Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Respect: in rejection of Spaniards

Get me the hell out of Spain. I shouldn’t be as enraged as I am; things like this happen everywhere. Some people choose to ignore the intentions and be flattered by the tradition, others don’t care or notice, and others let it bother them every day. It’s a fact of life for girls, which I should be used to by now, but all I really want most of the time is to be invisible.

I have decided to wear my hair down today. Not a big decision in a normal situation. But then I realized that the within twenty minute walk to school and the twenty minute walk home, I would receive at least five lurid comments, ranging from a creepy, incoherent mutter a foot away from my ear, a loud conversation carried on about me by two men as I pass, a “guapa” or a nice “cuanto cuesta” shouted from the third storey of an apartment building. Then I thought, “get me the hell out of Spain.”

This problem bothers me just as much as it did on August 28th. Shouldn’t I have gotten used to it by now? Shouldn’t I be stronger than that? Maybe by December I will have effectively blocked out the Spanish male voice from my range of hearing. Until then, I will use my strategies for avoiding this unwanted attention, such as crossing the street at inconvenient times and walking awkwardly close to/behind any non-threatening man, whether I know them or not. Something about men keeps other men from making the lewd comments, I have noticed. If you walk close enough to a guy, you don’t actually have to be with him, but close, the construction worker becomes wary of being thought gay, being beaten up, or both.

I hope today I will be pleasantly surprised and I will be allowed to walk to school in peace (although I know peace should come from within). But it would be nice to be invisible today, even though my hair is down.

I suppose there are some things you can’t stop caring about. Maybe I will take my pepper spray with me and use it on everyone who offends me today.

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