SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE
So, I’m driving down the street recently. Ridin’ along in my automobile, as it were. A lovely late spring day. Not a cloud in the sky. A good day to be out recreating, gallivanting, flitting about in the meadow.
Or a good day to do what one young woman was doing: jogging down the sidewalk, prepared for warm weather in shorts and a tank top. She was maybe in her twenties, fit, full of life.
So was the college-age dude on the bicycle in the bike lane. Even though he was headed the same direction as me, his head was craned around so far behind him to get a look at the jogger’s…technique, it’s remarkable the torque didn’t spin his bike into a tornado. All the while, the grin on his face was SOOOOO wide, gnats were bouncing off his molars.
In old movies and commercials, construction workers wolf-whistle at women walking by construction sites. Guys eyes bug out like cartoon characters when the wind blows a skirt up. I had never actually seen anything like this in real life until that day on Jersey Ridge Road.
I don’t necessarily think my man on the bike was some sort of sexist pig throwback to an earlier age full of reprehensible treatment of other people that gets whitewashed by the passing years as the nostalgic, “innocent” good old days. He may have been exactly that, but he may also have just been a good-natured young man appreciating an attractive woman. He wasn’t cat-calling, he wasn’t creating a nuisance, he wasn’t making obscene gestures. He was caught up by a pretty girl, smiling a little aggressively perhaps, but there was no malice in the smile; it was pure joy. He wasn’t really harming anyone – unless he plowed into a mailman down the road because he wasn’t watching where he was going.
You could argue he was objectifying this woman. But again, to be fair to him, he didn’t do anything but look. We all do it. Men. Women. Everyone. No harm in looking. No shame.
(Um…if my wife asks, I kept my eyes on the road the whole time.)