Writer Chris Brecheen has a writing blog. On his blog, he recounts a story of a woman being harassed on the BART one day, and his reaction to it, which is fantastic. The post, "Changing the Creepy Guy Narrative" starts in earnest about four paragraphs down, after a little throat clearing:
He waited until the train was in motion to make his move—a true sign of someone who knows how to make the environment work to their advantage. Then he leaned forward. "Hi." "How you doing?" "What are you reading?" "What's your name?" "I really like your hair." "That's a really nice skirt." "You must work out."
It was painful to watch. She clearly wanted nothing to do with him, and he clearly wasn't going to take the hint. Her rebukes got firmer. "I'd like to read my book." And he pulled out the social pressure. "Hey, I'm just asking you a question. You don't have to be so rude." She started to look around for outs. Her head swiveled from one exit to another.
The thing was, I had already heard this story, many many times. I knew how it would play out. I knew all the tropes. I probably could have quoted the lines before they said them. I wanted a new narrative. Time to mix it up.
So I moved seats until I was sitting behind him. I leaned forward with my head on the back of his seat.
"Hi," I said with a little smile.
He looked at me like I was a little crazy—which isn't exactly untrue—and turned back to her.
"How are you doing?" I asked.
"I'm fine," he said flatly without ever looking back.
"I really like your hair," I said. "It looks soft."
That's about when it got.....weird.
What the story really gets is better, and all without escalating to violence! Thanks, Chris, for being empathetic enough, and clever enough, to help a lady out.
And thanks, Slog tipper Rob, for the tip.