Opinion: Too much attention


Commentary by Danielle Wilson

I don’t know about most women, but I appreciate the occasional catcall. A hearty whistle from the construction site as I jog by. An enthusiastic honk from the landscape truck as I idle at a stoplight. Even the mall vendor touting his perfume with “Hey, beautiful lady!” At my age, I feel any unsolicited attention paid to a gal in sweatpants or a minivan is cause for celebration. Yay, me! I haven’t completely fallen apart!

But some guys take it too far. I was at the grocery store the other day and because for once I was child and husband free, I decided to use a holiday gift card at the Starbucks counter for a coffee. Unfortunately, a sign indicated that the Meijer employee-turned-barista had stepped away for a moment, and so I had nothing to do but stand there and wait. Enter a man to my left, sauntering out of produce and right up next to me. We’re the only two people in this section of the store, but he comes to rest less than a foot away. Personal space was clearly not on his radar.

We exchanged pleasantries, and because I’m nice, I answered his questions about the order I would hopefully be placing soon. Then he starts dropping comments like, “This is the most enjoyable wait I’ve had in a while, next to a pretty woman like you,” and “You’re so nice, I hope we’re here a while longer.” I’m super uncomfortable, but I also really want a latte. And he’s still standing like 10 inches from me.

Finally the counter reopens. Again, my politeness sabotages by efforts at disinterest and forces me to engage my “admirer.” I offer to let him order first since he is only getting a muffin. His reply is “No, because then I’d be denied the pleasure of your company.”

Had this been an elderly man and a harmless flirtation, I would have played right along. But actually being hit on by a middle-aged stranger at the coffee shop was too much. Just give me the impersonal catcalls from afar! Peace out.

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