“There’s my girlfriend.”

My husband and I were getting some groceries on Saturday afternoon (4/9) in the Soviet Safeway. I had to ask a man to move as he was blocking the bread that I needed to get to. I asked nicely, “Excuse me, please, sir.”

He responded oddly but fairly politely: “Go on young ma’am.”

My husband and I moved on to the next aisle when the man walked up and between us. I didn’t really give it a thought – sometimes it is easier to walk between than go around. He came back down the same aisle and walked behind us both this time.

At this point, my antenna are up – is he lost, is he following us, is he looking for something he can’t find (we were looking at frozen pizzas, so there wasn’t a wide variety of items), did he lose track of the person he’s with?

We go to check out, and as we are in the self-checkout lane, he walks by, with a friend, points to me and says loudly, “There’s my girlfriend.”

It was upsetting, and I kept messing up the machine. I didn’t tell my husband what the man said (he was packing the bag and didn’t notice) until we left the store because I didn’t want to make a scene. I felt really awful; I tried to be polite to a stranger, and he decides that he can joke about us being in a romantic relationship because of it.

Submitted by K

Location: 17th and Corcoran NW

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

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10 Responses

  1. Sigmagrrl

    I feel you are overreacting here. Why didn’t you mention it to your husband?

  2. Mahri

    I don’t think she’s overreacting at all: why on earth did this guy think it was okay to make a false claim about having a relationship with her? His behavior was creepy and it would have creeped me out, too. Maybe he “innocently” thought he was making a funny joke, but he obviously wasn’t taking her feelings into consideration.

  3. cathy

    definitely not overreacting. his statement was either caused by crazy, which could also cause following and even touching; or it was caused by a brazen lack of regard for the rights of others, that women decide on their partners. his statement could be a veiled threat, along the lines of “this is mine”.

    it was disturbing and i’m awfully sorry it happened.

  4. K

    I’m the original poster.

    Sigmagirl, you seem to think that my reaction should be judged by whether or not I sought confirmation by a man. I did tell my husband, once we left the store, and he was very angry. Which is why I didn’t tell him in the store (which I mention briefly in the OP)- a confrontation in a busy store would have made me feel better how? Because all harassers totally apologize when they are confronted, especially in a busy place, by someone who they clearly don’t respect.

    This was something that was upsetting to me. I’m buying groceries, not signaling availability. I’m being nice to someone, not opening up a space to be owned, or discussed in ways that focus on my gender/sexuality. I also get upset and angry when this happens on the street, in bars, at parties, in restaurants, any other location.

  5. Burke Omalley

    What if he were making a joke? What if he were crazy?
    You live in a large city and are bound to run into a few oddballs
    that’ll creep you out from time to time. It’s hardly a cause for
    alarm or even mention. If this little incident freaked you out,
    what would you do if something really creepy happened?

    • Sigmagrrl

      Exactly my point. We as women need to grow a voice, some cajones, and not take everything so personally!

      • Golden Silence

        Not all women are like you, Sigmagrrl. Have you not gotten that memo yet? If you want to whine and moan about this story, do it on your own blog. This is a place for support, not for criticizing people’s stories.

        I hate it when people come here and nitpick one story out of the many on here. They don’t contribute to other stories, they find one they don’t agree with and troll on it. What about this story is such a magnet for your derisive attitude?

  6. Sigmagrrl

    I re-read the story. I’m sticking to my original conclusion: you’re overreacting. And frankly, I think you have a huge ego. “joke about being in a romantic relationship”. Are you kidding me? I’m just not following your panicky logic here. Sorry.

    • Golden Silence

      May you never be harassed or made to feel uncomfortable then get dismissed for being uncomfortable, since karma is a bitch goddess.

      Stop instigating on this forum. So what if you disagree with how she reacted? She’s entitled to feel how she wants to feel about what happened to her. You weren’t there!

  7. Val

    K, I’m really sorry about what happened, and I’m also sorry for having to contend with the moronic derailers whining and stomping their feet here. As others have mentioned, your feelings are valid and should not be minimized, invalidated, or dismissed by anyone. You were there, you know how it felt, and – what the idiots claiming your perception of his actions was “wrong” fail to acknowledge – is that you and plenty of other women know what it’s like when this type of behavior takes place in a society where demeaning, threatening, vulgar, and aggressive acts are SYSTEMIC. On its own, maybe this wouldn’t have been SO alarming, but when in a continuous feedback loop of “You are public property to be claimed by whoever decides they want access to you at any point,” it can be fucking awful.