Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome to Bed-Stuy

I AM SO HAPPY.  It is important to begin with this. Most of life might be filled with pac-dots, and I am dutifully munching them with my pink bow. Four to six times a cycle I get a power pellet and wreak havoc on ghosties. NYC IS NONSTOP POWER PELLETS. All those places that used to have pac-dots now have power pellets. Or to put it a different way, the oxygen content is higher here. I may combust if not careful but I can also leap small hillocks with a single bound. Because the rest of the world is Kryptonite & NYC is Earth. Just so you understand why I sound like I am flying. Because I am.

Ok, so some thoughts. First, you know how everyone says Italian men are pigs and women should have knives drawn? I have been a lone female in Florence. I have now also been a lone female in NYC. In one day I have been more aggressively approached in my own country than I ever was in Italy. Ok, sure, there was a plaza in Florence that weird men circled every night preying on women. I still have no idea what their end goal was: money? sex? keeping up appearances for Italian male machismo? All I know is that every night, the same 25 men were roaming this plaza, approaching every single or same-gender paired female(s). I watched them. Because the first guy who approached me was so completely covered in "DESPERATELY WRONG BACK AWAY" vibrations I was curious to know if other people just didn't feel those vibrations or if he was just really really bad at his game. THE POINT IS none of the creepy guys in Italy ever touched me. Maybe I am remembering it wrong, but I really don't think any man in Italy touched me except the guy who took me dancing and the old guy who wanted a kiss on the cheek after he spent an afternoon showing me around, teaching me how to work the public transit system & the cafes, & getting me a dinner reservation at John Cusack's restaurant.
AMERICAN MEN ARE MORE GRABBY THAN ITALIAN MEN. This is just my experience. Maybe I just met very liberated Florentine men & very pushy Americans. I dunno. But here's what happened today.
On the plane, a young Islamic wife sat down next to me and was agitated. Her husband was seated in a different row, and here she was between me and some ancient dude. But the cheerful 50ish Arabic descent man who is seated next to her husband offers to switch. NOTE: The book that seemed totally fine for the airplane may have a first chapter called, "Eroticism in women" which makes you VERY interesting. So he is chat, chat, chatting me up, about Edward Said and the French O.A.S. and the sixteen different businesses he owns.
Which is fine. Until he starts touching me. This is an AIRPLANE, mind. Coach. There is no place to back up, to say, "Hey, dude, enough with the hand on my arm." Except by saying that. So then I am in calculation mode, about when I can say it and how I can say it and OMG WHY CAN'T YOU JUST BE LIKE ITALIAN  MEN AND RESPECT MY PERSONAL SPACE?
Also, his breath was very ketonic and that beverage cart could not arrive fast enough. Could not arrive before he invited me to Morocco, in fact.
Do other women regularly get invited to foreign countries by men they barely know? Because it happens to me a lot and it amazes me every time that there is no voice inside the man's head saying, "Hey, this is probably pretty creepy and maybe you should keep it to yourself until you know her for at least, say, more than one single solitary day."
Anyway, I am practicing being ok with not pleasing people. So after about a half hour I tell Mr. Morocco thanks very much for chatting with me and I open my book. And frankly it is a relief just to have some quiet space for my own thoughts.  He tries again a few times but I am firm. I am practicing being ok with not pleasing others, and I will not be swayed by his fidgets or how desperately he wants to talk at me for every second of the flight.
Later today, after I am in Brooklyn and doing my peripatetic thing, a white long-haired hipster dude puts HIS HAND on my arm, too. I think he was all of 24 years old and his flowing wavy curls and ironic T shirts may make many women swoon but for the love of God I am an adult. Stop touching me, dudes.
You are worse than the Italians.

Ok, now for some good things.
Except I am too tired. Good things, tomorrow!

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