How his comment made me feel ...

A strong and fierce friend of mine told me this story today.

I asked if she would write it out so I could share it with all of you.

I am confident every woman who reads it can relate.

A safe place made unsafe by the crudest of comments.

A comment on a stranger's body.

Do you think he thought it would be perceived as a compliment?

What makes a person think it is ok to do this?

What do we need to correct in our culture to ensure this kind of stuff will never be tolerated?

Her story speaks volumes, friends.

Here it is.

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5am exercise in a mostly empty gym.

I do my workout, comfortable in my own been-around-the-block skin, relishing the vaccinated, masked glorious new freedom of it.

 Happy that my body, even with some aches and pains, can still move and sweat and do hard things.

 But…

He had to say something as I stretched on a yoga mat in an empty room.

An older guy who I’ve greeted every morning as I’ve gone about my business.

Today, instead of a gruff hello, he mumbled “You have a real fine ass.”

Instant stunning.

Instant nausea.

Fight or flight.

I offer zero umbrella of mercy for his age or apparent cluelessness and crudeness.

What I can offer is how his comment made me feel.

I had felt strong—he weakened me.

I had felt invisible in the best possible way—he made me shamefully self-conscious.

I had felt safe—and he created danger.

With jangled nerves, I am preparing a response should he make the same mistake twice.

And I am allowing my words their agency, no matter how piercing and pointed.

It may not make one bit of difference to him,

but it will to me.