|The Pineapple Dress
Like most Americans, I look forward to Friday night all week long. For me, Friday night means that I am free to stop compulsively checking my email every 2 minutes. It also means that I can finally set up my signature bed picnic (i.e. beach towels on my bed, take out, and Bachelor In Paradise, or whatever show I’m currently binge watching). In my opinion, if you’ve never had a bed picnic, then you’re not living.
As you can tell, I have Friday nights on lock. However, on this particular Friday night, I was in Riverside and had just finished preparing a witness for his deposition the next morning. Sometimes, on Saturdays, I trade boot camp and avocado toast for a Theory suit and objections.
As I stepped out of my hotel’s lobby, the sun was setting on the hottest Friday in the I.E. known to man. I had one thing on my mind – a vesper martini at The Mission Inn (obviously). I decided to walk 2 sweltering blocks in 110 degree heat to the Inn because driving would have been tragically lazy, and not to mention, rude to the environment. After one scorching block, I was approached by 2 men in their 40’s. The first man leered at me and said in a gravelly, aggressive voice, “Smile for me, baby.”
Back in my people-pleasing days (pre-2015), I would have placated him with a sweet smile while quickening my pace. Not today, and probably never again, will I have that reaction. Today, I raised my chin, looked ahead, and acted like these men didn’t exist. However, I would have liked to say “I’m not your baby” or an expletive-laden phrase, such as, “Go f* yourself,” but I held back.
They didn’t like my non-reaction. Man number 2 came towards me yelling, “You’re a stuck up, b*. F* you! I could have you right now if I wanted you, b*!”
My stomach dropped in shock and fear. Please God, let them leave me alone. There were only a few people around and I could have easily been mugged, or worse. I kept walking and gripped my mace like it was the very last pair of rare Louboutins in a 6.5 at Saks. I didn’t look back until I reached the Inn’s gloriously air conditioned lobby.
I sunk into a table near an oddly soothing gargoyle fountain with equally odd statues staring down at me from the balconies above. Still in shock, I pondered what had just happened. I mean, we’re all familiar with catcalls on the street and offers of drinks from creepy men that can’t take a not-so-subtle hint, but this was next-level.
I called a friend and relayed my story to him. He asked, “What were you wearing?”
“My pineapple dress,” I answered.
“Oh, that’s why. That wouldn’t have happened if you were wearing workout clothes,” he mused.
“Excuse me?” I asked, not looking for an answer.
I lashed out, “Why does everyone blame the victim? Why are you adding insult to injury? Do you know how ridiculous I would have looked in long sleeves and Lululemons in this heat…at this restaurant?”
I angrily hung up the phone and took a swig of my martini. I tried to focus on finishing China Rich Girlfriend (btw, so good), but I couldn’t get my mind off the men on the street. Why should I regularly have to tailor my wardrobe and transportation choices to whether I might encounter a misbehaving man?
I contemplated walking back to my hotel because I shouldn’t have to take a car service on a beautiful summer night (by this time, it had cooled down to a tolerable 90 degrees) as a result of a couple of losers. All I ask, in this post at least, is that men treat women with respect, and that women aren’t blamed for what we’re wearing (or aren’t wearing). A bikini, high heels, or a pineapple dress doesn’t give anyone license to harass, assault, gossip about, or rape us.
Eventually, I gave in and made the smart decision. I tapped away at my iPhone screen and ordered up an Uber…to go 2 blocks.
P.S. If you’re wondering how (not) risqué the pineapple dress is, here you go: https://is4.revolveassets.com/images/p4/n/d/SHOW-WD131_V1.jpg
This post was authored by Jaclyn Simi. Jaclyn is an employment litigator who loves animals, far-flung beaches, and Jimmy Choos.