no need for extreme sports, my friends. just come to cairo and see how many disgusting men you can take out, and while you're at it, dodge some cars!
on our way to church this morning sarah and i encountered a young boy, maybe 8 years old, who would NOT stop staring at us and making what we interpreted as rude hand gestures. he stared unabashedly in a really irritating way, and he did not appear to be accompanied by an adult. he rode in the women's car, as children often do. sarah and i discussed the things we would do if/when he looked again or if he came for us--children are often the culprits behind some amateur gropings. i suggesting just covering his eyes with a hand, since it's probably inappropriate to beat up a small child. sarah gave him a little push into the side of the train as it was approaching, but nothing major. he moved closer to us and we made fun of him but of course he couldn't understand. thankfully he wasn't going where we were going.
tonight on our way home from anna katrina's birthday party, we were coming out of the metro station and a guy was SO OBVIOUS in his groping attempt that I was able to very easily thwart him with a well-placed elbow to the stomach. I elbowed him so hard he may need a kidney transplant. Sarah even saw it because it was so beautiful. That's why i'm still awake now, though we've been home for an hour...because the adrenaline rush from actually getting one of these disgusting men is so great. it's better than drugs (which I've never done), better than rock climbing without a rope (which i've never done), better than extreme or ultimate ANYTHING (which i've also never done...). (in light of the parenthetical comments, I say "but"): trust me. There is nothing like knowing you're about to be groped or just having been touched and getting one in on the man--a slap on the arm, a smack with the purse or water bottle, an elbow, or if you're feeling particularly nice rather than violent, a nicely said "ayb!" (shame). Nothing. Sarah and I have become progressively more intense in our response to men on the street and their words/actions. We regularly see men masturbating as we approach, and we regularly get comments and sometimes accompanying reaches. it is in all ways disgusting. many of these men have probably never been taught that this is inappropriate, and they have probably never been stood up to. So for us to fight back is unusual, to say the least. i would like to think that they'll think twice before trying it again. Sarah and I figure we can probably fight back against all the men in cairo by the end of the year...we're guessing approximately 5 million men, bringing us 2.5 million each. no problem, since we run across at least a dozen a day. i promise we aren't beating up that many each day--probably just one a day, for me anyway.
it's hard for me to reconcile love for all god's children and the violence that is inherent in my fighting back here. the only way i have come up with so far is that if i only let me do what they want, i am neither loving myself nor the other women these men will victimize. that doesn't make violence okay, of course, because two wrongs don't make a right. But honestly, between the anger, the rush of a good elbowing, and the helplessness i feel in the situation, it's the only thing i can think to do. i only hope that a few men will be less obnoxious, even if out of fear. in the meantime, extreme men dodging/elbowing, here i come! let me at that metro! ;-)