Fremont Street

Fremont Street

Yipe. The Lady Luck actually makes the Tropicana look kinda upscale. It was not too far away from here that I saw a large handpainted sign stuck to a house that said, “JOSE’S CUSTOM BEDSPREADS”. Would that I had not been on a moving public bus. Taking public transit in Las Vegas, while probably a horrible idea from most perspectives, definitely added to the “Oh-God-This-Place-Is-Weird” experience I was hoping for. My oversized sunglasses and bulging Nordstrom Rack shopping bag fully identified me as a Moneyed Tourist, making me stick out like a sore and pampered thumb. Waiting for buses became an exercise in trying to look authentic and genuine despite my flashy duds, in the manner of Shania Twain.

At one bus stop I began to feel an all-too-familiar oppressive male vibe emanating from a large black guy standing a few feet away… All-too-familiar from my days living in San Jose’s Spartan Village athletic housing complex. All-too-familiar from my overseas flight with Snoop Dogg’s ridiculous “posse”. A lot of women may know what I’m talking about here… but for those that don’t, I think it’s worthwhile to explain, especially as this common phenomenon doesn’t really seem to be discussed. I am talking about a strange sort of quasi-flirtation that is half sexual interest, half non-verbal aggression. I certainly enjoy being hit on (see prev. post!) but this is such a different animal I’m not even sure it qualifies…

So, when a male exhibits this behavior, he seems to 1) stand slightly behind the female, so it is hard for her to see him, even though she may be able to tell that he is staring at her 2) mutter comments about her that are too quiet to fully understand, but seem to be negative / sexually related. Yes, it seems utterly bizarre, but it’s happened to me too many times (from complete STRANGERS) to believe that it’s not happening to women all over the world, all the time. I’d categorize this behavior as a form of “sexual bullying” (thanks Google!). And since location is key to this phenomenon (i.e. the female is usually in front, and it involves a place that she needs to be for a while – bus stop, airport queue, lunch line, etc)… the easiest strategy for stopping it would be seem to be re-locating oneself behind the jerk.

So, back to my Las Vegas bus stop experience and the creepy guy mumbling things my way just out of earshot…. I’d been trying to tell myself that it was all in my head (made easier with the distraction of my iPod and the privacy of dark sunglasses – a bus stop must) when the bus finally arrived and I got on and sat down next to a Latina in her 40s. Then creepy guy got on and snapped, “That’s cold, bitch,” as he passed my seat. MEANING… He must have expected his psychotic intimidation techniques would WARM MY HEART to the extent that I would try to SIT WITH HIM!!

WTF Infinity.

Here’s a tip. If you think a person at a bus stop is cute, have the cojones to walk up to him or her and start a conversation.

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