Saturday, November 26, 2005

Disrespect

At a big jewellery shop with my husband - just after maghreb. The salesguy - a very well-dressed perfectly respectable-looking man - is all politeness & amiability as he shows us around & tries to get us to buy everything he has on display. Eventually we get tired of it & we tell him we want to look around on our own & we'll let him know.

Am standing there preoccupied with some pendants I really like, sort of leaning over the counter, trying to see them better through the glass when I suddenly notice that salesguy sitting behind the counter - touching himself!I freeze for a second then look around me to find my husband standing with his back to us at the other end of the display counter - presumably looking at something else. Am afraid to turn my face back back so I move about 2 or 3 meters away from the guy & towards my husband's end of the store. And I notice the guy following me. I can see him through the glass & mirrors in the counter & he is still doing it! I panic & stop - not knowing where to look. For a crazy moment I wonder if he's going to do that infront of my husband. Then I tell myself to take a deep breath, that he wouldn't dare, that such people are cowards. And I go to my husband & tell him I want to leave.

As luck would have it he wanted to look at a watch - so he tells me one second & he calls the guy over. I tell him I'll wait for him in the car outside & he says no wait we'll leave together. So I grit my teeth & keep my head down - but the guy is Mr. Respectability again.

Am glad we didn't buy anything from him. Told my husband I didn't like the watch - even though I love Ted Lapidus usually.

Later I wonder why I kept quiet. Why I pretended not to notice. I know if I had been alone in the shop or with my girlfriends we'd have sworn at him & walked out. It's always like this when we girls are out & we have men with us - whether the men are our husbands, relatives, friends, colleagues, bf etc...- & someone is harrassing us -the same reaction - panic & the most important thing becomes that the men who are with us shouldn't notice. Infact it is part of our social conditioning that any woman who causes a fight between men in such circumstances has committed a major faux pax. If we hear of such things we comment about her stupidity, lack of social polish & etiquette etc...but we never ask ourselves why?At least I never asked myself that before. Why is it considered 3aib (disgraceful) for a woman to admit she was being harrassed & ask for protection?Why do we keep silent as if we did something wrong?

It's like when my sister & I are out with my mother & someone harrasses us in some way my mother will tell him off & she might even set the security or the police on him. But if my Dad is there Mom will say be quiet your father will hear & we'll just leave the place. We never tell my father or my brothers these things. Never.

Men rubbing up against you at the coop. Being groped in the dark on the way into or out of the cinema, or the theater, or the club.The waiter who leans in too close & breathes down your neck & stares down your top when your dinner companion has gone to the bathroom & who is instantly all respectability when your (male) companion comes back. And these men who touch or expose themselves at you whenever they think no one else is looking. All of these things have happened in one form or another either to me or to some woman I know. And without exception we all let it pass.

Clearly this man - & others like him - knew I wasn't going to tell my husband what he was doing. He knows there is such a social rule & he was taking advantage of it.

Strange social dynamics. Why do some men have no respect for women & only respect other men?It was really insulting the way he was so respectful when my husband was next to me & then so disrespectful when he thought my husband's back was turned. It's like am not a person & don't deserve respect as a human being in my own right without a man next to me. Is it physical force?Do such men only respect other men because they think men are physically stronger?Do we still live in the jungle where only muscle counts or deserves respect?

11 Comments:

Blogger Wonderer said...

Hi loulou,
If I were in your shoes, I would have done the same thing. Ignore & let it pass ...

Maybe it is a coward reaction. However, the point is, when you are accompied with your husband, you are scared of having a fight. This fight might end up with major damage. Whether, your husband is hurt or the other guy is, in both cases it will be a mosiba.

To prove my point, try to tell K now about what happened, you will be able to see fire coming out of his eyes and maybe he will insist on going back to the mall to kick the guy's a**.

Take it easy on yourself dear, and ma3lish sometimes sh*t happens.

11/26/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Rain said...

Ohhh...that's terrible :S.

I think such men try to wear the decent and respectful mask when u're with ur fiance/husband/dad/brother just to make them feel secure and relax while dealing with him and then they take off the mask :S:S

Actually , If i'm in this place whether I'm alone or with someone I wouldn't have said anything ...nor tell anyone after that , cause I hate to show my weakness to others.

11/27/2005 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Loulou,

Like many of us you have been subjected to abuse. I wouldn't point it out to K. Egyptian men are hot blooded :)

It is not cowardly act to ignore such dirt. I wonder what is the market share of Viagra in the middle east lol! I bet you it is less than 5% :)

11/27/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Wonderer & Twosret,

Wouldn't tell him. Old habits die hard. Can't get over the feeling that telling him would be in very bad taste & kind of a sleazy thing to do.

On the rational level though I know that so long as this conspiracy of silence continues these perverts are just going to keep getting away with harrassing us. Which sucks.

Rain,

"Actually , If i'm in this place whether I'm alone or with someone I wouldn't have said anything ...nor tell anyone after that , cause I hate to show my weakness to others. "

I would tell my girlfriends for sure. We talk about these things 3adi. Might tell my Mom if I remember.

You're very introverted aren't you?
I remember you said that if you had my last facial experience you would also not say anything.

There are exceptions of course but as a general rule don't let people get way with bothering you so easily. It's a jungle out there.:)

11/28/2005 03:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

Unbelievably nasty behavior! I cannot fathom having such rudeness inflicted upon myself. I've never had an experience like that nor has anyone I know. Is this some sort of cultural thing where some slobs think they can get away with this harassment? The kind of men who would do such things are dirty, disrespectful, and deserve a good punch.

11/28/2005 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Jane,

"Is this some sort of cultural thing where some slobs think they can get away with this harassment?"

Yes unfortunately. The culture is so strict about these things. In this part of the world there have been deaths over this sort of behavior. And the laws are also very strict - not the death penalty - but long prison sentences.

Paradoxically all this places pressure on you as a woman to keep silent in order to prevent all that mayhem. Like Wonderer said if I had said anything infront of my husband chances are my husband would blow his top & beat the guy up. Someone would get seriously hurt. They'd both get thrown in prison & probably deported. It's just not worth it.

I guess also in most conservative cultures there is this problem with sexual repression - which may or may not be a factor in why sexual harrassment in public becomes so widespread. Sex outside marriage is a taboo. And the economic situation is such that marriage is too expensive for many young people.

11/28/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Rain said...

I'll try to show some teeth soon :D
It's just that I get shocked..and feel speechless and motionless........I'd rather bury those pains than talk about it with others and burden them.

11/28/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Nightlegend said...

loulou I don't know what to say ,I am really shocked.
I have always heared about women being harassed either when they are alone or with companions ,but this guy is totaly lunatic ,I never heared or saw someone who will touch himself like that in public places even if he's intending a woman who was alone unless he's a mentally retarded person ,but this stupid guy is a strange case!

Someone may say (haven't you heared about all the rape cases & assault trials against women all over the world) ,OK but here we are talking about a shop staff who looks respectful and above that looks like a normal person which is not applicable at other cases ,and this was inside a Jewlery shop in business hours not in a dark alley after midnight.

You may have done the right thing just to ignore it and let it pass ,your husband may would have been emotionaly hurt when something like that brought to his attention ,you are his wife and something like that is not a good memory at all.

I do also appreciate your courage for telling about this nasty experience ,maybe alot of other females had a similar experience but were very afarid to tell about them ,some men also won't like the idea of women telling about experiences like that which is a very retarded point of view in my opinion ,if you want an example you can read about the brave Manal experience which she had on a plane!! ,yes she were riding a plane when she was sexually harassed by the (respectful looking man) siting next to her ,here's the link:

http://www.manalaa.net/a7a_department/airplane_wanker

11/28/2005 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Night,

Thanks for the link. Some thing like the airplane story happened to my friend's little sister. She was 11 years old. And he was an older man - in his 40's - who was sitting next to her on the plane. Just imagine that.

"OK but here we are talking about a shop staff who looks respectful and above that looks like a normal person which is not applicable at other cases ,and this was inside a Jewlery shop in business hours not in a dark alley after midnight."

Yes these people seem to be getting more & more 'brave' about it. I think it's because there's no deterrence. They know women won't talk.

" I do also appreciate your courage for telling about this nasty experience ,"

Thank you but am not really brave. Am telling it anonymously after all.

"some men also won't like the idea of women telling about experiences like that which is a very retarded point of view in my opinion "

Yes it is very retarded. This kind of attitude is definitely part of the problem.

11/29/2005 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger forsoothsayer said...

um, i think that's just you and your family. i always tell my dad - but he always thinks i exaggerate. he is a great man, but he just finds it easier to pretend men are good when he knows better.

11/29/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

forsooth,

"he is a great man, but he just finds it easier to pretend men are good when he knows better."

Denial?Interesting.

Ok so to recap I guess men just have trouble facing up to the fact that this sort of thing can happen to their women as opposed to Somebody Else's women. So if they don't have women who shelter them from the truth they just refuse to listen to it.

We're supposed to be the weaker sex but not in dealing with reality I guess.

11/29/2005 02:55:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home