Last night I was walking to Border's Books at 12th & E Streets NW and a block or so before I approached the intersection, I removed my iPod and placed it into my purse. I had a fleeting thought cross my mind about how doing this increased the likelihood of being harassed by some creep but dismissed it as I was almost to Border's. I have noticed that street harassers (on the metro, in the streets, etc.) seem to take a lack of iPod or lack of a phone conversation to mean that a female is "available to approach". Within seconds of taking it off, some man lurking in the shadows said "Hey, baby." I wished the stupid light would hurry up and change. He said it again, in a leering, gross kind of way. The light changed and I crossed the street, making a point of looking preoccupied and busy. As I approached the store I turned to the left and saw that he had actually crossed the street and was ten feet or so up the sidewalk. He said, "Hey baby, why you gotta be so mean?" He continued with his commentary but the wind drowned him out. I paused and nearly made a comment to the effect of "Women are not required to acknowledge strange men on the street, nor are they required to walk around looking friendly for your benefit," but the freezing wind, my continuing fruitless search for 2008 Moleskine softcover planners, and my disgust with this jackass just made me ignore him.
Once again, the new year's barely started and these clowns are up to their old tricks. I'm so sick of them with their "Hey, baby" and "Why you gotta" this and "Why you gotta" that. They need to realize that they have no control over women's actions. They need to stop loitering on street corners, stalking women and leave us the hell alone.
So much for a harassment-free '08.
ETA: re: Lack of iPod, headphones, cell, etc.---It doesn't necessarily deter harassers. I cannot count the number of times these fools would still try to talk to me when I was on the phone or listening to music. I was in Dupont Circle last spring sitting on the fountain's ledge and my phone rang. This fool came up to me with that "Girl, can I talk to you?" mess! I gave him a "Fool, please" look and got up and walked away. He then proceeds to go to the CVS across the street to stand there, beg people for money, and stare at me. Nut.
Even telling them "I'm not interested" is no deterrent. I told someone I wasn't interested in what he had to say and he was still trying to talk to me. "Girl, I love you anyway!" (shudders)
Someone jokingly made a comment to me via e-mail that there should be a "charm school for harassers" to teach them how to be more respectable and better-mannered gentlemen. It was only a joke but I think that is an idea to truly consider implementing. These harassers need to learn manners and respect.