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  1. Reminded

    Saturday, May 25, 2019

    I admit, on an ordinary day where I’m just running to the store or doing laundry or whatever, I tend to go around looking crappy.  In my younger years, I would not have even gone to the lobby to check the mail without fussing with make-up, etc.  But in later years, it feels like a vacation from street harassment to just look plain to unattractive.  I get to walk around as a person.  No one expressing lust or hostility or lust and hostility as I get a prescription filled, take out garbage, get a slice of pizza.  It feels rather peaceful.

    Then again, if I run into someone I haven’t seen in a long time, I sometimes feel like damn, why couldn’t I have looked good today.  Why can’t I look good and have peace?  Oh yeah, the patriarchy.

    Yesterday I was meeting with a photographer who wants to expand her 
    work to include mature people.  She liked my look with my silver hair and wanted to photograph me.  I’d receive new head shots and a small payment for my time.  I’m lucky that over the years, most of my photos have been free. 

    So yesterday, I looked good and headed out toward the D train.  A male 
    voice from behind me:  “I like your hair.”  As he was alongside me, I acknowledged him with a nod.  He continued, pointing to the gray hair in his own beard, “I like that gray.  Be proud.  With all we been through, we earned it.”  And he continued on his way.

    I had to smile to myself.  It didn’t feel like harassment even though he 
    probably wouldn’t have said that to a gray-haired man.  It didn’t feel lustful and dangerous.  Nothing about his tone or his movements felt threatening.  Some older men are more aware and sane than their younger selves.

    I met the photographer at the High Line near 9th Avenue.  We had a good 
    session.  She was very enthusiastic which helped me get it up.  When I’m not engaged with anyone (like on the train ride downtown), I tend to live deep inside, and my face looks sad or angry.  It takes inner work to not look that way.  Her enthusiasm helped.  I’ll receive the photos in about a week.  Looking forward to it.

    I got back to my Bronx in the evening.  I picked up food and was heading 
    home when another older man (this one more out there than the earlier guy) who was sitting on his stoop, said, “Hello sexy mama.”  That didn’t feel the same as the earlier man’s words as it isn’t something one should say to a stranger.  I normally would’ve zipped past.  This is someone who I see regularly in the neighborhood, so I nodded hello with a bit of a sigh.  I’m tired of fighting, but I would’ve preferred it if he’d just have said “hello.”  Then he added, “I know you were fine in your day because you’re still fine now.” 

    I felt he was using restraint and keeping it clean.  He is probably a better 
    version of himself than he must’ve been in his younger years.  I didn’t feel concerned that he’d be following me or any of that.  That’s a big difference from how it felt when I was younger.  However, the whole thing reminded me of how much less mental privacy I have outside when I look good.  I’m usually not up for it. 

    Happy birthday to my mother in Heaven.  5/25.  You live inside of me.  I have a candle 
    burning for you today.

    Love to CGG-M every day! 

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