Pepper Spray? All I Need Is A Ring

This week, I thought about buying a wedding ring. No I’m not trying to get married to myself a la Sue Sylvester in the much declined (how did it get so bad so fast!?) Glee. No, I’m not going to do the uber-feminist thing and propose to a man. You see, I just need a ring for protection. Not pepper spray, not a taser, a ring. I figure the absence of this special talisman on my finger was why men shouted things at me or said things to me on the road. Here’s a taster of some of the comments I have received:
• “Big winch” (I was just coming out of Chicken Republic so I understand he was just concerned I was putting on too much weight)
• “Fine girl” (I am 32 years old so this may be a compliment about how youthful I look. How kind!)
• “Beauty!” (I was wearing no makeup; he was probably trying to raise my self-esteem)
• “I want to lick your p***y” (This came with an accompanying tongue flicker. My skin still crawls remembering this)
They tell you dress right. I’ve got that covered, literally, to prevent these sorts of remarks and yet the comments persist. So I need a ring to show these men that their fellow man has staked a claim on this property: me. They obviously don’t respect me because I’m a woman. However, they will respect a fellow man. Or so my thinking goes.

My friends (male) all say a ring will deter any future suitors. I asked them how many ‘how we met’ stories have begun with ‘I was walking down the road and Henry shouted ‘Fine Girl’ to me. We got married 3 months later’ or ‘I was cruising in my car and saw Titi. I just had to slow down and ask if I could drop her somewhere. We just welcomed our third child’
We all know that these random shouts are not about men wanting to get to know you and then introducing you to their family as the girl with the ass I was telling y’all about. We know it’s about them wanting to play poke-poke with us. It’s about power over women as well. At least Mr Lick P***y was forthright about his motivations and not saying I just want to be your friend. Dear Men, we know you saying you just want to be our friend means do you want some dick? {Chris Rock talked about it here}

When I walk on the road, I subconsciously swerve to dodge dick offers. I change my demeanor whilst walking. Kim Kardashian doesn’t smile in selfies for fear of wrinkles; I don’t smile as a way of stopping a professional imbiber of shekpe from saying something. A smile is like a slightly open door and these men slip in quickly before you can shut it. I also find myself making quick assessments about approaching men. Is he coming close to drop a comment? But I can’t let him see he’s made an impact, keep that Kim face going.

I think about flipping the script sometimes and shouting come hither things at men like Leah Green of The Guardian did here. The britico men were bewildered and befuddled. But this is Naija, they’ll probably think it’s their lucky day and follow me. At some stage in life, you come to realize that there really isn’t much you can do to stop these comments.

You’re a woman and you will take it. You will take it from the man on the street. You will also take it from your colleagues, especially when it’s a male dominated environment. They will make you think you’re being uptight when the reality is your colleague is being inappropriate. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a woman to back you up. If not, you learn to swallow it and lift the edges of your lips in a facsimile of a smile.

My friends (male again) tell me to shout back at them or say a firm No. I did try that. All you’ll get with that is a man who will follow you for five minutes begging for your number. The act of speaking to them is a show of interest apparently. Instead of the onus being on me to curb men’s idiocy, why can’t men (not all men) police themselves and talk to women like we are normal human beings?

I got a lift with a female colleague and pointed out the guard who continually shouts “beauty” at me. She said she couldn’t remember the last time she got a comment like that. I said it is probably because you drive. Before the man can purse his lips to shout “Beau” she’s zoomed past. I can’t afford a car which speeds me past these men so a N500 ring will have to do. For now.

Photo Credit: jaumescar via Compfight cc