It’s that time of year. When it’s hot and sweaty outside, the fire hydrants are open, and women’s clothing gets a bit more revealing. I’m quite happy not to be Amish at this time of year. We all try to look professional, but when it’s 100 degrees out and the air conditioner is busted, they should be thanking me for coming to work at all, no matter how short my skirt is.
This does pose a bit of a problem, though. You wouldn’t know this simply from reading, but I am stunningly good looking. Men are completely unable to resist me. Actually, all of the women in my office have the same affliction.
That sounds conceited, I know. But it’s the only conclusion I’ve been able to draw from the reactions we get walking around the neighborhood.
The men in the Bronx are rather excited to see all of us, it would seem. If it wasn’t for the fact that almost all of my female clients are pregnant, I would assume that none of these guys had gotten laid in years.
I once had a man yell to me from a third story window. That is disorienting, let me tell you. He kept yelling to me until I finally looked up, at which point he smiled. I stared awkwardly. What was I expected to do? “Hold on, I’m coming up the fire escape! I must have you NOW!”
The names are usually interesting. Mami is most common (which allows me to assure them that I am not, in fact, their mommy), and honey and sweetie are thrown around quite a bit as well. The simple, direct, ‘hey white girl’ was a favorite of mine, for obvious reasons.
One male co-worker asked what we do to provoke these men. You know, because grown men are incapable of controlling themselves. I told him that I tend to walk to all of my home visits topless, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.
The best way to deal with this attention is a common debate in the office. It can be funny, but it can also be scary. A large man with homemade neck tattoos leering at me and telling me to say ‘thank you’ because he was kind enough to tell me I look ‘gooooood’ is slightly intimidating. My most common technique it to keep my headphones on and act like I can’t hear anything. Just smile and walk on, even if that iPod battery is dead.
The worst part is the effect this kind of thing can have on your day. It can freak you out, make you feel bad about yourself, make you question yourself. Or it can give you a laugh. There is the occasional relief brought on by walking past a group of aggressive looking men who don’t give you a second glance.
Followed by the immediate question: do I not look good today?