I decided to switch up my exercise routine and take a walk early one Saturday morning. I wore leggings (long tights), with a long tank top coming down to the tops of my thighs.
At one house on the corner, a group of young men were sitting outside with a female relative. One said, “Good Morning.” I looked at him and repeated, “Good Morning”.
As soon as I turned the corner, I heard behind me, “I like dem legs.” I reacted. I flipped him off.
The woman commented that if she was out for a walk, she would not go around showing people the ‘middle finger’.
I realised that the street I had turned down was lonely. There were no people around since the day was early. I could hear the men and woman still talking about me.
I felt scared. If one of them decided he was insulted enough…
I walked faster, thinking about the consequences of my actions. I felt like the perpetrator.
Then I remembered, at age fifteen, walking home from my exercise class in the evening, wearing T-shirts and long pants, and having men call me ‘sexy’, ‘darling’, ‘beautiful’. But never to my face…always just as I walked past. I remembered feeling uncomfortable, always on the lookout for someone who might decide to use more than words.
I avoid that house now. I no longer feel like walking. I haven’t worn my favorite pair of leggings (long tights) since.