“Sending for some catharsis”

“Dear PoPville,

This past Sunday, May 8, I took my typical 4 mile walk that takes me up Massachusetts Ave toward DuPont Circle. During this time of self-quarantine, I take this walk almost daily to get fresh air, connect with friends and family via the phone, and get some exercise (all while masked of course). On this day specifically, I was nearing the cross streets of Massachusetts and 17th. I had been talking to a friend on the phone, laughing about a quirky thing that had happened that day when all of a sudden, an older man (~60s) with his friend took off his mask and accosted me as he passed me in the crosswalk.

“Your voice and laugh is so loud and I am so sick of having to listen to you a block away! You should trying shutting the fuck up.”

I was absolutely shocked. I turned to him and asked why I should care how loud he thinks my voice and laugh are.

Then, in front of his friend (also in his 60s), and a handful of passersby, he shouted

something about how I have a fat ass and continued to yell at me while still in the crosswalk. After I heard the words “fat ass” my hearing blacked out and I couldn’t hear the rest of what he was saying, with my mouth open behind my mask. He was angry, pointing a finger at me, and no one, including his friend, stepped in. I then walked away while he yelled at my back.

I just wanted to take a walk and tell my funny story to my friend on the phone.

I spent the following day and a half thinking about all of the ways I should have responded in that moment.

To the guy who yelled at me –

I’m sorry that your heart is so dark that when you hear a woman laughing in public, your instinct is to shut her down. That when that woman does not respond well to your attempt to shut her down, your instinct is to try to humiliate her. My god, man. You started yelling at me for laughing. Luckily for me, I’m very aware how great my butt looked in those leggings that day.

To the guy who yelled at me’s friend –

Women like me remember moments like this every day. But know that this moment includes you letting him do it. We remember you, too. Expect more from your friends so that women like me can walk down the street, enjoy their day, and not have to worry about someone trying to tear them down.

To the both of you –

Be better.”

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