A while ago I wrote a piece for my blog titled “Stop hitting on me” that people both praised me and critized me for. I think the criticisms came from people thinking I was bemoaning how hot I am and how I’m sooooo sick of male attention. Not even close. I don’t think that and that isn’t what I was trying to say. I probably should have titled the post “Stop harrassing me.” That is closer to the point of the article. Anyway, if you don’t feel like reading it, the post is about how rude and upsetting it can be when strange men harrass young women when all we’re doing is minding our own business. We should be able to walk down the street without a stranger commenting on our appearance. Doesn’t matter if the man in question is young or old. It comes off as creepy and disrespectful.
But. But. A few nights ago I had an experience with catcalling that did not make me feel degraded. It actually made me feel…happy. Attractive. Confident. Is this wrong and hypocritical?
I’ll explain the situation.
I don’t often like going to parties alone. I’ve written about the subject and on my blog and on Hello Giggles about how it’s okay to go alone and have a kick-ass time, but on occasion I feel overwhelmingly shy and not good enough. The event I went to last night was a gathering of beautiful people and hosted by one of my all time favorite film directors/artists and usually this doesn’t bother me, in that, I’m born in LA and have lived here my whole life, so who cares about celebrities, but given the drama that’s happened lately, I felt kind of small. And I’m really embarrassed, even ashamed, to admit that. Though I eventually met up with the awesome person who invited me, I had to go in alone and be there alone for about 40 minutes. But once I got in there I was okay. And here’s why.
I was waiting on the corner in my dress and lipstick and heels pretending to be busy on my iPhone determining if I should go in alone. I felt like a dweeb. Just very shy and not at all confident. I’m doing nothing with my phone and a car is at a red light near me. I don’t notice it until the man inside rolls down his window and says something like, “Excuse me, miss.” I’m thinking, “Okay, here we go.” And he says, “You have the perfect body.” And I’m stunned. I’m about to attend a party where there are size 0 actresses who look stunning like a ray-gun. I do not think I have even close to the perfect body. He went on. “I’m not trying to be weird or hit on you, but I muted my phone call just now, put them on hold, I had to tell you. You look so good.”
And I almost cried. I know. I’m apalled. But I needed to hear it, and he was so kind about it. “Thank you,” I said. “Thank you so much.”
“No problem. You look great. Really.” Then the light turned green and he drove off.
Maybe my perception of body image is warped, and by maybe I mean, 100% completely is. I was surprised to receive this compliment from a strange man. And yes, I was flattered.
Am I screwed up? What do you think and what’s your experience been like?