Don’t touch me

Charlotte Abramson, Opinions Editor

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am so sick and tired of being touched by men at the grocery store, or being told to smile by the gas station attendant, or having some random paint mixer at Home Depot tell me he doesn’t like my crop top. I said what I said.

Before the pandemic, it was common for a man to casually place his hand on the small of your back or your shoulder to ensure he didn’t “accidentally” bump into you in the empty cereal aisle. 

It happened to me again for the first time since Oregon dropped the mask mandate. Just a random dude side-stepping behind me, hand on my shoulder, invading my personal space in the noodle aisle. I want the six feet away from everyone rule back. I don’t like people. Stay away from me. 

I said “Excuse you”, and stepped backwards into him to prove a point. He looked affronted when I told him to keep his hands to himself, like how dare I really demand respect for my personal space. Preposterous. 

Since I’ve started dating, I’ve noticed more and more the respect other men give him while shooting glances at me. If I’m by myself it’s cat-calls, approving nods and wandering eyes in addition to the invasion of personal space. If I’m with my boyfriend, they automatically give us a wide berth although he’s taken to pointing out when some dude is looking at my butt. 

When older men thrust their unwanted opinions on how younger women look, it produces the same amount of disgust. We didn’t ask and we don’t give a damn about what you think. Your opinion on our outfit or hair or jewelry? It doesn’t matter, we don’t look like this for you, so don’t even bother.  

I was sitting in the podiatrists office waiting for my appointment the other week, and an elderly gentleman and his wife sat down opposite of me. They were adorable, all white curls and wrinkles and thick glasses, until the husband opened his mouth. 

“Look honey, that little girl has holes in her jeans. I bet she doesn’t even change for church, how inappropriate young lady.” 

“Excuse me?” I smiled through my mask, making my eyes real squinty so he knew I acknowledged his sexist and inappropriate comment before replying that the joke was on him–I don’t go to church and Jesus could care less about my bare kneecaps. His wife looked like she wanted to be anywhere else at that moment.

Let me tell you, that old man and his cheeks went through the entire color wheel. I don’t care, keep your sexist and rude comments to yourself. The loincloths you wore back in the cretaceous period weren’t much to look at either. 

It’s the shaming of younger generations for me. Now I’m respectful and polite, I wasn’t raised in a barn. However, I refuse to keep my mouth shut when someone says something sexist. It drives me up the wall and all the dead feminists in my family would roll in their graves if I didn’t say anything. 

I’m trying to reign myself in when it comes to stuff like that, but it’s been a struggle. If you can learn how to use a cell phone, you can be polite and not comment on women’s appearances with such a disparaging tone. Or even better, try not at all. 

We’re tired of hearing it and we don’t care.