Yesterday, after I stalked out of home, I ended up taking the Metro from Jatin Das Park to Esplanade. A Cal Metro regular might know this is not always a very populated station, except for the regulars who know each other, many of them. Well, I was in a foul mood and sitting hunched up on a seat, looking down at my shoes. A man's foot stepped on one of mine and moved on. I didn't bother looking up. 30 seconds later, the same thing happened and this time I looked up and glared. It was only when I looked up that I realised how close the man was standing and that he was trying to look down my cleavage (hidden by my hair, funnily enough.)
That didn't startle me; what did was the comment from the woman next to me who had just finished her phone call. She said that he was a known face, always up to this sort of thing, and that the regulars all knew him. As I mentioned before, I was in a foul sort of mood. That put the lid on it. I admit I dislike taking on molestors, all the more so when I am alone, but I was not scared of this person (I was that mad). So I glared at him, and kept on glaring till my train arrived. Before I got on, I pulled out my (camera) phone and took a picture of him, inspired by a certain campaign.
He seems to have underestimated the anger behind my glare because he was silly enough to get on the same compartment and take up a position where he could stare at me. Well, it also meant I could continue glaring at him. So I did, all the way 5 stops down to Esplanade. By the time I got off the entire compartment was staring him, wondering what he had done, and he himself was squirming.
Why the story? Well, it's a technique I've used before, and I know it works, so I thougth I'd share. But it only works under certain conditions:
The jerk has to be alone.
You have to have enough people around you (to fill up the seats, say) but not too many so that he can hide behind a crowd
You have to do the glare with single-minded dedication. Every time he glances at you he should meet your glare. Else he'll start feeling braver than he should.
Helps if you have a companion with whom you can loudly discuss the jerk.
It's a scary thing to pull, but if you can do it, it's very effective.
And the sad post script? Well, despite all that bravery, I was a bundle of nerves when I walked into the movie I had been headed to. An unknown man sat next to me and accidentally brushed my hand with the back of his arm, but that was enough to keep me glued to the other side of my seat for next one hour.
You can triumph, but you really can't ever win, I think.
On a different note: yes, Greatbong, it does make sense to talk about it. Nobody's secure enough not to need to know yet another way to keep her sanity intact in the presence of these daily attacks. And I include children in this, they do need to know what it's all about and how it should be dealt with. Even then, the most any of us can do is not enough.