Today, as I was walking back through the park to our temporary home, the token pervy drunk (well, there's always one, isn't there) started shouting and singing at me as I passed him by. Not a beautiful serenade or anything - don't be silly. But one of those trashy songs that his type genuinely seem to believe will make them irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex.
Anyway, as he began slurring and bellowing his way through the lyrics, I rolled my eyes as usual and carried on ahead, and it wasn't until a few steps later that I realised how much I had tensed up, and was breathing really shallowly. It struck me as interesting that, while on the surface I was very blase about it, clearly it had affected me subconsciously in some way, without my knowing.
As I thought about it, I realised that this is pretty much always the case when I get shouted or whistled at in the street (not that I'm saying I'm irresistible, either. But let's be honest, pervs will be pervs, and even more so over here in Brazil, from my experience. They're not fussy, as long as you're female).
What I want to know is, why?
Why do I somehow feel intimidated by this unwanted attention, without my knowing? And, more to the point, why should I? Or you, or anyone else? Why should someone who is simply going about their daily business have to put up with that, with someone staring at them, and drawing the attention of other people to them when they probably don't want it?
It's silly, really. I know that the majority of them are harmless, and I also know that they will do it to any female with a pulse who has the misfortune to enter their line of vision. Now, I'm not going all feminist on you or anything, but this kind of stuff really does grind my gears, and I feel annoyed with myself for tensing up or feeling nervous in any way. Because if we do that, then surely they have won? Maybe that's a bit dramatic, but it's clearly that kind of reaction that they feed off.
On the other hand, I think they probably feed off anything, as back in the UK when I have said some choice words to someone who was bothering me, it did little to stop them, and seems to be a great source of amusement to them and their 'mates'. Over here though, it's different. You have to be careful what you say to these people, as rather than being a bunch of lairy builders on a building site, the offenders tend to be lone crack addicts who wouldn't think twice about pulling a gun on you if they happened to have one on them (not as uncommon as you might think). Saying that, the majority of them are too far gone to even realise what's going on, but the risk is always there, and it does tend to make you hold your tongue.
I'm not really sure what my point is here - this is more just a bit of a ponder and a rant. It just angers me that still, even in this day and age, we have to put up with this sort of thing, and if I'm honest I can't see it changing any time soon.