OK I lied, one quick brain dump before I go back into the noblogbubble
So last night, I took metro back to VA from Velvet Lounge (after seeing Tyler's very good new band, The Awesome Few). It was last-train-o'clock, so by the time I got to Metro Center, it was crowded with lots of other people.
But look, dudes. Just because I am alone and you are too does not mean you should sit down uncomfortably close to me at the column I came over and leaned against. When I'm watching a movie on my iPod and making no signs of acknowledgement of your too-close-for-comfort presence, it's not a signal to tell me that you like my scarf. Also, you kind of smelled bad. (And the fact that I could tell that, means you were, to reiterate, too close to me.) But, when I give you a terse, expression-less "thanks," you really didn't have to follow the compliment up with "Are you European?" First of all, you'd be amazed how often I get asked this question or one founded on some similarly baseless assumption. And it's always with the same shock that guys then respond, "REALLY!?! I would have sworn you were!" This is where it gets dicey.
Because from there, it always devolves into unintentional or veiled criticism. I've just told you that no, I'm not European. "So where are you from?" (still not making eye contact or giving any hint of interest in continuing this conversation), "America." "That's so surprising; European girls generally have such a better fashion sense. Don't you think?" You see what happened there? By way of attempting to give me a compliment based on some assumption you've made about my identity, you go ahead and insult what I actually am. The conversation didn't get any better from there. I had to get up and walk away.
This was just one highlight in a series of uncomfortable advances on the metro last night. The creepy starer who followed me around the platform the entire time I waited (which was what spurred me to sit down against that ill-fated column to begin with), the drunk guy who said "NIIIIIIICE!" when I sat down on the train, and so on. It was an evening full of charm. Topped off with a healthy dollop of street harassment when I emerged from the station.
You know what I didn't feel an ounce of, after all of that? Confidence, compliment, self-satisfaction or contentedness. It was late, I was alone, and got circled by a bunch of salivating wolves. I felt pissed off and preyed-upon. Now, sure, I suppose the bad conversationalist in the metro could be stricken from the record of harassers; he was just trying to talk to a stranger (something often complained that not enough people in this city do). But take your cues, dude. I clearly was not interested in his advances, and he should have backed off. Instead he just kept being creepier and creepier.
Anyhow, all of this is to say, this is pretty common for most women I know. And it really sucks to have to expect and accept this type of crap whenever we're alone.