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“I just wanted to say I’m sorry, I’m peeing”

by Prince Of Petworth September 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm 107 Comments

pee
Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

“Dear PoPville,

After work I was walking home from the Metro in Shaw yesterday talking on my phone when a man was standing behind a car. He waved one hand and started talking at me so being the polite person I am, I took out my headphone’s and asked him to repeat what he said. He then responded with “I just wanted to say I’m sorry, I’m peeing” and then pointed his genitalia at me. This is an extremely open area surrounded by various public establishments with working facilities, so there is absolutely no way that this was accidental.

I’m a young female in my early 20’s, so I’m not quite sure what to do when a situation like this occurs. Even though I’ve lived in the District for nearly a decade, This is the second time in two weeks that I’ve encountered men who have deliberately put me in very uncomfortable situations, to put it mildly, and I worry about the frequency with which it now seems to happen. Do I call the police?

(This occurred at 9/27/2016 at 5:50pm on 8th Street NW between P St. and O St.)

Thanks for the input!!”

  • Anon

    You probably should call the police, but he’ll be done quicker than you can get a response from 911. Cops are already targeting this area.

    • navyard

      A lot of the reason that self-defense classes are so empowering is because they train you to think in advance what you will do in different scenarios. I would start practising saying things like this to yourself, in a loud and intimidating voice in the mirror while holding your palm up in front of you:

      “Knock it off”
      “Back off”
      “Stop!”
      “Don’t come any closer!”

      Get used to saying those any time you don’t like someone’s behavior. They are non-judgemental and they clearly express what you want to happen. They also show that you are not easy prey.

      • dcd

        “That look like a penis, only smaller!”

        • textdoc

          I’m not clear that a remark like that would have a negative effect on a flasher.

          • dcd

            Really? There aren’t any fans of “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane” out there? Sheesh.

        • “Now we know why they keep making small hands jokes!”

  • kapitolhill

    Seriously… you don’t know what to do? Call the police.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    At least he apologized. What a thoughtful gentleman.

    • KPS

      Are you serious?? He wasn’t apologizing. He manufactured a reason to get her attention and make her look at his penis: “then POINTED his genitalia AT ME.”

      • CJ

        pretty sure that was a joke…

  • pcat

    Ignore him and walk on.

  • HIll Easter

    And perhaps not walk with headphones plugged in?

    • Ross

      How does that resolve this particular situation, or OP’s question?

      • Marty

        but it’s good advice nonetheless.

    • FridayGirl

      Oh come on, how would that have changed anything? I don’t advocate headphones (I never wear them), but it certainly wouldn’t have prevented this situation.

    • skj84

      I mean if she wasn’t walking around without headphones on and he pulled this stunt would you be so quick to victim blame? The OP is in no way at fault. The gross a-hole who flashed her is fully responsible. Harassment is harassment.

    • KPS

      Her use of earphones doesn’t have f*ck-all to do with what happened to her. At best, she should have NOT taken them out. I basically do not respond to any a male stranger’s attempt to speak to me. A woman – yes. But not a man. When I have let down my guard it has led to being asked 1) for my phone number; 2) to take me to dinner; 3) for a cigarette (when I used to smoke); 4) for money; 5) for something weird and indecipherable. This is not occasionally. It’s been 99% of the time. So now too bad for the nice man who just wants to ask for directions.

      • JEH

        This.

        I wear headphones 99% of the time when I’m in a public place because owning a female body in public in this city means I get constant unwanted attention from men. I can’t even make EYE CONTACT with men without them feeling entitled to start asking me for my name, my phone number, where I live, etc. Two nights ago a man came up to my car as I was parking it and started trying to get my attention through the passenger window (that was closed). When I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in speaking with him, he became aggressive. I had to wait in my locked car until he gave up and left. Let me be clear: this man was not lost or in need of help. He was demanding MY time and attention because I had the audacity to be an unescorted female in public.

        Am I testy and sensitive when it comes to interactions with strangers who are men in this city? Yes. Is that testiness a product of my everyday reality? Yes.

        • stacksp

          I get the overly aggressive scenario that you described above but might I ask how should a man approach a woman on the street that he is attracted to or is that just taboo all around these days. Does it have to be in a more natural setting ei.. grocery store, starbucks line, etc as opposed to a casual walk by?

          • kanon

            If she has on headphones, I’d take that as a strong signal that she is not interested in being talked to, regardless of how attractive or charming you think you are. If you must, try to make eye contact, smile, then move on. Also….just because a woman is out in public doesn’t mean she wants a man who is attracted to her to talk to her, particularly if there is no other context other than walking by each other. As a woman, I personally have never found that approach (hitting on me out of no where while I’m walking down the street or whatever) to be anything other than creepy and unsettling.
            .
            Well except once I did give my number to a guy I met on the street, but 1) I didn’t have on headphones and 2) he tripped so I laughed at him (I’m a jerk irl and on popville!) and then we had a conversation. I don’t think he had planned on talking to me whatsoever but him falling created an opportunity I guess, so I don’t think it’s really the same situation. I don’t think I would have given him my number if he just started talking to me out of the blue. But his good humor about his tumble was endearing. Also he legit fell; it wasn’t a fake to get my attention (or if it was he’s helluva actor)

          • stacksp

            The headphones thing is obvious.

            Outside of that, basically there has to be some sort of context and not a cold call so to speak.. Interesting…

          • Anon

            Don’t! Approach! Women!
            .
            Women! Are! Not! Objects! To! Be! Picked! Up!

          • stacksp

            @ Anon.

            Meet, approach, engage… its all semantics. Else how would heterosexual people meet one another? Dating apps?

          • ChillyDC

            I’m an old, but back in the day, I was creeped out regularly by guys approaching me on the street. That said, it’s how I met my lovely husband, so…

          • textdoc

            “how should a man approach a woman on the street that he is attracted to” — Stacksp, people don’t usually meet each other via what you subsequently called a “cold call” on a street.

          • stacksp

            @ ChillyDC & @textdoc

            I see times have changed and now this is considered “street harassment” by many

          • Anonymous

            This has been covered pretty well but in response to stacksp: don’t approach women on the street just because you find them attractive. Don’t do it. It’s stupid and disrespectful and shallow, not to mention self-centered and vain.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Regarding stacksp’s original question, I’m not sure, but probably not “with d*ck in hand, urine flowing.”

    • palisades

      Thank you Apple! We no longer have to worry about headqphones being plugged in.

      • FridayGirl

        Ha!

    • Anon

      If anything, the problem was that she took the headphones out. But as others have noted, any suggestion that this is her fault is obviously BS.

  • stacksp

    I think I see someone peeing at least once a day between walking to and from work or on breaks or runs to Chinatown or Union Station. I just make sure to turn my head

    • Truxton Thomas

      And they all actively seek your attention just like this scenario? That’s crazy.

      • stacksp

        Lol a lot of the guys from the shelter congregate in the parks by my job and they pee, get high and drunk outside until the shelters let the back in.

        • Truxton Thomas

          I live across the street from the BP at Rhode Island and Florida, so I’m well-acquainted. These are still two different things.

          • Mike

            Good god, that place is a mess. So many characters there, and I don’t mean Disney ones.

  • anon

    I once saw a lady peeing in public and she had her kid on look out. Gross – yes, worth calling the cops and ruining someones life – no. Who hasn’t pee’d in public tho?

    • artemis

      But this person wasn’t just peeing in public because he had a full bladder. He engaged her in conversation on purpose and exposed himself. That’s harassment, and I think this scenario does justify a call to police.

      • textdoc

        Agreed.

      • K

        This totally. This isn’t simple urination in public. He was exposing himself in public. He’s basically a flasher.

      • FridayGirl

        I also agree with this. I’d hate to see this kind of behavior escalate to something more severe (not that reporting it will prevent that, but at least he’d be on law enforcement’s radar).

      • KPS

        It’s troubling how many folks here are reading the same thing we’re reading and NOT understanding what happened to this woman.

        • Anonymous

          “how many folks”
          .
          One, so far.

          • FridayGirl

            I counted 4. Guess we’re using different definitions of “not understanding.”

          • Anonymous

            FG, at the time I posted, there was one. And that’s not counting the one that was obviously not a serious comment even though KPS flipped out over it.

          • Anonymous

            Actually, maybe three.

        • kanon

          +1 gazillion

        • Emmaleigh504

          Seriously troubling

      • Truxton Thomas

        Exactly. He wasn’t apologizing for peeing; he was directing her attention to his genitals. And if this was during rush hour on 8th Street NW between P and O, he was doing it in front of a lot of people getting groceries.

  • ANC

    I’m determined to laugh out loud the next time a stranger shows me his dick. That’s the opposite reaction than he’s looking for, right?

    (Just kidding. I’ll probably still be shocked and horrified and will avoid provoking a sexual predator. A girl can dream, though.)

    • CJ

      +1000

  • artemis

    I hope this doesn’t sound extreme, but have you thought about taking a self-defense course? I took a training on self-defense and street harassment years ago with Marty Langelan, and it was so empowering! It taught me to trust my instincts, stand up for myself when faced with harassment, and keep myself safe. She has a book as well. “The Gift of Fear” is also a good place to start in learning to trust your spidey sense.

    • ANC

      +1000 to The Gift of Fear. Everyone should read it, but particularly women. It is tremendously empowering.

  • Todd Melanson

    Should have taken a dump right there, dropped the mic and walked away. One-upped, sir. Good day.

  • Rasputin

    After many sporting events or concerts I see people outdoors peeing.
    Where do you think homeless people pee?
    DC doesn’t have public restrooms readily available. It’s a pretty natural and regular bodily requirement. People don’t (usually) freak out when a mother nurses her child, breasts exposed. I don’t see how this is any different. Over-sexualized body parts that are more often used for a biological need.

    • Truxton Thomas

      And nursing mothers always flag me down, apologize for nursing in public, and then point their breast at me. Totally the same thing.

      • Anon

        Dude, we HAVE to hang out soon.

    • artemis

      This is different. I probably wouldn’t blink an eye if a homeless person was peeing or if a woman was breastfeeding (I do that myself all the time in public) nor would I call the police. Public nudity isn’t the issue here for me. This guy called her over and flashed her. He engaged her in conversation with the intention of exposing himself to her. That’s harassment, not just peeing in public. And it isn’t ok.

      • SinSA

        How do so many people not grasp that what this dude did was obviously harassment?

        • artemis

          I don’t know, SinSA, but it troubles me.

          • textdoc

            Same here.

        • kanon

          +100000000 this is mind-boggling

        • Dave

          People are nuts.

        • skj84

          I KNOW! Its like do some people lack reading comprehension? She says he deliberately exposed himself to her.

    • wdc

      LOL @ “people don’t freak out when a mother nurses her child”.
      First off, hell yeah they do. Like, a lot.
      Second, breasts are rarely exposed while nursing. If you want to see boob, you usually have to be actively looking for it.
      Third, what Truxton Thomas said.

    • stacksp

      I know that i am in the minority but I actually think he was giving a heads up that he was peeing so she wouldnt look or be caught off guard.

      • FridayGirl

        I mean, he could have been. But public urination is also illegal, so…

        • stacksp

          It is

      • kanon

        No. If he didn’t want her to look he wouldn’t have shown her his penis. It wasn’t an accidental peek; it wasn’t even side-d**k like ben affleck did in gone girl; it was deliberate full frontal.

        • stacksp

          I didnt witness it so its hard to comment to be honest

          • kanon

            It doesn’t actually appear like it has been that difficult for you to comment and dismiss her description of events, to be honest.

          • FridayGirl

            +1 to kanon. right on.

    • textdoc

      Public breastfeedling is specifically allowed by law.
      .
      Public urination is specifically forbidden.
      .
      Public urination in which the urinator waves his pen!s at a woman and calls attention to it sounds like deliberate indecent exposure.
      .
      Indecent exposure/public masturbation tend to be “gateway crimes” to sexual assault.

      • anon

        +1

        Spot on, textdoc.

    • Anon

      “I don’t see how this is any different”

      Then you sir, are an idiot. This guy was a flasher

  • Brooklander

    i suspect he was initially trying to warn, that was nice

    • kanon

      If he was just trying to warn her so he could enjoy some privacy he wouldn’t have POINTED HIS GENITALIA at her, he would have done that crouch thing to try to shield his privates from view.

  • Hill Denizen

    Did he start peeing when he saw you coming? It sounds like he was trying to waive you away, not deliberately putting on a “show” for you, but since you couldn’t hear, it just brought more attention to the situation. I’ve definitely seen quite a few people peeing in public, including one guy at Union Station standing smack in the median between where cars drive up to the cab-stand and where they go into the garage just pointing his thang up in the air and letting it flow. If he was just doing his business, I wouldn’t feel threatened by it, just awkward, and probably annoyed that he was doing it in a public space. It’s not like he pulled over to ask for directions and had his pants down and wagged his ding dong at you…cuz yeah, that happened.

    • stacksp

      I think that he may have gestured because she initially had headphones on and missed his initial verbal warning that hey, sorry I am peeing. Might want to look away.

      • kanon

        I would potentially understand this argument if he hadn’t pointed his junk directly at her. If he didn’t actively want her to see then he would have tried to shield himself.
        .
        OMG why is this so difficult to understand? He actively and deliberately drew her attention to his exposed penis…there is no excusing that behavior as anything but harassment. It’s not the peeing, or even the talking to her that is the issue…it was that instead of trying to keep up the ploy of wanting privacy for a private moment (in a public space) he exposed his privates to her.

        • FridayGirl

          +1 again. I mean, the guy clearly had a strategy — and frankly, it worked: “Maybe if I act like I didn’t *want* her to see it even though I did, she won’t know what to do and won’t feel like she can say anything.”

      • Laura

        That’s how I read it — that he was letting her know that he was peeing, as she was approaching him

  • Bort

    “This occurred at 9/27/2016 at 5:50pm on 8th Street NW between P St. and O St.” P Street. P STREET. Seems reasonable.

    • artemis

      Ok, this made my inner 12 year old snort.

      • V

        Indeed, people on O need to walk one block to pee….

  • prt

    Should have mentioned his “tiny hands”.

  • Former DC Resident

    He’s a pervert looking for a reaction (good or bad). The best way to handle it is to act completely unaffected by it and walk away. Once you’re away, call the cops and report it. You might think that laughing at him or screaming admonishment at him will be effective but he probably gets off on it. Perverts are perverted. Also, it’s illegal and should absolutely be reported because the behavior could probably lead to worse, more aggressive behavior eventually. I just don’t understand why people are so offended by seeing a penis–yeah it’s shocking/gross but it’s not traumatic.

    • anon

      I was with you until the last sentence. Someone trying to shock/intimidate you like that IS traumatic. It’s not the sight; it’s the context.

      • FridayGirl

        I agree with this. Especially for people who have had to deal with situations like these more than a few times (aka, many women).

      • DC_KT

        Agree, it’s not like accidentally walking in on someone in a locker room and seeing a penis. It’s a stranger on the street waving his penis at you in a threatening way (while he’s peeing!). You don’t know what that person is capable of, and since he’s already shown a desire to intimidate you with his penis, it’s probably not going to go anywhere good. Women encounter intimidation and threats like this on the street every day, it’s not just “oh well, I saw a penis, tee hee!”

  • jaybird

    Take a picture. Call the cops. And start yelling. Loudly.

    • Anon

      This is horrible advice.

  • Otis Gal

    Awe, the newest wave of gentrifiers, so eager to call the police. Us old-timers would have just waved and said “ok.”

    • textdoc

      Wow. You’d prefer to let flashers just continue flashing, then?

    • skj84

      ” The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.”. aka no one should ever put up with harassment. Ever. Good for women today for being more empowered then your generation.

    • Anon

      You old timers also lived in a city that was the murder capital of the country. You take pride in that as well?

      • allez

        You got pride out of that statement?

  • DistrictJules

    Is the location correct? 8th St between O and P Sts doesn’t have street parking – it’s the entrance to Giant and the parking garage for City Market. If it is correct and this happens again there is a security guard posted directly inside the entrance to Giant. You could notify them and give a description of the guy.

    • Mt. PP

      Thats what I was thinking–the block in front of giant has no parking and almost always a security guard by the door. Maybe its the block between N and O street? There’s that housing development there and people on the street all the time. I often cross the street if there’s someone shifty looking on the sidewalk ahead of me.

  • Colhi

    Why are so many people so invested in denying that women are harassed? Why do you have to find alternative explanations? Or make it about headphones or something we did? After reading this blog and reading the comments, how many times to women have to tell you that it happens? And it sucks.

    • wdc

      I think it’s because they feel that any attention is good attention, and if women get the attention, that’s less for them, or at least, more than any woman deserves.
      I thought about this a lot after George Will delivered his steaming pile of shit article how women routinely lie about being assaulted because of the “status” that rape victims “enjoy”.

    • kanon

      Yeah, I totally don’t understand why the default for many people is to defend the man/dismiss the woman.
      .
      And some of the constructs people here are trying to make: “She was wearing headphones so it’s her fault I showed her my penis” or “I warned her not to look at my penis when I showed it to her”. The initial behavior is not okay and these reactions are also not okay.

      • Sounds a lot like Donald’s “Hillary is so mean for all her attack ads that use my voice and quotes I said.”

  • Margaret May

    When I was younger, my mom taught me that if I walk with confidence with my head held high, aware of my surroundings, that it will send out the signal “don’t mess with me.” The few times I’ve been harassed on the street I just roll my eyes at them and keep on walking. You have to have an attitude – it doesn’t have to be mean, bitchy, or snobby – just that you are sure of yourself.

    I’m 5’2″ and not physically imposing – I say high to the old men hanging out on the corner, and acknowledge the dealers on the street with a simple “hey” when I walk by. This tells them that I’ve noticed them AND I’m not scared. This goes a long way to not being harassed. If they don’t get the implicit message I’ll resort to “get the fuck away from me” and I keep on moving.

    Best advice I’ve ever gotten in regard to impending physical altercation is to go absolutely beserk – get really loud and act crazy.

    • textdoc

      Your mom’s advice is good… but I’m not sure there’s always a rhyme or reason to street harassment, or a remotely surefire way to carry oneself so as to prevent it.
      .
      I rarely get harassed on the street, but a lot of women get harassed ALL THE TIME. I don’t think it’s because I’m doing something “right” and they’re not.

      • Margaret May

        The poster asked for advice on how to handle these situations. This is what works for me, so it’s the advice I give.

  • General Grant Circle

    I once was walking up Georgia Ave by a tree when suddenly I felt something splash on my shoe – a man was hiding behind the tree peeing out onto the sidewalk. P*ss happens

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