places with one of my male friends, and my ass was not touched by any assholes behind me for the rest of the concert. Personal problem solved. Cultural problem of entitled douchebags really not.

[H/T to Geek Feminism who had a re-post of a piece on just this sort of mater recently]

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I go to the hairdresser occasionally to get my hair cut and dyed, as one does. I like to dye my hair bright colours, and starting from a black base, the bleach+colouring process is quite drawn out, taking a whole afternoon in the salon. Normally I quite enjoy having my hair played with (probably a throwback when we used to braid each other's hair when I was in primary school), but today I had a weird and unpleasant experience, somewhat reminiscent of this story.

I made an appointment and went to the hairdresser as usual. When I got in, there were a couple of other people getting their hair cut, so I had to wait. There was also a man, perhaps in his 30s (I'm terrible at estimating people's ages), waiting for an appointment. He stared at me when I came in, to the point of discomfort. When I asked him "what?", he exclaimed "she needs a champagne!" and offered me a glass of one. I turn it down, not having had much to eat because I was feeling a little under the weather after going out on Friday night.

After we got moved to the chairs to get our hair done, he makes all sorts of crude jokes about "titties" and his pubic hair. Gross. At some point he asked me if I was religious (huh?), and when I replied in the negative, he says something about how that makes all his jokes acceptable (wrong. I still think they were in bad taste). [TW] Then he went on to talk about how somebody electrocuted their wife/girlfriend and how he thinks they could have got away with stabbing her in any other country (WTF?!). [/TW] I interjected with something like "nobody should get away with that", and pulled out my phone and did my best to ignore his chatter after that. Finally, he left and I was pleased to be left the fuck alone.

Well. It turns out that he paid for my hair cut + colour when he left. I have no idea why he did that (to make up for being an obnoxious slightly drunk jerk? Some misguided attempt at being a gentleman? Was he trying to flirt with me? Was he feeling a bit threatened by an obviously young woman getting a haircut in an expensive salon without an attendant male?). WTF? Obviously I'm not going to accept a ($70) favour from him, and this whole thing makes me pretty uncomfortable, so I think I made the right decision by giving the hairdresser money and telling them to give him his money back. That way it's not my problem any more, in a way that if I had accepted the favour it would be. I'd have to thank him or something if I ran into him on the street (the location he said he lives is near me) and act grateful for his making me uncomfortable. I may need to deal with being called a bitch for not accepting his favour, but I think I prefer that to feeling like I owe somebody something.