Out Of Turn, Out Of Line

By Tara Castellano

So, today is not my official posting day. No, Monday is. Valentine’s Day. (Though I’m sure a few other girls will be riled enough to post then, too — it’s such a popular subject that it makes me want to vomit.)
Today, however, something happened. To be exact, something happened again. So, I would like to take a page from my own personal blog and post it here.
I have no quotes, no citations; it is a personal story, and as such, really doesn’t require any. It is a cautionary tale told by someone perhaps slightly paranoid. Nevertheless, it’s certainly good to get rounded opinions on things. I tagged this as “violence against women” because I firmly believe that such acts are perpetrated in more ways than one and that there are multitudes of degrees of said “violence.” Cornering a woman and making her so uncomfortable that she acquiesces to your phone number is certainly one of them.
(Am I comparing this act to, say, physical or sexual abuse? Of course not. If you infer it, then I say that, perhaps, you’re the one who needs sorting.)
Without further ado.

I’m a freshman with near-junior status and I’m proud of it. I have a general idea of what the fuck I’m doing, and I think I might know what I’m planning on doing after college, too. So, life is good.
That being said…
Life is full of losers. It’s true.
Now, I’m not talking about subjective losers – losers on tests, losers fiscally, losers calorically – I’m talking about people who just…lose. Specifically, I’m talking about losers who harass young girls who are just trying to get something to eat for lunch.
There is this man. He is taller than me (several inches; not much), obviously older (near 30, I’d say), and wider than me (scarily enough, not due to excess fat). Last week, this man cornered me on my way out of our dining hall.
“Hello!”
I kept walking because mostly it’s not me people are talking to anyway and I really hoped it wasn’t me this time.
He runs to catch up, pokes me in the arm, and says, “Hello!”
“o_o Hi.”
Yes. That was my face.
He continues, says he’d like my number, wants to talk to me, wants to have lunch with me and talk.
“Um. Talk about what?”
“Just talk!”
He’s all smiles and it’s reminding me of those sociopathic nuts you see every so often on Dateline or 48 Hours Mysteries.
He foists his phone number upon me (looking so expectantly at my pocket that, in all honesty, I truly believe he Jedi mind-tricked me into taking my cell phone out), and I play along and pretend to put in his number. Suspiciously, he originally gives me one number, but then tells me to put in another.
I eventually get away, and I’m steaming mad. It pisses me off when men take me by surprise – seemingly knowingly, in this case – and use that to their advantage to force me into things. It’s like. Like. Phone rape. Something. (And I do not use “rape” lightly. I felt severely violated.)
I get up to my room, jot down his number, block my own, and call it. It…is a university number to some organization or another. At this point, I think one of two things:
1.) This was some secret recruiting technique by my university, and I just missed out, or the much more likely
2.) This man works for the university at a non-student level – why the hell is he in a student residence hall eating? – and is using his work phone number instead of his home phone number to pick up girls. This is disturbing.
So, University, I don’t care if I missed out on some secret jackpot, or being converted, or whatever it is that he was hypothetically trying to do. I sincerely doubt that uni would use such strange measures to recruit, anyway.
No, what pisses me off is that this happened in the first place. I can’t go to the front desk – what would I say? “Oh, this subjectively scary guy tried to get my phone number, and he was very pushy, and he didn’t even look like a student, but maybe he worked here?” That may get some attention, but the dullards at the front desk would most likely blankly stare and say, “Oh. That sucks.” (Fuck them.)
Now, fast-forward to today.
I was half-wrangled into eating with friends, which is a rare occasion for me. I usually don’t because my friend’s friends are often unbearable, or I’m simply turning into a crotchety anti-socialite who sits in her room alone and writes angry blog posts.
(…shit.)
Anyhow, we finish up and go our separate ways. And guess who corners me a-fucking-gain?
“Hey! 😀 Remember me?”
“Oh god,” I thought. “This is punishment for being born a failure. I knew it.”
“:D You called me I think! But you didn’t leave a message so I didn’t get your number.”
Do not let the 😀 face fool you. It is on a grown, big man who should sincerely know better when he is talking to girls who are probably a decade younger. It is not the “Yay, cookies!” face. It is the “I have no sense of moral or social boundary and do not have the excuse of autism or head injury to make it at least understandable!” face. It is the face of a charming lack of shame, and I have seen it on sexual deviants. Not to say that he is one, but I recognize it. Think what you will of me and my paranoia; I’m at least alive to talk about it.
“:D You should call me! I–”
“Yeah. I find it creepy that you keep coming up to me.”
“:D Oh. Well, I’m sorry that YOU find it creepy. (chuckles all around) It won’t happen again. :D”
“:| No. It won’t.”
So, while I’m angry – especially at the backhanded non-apology, not to mention that HE DID NOT ONCE TELL ME HIS NAME* – I’m also proud of myself. What a freak. How proud I am that I could finally tell him to shove off. Fuck ‘um.
*Note: Girls, this is a BAD SIGN BAD SIGN BAD SIGN BAD SIGN. Especially if you’ve encountered him more than once. Again, BAD SIGN BAD SIGN BAD SIGN.

And this is my life, ladies and gentlemen. Perhaps this wouldn’t have been such a large deal if I had grown into a roaring feminist lioness; perhaps if I were even remotely normal about these things, it wouldn’t have inspired such anger. Perhaps, even, my restricted Minnesotan reserve contributed to this.
My point is: ew.
Have a lovely day.

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One thought on “Out Of Turn, Out Of Line

  1. Unfortunately, I have had multiple similar experiences as well. For some reason, the University seems to not enforce their “Zero-Tolerance Policy” when hiring off-campus staff members. I definitely share with your anger… Like I said before, I had one specific man continually show up at my workplace while he was on the job and I eventually called the cops and they had to remove him. Regardless of numerous other offenses that he’d been charged by other female students – he still works on campus. It’s incredibly awful and I am really sorry you have to deal with this stupidity :\

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