Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Buttoned-down version of catcalls

Thanks to whomever left the link to a Neruda website. I couldn't access it without joining, but it's probably time to read some Neruda.

Strange things happen to me outside Union Station--that's the train and metro station near the U.S. Capitol in DC, for those who don't know. It's the same crosswalk that I take every day back and forth to the metro. Or maybe things aren't so strange, maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just not accustomed to this, or maybe I'm too old.

First of all, a couple of months ago, I was crossing Mass Ave to Union Station to get lunch, and this reasonably attractive (young) man, neatly dressed, waiting at the bus stop turned his head around to catch my eye and told me to call him when I got home--politely, but with flair and a certain sense of appreciation. Second, today, an older guy, as I'm on my way home, on the other side of this crosswalk, also neatly dressed (I mean, there are guys standing outside Union Station all the time who are clearly not part of any element of society, including the guy who rants every day about how the government has his money and their lawyers are keeping it, and he wants his money, and they took it . . . ) and hair neatly cut, probably about 55+, who keeps trying to get my attention saying, "Miss, Miss" and when he finally has it, says appreciatively, i.e., without leering and with an odd sort of sincerity, "nice legs, very nice legs." I then hang way back.

Do these people know how old I am? I am not 25. I am not even 30. Why the hell am I getting some buttoned-down version of catcalls? This is ridiculous. I mean, these guys are not scum or construction workers, or some kind of odd scuzz balls. They could work in offices. They probably do. What compels this behavior? When I was 25, this did not happen to me. These sorts of things have only been happening to me since I turned about 38 or so--way too old for this garbage.

My own fragile vanity led me to reflect on man #2 that my own college boyfriend #1 had had a similar, oddly genteel, yet, in his case, certainly lascivious, opinion of my legs. And then I thought, thank god for yoga.

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