Men (and me) in Mexico

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I went for a run today, and then went to the grocery store after the park. While I was walking home from the grocery store, carrying my groceries, I got cat-called 3 or 4 times. I was wearing head phones so I didn't know what they were saying but I could see them. Usually In a walk to of from somewhere I will get one on average, and delivery trucks with two men in them are almost a guarantee-- maybe because they aren't in their own car, they are bored, and they have a buddy to back them up so they feel more bold. This time it was two grocery store employees together, two pairs in delivery trucks, and then the one that inspired me to write this post. As I was crossing the street, a guy in a car slowed down to yell at me out the window, but he was on the opposite side of the car, so he was yelling OVER his ten-year-old son in the passenger seat. That little bastard doesn't have a chance! He will never respect women.
Another thing I want to note that is slightly related is that there are a lot of police in my neighborhood lately. Not when you need them, like at night, but during the day and in the morning when I am walking to work and they are standing on random corners texting on their cell phones or eating a sandwich while holding major machine guns. They are always good for a leer, too. Also, I feel like every time I walk by one, the barrel of his gun is like a cold black eye staring at me. I am starting to have a premonition that I am going to be accidentally shot before I leave Mexico.

Brook -- Your blog on men in Mexico was an interesting read for me, since I just got home from three weeks in a small beach town (Pacific side) plus Guadalajara, and spent lots of time with some cool bilingual Mexican friends rather than fellow tourists.

I just love being in that country (I live in Canada, this was my third trip to Mexico) -- and one of the things I love most is how unreserved people are, both men in a sexual way and women in a like-you-or-not kind of way. From men I got lots of stares and some cat-calling, a few attempted conversations, even had my picture taken a couple times. But never once did I feel threatened or intruded on, although I often felt conspicuously "appreciated" at times, especially when alone on the streets or beach. I chalked it up to the fact that I'm very fair-skinned, blue-eyed, red-haired and scrupulous with sunscreen to keep myself from burning and looking like a gringo tree, so I kind of stick out in Mexico. I have a slight build and am i guess decently good-looking for a woman in her early 30s. Anyway, some of the women I hung out with -- some experienced tourists with multiple long trips inland -- mentioned feeling uncomfortable when walking around with me sometimes because of the stares I got from men and some of the angry looks from women.

I should say here that I don't dress for attention, nothing tight or overly short or in any way expensive. My point is, I'm not stopping traffic, and I'm no supermodel, and most of the time it's easy to ignore completely, just bored men taking a look, maybe reminding themselves they're still alive. But even my male friends -- tourists and locals -- get sort of protective towards me with their body language when out in public with me. It's like they think there's going to be an incident or a kidnapping or something, and it makes me wonder if we allow ourselves to be scared a little too much.

If you look at a guy thinking, "you might want to rob me or rape me," he can read fear all over your face -- and depending who he is, he'll either be insulted because he has no such intention, or he'll think you're already a victim. Easy prey. Wouldn't it be better to suspend your own judgment for a second, give him a neutral, bored sort of smile and wait for a response before deciding to be afraid? If he does have bad impulses lurking in his head, he won't see a scared victim. If he's just a regular guy with a wife and family or some harmless kid trying to impress a buddy or whatever, he'll see a nice woman who isn't hung up on herself and maybe has good reason not to fear.

Anyway, that's just a few thoughts in case it helps someone have a better time in that awesome place... and thanks for putting the subject out there.

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