It was late, it was dark, and I was fairly distracted by listening to 80’s music because it’s ridiculously catchy.
Now, I rarely feel scared walking home in the dark. If that’s because I lack a self-preservation instinct or that I stubbornly chanted ‘strong independent woman’ to myself when I was 14, well, who knows?
Point is, I suddenly noticed a long shadow next to mine.
Surprised and unexpectedly terrified, I jump a little and turn around to see a buff guy walking close behind me. As my was simultaneously berating me for getting scared and planning exit routes, he simply stops, raises his hands and goes:
“I’m so sorry to scare you, I really didn’t mean to, excuse me.”
He then steps over to the other side of the road, gives me a quick smile, and keeps walking. I looked back a while later, only to see him crossing the road to step into a house on ‘my’ side.
So basically, this guy just stepped away and gave me space to make sure I felt safe, and waited long enough on the other side for me to have gotten far enough away not to be startled when he crossed again. It felt shockingly good to have a guy acknowledge that my fear response wasn’t ‘stupid’, because if he hadn’t I’d probably be bashing myself for the irrational fear that grabbed me.
I’m not saying that all guys should do this or anything. I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say. It’s just been a while since I saw a guy outside tumblr who didn’t act like because they weren’t rapists, they had nothing to do with the issues of rape culture. Of course, I have no idea who this guy is, maybe he doesn’t know or care about these issues. But he cared enough to make an effort, and to not dismiss my response or blame me for it. To me, that’s something.