To The Black Man In A Fedora
Dear Black Man In A Fedora,
First of all, the only reason I am stating your race and choice of hatwear is that those are the only two physical things I remember about you, and I want you to be sure that YOU are person I am talking about. Yes, you. There are other black men and other men who wear fedoras who are lovely, smart, wonderful people. Let me give you some more specifics about who you are:
Yesterday, at approximately 2:15 p.m. at the corner of 6th Avenue and 30th Street in New York City, you walked by me and said something along the lines of, “Hey there, sweet thing.” Apologies as I can’t remember the exact wording of your statement, but I am pretty sure it included the words “sweet thing.” Remember? I have curly hair, pretty blue eyes and was carrying a latte. (It was soy, because cow’s milk is gross.) I might have also looked a bit preoccupied as I’ve been dealing with some relationship issues for the past two weeks, not that you would’ve been able to guess this, as you only saw me for a fleeting second and, understandably, have no way to see inside my brain (unless you are a psychic, which you are not, because if you were my response wouldn’t have surprised you in the least).
And do you recall what my response was? It was a very casual, tired, dismissive “Oh, fuck off.” And I kept walking. Remember that? Do you recall how my tone was not so much aggressive but more exhausted, as if I’ve heard it all before and I’m tired of having to address men like you? It’s ringing a bell at this point, right? I mean, it was only yesterday.
And then do you remember what you did? I can’t be sure of how you looked because I didn’t bother looking behind me but, as far as I heard, you stopped and yelled a few things at me, such as, “Fuck you! Someone tries to give you a compliment! Piece of shit!” and so on. I have to admit, the most offensive word you used was “compliment.” Let me try to explain why.
Calling me “sweet thing” was, actually, not a sweet thing (see what I did there?). It was aggressive. Saying sexual things to strange women is not nice. It does not make women feel good. It makes them feel scared. It makes them feel vulnerable. It makes them feel ashamed. It makes them question their choice to wear skinny jeans, which are really comfortable and stretchy and fun to wear because they’re kind of like tights and easy to walk in, even though they also show the shape of their butt. I don’t want to have to stop wearing skinny jeans or even consider that’s the reason you said anything to me. I mean, I’m not going to stop wearing them. I’m just saying, that’s one of the things that runs through my mind.
The biggest compliment you could have given me, if you did indeed admire the way my face and body are shaped, was not saying anything at all. Looking at me is fine. Go home and jerk off while thinking about me. Fine. Do what you have to do inside your brain. But pushing your words into my ears was just aggressive. Not a compliment. Aggressive. And if there’s one way men should never act towards women it’s aggressive. You know how women are assaulted and raped and murdered by men every so often? Every single one of those encounters begins with the man being aggressive. And I should tell you, women do not like to be assaulted and raped and murdered or even have to consider whether a verbal encounter could be the start of an assault, rape or murder. Just trust me on this.
Does any of this make sense? I hope so. I wish you the best. I really do. I hope you’ve gained something by reading this and that the next time you see a woman who has a pleasing arrangement to her facial features, you can simply admire her and keep it to yourself.
Also, your hat does not make you look as cool as you think it does.