All I Ask for is Respect

By: Adrianna Lavine

Being a young female today can be a bit of a struggle. Being in college as well as starting to get my life in general can just be a pain, but dealing with men…oh boy. Let me just say that not all guys are bad and this story is not about bashing men; I just want to talk about how respect is not really a common thing more now than ever.

I want to share a story, just one incident out of many others I go through pretty often. This one in particular happened and really made me reflect on how our generation’s views of flirting and relationships. Let’s get the story down first; it started off with me at my local train station. As I walked into the train station to head downtown to my school, two young men stopped me. Let me just say that I am a petite 19 year old, who takes the train to school by myself daily. I’m not scared of it, but I am very aware and caution.

Continuing on, both guys circled around me saying whatever they were saying; I did not hear the first few things they said because I had headphones in my ears. Once I realized I was being talked to, and not being left alone, I took one headphone out. The train was about 5 minutes away so there was really no way to ignore these two young men or walk away, unless I left the station.

Now, one guy hitting on me is already annoying, but two…I was so ready to just completely leave the station and go home to restart my day. These two guys were speaking that true south Atlanta slang, like the sort of slang that the phrase “gah damn” was thrown in after every sentence. Listen, I was born in Florida and moved to Atlanta in 2008, therefore south Atlanta slang is not a norm for me; I’m still getting use to it.

The only way for me to understand them was to treat it like someone speaking a foreign language to me. I would catch some words that I understood and just piece together the whole phrase of what they were trying to say. One guy asked me most of the questions, while his buddy was walking around me just saying nonsense and adding into the conversation here and there. I used the good ole trick in the book to ward them off, “I have a boyfriend.”

They left me alone after that, the train came, and I went on with my day. There are definitely more details to the story, but I just wanted to share the main parts in order to get the situation visualized in your head. One guy trying to talk to me doesn’t really phase me anymore, I just get annoyed and walk away. It was the fact that one guy was talking to me, while his friend was circling around me. Private space, personal bubble, my circle all invaded and I immediately felt uncomfortable.

They each were picking out things about my body compared to how I assume black women are supposed to look. One comment that was said to me was, “You have a small butt, but it’s cute.” Is that supposed to be a compliment? I know I’m petite, small, and skinny, but I love my body. Not all black women are shaped like Amber Rose; do not let these instagram baddies and rap video chicks get to your head.

My main problem with all the hitting on and flirting is that it leads to nothing, unless you’re just wanting sex. Besides that, the process goes like: a guy gives you compliments, you exchange numbers, and you start the “texting and talking” phase. One thing I have learned, asking girls on dates is just no longer existent. With all the guys I have talked to, their idea of a date is him coming over to my place or me going over to his. The type of girl I am, I don’t accept being used or tied into a situationship because it’s a waste of time.

Once I’m asked to go over to a guy’s place or him come over to mine as a first time of hanging out, I end it. I know it is because of how I saw my mom deal with relationships as I was growing up, main one being that her and my dad, who separated after I was born. She does not believe in her time being wasted over a guy, especially men that only look for sex. I have definitely taken after that role when it comes to dating or just dealing with men in general.

As women, we should never settle for less…period. If a guy approaches you in an inappropriate way or says something disrespectful, keep it moving. There are definitely moments when I ask myself, “What makes him think that saying what he just said to me is ok?” Then I have to realize that obviously this guy has dealt with some girl that allowed whatever he said to her, so now he thinks it’s ok to say to anyone.

I know we all, as women, have some sense of self-respect and know what our standards are. Sure, there are times of needing someone to comfort, snuggle, and what not; that does not mean we should go for someone who does not respect as a woman. Being single sucks…trust me I know, but I’d rather be single than be desperate and forcing myself into a relationship.

I simply cannot tolerate games and foolishness. I will soon be starting my journey through my 20s, and I would like to start meeting men who can be respectful. I’m not asking for someone who has his whole future planned out and who is ready for a straight up marriage-type relationship. All I ask for is respect, because that seems to be hard to find in these times. A guy that can just say ‘hi’, have a simple conversation, and ask me out on a date. Not too much to ask for…right?

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