I am a single woman in my early 20s navigating this world. I recently spring cleaned my life of toxic people and thus had lost the friends I usually go out on the town with. Of course, I have dealt to the great emotional consequences of losing friends, but I have also discovered the minor inconveniences such as being hesitant about going out and about alone, especially past a certain time.
For instance, I love going for late showings of movies, especially Marvel movies. As with the recent release of probably the movie of the decade, "Avengers: Endgame," I had to really debate on whether I felt comfortable going to the movie theater alone, but I really wanted to and I just went for it. As the place I go to school is isolated and has no public transportation options for late at night, I had to order a ride on an app. I am very aware of the fact that many women have reporting all types of harassment while using these apps.
On my ride to the theater, I got a driver that liked to talk, which wasn't a first time experience, so I wasn't necessarily surprised. He told me about his children, his ex-wife, his mother, his job, and pretty much every other aspect of his life. I didn't think much of all this, except perhaps that it was a bit TMI. And, of course, I replied to his general questions about my major and likes and dislikes. However, the conversation took a weird turn when I said I was a homebody and introverted.
The driver proceeded to tell me that I was messing up by not going out into "nature" and that he regretted not going out in his youth and being a womanizer like his friends, whom he said had been with 10,000 women (this is the actual number he stated). I just agreed with him as we were just a couple of feet from the movie theater and I was already five minutes late to the movie and I actually do like to watch the trailers.
As I was about to exit the vehicle, he asked me not to freak out and if I would go to the movies with him. I didn't know how to react, but the voice in my head screamed, "NO!" and I just made up an excuse like, "My boyfriend is waiting for me!" and got out of the car.
I initially had no idea how to feel about the interactions. It was not outright violent and aggressive, which is obviously and clearly sexual harassment. Instead, it was a nuanced and layered exchange in which me being alone gave a man a sort of courage to propose something clearly unprofessional that he would never do if I was with another person, especially not another man. This realization scared me more than anything, because I am alone most of the time and I know that this can encourage the mindset of "she was asking for it."