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The Plot Thickens

Photo: Taelar Pollmann ⋅ The Sentry

Strangers on a Train

When I was getting dressed last Wednesday, I decided that I wanted to wear black jeans. I have two pairs of denim that fit that description. One I use exclusively for when it rains or snows heavily, as it’s much thicker and bulkier than the other pair. The other pair I decided to put on are the tightest pants I own.  

When I got onto the train, I briefly made eye contact with some guy who had to have been around my own age. Eventually the guy began to try and get the attention of other passengers. He loudly called out to two different males and one female passenger. I noticed this and thought, “Ugh, he’s being obnoxious.” Then he got to me. 

For whatever reason, he decided the best approach to get my attention was the say, “Hey, Tommy, your pants are really tight.” I knew instantly he was talking to me. When I didn’t respond, he began to call me names in Spanish and snap and whistle at me. It was obvious, I’m sure, that I was ignoring him. 

To Isaiah, the guy said, “Your friend’s for sale, I just want to know how much.” The guy stopped after Isaiah asked him to. He got off the train when a security officer, who could tell he was being a nuisance, asked for fare, which the guy didn’t have. 

I thought about telling the officer what had happened but decided not to because there was nothing that could be done now about it. What bothered me most about the entire situation was that I didn’t know what they wanted. With everyone else he bothered on the train he just tried calling out to them, but with me he decided on a much more sexual approach. I didn’t really know what to do in that situation and the thought of the incident stayed in my mind all day and night.  

Now I realize that not only is catcalling a much scarier experience than I ever would’ve imagined, I also cannot believe what it would be like to have this happen on a regular basis, especially if you’re a woman. The world can be a scary place sometimes. Commuting somewhere shouldn’t have to be—for anyone.  

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