These two random memories surfaced a few weeks ago. They both happened while I was stripping, though the incidents were separated by a year or more. What I find interesting in revisiting the memories is my angry non-reaction. I think it’s a woman-thing more than a stripper-thing. You be the judge.

santa fe cabaret

Chronologically, the first incident took place the night I met my escort mentor. I went to dance one night at Santa Fe Cabaret (now closed) for a DFWNites party. I even had a new outfit! I was blonde and tan — firmly in my Barbie doll phase.

Santa Fe had two dressing room areas. I chose the smaller, less crowded one. I wanted to give the regular employees the better area. It was only fair since I was just passing through for this night.

There was a man in the room who was sitting facing the whole dressing area talking to girls. He was an insurance agent. Santa Fe was giving its regular, long-term employees health insurance. (I never got that at any club I worked in.)

He never took his eyes off the girls coming and going (the room emptied onto the main floor, the bigger dressing room emptied onto the stage). I started preparing to change, hoping he would leave. How silly of me! Why would he go? I started changing, furious at his lack of manners. I thought of going into the other room to change, but my whole purpose in being in this room was to not take space away from the regular girls.

I was scowling. I could see it in the mirror (not that I scowl well). I was in profile to him the whole time, but…I had to get naked. By the time I removed my regular old cotton thong and put on my t-back I was so mad my arms were shaking and I had trouble balancing one leg at a time.

I wanted to smash the mirror with my shoe and put the shards into his eyes. Scratch that smirk off his face. (At one point he mumbled “Nice” and I wished for his dismemberment.) But, as is the way of all women, I was mostly mad at myself.

I didn’t speak up. I didn’t demand he leave. I didn’t feel like it was my space to make demands of, even though I felt I was being (visually) violated. I didn’t go into the other room because I didn’t want to be pushed out of my place, yet if it was “my” place, why didn’t I force him to leave? What’s with my stupid polite-girl shit when there’s no use for it?

The night wasn’t a total loss. I made a good friend (whom I still know). Had fun. Didn’t make too much money because it wasn’t that great a club and I didn’t like the floor layout, but everyone was nice. I went home and forgot about that guy. I haven’t thought about him for years. I’m not even sure how the memory came to mind, but it did.

I’ve forgotten how uselessly angry I can get.

the pimp

Some girls at Baby Dolls told me I could find unique and inexpensive outfits at Plaza Latina, which is on Harry Hines (a notorious stroll in Dallas). I’m game.

I go there one afternoon, making sure to time my visit so I can leisurely shop and still get home before traffic piles up (so I can get ready for work and go out again). The Plaza Latina is a huge building with a ton of little booths inside; an indoor bazaar. It is certainly Hispanic in flavor, but isn’t crowded right now.

The stripper-wear store is right near the front and is the largest booth in the place, the size of a real store. It’s pretty obvious, but I still make a full circuit of the building just to be sure. I end up back in the store and start browsing. There are clothes on the walls and neatly packed into the space — I’d say about 50 items per square foot. Shoes and all sorts of other accessories too. Most of it doesn’t appeal to me, but let’s be honest: stripper clothes aren’t about good taste (at least not clothes for Baby Dolls).

One outfit immediately caught my eye and it ends up being the only one I try on. It’s blinding hot pink, made of small-weave net, with matching marabou trim. Marabou is sort of my trademark. The marabou trim on the skirt stiffens the hem, making it stand out a bit. It’s the sort of skirt I could twirl around in (were I given to twirling). The top is very cropped, with long sleeves and ties in a knot right between my breasts. My stripper-wear is usually more understated than this (even the blind would be able to see this in the club), but the price is right for an experiment. That’s what I came here for: something unique.

The dressing room is directly in front of the shop’s entrance. It has swinging half-doors like a saloon. These are bikini doors, though. The top brushes the top of my shoulders and the bottom barely comes down to mid-thigh. The place is empty except for the suspicious saleslady, so I hurry to change in and out of everything. Thank god I was the right height for the doors, although I could not bend over without my shirt on.

The skirt goes on. I whip off my t-shirt and bra to try on the top (since I don’t wear bras under my dresses in the club, I try on club-clothes sans bra for a true fit).

And I glance in the mirror to see eyes watching me. Actually, I can see down to the tops of his arms.

I can see him very well, which means he sees me just as well. The mirror, helpfully, is full-length against the back wall of the dressing cubby-hole. I’m topless and he grins.

If I turn around to face the doors, well, god knows what can be seen through the doors. They aren’t secured in any way. I can’t face the mirror anymore. I turn to the side, putting my back to the mirror as much as possible. Should I give him the finger? What difference would that make? He’s seen me half-naked without my permission. The fun of my quirky little outfit is gone.

The top fits beautifully and flatteringly. I yank myself out of it and put on my bra, fumbling with shaking fingers. I’m seething and feeling violated. My t-shirt goes on. I bend over to step out of the little skirt. I still have on my socks and underwear but I’m showing more leg than I normally do in public. I bump around the walls getting my jeans on. Then shoes. I wad up the outfit into a ball. I’ll buy it because I want it, but the joy has been ripped from my afternoon.

I step beyond the doors and see him standing to the side of my original sightline. There’s a woman with him who is browsing. The saleslady is helping a mother in the far corner. I glare at the man, who is still smiling. I go to the cash register to wait on the saleslady. He moves in my direction.

The saleslady is still chatting up the customer. I want to grab one of the stripper heels near the counter and bash his face in. How can I possibly explain, in a few concise words, that he had no right to view me in my private moment? That he ruined something that was fun? That he has taken away something from me?

The only solution my aching, pulsing brain can come up with is brute violence. That’s actually not so shocking. What’s worse is that I stay rooted to my spot. I do nothing but shake. My eyes are getting hot. I don’t want to cry because it will be misinterpreted.

This time I’m not even mad at myself. What could I have done? Yelled? Tried to embarrass him? That’s about it. (Not shop here anymore is the obvious solution. I’ve never been back.)

He whispers at me. He’s trying to introduce himself. And compliment my appearance — the gall. I don’t remember anything he said, nor can I even identify him in a line-up. But I remember the gist of it.

I want him to leave me alone. He asks questions about my work. I gesture to the heels. That makes no difference.

The saleslady rings up my purchase and I pay with cash, $20s and $1s. I realize how damning that is in this part of town. She pretends she doesn’t hear him. She pretends not to know why I’m mad. Or maybe she has no idea why I’ve taken offense to this man who is trying to engage me in conversation. She probably doesn’t care.

As I leave, he offers for me to come work for him. I spit out “I work for myself!” and stalk away. Not the most intelligent comeback, but I was doing good not to hit him as I turn sideways to move past him and a clothes rack. The woman he came in with eyes me as I go past.

I wasn’t mad because he thought I could be a hooker. That didn’t offend me. His violation of my space was one thing. Getting a free look was another. Him being a pimp was even worse. He was in business making money off women. He should not get a damn free thing from me. And he got it without even trying. I had no way of making him pay (symbolically or monetarily). No way to ever convince him it wasn’t his God-given right to spy on women in crappy dressing rooms.

Then he tries to recruit me. What — I’m supposed to be flattered? I know I’ve got a good body. I get offers for it every single night. He thinks he’s telling me something I don’t know or can’t fathom? I might be blonde, but I am not going to belong to him. I’m not that dumb.

rage

Though both of these incidents involve stripping, that’s just what I was doing at the time. Street commentary by guys bothers me just as much, only it doesn’t involve me being naked.

I still don’t know how to handle these things or how I could’ve handled any of it better. Not seething with repressed rage is probably a place to start, but how to effectively take my rage out on the person who deserves it? How to change things so I no longer have to worry about this?

Would I react differently now? I sure hope so.

A while back a friend gave me some links on a series of blog posts about street harassment and the powerless, vulnerable way it makes women feel.

I do not want to feel afraid — but I do. It’s my body and suddenly it no longer belongs to me; it’s been shared without my permission. Loss of power indeed. A fundamental loss common to all women yet few men ever once experience it in their lives.

And the flushing hot anger that ultimately overwhelms my body and mind…every muscle tenses until I shake with unleashed energy, I feel red and volcanic — if I cry the tears are lava, all I hear is the fast-pounding sea inside me…I want to scream “Fuck off!” loud enough to rock the earth in its orbit. Loud enough so the lecherous, skulking men are permanently silenced. I want to unearth the secret of Medusa and turn them to stone.

Mostly, I want to push the anger out instead of sitting in my car, fuming, shaking, crying; the rage bouncing around inside of me, never to get out.

39 thoughts on “a lech, a pimp and my rage

  1. “And the flushing hot anger that ultimately overwhelms my body and mind…every muscle tenses until I shake with unleashed energy…”

    What I want to know is how anyone gets through life without experiencing this, because I’ve been there more times than I want to think about.

  2. I can so, so, so relate to this:

    And the flushing hot anger that ultimately overwhelms my body and mind…every muscle tenses until I shake with unleashed energy, I feel red and volcanic — if I cry the tears are lava, all I hear is the fast-pounding sea inside me

    In my mind, when I play out uncomfortable scenarios after the fact, I think of all kinds of ways I could/should have handled it better or at least differently. But most of the time, in the moment, I end up frozen. And then I’m extremely angry at myself.

    And all my life, I’ve had this thing where I cry at the most inopportune times. For some reason, my anger often manifests itself as tears. And like you, what I HATE about tears is how others misinterpret them. So when I feel like I will cry the moment I speak or yell or anything, usually I stay silent, out of embarrassment and fear.

    I still remember the night, almost ten years ago now, when I was out with some friends in Greenwich Village (when I was a freshman at NYU). We were walking along a crowded street, and all of a sudden this random guy comes up, puts his arm around me and starts walking alongside me, and whispering creepy things like “Oooh so nice.”

    What did I do? Nothing. I stayed silent, I didn’t look at him, I kept walking, as if pretending he wasn’t there. After a few seconds he laughed and walked off. My friends were incredulous that I didn’t do anything. And I felt humiliated. I felt like I couldn’t explain to them what I had (or, rather, hadn’t) done.

    Part of me thinks I should be ashamed to admit it, but I have a feeling a lot of women go through this kind of thing, and we need to talk about it…. how the reality is not always as hard-ass as the scenarios we play out in our minds.

  3. Thank you for sharing Amber. And thank you for the affirmation, KD.

    This post was hard to write to clearly express myself. And difficult to re-read. The “me toos” help more than you know.

    XX

  4. Although I’ve never been a stripper (really, aren’t you surprised at that?), I’ve experienced this situational rage, so I know exactly how you feel. In my case, I was working in a grocery store – I was an assistant manager working overnights. This guy came in, looking like he’d shaved with his wife’s razor, bleeding like a stuck pig, and was looking for the styptic pencils. The truth was we didn’t have them and I apologized and told him we didn’t have any. At that point he yelled at me that I was a liar and took a step toward me with his fists clenched. I don’t really remember what happened until later when I got to view the security camera video. Apparently I dropped what I was holding and raised my hands, not in supplication, but in preparation to beat this guy down (he was a foot taller than me and probably had fifty pounds on me). The security booth guy said the look on my face said “I’m going to kill you where you stand.” The customer must have recognized it and ran. Never piss off a curly-haired Irish boy, ya know?

    I don’t smoke, but I took a cigarette from my boss and sat outside smoking for a good long while after that.

    Ian

  5. Ian,

    Thanks for sharing.

    But what did your rage stem from? Self-defense? Fear? Or a feeling that you had been violated and would be violated again with no recourse?

    There is a difference.

    XX

  6. Yeah, Ian, I think your story, while certainly an uncomfortable situation, is *majorly* different. And I think that difference was basically the whole point of what Amanda is getting at.

  7. “For some reason, my anger often manifests itself as tears.”

    This is embarassing to admit, but I also sometimes………no, I’m a guy. I can’t say that. Forget I started to say anything. I’ll just be around the corner here trying to feel male again. 😉

  8. KD,

    Didn’t realize you were a guy! You’re the first I’ve heard to admit to angry crying.

    But why do you cry when you’re angry? Because you can’t properly express your anger? Part of it is self-anger? It just happens?

    Though I doubt my descriptions of rage are unique to women, what I’m really exploring is the reasons behind it; most of which I feel are unique to women in America — and probably plenty of other socities. I don’t know many men who feel the same loss, powerlessness and self-directed anger women feel, sometimes on a daily basis.

    I think it’s interesting that the two men commenting here have all focused on the rage part, and forgot all that came before it. I wasn’t talking simply about feeling mad. I spent about 1000 words talking about the reason why. To me, that’s the important part. Amber pointed that out too.

    XX

  9. “I don’t know many men who feel the same loss, powerlessness and self-directed anger women feel, sometimes on a daily basis.”

    It would probably be more accurate to say that you don’t know many men who have said anything about it. I made a joke about it, but it’s really not something guys talk about. I have mentioned this sort of thing around other guys occasionally, and one or two guys will say “I know what you’re talking about”, and then look down and not say anything else. I also read about research recently that seems to indicate that this is pretty common for men.

    “I think it’s interesting that the two men commenting here have all focused on the rage part, and forgot all that came before it.”

    No, I didn’t forget. Your post was painful to read. Each sentance recreated anger and feelings of helplessness. Guys don’t have to deal with people peeping while we’re naked (as far as I know), but we have other experiences that create those feelings. My comments deal with the physical expression of those feelings, and I make jokes, because that’s the only way I can admit to ever feeling weak and helpless. I didn’t forget anything,

    You did devote a lot of words describing people’s actions in your stories, but you seemed to be emphasizing the emotions those actions created. If I misunderstood, then it’s my fault. I’m sorry.

    While I personally have never had a problem with peeping toms, your stories are now linked in my memery with my own experiences of vulnerabilty. Before I might have been slow to respond when witnessing a similar invasion of privacy if I wasn’t sure how the woman felt about it. Now I know, and I know in a way that hurts. If that’s true for me, it’s probably true for a few other guys who read your post. So to balance the annoyance of having me butt in, you have the knowledge that you’ve probably done something useful.

    I hope you get the responses from women that you were looking for.

  10. KD,

    I’ll clarify further; I don’t believe men have these same experiences/feelings on a daily basis that women do because of our sex. We all get lumps and bumps on the road of life, no avoiding that. The ones that women suffer simply because they’re women are extremely painful and often the most difficult to express. They’re also caused by things we rarely can control and are not likely to change.

    Take verbal street harrassment. It’s a dilemma. If we ignore it, then we feel violated and angry at ourselves for not doing anything. If we talk back in some way, it’s always with the fear that this person who is bigger and stronger than us will physically harm us because they don’t like a mouthy bitch. Should something truly awful happen (like rape) and we go to court in an attempt to get the perpetrator convicted, then we know our own lives and sexuality (as well as what we were wearing, where we were and what we were doing) is going to be used against us to punish us for what happened. Maybe men face also face this dilemma on a daily basis. I don’t know.

    The right to one’s body should be a basic human right, and, as a woman, it gets taken away on a daily basis. Maybe men experience this; I doubt it. Your bodies are pretty much your own your entire life. I don’t know how many men experience feelings of bodily violation in their lives (and no jokes about doctor’s visits).

    I don’t call the pimp looking at me in the dressing room a “peeping Tom.” That really minimizes what happened, his motivations and my feelings. Maybe you think I’m being overly dramatic. If anything, I’ve underplayed both situations.

    I’m glad I maybe gave a glimpse of standing in a woman’s shoes in certain situations. That’s great. (Although I don’t think this is reaching the men who really need to get the message!) Yes, I was hoping for more response from women. That’s important to me.

    XX

  11. I don’t call the pimp looking at me in the dressing room a “peeping Tom.” That really minimizes what happened, his motivations and my feelings. Maybe you think I’m being overly dramatic. If anything, I’ve underplayed both situations.

    Exactly. And that’s the part I think very, very few (if any) men are going to be able to truly understand.

    When I sat in the CEO’s office of the small printing company I worked for in 2006, trying to describe to this overgrown frat boy why I was quitting due to various incidents of sexual harassment… when he wanted descriptions of the incidents, and as they were coming out of my mouth I knew to his ears they sounded trivial… and then I turned into the textbook case of everything I try not to be, apologizing for my reaction, etc… but I knew that I could try as hard as possible to make him get it, and he just wouldn’t. Ever.

  12. I think providers (especially women) fail to stand up and speak out for fear they may validate every assumption moral society has ever made. (ie: that we are emotionally unstable, angry, etc) and we try too hard to fight that…leaving ourselves and sometimes our very sanity in despair. We are trained from a very young age in this society to make “fear” based decisions. The industry only amplifies it.

    It is difficult when faced with this reality to balance the “right” response, or any at all. Sometimes we win by walking away…even if it feels like we didn’t.

    Provider or not, any woman should be entitled to a degree of privacy, personal space and dignity. These things are “givens” when deciding to speak up or take action. Often , it isn’t saying something that is difficult (we can ALL think of things to SAY..lol) but doing so in a way that hopefully enlightens the violater, and not validates thier reasoning for violating to begin with.

    It is ok to humanize yourself..just do so without disrespecting yourself. After all, wasn’t the violation enough?

    Great read. I can identify.

    Lily

  13. Amber,

    What a terrible experience. Talk about demeaning and dehumanizing…and no, there is never any way to properly explain. I think this is really the gap between the sexes; not what we want out of relationships or how our bodies metabolize food.

    Lily,

    Yes, as someone who has been involved with sex work for most of my adult life, it’s always at the back of my mind that if I do anything to protect myself, sex work is going to be used against me.

    I grew up in an area where anything that smacks of feminism is suspect; add sex work into the mix and you can see why I’m paralyzed in situations like this. It’s a stupid response but it’s because, like you said, I don’t see a good way out of it.

    I’ve never found a way to humanize myself in these situations. My only solution is to move on afterwards. But the feelings don’t leave and I don’t want to carry them around. I’ve teared up several times while working on this post.

    XX

  14. Well, perhaps if you never find a way to vocalize them out loud, you can let them “go” in your writings.

    Sometimes, getting it out of the mind and onto the paper can be enough. Sometimes, it is all we have.

    Writing is cleansing…and it can help others. We were all given a gift. This one is yours.

    Use it.

    Lily

  15. As a woman, why wouldn’t you have a physical reaction to some creep that may be able to hurt you, if he so tried?

    Men violating your space are trying to also violate your psyche. That is what real domination is about-stabbing the psyche until a person breaks from the force.

    The dude in the dressing room, the man staring at you as you were dressing, they are assholes who have decided that women are subjects. It only helps them to further be jackasses, due to the context ( club and dressing room in dance shop).

    It is hard to tell people to leave one alone, when one is caught off guard or feeling vulnerable.

    Memories come upon us when we have finally resolved the feelings or learned about what to do (response) the next time, I think.

    I have a few men talk to me on the street, most just stare. I tell the rude talkers as nicely as I can that they are poor and should be off working, not staring at me.
    Works every time.

    Take care.

    -AH

  16. AH,

    Thanks for your thoughts. You articulated the meat of the problem so very well. I don’t like mental invasion.

    LOVE your response to street harrassers. Will have to use that one!

    XX

  17. I read this post days ago & can’t stop thinking about it. You’ve hit on such a huge issue, a deep & old wound in the soul of our entire gender. I won’t go on about specific incidents but suffice to say I’ve had similar ones with similar reactions…

    I think my anger came as much from feeling helpless & shamed, as it did from the actual violations. I think I felt agry about being violated/used, then unable, (or unclear as to how) to stand up for myself – which made me furious. Anger turned inward, for me, usually became tears.

    I was raised to feel shame about my body & sexuality & so I wonder if that internal shame was triggered, rendering me helpless, as if somehow I subconsciuosly thought I was to blame while intellectually knowing I wasn’t…

    These days I feel so empowered, that when I hear the cat calls from men on the street, or some pig acts like he has a right to be in the dressing room eyeballing me (it’s happened), my first thought is one of pity — I see those men as so un-evolved that I actually pity them. I also see myself as so strong lately that those kind of weak men can’t really take anything from me.

    Not only do they not bother me much, but I have no problem jumping on these opportunities they provide, to help them mature a little. Doing things like asking if their mother raised them to treat women with such disrespect, or simply demanding calmly & firmly that I be given my right to privacy. Whether they “get it”, comply, refuse, or start behaving even worse, is up to them, & it determines their karma, not mine.

    My job is to stand up for myself, (while having compassion for the ignorant & immature if possible). If I do that, then I win. Period. That’s the challenge presented to me in these instances – I believe. Maybe some men/pigs will see the light, though most won’t and that is their problem.

    My problem is only whether or not I can learn to state my needs. Whether anyone listens is irrelevent in the end. And when I’ve done that, all those ignorant/intimidating pigs cease to bother me. What they’ve done is help me become empowered by giving me opportunities to practice standing up for myself!

    Let them all rot in hell – I can’t change the world, only build a shield of self-respect that deflects their attempts at diminution.

  18. Casey,

    Nice to see you here!

    Women’s lack of reaction is such a huge part of our anger. You’re setting a great example of how to handle this. I’ll work on the “Casey comeback.” Very wise words.

    Thank you.

    XX

  19. It doesn’t matter what business anyone is in, these are horrific examples of invasion of privacy – you didn’t deserve it and have every right to be outraged. It must be incredibly frustrating to deal with people like that who come from the low-end of the gene pool and lack any real courtesy, manners or respect for others.

  20. If You dress like whores and act like whores, You get treated like whores.
    What did You expect?

  21. Mr. Bond,

    In one instance I was at work, in what was supposed to be a private area. In another instance I was in jeans and a t-shirt, shopping for clothing. I was silent the whole time (that was one of my points).

    I don’t expect to change your mind, but I DO expect literate readers of my blog. Guess whores have higher standards of literacy than you seem capable of.

  22. there’s really nothing you could have done except do what you really wanted, but it wouldnt be worth it in the end would have? yeah a few moments of satisfaction for beating down the ‘pervs’, wouldnt compare to the legal consequences. “the past is ancient history” Marlon Brando once said, I was a teenager when I first read it, it didnt sink in then, it really does now.

  23. Rich,

    Well, some women are capable of extremely witty and cutting remarks that quell a situation instantly. I’m not one of those. My best defense is verbal and I hate that I can’t even use that. I would get some satisfaction if I could adequately express myself in these situations.

    At the very least, I would be standing up for myself — which would make me feel good regardless of the outcome.

    XX

  24. Quote “Getting a free look was another. Him being a pimp was even worse. He was in business making money off women. He should not get a damn free thing from me. And he got it without even trying. I had no way of making him pay (symbolically or monetarily).” Unquote

    Oh my goodness he was trying get a glimpse of heaven. You think this fool is a pimp because he asked you to work for him. I am sorry this sounds more like a peeping tom not a Pimp just a lame trying to hit on you Amanda. He was in the business of making money off of women oh my goodness what a terrible thing. I sincerely doubt it believe me this was no Pimp. Also making money off of a woman isn’t always a terrible regardless of what these indy turned pseudo-feministas say. Look at Hugh Hefner he made a fortune off of woman and he is a wonderful man and human being. He is one of my heroes! But I can understand we have a right to privacy and feel violated when someone crosses those lines (especially peeping toms). Just because someone is an adult entertainer doesn’t give someone the right to treat you differently than any other person.

  25. RP,

    I don’t think the pimp was a fool. I think he was an asshole taking advantage of women. That’s not a fool, that’s a predator. I thought I was pretty clear on my feelings about this.

    At this point, get your own blog and start posting there. I have no idea why you (and other pimps) have any interest in me. My tolerance ends here and now.

  26. When you talk you teach , When you listen you learn.
    Only a fool finds more pleasure in teaching than understanding.

  27. A bit late to the party here – still working my way through your archives. 😉
    But a great big ME TOO goes out to you: my anger and rage always manifests itself as tears, especially when I feel violated and/or vulnerable. What makes it worse is I, too, am so afraid the tears will be misinterpreted – which makes me feel even more vulnerable and angry.

    Fortunately, I’ve only had two experiences where I’ve been (mildly, I suppose, though the emotions aren’t mild) molested. And isn’t it sad we women say “only this many times” or “only to this degree”? It shouldn’t be an issue of how many times, or to what degree, but the fact that it happens at all.

    Those weren’t the only times I’ve felt that white hot rage you described so well, either. Most of the time that happens is with my own mother. After I came out to her about my lifetsyle (BDSM), we had horrid arguements that left me feeling defenseless, vulnerable, violated, and dirtier than any man has ever made me feel. (I think it’s awful how women will do that to each other.) I hate arguing, mostly because I don’t know how to defend myself very well. I could never, ever, think of comebacks to her verbal attacks, which of course made her think she was right. I just think it’s incredibly difficult to defend yourself when your person, your very being is under assault. At least, I have a rediculous brain freeze whenever that happens.

    At any rate *hugs* to you – I get where you’re coming from, and I can completely empathize.

  28. Jen,

    A female crying is just a female crying — from the outside perspective. It IS enraging, isn’t it?

    We do tend to dampen our own experiences. Is this because of societal pressures? Or as a coping mechanism? Or because we’re all hellishly aware that it could be worse and then how would we feel?

    Men judge women’s appearances on a numerical scale, we judge bad things that happen to us on a relative scale. That’s messed up. Both ways.

    I’m sorry you went through that with your own mother (I’m so very grateful to say my mother is more tolerant). I COMPLETELY know the feeling though. Substitute ” mother” with “my ex-boyfriend” and you have the last several months of our relationship.

    It is hell.

    Hugs right back to you.

    XX

  29. Actually, I can think of several instances when I, a male, felt this sort of rage. However, these instances were created out of defensiveness for my girflriend.

    One time was when my girlfriend was nearly raped by two guys at a party who put roofies in her drink. Needless to say, I was preparing to kill both of them before the justice system got hold of them. The worst part being that neither was put in jail. I’m just happy that another guy at the party found the room they were in and stopped her from getting raped.

    Once my girlfriend had her boobs grabbed by a guy at school (I wasn’t around). At first I was pissed at the guy, but became angry at her for not reporting it to the administration (come on, if you don’t report this shit you might as well just accept it). Seriously, if you are ever violated it needs to be reported IMMEDIATELY.

    I also remember being pissed on other instances, such as when guys would make fun of the way a girl’s body looks (E.G. “She’s lopsided!”). Guys are almost always critical of girl’s rears since guy’s tastes in girl’s behinds tend to vary quite a bit.

    Really, the best way to deal with this sort of thing is to call them out. Yell ‘stop looking at me!’ in a pissed off way. Unfortunately, many of these egotistical guys are the same guys that get tons of female attention and adoration for the way they act. It is sort of a double-edged sword.

  30. Theo,

    Your rage is probably quite simliar, but not the SAME as what a woman feels in these situations. I am VERY glad that you stopped your girlfriend’s impending rape and took these guys to court.

    You also have to realize that justice is a long way off, especially if you do any sort of sex work (see one of the comments left here if you want a clear illustration of the attitude). The rage women feel is the understanding that there will rarely be any justice — even if reported.

    And what exactly would I report? A man looking at me in a dressing booth? Do you honestly think the police would come out for that? Again, where would my justice come from? Not from the outside.

    I agree that all women should stand up for themselves the moment they feel violated. It’s not easy. Not only because it’s giving these assholes validating attention (like you pointed out), but who knows if a strong-minded woman will set them off and instead of merely being visually violated, she’s physically harmed? Trust me, that goes through every women’s head in a situation like this.

    It would be better if men reined in their actions and respected women’s human right to personal privacy and realize we’re not always here for the purposing of entertaining men (sometimes we’re actually just going about our own lives). For starters…

    XX

  31. Very well written–and very interesting–blog. You’ve obviously put a lot of effort into it and it shows. A trite comment you’ve heard many times before, I’m sure, but it still needs to be said.

    In regards to your rage, I think it’s perfectly understandable. As a man, I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced anything similar, and no basis for comparison even if I had. Your description, though, was very powerful and the emotions you painted can be recognized by anyone.

    It has to be amazingly frustrating to have your person so *casually* violated while, at the same time, making you also feel powerless; after all, nearly any response you make to the situation would be viewed more negatively by society than the act you are responding to! How do you decide, in that moment where your emotions begin to shift out the side of your stomach, what the “appropriate” response is? Do you yell, and risk escalating things and having at least some people blame you for “making a big deal out of nothing?” Or do you satisfy your anger and tazer the guy in the gonads and then spend the night in jail for assault?

    One of the comments above said that such invasions of personal privacy are assaults on the psyche and I think that that is probably pretty accurate. It’s a type of mental bullying. The best response (though probably not the MOST satisfying) would be, as mentioned above, to mentally bully the person back with some cutting comment tossed casually at their feet; king of like chopping their ego off at the knees. Not everyone has the knack to be that calculating while that pissed off, though.

    To sum up, I think it boils down to bullying. Just because the behavior isn’t physical in nature doesn’t mean that the emotions caused are any less real or any less deserving of consideration … it just means that you are more limited when it comes to your response since society, for the most part, cares more about the action you take than the actual harm you cause.

    Well, looking back at my comment, I’m not sure that made much sense. Either way, you have my sympathy and I wish you much success with your writing and your blog.

  32. AZRogue,

    Damn! You put it so well! Thank you!

    Your 3rd paragraph perfectly sums up the dilemma women face. And yes, some are capable of shooting off the ego at the knees — most are not. I’m not one of them (how many years did it take me to even express the incidents in this post?). Which just adds to the frustration.

    In the future, it will help me knowing that a lot of men are on my side and sympathize. The comments have shown me that and it’s something I failed to acknowledge. Normal, sane men don’t appreciate the assholes either.

    A bully…yes. Bullies don’t like to be confronted. I have a plan of action now — assuming I can get my brain to work at the right moment.

    Thank you for your insight and welcome!

    XX

  33. I don’t think that those incidents have anything to do with stripping or escorting. You don’t cease to be a human being or give up your rights because of what you do, period. Justifying that crap from jerks based on profession or circumstances is literally blaming the victim.

    These guys ARE bullies. And bullies are weak men who prey on others to feel strong. If you give them tears, flight, or anger, you’re playing into their hands. They feel powerful if they create a victim.

    The cutting remarks (that should be rehearsed, for those of you who can freeze in the moment) are a good weapon. But there is a risk of blowback, direct (if the bully becomes physical or more abusive) or indirect (he may take his defeat out on a more vulnerable prey next time).

    No, what I would give them is INDIFFERENCE. You’re aware that they’re there and hear their comments, but don’t care. They are nothing – not a man, and certainly not a stong one, so why bother with letting them register. Would you care if a dog trotted by and looked at you? You’d just glimpse and look away, right? Try that.

    I once found myself next a very attractive and well known actress while she was changing and trying on outfits with her (female) stylist. Now I’m a gentleman (mostly), but it was my job to be there AND look in her direction.
    Well, trust me on this, although I got an eyeful, I did not enjoy ANY of it. She couldn’t have cared less (actress and models are comfortable with nudity and looks from stangers, and so should sex workers) and I felt like furniture. I was not a man to her – exactly the opposite from what those bullies are after.

    One can derive a feeling of power by being clothed next to someone naked, especially if there is a size/gender differential. The nazis did just that. But if you deny it, and actually realize how powerful a naked woman is, this can turn on the guy on a dime.

    If the circumstances are such that you fear for your safety, I think that you should quietly get dressed and get someone’s attention ASAP. That lurker may be waiting for an opportunity to take things further, and if he ends up escalating, there’ll be a record. Cops may dismiss your feelings (they can be jerks too), but won’t be able to walk away if witnesses are involved and support your claims.

    I’m truly sorry that women have to put up with such behaviors. Until all men have caught up with evolution, you’re stuck with learning how to cope, though.

    As for the stares and compliments (forget catcalls), the day we don’t see you or appreciate female beauty… we won’t be men anymore and I’m not sure what use you’ll have for us!
    Because of jerks like those you ladies described, I’ve had to completely inhibit myself around the other gender, and this is one reason why I enjoy sex workers so much – not to be a pig at all (that’s not me), but a man again.

  34. Hobbyist,

    I’m quite comfortable being naked in front of people in a situation of my choosing. The two situations here were not of my choosing — obviously. For instance, there will never be a post about how violated I felt on the strip club stage because I never felt that way.

    It’s hard for me to feign indifference when I feel rage. Very hard. I’d rather take it out on the person causing the rage. (And I actually like it when dogs glance at me, I think they’re being friendly. 🙂 )

    There are ways for men to look at women and appreciate them without violating them. I’ve seen it/experienced it in other countries. Nothing wrong with a man silently and non-aggressively telling a woman he thinks she’s hot. Everyone likes appreciation. American men sorely lack the knowledge of doing this right, though. I think our society is far too violent for its own good.

    XX

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