…the unwanted advances of men who think “pirate” equates “prostitute”.
Well, I get used to it. Some men think that dressing a certain way means loose morals and ethics, and an easy ride (if you know what I mean). But the situation is serious. Some men get offended if I politely, sternly or even remotely dismiss their drunken advances.
Before I go any further, not all men are like that. Some are the guys who beat up on creeps. Others are the creeps. Now, I am always flattered at those men who genuinely compliment me, speak to me respectfully, and understand that what I do is far from what some would dream. Simple compliments of “you’re beautiful” or “you look real pretty” are greeted with a smile and a thank you. This is harmless. Such sayings aren’t the same as men grabbing, hollering, cursing and gesturing at me.
But, for those who think I am for hire, they come to a very quick conclusion. They are escorted from the bar and given very direct and frank dismissals. Which is why I always carry real weapons. Davy Jones forbid I ever have to use them, but it is nice to know that my knife will slide in up to the hilt without much effort. These men don’t seem to understand women, let alone respect them. Some say I deserve the way I’m occasionally treated because of how I dress, but I don’t buy that. That, to me, is the same as saying a woman deserves to be beaten because she “caused” the fight.
When I first came to Saint Augustine, I encountered this quite often because I would stand idly by and allow people to take pictures with me. Some men mistook my idleness for “availability”. Most would apologize for the assumption and hurry off. Others, not so much. They would heckle. Often at the direction of their drunken friends and colleagues. Their heckling in front of passerbys and children did not go unnoticed and was eventually warded off by local police. And, thankfully, I gained some wonderful friends on the force that night. Every night thereafter, they would escort me back to my car and make sure I wasn’t harassed any further.
Singing inside a bar now cuts down on a lot of that. Most men don’t want to start anything when the bartenders, and the soldier, are all strong men who are obviously armed. But, there are always rude and suggestive comments which can hopefully, usually, be ignored. Very often it’s teenaged boys who say something on a dare. A simple scold to speak respectfully to women usually sends them back to their group with their tails between their legs.
Get used to it? No so much. But I get a thicker skin. And learned to carry a bigger knife. Each passing comment is drowned out by the general praise of my attire and vocal talents. I try to focus on that more than the negative. But, sadly, there are always those who misinterpret what I do. I just try to keep one hand on one weapon at all times. That tends to stop most advances before they start.