I’m a bit out of shape, and I had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, so when I was running uphill in a neighborhood earlier this morning, I decided to let my body take a break and walk for a minute.
I came upon some guy standing alone in his driveway, seemingly laughing to himself, with what looked like an e-cigarette in his palm, though I doubt very much it was filled with a nicotine product.
As soon as I was within earshot of him, he said, “Hey, you got a boyfriend?”
“I got a husband,” I replied.
“I was gonna say…” he trailed off as I trailed on.
What was he gonna say? If the answer was no, what was he gonna say?
Because another man had claim to me, I will never know. Because that’s the code among men. I’m off limits because I belong to someone.
Never mind if I’m actually interested. (I wasn’t.)
What if the answer to his question was “I got a girlfriend” or “I got a wife”? Would he say something then? Does being attached to another woman still scream “off limits” in the guy code?
If he was gonna say he found me attractive (which, I was sweating and panting and my muffin top was squeezing out over my spandex shorts), he couldn’t say that once he knew I was married?
I suppose it’s sexist that he feels the need to talk to me at all, that he feels his interest me is more important than my interest in him or my workout or anything going on in my day. But it feels especially sexist that the first thing he has to ask before he engages with me is whether or not I’m spoken for. As though I wasn’t an adult woman who is allowed to talk to anyone I wish to, whether that be a single man or a married man. With the one question he asked me, he might as well have came across my husband walking a dog, my husband having to give him permission before he were allowed to pet it.
Sure, it may have made me feel a bit younger, since he assumed boyfriend and now husband. And sure, it may have made me forget about my muffin top for a minute. And sure, he probably had no ill intention by greeting me, if you can call that a greeting.
But seriously, man. Do us all a favor and, next time, just don’t say anything. Just let us be. Because chances are, it’s only gonna be insulting.