Dear Jackass on 42nd Street:
I’m not sure what happened to you today before you met me on the street. I’m not sure what had you staring at me particularly hard on the street this afternoon. You were on your way somewhere. So was I. We had several feet dividing us. Even on the sidewalk we would have never even brushed against each other. But for some reason, today, your eyes were directed towards me.
Again I don’t know what you expected to find on the street today. I’m not sure if you thought that walking on 42nd Street meant that you were going to come across the most comely of people. That’s not the 42nd Street I have come to know in the past 5 years of living in NYC. My experience of 42nd Street have taught me that many different types of people traverse on this road. Homeless. Wealthy. Men. Women. Children. Young. Old. Eccentric. Crazy. Cranky. Rude. Kind. Accepting.
For me, you fell into the Rude Cranky Man category.
Because in the few moments that I came across you, you decided that you didn’t like the sweatshirt I was wearing. The black leggings I was wearing. Or the black skull cap I was wearing. I’m taking a guess here that you didn’t like my hair being in a twist braid around the crown of my head. Nor that I wasn’t wearing any makeup and I wasn’t afraid to show the impurities on my face. The acne scars. The weeks of fatigue from working a high stress job. I wasn’t afraid to show that because I was on my way to a facial.
No matter what the reason, my looks offended you. My looks offended you to the point of you screaming at me saying:
“You sure is ugly. Good God, you are so ugly, you should just kill yourself now. Cuz no one could ever want to be with you.”
You may not have cared about how I felt because again you probably fall into the Cranky Rude Man category. But I’ll let you know. I was appalled. Confused. Shocked. Pissed came actually a few hours later. You’d think I’d feel hurt. But I never did. It made me immediately feel indignant.
Indignant because it brought me back to all the times that men have told me I need to smile while on the street. Or if I have ignore their advances, I’m a bitch. Or if I focused on something, then I have “resting bitch face.”
Guess what, Cranky Rude Man?
I am not here on this God-given earth for your enjoyment.
No one asked you to look. No one asked you to critique. Because you are a man, that automatically gives you the right to critique my looks and if they are not up to par by your own standards, then I should kill myself? Do you not hear the arrogance in your voice? That you a man with your own faults and failings would demand that I, a woman, who you deem unworthy of love to kill myself?
I should also include you in one more category.
You’ve probably heard that a lot in our political discourse but you truly are the epitome of the word “sad.” You’re sad because your life must be going so shitty that you feel as if you need to spew hateful things to random strangers just to pass on the hurt along. You are Sad, Cranky Rude Man.
I could have spewed hateful ugly things back at you. They were on the roof of my tongue. But my first immediate response to you if you heard it was “I’m married sweetie, thanks!” You probably said some more things to me but I didn’t hear it. I just called my husband once I got into the spa I was talking towards and told him all about what happened.
And he reaffirmed to me the beauty that he saw in me softening my heart again. If only the world could be enclosed in love ten times more than the hate…
So Sad Cranky Rude Man, though I didn’t say it at the time, in the deepest part of my heart have two messages for you:
1. Whatever is your problem, fix it before you try to enter into the world where other real people live.