My daily mo­lesta­tion of straight men

GA Voice - - Blackgaypride -

It sucks to be mis­taken for a per­vert, as I learned this past week­end when I was caught do­ing some­thing I do al­most ev­ery day.

My young nephew and I went to the World of Coke on Satur­day, and on our way home we went down the Great Es­ca­la­tor of the Peachtree Cen­ter MARTA sta­tion, which I fig­ured could thrill a 7-year-old as if it were an ur­ban Won­der of the World. My nephew didn’t dis­ap­point in his awe, and given the op­tion, he soaked up the 2-minute ride in­stead of walk­ing down the es­ca­la­tor.

About mid­way down, it oc­curred to me that we were stand­ing side-by-side, and I twisted my head back­ward to make sure we weren’t block­ing any­one who wanted to pass. I was re­lieved no one was be­hind us, but sud­denly re­al­ized that an at­trac­tive woman in flat­ter­ing cloth­ing had just passed me go­ing up the es­ca­la­tor.

I chuck­led about how it might seem like I swiveled my head to look at her booty and up her skirt, but then turned I my head for­ward and saw about 10 other peo­ple on the “up” es­ca­la­tor be­hind her, many of them look­ing at me, be­liev­ing I was look­ing at her, and none of them looked hu­mored. I could hear them sigh­ing about what pigs men are, and know their breath would have been mine had I wit­nessed what they thought they saw.

Daily, I see women try­ing to get to work, grab some­thing to eat or ride the train while be­ing bom­barded with cat­calls and other dis­re­spect­ful over­tures; men us­ing their dogged eyes to un­dress a woman in less than three sec­onds, and let their gaze linger on and ex­plore her body. This vis­ual lust feels worse than whistling or lame pick-up lines, as if I am watch­ing a woman be­ing held hostage by the thoughts of a man (and of­ten sev­eral men) whose ex­is­tence she didn’t no­tice.

It’s dis­turb­ing to wit­ness this play out count­less times a day, even though I ben­e­fit from it in my fre­quent mo­lesta­tion of straight men. When I see men help­ing them­selves to an un­wit­ting woman, I usu­ally help my­self to a gen­er­ous glimpse of their bulge.

“It feels im­moral to let my imag­i­na­tion con­se­crate its de­sires with­out the slight­est con­sent from the other man (and of­ten sev­eral men), and I know it per­pet­u­ates misog­yny and rape cul­ture. Of course there’s a sense of jus­tice in sub­ject­ing abusers to their own mis­deeds, and a tes­tic­u­lar sat­is­fac­tion in sup­plant­ing straight men atop the sex­ual food chain.”

I look to see if it grows, then imag­ine it grow­ing, then I imag­ine us do­ing things that would keep them from get­ting into heaven. They are naked in less than two sec­onds, and filled with a sud­den cu­rios­ity about stim­u­lated penises and prostates.

It feels im­moral to let my imag­i­na­tion con­se­crate its de­sires with­out the slight­est con­sent from the other man (and of­ten sev­eral men), and I know it per­pet­u­ates misog­yny and rape cul­ture. Of course there’s a sense of jus­tice in sub­ject­ing abusers to their own mis­deeds, and a tes­tic­u­lar sat­is­fac­tion in sup­plant­ing straight men atop the sex­ual food chain.

I wres­tled with these con­flict­ing in­stincts when I was board­ing a bus the other day and no­ticed a shirt­less, glis­ten­ing man in flat­ter­ing shorts run­ning to­ward me. I strained my pe­riph­ery vi­sion to en­joy the dows­ing of mus­cu­lar sweati­ness that was pass­ing by, then willed my fo­cus to­ward pay­ing my fare.

That’s when I saw that, dis­cre­tion be damned, the fe­male MARTA driver had lifted her sun­glasses and was cran­ing her neck to reach her men­tal or­gasm with the jog­ger. I al­most got jeal­ous for a mo­ment, but fig­ured I had him first. Ryan Lee is an Atlanta writer.

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