Friday, June 24, 2016

Some Advice for the Traveling Girls

Traveling has become something of a bummer in recent years. No one dresses up anymore, you can't bring normal sized toiletries in your carry-on, you have to remove your shoes (!) and pass through the Star Trek Radiation Pod in order to be allowed to board an airplane. All the rules and regulations have been implemented in the name of safety. "Have a safe trip!" is an oft-used phrase when sending someone off. "Safe" is what we want to feel when leaving our comfort zones and traveling from point A to point B. But, what to do when your seatmate sees the trip less as a way to get from A to B, and more of an opportunity to work his way around the sexual bases with an unsuspecting stranger?

Two recent stories illuminate how unnecessarily creepy a necessary voyage can be, especially for women. One was about a sixteen year old girl who had fallen asleep on her flight, and had her creepy seatmate try to kiss her while she slept. This is not a Disney flight, and you, sir, are no Prince Charming. The other was about a thirteen year old girl who was trapped in the window seat, with the creepy seatmate next to her in the middle seat touching her inappropriately for roughly a half hour before the flight attendant noticed the girl was crying. These stories threw me into a stompy rage where I found myself screaming (inside my head) "WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?" What's most unfortunate is that the villains of these stories are almost always men. So I find myself screaming "WHAT IS WRONG WITH MEN?" (again, still just inside my head). And I know, hashtag notallmen, but this kind of thing still happens way more often than it should (which is never).

Every woman I know has at least one story of trying to get from point A to point B and being harassed by a man. The comments sections of those two recent stories are rife with other stories of women I don't know, trying to get from point A to point B and being harassed by a man. THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR MY STOMPY RAGE.

Hyperbole and a Half (go buy her book, she's hilarious)
Your pepper spray is not allowed, your mace is not allowed, you may not have anything sharp onboard the flight (I once read of a woman who rode the train in India with a sharp fork she kept in her pocket). How are girls supposed to defend themselves in the tiny, cramped, uncomfortable space, where you can't even stretch out your legs, much less give a swift kick to the crotch? What to do?

Get loud. Get very, very loud. LOUD! Perverts dislike having attention drawn to them, probably because they know they're doing something wrong. Yell anything to get the attention of someone who will help you. "STOP!" is good, "PERVERT!" is better. An airplane is a vehicle for transportation, not a human petting zoo for the boundary-free male.

If your seatmate happens to be simply manspreading, you could always do this:

Hyperbole and a half

But maybe not that loud. Reserve the loud for when your safety is threatened, not just your legroom.