The author of this post is known to Mamamia, but asked to remain anonymous.
Last week I travelled interstate for a little break. I was enjoying shopping, wandering around by myself while my boyfriend met up with a friend. As I was mindlessly browsing in a clothing shop, a man in his 40s (significantly older than me anyhow) approached me and stood in my way. He told me he had followed me from another store, and that he did so because I looked like the perfect person to help him pick a birthday present for his mother.
I panicked, knowing full well the strangeness of this behaviour, and fearing that the man was potentially unhinged. I told him I couldn’t help him, didn’t know his mother or what she likes, and wished him well. He stood in front of me again, grabbed my arm and pleaded with me to help him. He told me she liked pink, so I reached behind me and grabbed the first pink thing I saw. I handed it to him and attempted to excuse myself.
No woman ever wants to be harassed when she is shopping. Here are our favourite #NoWomanEver tweets. Post continues below.
I’m a PhD candidate at a university in Sydney. I have a decent knowledge of feminist literature, am highly opinionated, and often forthright in expressing my views.
I’m also really ‘nice’.
I suppose I have a certain softness about me, a gentle quality that I usually take pride in. My voice is high-pitched and sweet, children warm to me quickly, and I often find myself the guardian of people’s deepest, darkest secrets.
I’m also 5ft 2, with the build of a waif.
Sandwiched between two racks of clothing, this tall, burly man stood over me and offered to buy me something nice. A dress maybe? I refused. He said he wanted to take me for coffee, and was I free now to join him? I told him no, and that I was meeting my friend in just a moment.
I attempted to edge past again, only to have him block my exit and insist on having my phone number. “Just as a friend”, he told me, “just as a friend”. (Yes, I even resorted to the ‘I have a partner card’ when my ’no’ was not enough).
"Sandwiched between two racks of clothing, this tall, burly man stood over me and offered to buy me something nice." Image via iStock.