Last week I was making a return at a Nordstrom’s store situated in the northern suburbs of Seattle. All was very quiet on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 PM on the third floor. I was the only customer in sight. My back was to the escalators and while exchanging information with a very young saleswoman I heard it. Right behind me.
“In my day we didn’t stack women’s underwear on tables for everyone to see,” he growled. I could feel him a few feet away. Those little hairs on our neck? They really do prickle when adrenalin flows.
I smiled at the gal, got very still then heard closer behind me,
“Seriously, you bitches need to do something about this.”
I looked her in the eye, did not turn around and said, “Does he come here often?”
She continued to smile and said without missing a beat,
“Oh, thanks goodness, I thought he was with you. No. Never seen him before.”
I laughed too loudly and said “Ah. No.”
And that’s when I felt a very new feeling. I wasn’t scared. I was completely enraged. Expansively enraged.
He moved next to me, fiddled with some pamphlets, commented on our vaginas. I folded my hands around my bag and turned to face him. I was seriously sweating and ready to deck him. This was not ok. Again. The language, the attitude, coming into our space — ladies lingerie for god’s sake. Like a bad movie rerun after all the news, the endless pussy jokes, the locker room talk from Donald Trump. Not. Okay. At. All.
Then he swiveled, circled the sales counter, got very close to another saleswoman and started to talk in a low voice. Not breaking her smile, my saleswoman asked for my signature, then answered a phone call.
“Yes, I did. White male, pony tail, white shirt, back of the lingerie department. Thank you.”
I looked at her in total respect.
“What did you do? I asked, keeping an eye on him.
“No need for phone calls,” she smiled. “We just have to press a button.”
I was flooded for love for this young woman, her professionalism, her smile, her calm. And deeply saddened that standing in our women’s sanctuary we had to protect ourselves. Again.
I looked her in the eye and said,
“You are awesome.”
As I headed to the escalator two men took got off and split to either side of me and headed to the back.
Not ok. Again. But here’s what is happening since Donald Trump opened his mouth: Women are not scared, we are really, really angry. We are people, not objects of filth, voyeurism, sexual predatory behavior and let me emphasize, this behavior is not acceptable anywhere. Not in a bus, not in a house, not in the street, not at my feet.
Know the difference between OKAY and NOT OKAY. Or you might get smacked by a sweating writer with a bag full of books and bras. And I guarantee it will hurt.