I went to grad school at UIC. One nice fall day, I was walking between the east and west campuses. I think I was on Polk, a few blocks east of Ashland. This older man said hi to me, so I said hi back. He seemed perfectly nice, and I keep trying (stupidly) to give people the benefit of the doubt so I don't turn into a misanthrope. So much for that. So he is making small talk (beautiful day, pretty leaves, and such), then comments about the small community hospital nearby and says it's a shame it's closing. What are the neighborhood people going to do, that sort of thing (oh, I don't know - go to Rush, or UIC, or County, being that this is the MEDICAL DISTRICT), ok, he's concerned about his community, that's good. Then, completely out of the blue: "suppose you and I were dating, and we were having intercourse, and I pulled out and flung the condom against the wall. Bye!" and walks off. WTF? It was a verbal flashing.
On the inbound blue line, these guys get on at Pulaski and start harassing people. They are probably in their early 20s and trying to look cool in front of their friends by being complete dicks. The ringleader is just walking around shouting at people, who are all trying hard to ignore them. So he starts to shout at me, and I just cannot take it. I think that their goal is to make people afraid, shut them down, and I just wasn't going to play along (though I am normally not at all confrontational). I said something loudly like "stop shouting at me," not really expecting him to stop and go away - I just had to holla back. So when I get up and wait for the Medical Center stop, he stands behind me and says something like "I'm gonna part your legs and make you scream." I say, "whatever," and he says "did she just call me a n-----?" (he is black and I am white). Um, yeah. You're harassing me, threatening to rape me, and so I call you by the worst term I can think of. I am not stupid! (nor do I use the n-word). I don't know if he really thought I said that or if it was just something else inflammatory for him to say. I wasn't scared since I was getting off the train right then. It was morning rush hour, loads of people around, cops & security probably not too far off. But what if it had been night? No one around? I supposed I wouldn't have holla'ed at all.
I worked at a counseling center in Uptown. I was accompanying a client back from the bank one cold winter day, when this guy honks and waves me to his car at Lawrence just west of Broadway. I figured I must know him - why else would he be waving to me? There are lots of people who work at my agency, it was probably one of the doctors. So I go over there and he asks if I want to get together and go to lunch. What? Um, no! I was so confused. Tries again to get me to go with him, and I just walk away. When I got back to my office, I tell my coworkers, who practically fall down laughing, saying he thought I was a prostitute. He couldn't possibly have thought that though. What prostitute wears a calf-length, wool German navy coat, with a black and white middle eastern scarf over her head, tied under her chin?? I looked like a cold woman who had someplace to be!
Another Uptown incident. We had an employee appreciation lunch at some hotel, so I had dressed up a bit. Had on a dress with above-the-knee skirt, but quite modest. One of my clients was leaving my office at the same time as me, so he walked me partway home. When we got to Lawrence and Broadway, I was just about to tell him it was time to part company when I noticed this guy stopped in his fancy car at the light. He was just smiling and smiling at me, in such a creepy way. I let my client walk me a little further on, until the smiling guy was gone. I didn't tell my client about him - might have been inappropriate - but I sure appreciated his company at that moment. Oh, how I hated Uptown. When I moved to Lakeview and couldn't walk home anymore, I waited for the bus at Clark just south of Lawrence, and guys were constantly checking me out. And I was always dressed for work, nothing revealing! And so often it was middle-class men in nice cars. Why are they cruising Uptown? Ugh. Not to mention the married medical director of the agency, very high profile in his profession, who asked me if I had any other body parts pierced (I have a nose ring). Ick!
~Submitted by Holly.