One of my friends lives in Manayunk, a small area outside of Philly. It's considered a trendy neighborhood, filled with lots of young people, bars, and places to eat. I spend a lot of time here in Manayunk, and I've never felt nervous in any way around this area. Yesterday, however, I spent the day here while my friend was at work. I thought that it'd be fun to get out of the house and walk down to Main Street, where there are a bunch of shops, restaurants, and things to do. I just wanted to check it out because I had never been there in all my visits to Manayunk.
It was fairly nice out, and when I finally got to Main Street I was surprised at how nice it was. It was cute, and I wondered why I had never been there before. I was a little uneasy leaving the house by myself, without a male counterpart by my side. I shook it off, telling myself that I didn't need a guy to protect me or defend me because people are so good, aren't they? I think that my mind works a little bit too slowly and I don't realize that not everyone is going to have a kind heart with good intentions.
As I was about to cross the street, I saw three men standing at the corner where the sidewalk ended. I felt a little nervous, but kept walking through, not making eye contact with any of them. I had a bad feeling about these three men, and as if they had been reading my mind, I heard someone talking to me from behind. I had my headphones in and took them out as I turned around. They were all fairly young, most likely in their mid-to-late twenties. They got a little too close to me and one of them said, "Hey, where are you going?" I didn't know what to say in return so I told them that I had somewhere to be and needed to cross the street.
To this, another one of the men asked, "Can we come with you?" and for the first time in a really long time I felt scared, and didn't know what to do. I told them no, and kept walking quickly and crossed the street before they could say anything else. When my friend got home from work that night and heard about what had happened, he was horrified. He said that I should have called the police, and another friend of mine suggested carrying mace around with me from now on. So to those three men, here's what I have to say:
You scared the hell out of me yesterday, and maybe I should have been smarter. Maybe I shouldn't have been out by myself, but it was no later than 1PM and I don't think I should have to make decisions around people like you. If I want to go out and walk around by myself in broad daylight, I have every right to do so. I see the best in people and have never been someone that thought much about stuff like this. Just know that to girls, it's terrifying. Bad people exist, and I know that they always will, and maybe we need to start doing things to mold to situations like this. But I don't think we should have to.
Next time, I'll have someone with me, and next time, he definitely won't let you get away with it. I'm sure this one situation isn't representative of who you are, but it's all that I know, and I'm sorry that this is the only way I am ever going to remember you.