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Since I’ve moved to Harlem my encounters with men in the street have frustrated me.
I’ve been called “mamita”, “princess” and my personal fave “big girl”. Ummm..whatever happened to “Hello Miss” I hear the former more than I hear the latter.
I mean has simple decency died along with chivalry?
Look..I know I’m attractive and I knew that when I moved to Harlem this sort of attention would get more intense. But the word “boundaries” seems to be a foreign one to many folks.
One thing about Harlem men is that when they like what they see..they will tell you!!
But sometimes the manner in which they tell you that is intrusive and embarrassing. I mean damn if you’re having a moment to think to yourself..it’s really all about them, isn’t it?
FYI: I don’t need my existence validated by strange men.
Oh..and I hate the term “big girl”. I’m not ashamed of my plus size but the connotations of being labeled as “big” as a women seems to insinuate that you’re less feminine than a woman who is small. Me having a larger frame does not mean that I have a thicker skin.
Ironically enough..these encounters happen when I’m either going to or coming from my gym.
Case in point last week As I was on my way to my Spinning class I had passed by a rather portly gentleman who as I passed said “Hey big girl”
I stopped and asked “Why would you call me that… why not just say hello?”
Him: “I’m sorry..did I offend you?”
Me: ”Well yeah..because I don’t even know you like that.”
Him: ”But I’m a big guy. I don’t get offended”, he said as he patted his large belly.
Me: ”Well yeah because you’re a guy. How would you like someone to talk to your sister like that?”
Just then I swear I saw a light go off in his head. I swear!
Him: “Damn..you’re right. My sister said to me never call a woman “big girl”"
Me: “Well maybe you should take her advice.”
Him: “You’re right..I’m sorry.”
Me: “My name is Myrna.”
Him: “I’m Keith.”
Me: “It’s nice meeting you Keith.”
I shook his hand and left.
Now..I’m not expecting to see Keith at any anti street harassment meetings… but that small exchange was a big triumph for me. I do hope that Keith will be able to pass on that lesson to a young man that calls a young lady out her name. For a brief moment a man that objectified me was able to see me as a human being that looked him in the eye, held her ground and was able to say…
My name is not “big girl”…it’s Myrna.
Ms. Orvam can be best described as a “drive by blogger” a born and raised Bronx native, she is now a proud Harlemite. Mom to one, she’s a corporate worker bee for “It’s not TV it’s….” So while she toils away in corporate better believe that she has her eye on the prize. Follow her on Twitter @Msorvam