“You’re bangable…”

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Self-esteem, self-respect
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“Here’s to all of us!” Cheryl said and raised her glass to toast us.

Us. The four of us women who had somehow formed a friendship over the years. As our glasses clinked and as we continued to laugh, I felt happy. For a moment, all was right with the world.

I had known Cheryl for a long time. We had met at a business convention many years before. We each worked for a small business and began networking with each other. Soon we were helping each other and a friendship had formed over respect, hard work and a similar sick and twisted sense of humor.

I was there when she got divorced. I was there when she had to fight for child custody. I was there when she began to date again and I was there when it would all fall apart.

Kim was a woman I had met via Cheryl. She was her administrative assistant, but I always called her “Cheryl’s secretary” or “Cheryl’s bitch” just to annoy her and get her to laugh. She was younger than the two of us, single with two toddlers and worked as hard as Cheryl and I. I was often her comic relief for the day.

I had just recently met Lindsay a few months earlier. She had applied for a job at our office but we weren’t hiring at the time. She looked scared and desperate. I took her application and talked with her for a while and found out Cheryl had sent her our way. I felt bad that we didn’t have anything for her, but she accepted the rejection gracefully.

We were celebrating tonight. As hard as our lives had become, we decided it was time to get away from everyone and have some fun. We were all overdue for a girl’s night out and I felt my spirits lift as soon as I sat down to dinner with them. I had been the last one to arrive, so I sat back and sipped my wine while they all got me caught-up on the latest gossip and shenanigans.

When it was time to leave, we all regretted having to go back to our lives but knew it was a necessary evil. But being able to step off the planet for a few hours had done us all a world of good.

As we were walking down the street towards the parking lot, two young men were walking towards us. We were still talking and laughing. I wasn’t paying any attention until Cheryl stopped.

They were blocking our way. I looked up and stopped. I thought maybe Cheryl knew them.

“You!” said the man on the left as he pointed to Cheryl. “You, I’d do in a hear beat,” he said. His friend laughed.

He looked at the rest of us. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but before I could figure it out, he pointed to me and said “You’re the second one I’d do, so you’re passable. You’re totally fuckable.”

We were confused and looked at each other. I felt my face turn red and my hackles rise. I pulled on Cheryl’s arm and motioned for the other two to follow.

As we walked past, he pointed to Kim and said “You’re not very pretty, but if I was drunk enough, I don’t think I’d mind.”

Kim stopped for a moment. I reached over and grabbed her hand and pulled her away. It was late and the street was dark and deserted. We had a block to walk before getting to the parking lot.

As Lindsay walked past, he stopped her. His friend just chuckled the entire time, nodding his head up and down in agreement.

“You’d I’d throw back. You’re fat, ugly and I bet you haven’t gotten laid in years,” he said and laughed harder.

That did it. Both Cheryl and I looked at each other. For a brief nano-second, we understood each other. We both walked over to Lindsay. I grabbed her hand and pulled her away. I saw the tears in her eyes. As I was walking away, Cheryl pulled her pepper spray out of her purse and sprayed it on the man’s face.

The screaming was a pleasant sound. So was the sound of his friend running down the street.

Cheryl calmly put her pepper spray back in her purse and walked away. We followed.

When we got to our cars, we weren’t sure whether or not to laugh or cry. I was shaking and decided if anyone asked me about it, I would play dumb. “I don’t know nuthin ’bout no pepper spray” was going to be my story if anyone asked.

Lindsay was crying. His words hurt her badly. She was sensitive about her weight.

But we were celebrating the weight she had gained because she had survived cancer. She was well again, eating and for the first time in a year, not only had she stopped losing weight, she was putting it back on.

We tried to lift each others spirits, attributed the cruelty to the meanness of some people, but no matter how hard we tried to talk ourselves out of it, the severe judgement of one mans opinion of our looks and sexual appeal cut deep.

Yes, I admit it cut deep for a moment and that pissed me off. Who was this stranger, this nobody, that thought he had the right to arrogantly decide that our value was based on our sex appeal?

He was nobody, that’s what he was.

There are plenty of nobody’s around. Every article that tells you how to be. Every ad that shows you what else you need do or buy to be more appealing. Every TV show that shoves “the ideal woman” in your face. Every movie that has the beautiful woman in high heels, saving the planet and still able to keep her make-up smudge free.

These are all written by nobody’s and as long as you say they are correct….they are.

I disagree completely.

We are all good enough just as we are.

I started carrying pepper spray after that…

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Comments
  1. This piece has left me completely speechless. Your story is so compelling and behind it – a deep meaning.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Thank you so much. I think you are one of the few that understand what it means.

      • When I read it, I was lost for words.

        Each individual story of yours always leaves a learning point which causes one to indulge in one’s inner thoughts and reflect. I feel that this is an amazing way to captivate and capture a reader’s attention.

        Dear Susan, I feel so pleased to have followed your blog for you are a true inspiration šŸ™‚

      • Susan Lewis says:

        Thank you so much. Your words leave me a bit speechless.

        I think stories tell more about yourself and others in a much better way than trying to explain.

        Just a piece here and there is more than enough.

        I’m so glad you are enjoying my stories!

      • My greatest pleasure. I agree with you fully – language is such a powerful tool. An art.

        I’m likewise glad to be reading such wonderful pieces of work.

  2. Sharon Walsh says:

    It sure is telling that we repeat some of these cruel words to ourselves in the mirror and believe them. As hard as we try to remember not to put ourselves down, society and media and d-bags like that guy make it all too easy to forget. Pepper spray is awesome. I carry it and 5+ years of karate training with me wherever I go. šŸ˜‰

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Sharon,

      Yes, it is so hard sometimes to feel good about yourself now days. Maybe it’s always been difficult, but with the onslaught of constant reminders of how we should be….it gets to be too much for me at times.

      I now have pepper spray too!

  3. […] Susan Lewis on “You’re banga… […]

  4. Equus spirit says:

    You have such a generous soul.

    I’ve met creeps like this-usually with liquid courage inside them. They’d never be able to approach a female otherwise.

    Here’s to all of you-for being friends and being out together. Here’s to Lindsey and her continued success in her fight (and to hell with what other people think about what looks “good”.) And here’s to you and Cheryl for standing up for her–because that’s what friends do.

    BTW-be sure to check that pepper spray every so often and replace it-the stuff does lose its “kick” after a while. You really WANT it to work when you need it! Never buy pepper spray that doesn’t have an expiry date. It’s not good stuff.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Oh, thanks so much!

      Lindsay – and all the ladies – are well. This story reminded me that we need to get together again soon!

      And thanks for the advice on the pepper spray. I have not looked at it in a while!

      xoxoxox

  5. girlweena says:

    I’m more concerned about the sexual predation behavior than the actual insults. Glad you guys were willing to use the spray. Sends a strong message that women will not tolerate any level of abuse.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Agreed.

      And what’s worse, is some people think this is acceptable. I got a few men slamming me for what happened. They felt it was uncalled for. Really? What, wait until we are hurt or raped and THEN do something about it.

      Nah, men gotta learn you just leave women alone. Period.

    • Equus spirit says:

      There are sooooo many levels here.

      1. How women relate to each other.

      2. How we see ourselves.

      3. How we react to slug, er, men.

      4. Sexual predation

      5. Women defending themselves and/or other women.

      6. The feeling of freedom from this sexual/cultural/societal bondage. (I’m not a feminist-I’m very egalitarian about this really. It just torques me when one person presumes superiority.)

      7. The emotional and physical challenges of anyone facing a major health issue.

      It takes time and maturity to get to the level of “interdependence”-which this group has achieved. That’s priceless. We spend so much time and so much energy learning how to be “independent” that we lose sight of the fact that people are designed and function best in an INTERDEPENDENT mode. As women, we do this better than men, but we need to practice it more. I know I do.

      I’ve neglected my group far too long. I’m making plans to get together. Thanks for the wake-up!

      • Susan Lewis says:

        Ellen,

        You make some REALLY great points and observations.

        I, too, tend to neglect my group sometimes.

        I got some trolling on this post from a few “men” who took exception to the pepper spray because “He didn’t DO anything and you are a sick and disturbed woman, Susan!”

        Oh really? What? We were supposed to wait for them to physically accost us and THEN take action?

        Nope. That will never happen.

        Let me know how your group is when you see them.

        Susan

      • Equus spirit says:

        Susan,

        Not “men”- so-called human beings of the male gender. Men don’t do things like that. They don’t need to. I also qualify the human being part because I’ve never been absolutely sure that they really fulfill that criteria either. Call me cynical, but…Just because some female pops one out doesn’t not necessarily mean it joins the human race. (Oh, heavens-here come the fundamentalists now-rising up, grabbing their Holy Bibles in the approved King James Version and they’re coming after me! I do subscribe to the Christian faith-just not their brand of it.)

        No-these bad news boys were very close to actually acting on their words. If you two hadn’t pre-empted them, they very likely would have. I’ve been in too many situations like that myself-and been the target like Lindsey-so I know the probabilities pretty well. I’m very different from her in one very important way-I have had horses most of my life. Unlike most women, I have upper and lower body strength from lifting 50 pound bags of feed and 75 pound bales of hay on a normal basis. I know how to make a 1200 pound animal bend to my will. I can meet most guys on a level playing field. It scares the living ____ out of them.

        The rest?

        I tell them that they have to go to sleep sometime. Payback is a bitch.