Tell Me

by Lindsay Nieman

Tell me catcalling answers an invitation made by bare skin and I’ll tell you to visit Chicago in February.

I’ll point out the shapeless sacks of winter women, their clunky Sorel boots and sleeping-bag coats and scarves wound three times over, neck-brace style. But don’t watch them. Watch the men in their huddled cigarette circles. Watch as they stop talking to stare, to snicker and mutter innuendo transparent as the fog of their breaths. Watch when they call out to the hooded women hurrying past, eyes icy like the pavement they fix on, bodies buried and hidden.

Tell me women encourage their sexual harassers and I’ll take you to my favorite sandwich shop.

I’ll introduce you to the cashier; listen when she talks about the manager who drooled over her like she was the daily special. Come over after work and let me fuck you for Mondays. Suck me off once and I’ll buy your kids whatever they want on Thursdays. Watch the ways she refused when there should only need to be one: the no, thank yous caught between gritted-teeth smiles; the fuck yous; the I’ll call corporate if you touch me agains. Listen to how he touched her again. How her coworkers said she was too friendly, too forward in her pleated pants, her corporate polo, her standard-issue visor. If you didn’t want him to hit on you, why didn’t you make him stop, they said. You got him fired, bitch, now he doesn’t have a job.

And when she asks why she’s responsible for a grown man’s actions, tell her what you told me.

Lindsay is the co-founder of Full-On Monets; send her your stories at submit@fullonmonets.com.

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