A man on the metro just flashed me. It was sort of subtle, it wasn’t like a guy in a trench coat running up and opening it. He was sitting across from me and his fly was open – actually it looked like there was no zipper, nor underwear, just a gaping hole – and he had a bag with him that he kept over it most of the time so you couldn’t tell, but at one point I glanced there while he had it moved. I gasped and looked away, it shook me up more than I probably would have expected. Later I saw him move the bag back. I just don’t think that could be an accident. There are a lot of beggars in Paris that don’t have proper clothing, but I figured this was intentional. So I started wondering why. I wanted to stay because there was a girl next to me who seemed unaware, what if he followed her off the metro? But then what if he followed me? I’ve been approached by way too many guys after getting off the metro to think this would definitely be the end of this. Maybe he was just an exhibitionist, maybe more. I was very protective of my friends in Morocco when guys were giving them trouble, I always wanted to be there, I wasn’t afraid of yelling at them. But there, if you yell at them they stop. I didn’t know about this guy. And I felt at a disadvantage because I was terrified of being touched by his genitals. I reminded myself of the girl in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I got off the metro at the next stop and sat in the next car over. Thank you line 4 for having separate cars. When I got off I looked in at the spot where I had been sitting. The girl next to me was still there, the flasher was gone. I don’t know what he’s up to, but at least she’s ok. I wanted to do something about him, because I hate being the scared girl that lets harassment have its intended effect, but alas, there’s a reason why people do what they do – because it works. Even in this big city in broad daylight where I comfortably speak the language, I just didn’t think I could count on not getting somehow assaulted if I tried to do something. The idea of trying to loudly out and embarrass him on the metro, which is what I told myself I’d do if I was ever grabbed or anything, didn’t cross my mind until I was already safely inside the building I was heading to. It seemed laughable.
It’s always a weird feeling when something like this happens to YOU. I have one friend here whose butt was grabbed by a man in the metro. I have another friend here who a man in the metro pressed his erection against when it was really crowded and she couldn’t move away. I have another friend who a guy yelled sexist obscenities at, waved money at while grabbing his crotch, and slapped in the metro. But this was my first encounter with something more than a guy trying to ask me out.
I’m just writing this because I have to right now, it’s how I deal with things that freak me out. I’ll check comments from while I was gone a little later.