on international womens day
i stand at the check out chatting to the assistant
she’s friendly, young, and beautiful
we talk about how some customers glare at her if they think she’s too slow, or comment on how she should speed up
and i say really, are people sometimes mean? rude?
and she says, sometimes, customers say, can they buy me too?
she does not look happy when she says this
she says she doesn’t know what to say, so she says nothing
because if she makes a fuss, what could happen? they could wait for her, they could follow her home
it could be much worse
so she says nothing
and i say
that sucks. but it will end; suddenly you become invisible.
like there is no point in between
for women
and she says, my grandmother looks really young and people still tell her she looks like my mother and sometimes say inappropriate things to her so sometimes i wonder if it will ever end
and she still looks pretty sad about this, too

hey you bloke guess what? it’s not nice. it’s not flattering.
pretty young women don’t need to hear your approving assessment. or any woman. at work. on the street. anywhere.