Earlier tonight I was taking the subway home after an evening hanging out with Nora. Since it was after midnight when I got on, there were several seats on the train, so I sat in an area where just two seats were available and put my bag in the other one. A few stops later a man got on the train who was very, very loud. I noticed him more because he seemed to be helping a physically disabled person maneuver onto the train and was actually about to offer my seat when I saw that the guy had a walker with a built-in seat and wanted to settle in that. I went back to playing my smart phone game.
And then I noticed that the loud guy — who was apparently the brother of the dude with the walker — was sort of haranguing some people near us. He was insisting that this young woman sit down in the empty seat next to him even though she said she was fine, was getting off in a few stops, etc. But this dude was so fucking insistent and belligerent about it, going on about how his wife also never wanted to sit down on the train (?), that I think the woman acquiesced and sat down essentially to get him to hush up about it, because he was That Kind Of Person. Not asking her to sit to be polite, but essentially bothering people because he could.
This is all standard NYC subway fare, honestly, and I wouldn’t have paid much more attention, except after the woman sat down the loud guy said to her still-standing boyfriend that if we were in a different place and time, he’d make “that fat bitch move her bag” so he could sit.
People, I have never made a more intense WTF face in my life. I was really taken aback for whatever reason, and I seriously looked at the guy with my WTF face, my finger frozen over my phone, just fucking incredulous that he’d even gone there. For most people, this would be the point where they’d get mad, but go back to whatever they were doing and attempt to ignore said loud guy. But my face was stuck on WTF, and I was staring at him, and I had just decided that I was not going to let it go.
A stop or two later the couple gets off, and the loud guy has noticed that I’m giving him a WTF face, but he’s trying to play like he doesn’t notice or care. But, as I said, I am stuck, and I am staring at this man and staring and staring and no one could mistake my staring for any kind of friendly overture. I am fairly sure I looked like, given the chance, I might cut him to the white meat.
At the next stop a family gets on that consists of two parents and three smallish children. The loud guy offers his seat to the mom, and I moved my bag so the dad could sit. (I don’t like it when people sit next to me, but I’m not an ass. He was carrying a very sleepy, adorable little girl.) But loud guy decided that he had told me, yessir, and only in America would such a fat bitch like me even think about denying people a seat, and on and on, and I am still stuck on WTF OMG WTF. The dude sitting next to me has noticed that I am starting at the loud guy in an unfriendly way and I’m sure he was not happy with the thought that shit might go down. The loud guy is leaning on a section of the train that keeps his back to me, but he keeps sneaking looks over to see if I am still WTF and yeah, I still am.
At this point, it’s now a battle of wills. I am not going to stop starting at him, and he alternates between pretending to ignore me and confronting me with more talk of how, if we were somewhere else (?) he would totally teach me a lesson.
I feel compelled to pause here and talk about how, on the NYC subway, you generally ignore the loud or angry or crazy people because, honestly, to engage them is to court the possibility they might be really, really crazy or have a knife or whateverthehell. At the same time, there are people who act bombastic and loud so they can harass people and get their way, but aren’t actually dangerous. Divining the difference is a subtle art, and most of the time I don’t even bother. I make exceptions in some cases, such as when men are harassing women and when, apparently, people casually refer to me as a Fat Bitch.
On with the story. About a stop after the family gets on, a seat opens up next to the mother and the loud guy takes it, and I am still staring and starting, and the poor mother and father are looking more worried at my WTF face, and the loud guy decides he’s going to be slick. So he gets up, invites the father to come sit next to his wife, then tries to sit down in the seat next to me. I saw this coming, though, so I slide over and I sit across both seats. He says, “Can I sit down?” and I say: “No.” This sets him off on a loud string of obscenities as he rails against me and my ways, and I almost want to finally directly confront him and tell him to stop using that kind of language around the little kids. But I said nothing and just stared.
A seat directly across from me opens up at the next stop, and he sits down. He tries again to tell me how no matter how I look at him he doesn’t care (while continuing to care about it a lot), and finally settles on staring at me just like I’m starting at him. This goes on for a while. After a few stops I realize that he hasn’t said anything since he’s too busy having a staring contest with me, and I smile because essentially I’ve found a way to finally shut him up.
This lasts for about 5 stops, then he begins to speak in a low voice and talk about how what I really need is a strong man, because obviously I’ve only encountered weak men, and then began to describe in detail how it would be when we had sex. At first it was something about how I would want him and say I love him and he’d spit on me, then it seemed to turn into this elaborate fantasy that involved biting, bottom smacking, and something about a rope.
I will pause here again and say: I know that men talk like this, but it never fails to shock me when I encounter someone in real life that actually has no shame in saying these things to a woman. Like, seriously, how much of a weak-ass punk can you be?
I have abandoned the WTF face and how have the How Pathetic Are You OMG face on when he decides that he no longer wants to talk dirty to me, but forgive me and be my friend. He gets up and starts to move across the car to me with his hand out as if I am going to shake his hand. And at this point, readers, I did something that I probably would not have been brave enough to do not that long ago. I said to him in a very loud and forceful voice: “If you come any closer to me I swear I will punch you in the balls.”
He sat down.
Since I’d broken my silence, I decided to say some other stuff, too. I told him he was a hypocrite for going on about how I was disrespectful when he was using disgusting language around this nice family and their kids. That he needed to keep his damn mouth shut for the rest of the ride. That I had kept him quiet for five stops and was not opposed to doing so in other ways for even more. So zip it, mutherfucker!
The rest of the ride was mostly uneventful. I resumed my angry face, but I actually wasn’t staring at him anymore, but at the space right by his ear. I’d vented, he was quiet for a while, and I had stopped caring. But he couldn’t stay quiet forever, and he started mouthing at me again all the ways in which he’d have me begging for his dick and etc. like before. I just kept the blank but angry look, though whenever he got a bit loud with it I told him to shut up as there were kids.
I took a picture (which I’ll try to upload) so I could add him to that site where women upload harassing assholes. He tried to take a picture of me, but I had my fan. Also, he’d actually gone from threatening me to deciding that he loved me, and kept telling me how beautiful I was, etc. I know. I don’t even.
Just before he was supposed to get off the train, I saw him writing his number down on a piece of paper and was like are you fucking serious, guy? And lo, when he got up to leave he actually, literally, seriously tried to hand me the paper and said “Will you call me?”
The one thing I didn’t do that I had really wanted to do was to just turn a withering glance on him and ask seriously: “Is your dick just that small?” I didn’t because I felt like insulting the size of his penis might turn him into one of those actual dangerous people and I didn’t want to put the kids in any kind of danger. Because if he’d come any closer to me I would have just kicked him until he stopped moving.
As the train pulled away, he continued to profess his love for me. He was so involved in this, in fact, that his brother (who’d spent the entire ride attempting to get him to stop being an ass), got trapped in the closing subway doors. I could not make such things up.
Knowing how guys like this think, I know that his real goal was to get to me, to make me feel lesser, to cut away at my soul. I am a little proud of myself for not giving him the satisfaction in this area. I’m glad that it never went beyond words, but I am also fairly certain that I would have enjoyed punching him in the balls.
My weekend is off to a great start.