On my way in Wednesday morning, I was driving along, windows down, radio blaring, singing along when, at 18th and Church, right by the post office, a guy was wandering into the street, pointing at cars and then rubbing his belly. I think this is a pretty common occurrence in Nashville, folks looking for spare change.
A great deal of the time, you can just wave folks off.
This, though, was one of those times when the guy refused to be waved off. No matter how I said "no," he kept coming closer to my car while I was stuck at a red light. I had to finally be, "Do not come closer to my fucking car," before he backed off and wandered down the road.
Coincidentally, my boss was late to work because she called the cops on his ass.
Now, I am sure that many of you are already thinking, "Oh, well, he was homeless, he was probably on drugs or maybe he was really desperately hungry." But here's the thing: When I think of all of the strangers who have gotten way, way too close to me, those strangers are never women.
I am going to assume that most male strangers who approach women in public have no idea how fucking terrifying it is. But clearly, someone needs to point it out. (I'm assuming some men know exactly how terrifying this is but do it anyway; this post is not for them.)
Allow me to point it out to you, then. It is fucking terrifying for women when men we don't know approach us. There is no way to live in the world without having to interact with strangers, but one of life's great unfairnesses is that, if you have a dick, you need to assume that, in an interaction with a female stranger, you will be seen as a danger until proven otherwise.
So here's the deal. If, for some reason, you need to approach a woman you don't know, respect that you don't have a right to her time. Stay a distance away from her longer than you can reach. If she tells you she can't help you, move along. Do not keep coming closer.
You might not mean to be threatening, but believe me, invading the space of a woman you don't know is threatening. And remember, this is Tennessee. You never know which of us yahoos is going to be armed. Let's all be careful out there.