Reader, your femme on a mission slipped up last night. In spite of how hard I work to fight it, I let some unwanted male attention derail me from my goal of living fearlessly in my femininity.
So here’s what happened. Last night Ash and I decided to go out on the town with a friend of ours who was visiting for the week. We went to a bar near our old house that we used to frequent quite regularly.
Since lately we have been living a sort of homebody lifestyle (which I love, but who doesn’t need a little adventure sometimes?), I was excited to get dolled up for an evening out. I slipped into some sexy black stockings, a kelly-green hip-hugging skirt, and a scoop back black blouse. I even busted out those heels I was telling you about!
We got to the bar pretty late, which is why it was so surprising that the pool table in the back room was empty. Aside from a few girls sitting on the couch, there was no one in the room, so we took the opportunity to start a friendly game of billiards.
Then, the second our friend racked up and broke, it was as though a siren had called for every creepy man in the state to swarm the poolroom. Our game had barely begun before we found ourselves encircled by a crowd of rowdy and drunken testosterone-laden types who were just waiting for us to clear the table.
I wouldn’t say that I am easily intimidated, and as the crowd first began to form, I widened my stance and sharpened my focus to convey a sense of calm assertiveness. However, as we continued to be surrounded – I would say by about ten to twelve men at this point – I started to get a bad feeling in my chest. My intuition was kicking in, and I was visibly uncomfortable.
Every time I leaned over to take a shot, I could feel twenty-four drunken eyes on me, and I wished I was wearing anything but the backless top. Every move I made suddenly felt too overtly sexy; I couldn’t find a way to hold my body that didn’t make me feel like I was on display. Additionally, we were gathering more attention for being a lesbian couple in a straight bar. In this male-dominated company, a spotlight of stares followed us wherever we went, and there was nowhere to hide.
“I don’t want to play anymore,” I whispered to Ashley. “Can we just stop?” I pleaded, near tears.
She put her arm around me. “Let’s just take one more shot, okay babe?” she encouraged. I’m so grateful that she did, because I think I would feel even worse now had I quit out of my discomfort. I took her offer and ended up finishing the game.
I’m disappointed in myself for letting the crowd get to me, for losing my grip on the powerful femininity I strive to exude. Intellectually, I knew I was safe; Ash and I were in a public space and accompanied by a male friend. Yet I couldn’t shake the feeling of exposure, the sense that my body was splayed out as a thing to be analyzed, consumed, or rejected. In that moment, I lost my sense of agency.
Fortunately, the incident didn’t ruin the rest of our night, and we were able to enjoy ourselves once we had ceded the pool table and slipped into the background. But even this felt like some sort of retreat.
In the future, I’m going to work harder to maintain my calm and confidence in the face of the male gaze. I am in control of my body, and I won’t back down in the face of those who seek to belittle me through objectification.
Do you have any tips or similar experiences you could share? How do you respond when you are the object of unwanted male attention?