“You can’t smile and answer me?”

As I was walking home the other day after parking my car near my apartment, I passed two men walking the opposite direction on the sidewalk. One of them looked me up and down and then said, “Hi, baby. How are you?”

I ignored him and just kept walking past, at which he stopped, turned around, and said, “What? You can’t smile and answer me?”

Automatically, without thinking, I turned around, smiled, and said “Hi. I’m good, thanks.” I turned back and continued home.

I know that my harasser didn’t say anything graphic or explicit or hurtful, but I was furious at myself for giving in, for letting him dictate my response. I hate that I am so conditioned to do what I’m told. There’s no reason that I should’ve responded — and there’s no reason that he should have felt entitled to a response.

Submitted by Salem on 5/26/2010

Location: M St NW, between 11th & 12th Sts

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