To the man who street harassed me today

You’re brave. So very, very brave. It must have taken a lot of courage to shout at a person walking alone while you were surrounded by your snickering friends, but you plucked up every scrap of courage and did it anyway.  It was especially ballsy, the way you waited until I was so far past you that you could pretty much guarantee I wasn’t going to turn around, come back, and confront you about what you said. Ballads will be written about you, I’m sure. Little children will hold you up alongside Robin Hood and King Arthur as a legendary hero.

You’re clever. Witty as Oscar Wilde, sir, and far more original. Mocking the way I walk, with a sprinkling of fatphobia thrown in to spice up the mix? It was a stroke of genius that would have made George Bernard Shaw weep into his beard. I’ve never heard incisive witticisms like yours before, except from pre-pubescent bullies at every single school. With material like that, you should try a career in comedy. I’m sure the crowds would eat you up.

You’re a true hero. Us women are getting so unreasonable these days, aren’t we? With our ‘being in public’ and our ‘doing things for ourselves’. Without men like you, who single us out, and smash our confidence wherever you see it, and remind us that we’re only allowed to be in the world on your terms, where would we be?

You’re confident. I only saw you for a few moments, but I can tell just how confident and happy in yourself that you must be. Only a truly content man would need to show off for his friends by tearing a stranger down. Only someone with great self-esteem would have such a burning need for attention and approval. Only someone who was totally okay with themselves, the way they look and the life they live, would want to direct people’s malice at someone else. If only we could all be as self-assured as you!

You’re a real winner, and certainly the real winner here. Because I spent a short while feeling like I’d been kicked in the gut, and then I took my anger and my sadness and put it into working, writing, creating. I poured time and feeling into my novel. I applied for a job that would be perfect – and that I could do extremely well. I faced up to the demons you summoned, and I slashed them into pieces. But, you know, you made a woman turn her head and stare at you, puzzled, for a single moment, so I think we all know who won.

To the man who street harassed me today: remember my strange gait and my fat arse, because you’ll never see either of them again. I’ll always be too far ahead of you for you to ever catch up.

About Alice Nuttall

Alice Nuttall is a caffeine-guzzling knitter who divides her time between Oxford and the various worlds in her head. She is the author of a YA fantasy novel, Spider Circus, and three webcomics, Footloose, Cherry, and Black Market Magic, as well as several short stories.
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3 Responses to To the man who street harassed me today

  1. Iain says:

    Well said Alice. I’d say I hope you’re ok but I know you will be. He will seemingly always live in a world of his own insecurities and cynicism.

    Plus if I was there I would have given him a kick up his own ignorant arse.

  2. Bravo Alice-nobody should have to put up with this. Touché

  3. Rob H. says:

    Obviously you ran across a brain-deficient twit who needed that extra time for you to walk past before he could come up with what he thought was “witty” and “putting you in your place.” And also someone who obviously needs glasses. Though no doubt if he wore them his “buddies” would call him four-eyes and proceed to pants him.

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