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Friday, June 30, 2006

can't touch this

"You need balls in a city like Paris," says my young American friend, her skirt flapping in the wind.

Two young men are yelling after us and following us down a street in the Latin Quarter. They want to talk. I make it clear that we don't, no matter how much they claim to love blonde hair.

"Yeah I've grown a pair of balls," I tell her, "big fucking hairy ones."

I turn around and yell "Non!" To the two young men, quickly getting on my nerves.

On the metro a sweaty man in a baby blue shirt sits across from me with his briefcase. His eyes molest me as I make an effort to avoid his glare. When the person seated beside me gets off, he moves into their seat. His arm brushes up against me several times and I keep shifting away. I feel his eyes run down my face, along my body, and down to my feet. His smell makes me nautious.

I decide to get off early. I make sure he's not getting off, and jump off at the last minute, just in case he's planning on following me home. I just don't like the smell of him, and every alarm in my body is going off.

Don't get me wrong, I love men. But there are nights when I feel threatened by them. Flirting is fun, but avoiding agressive men isn't. I've stopped taking chances.

In the streets two different men ask me for a lighter, I avoid small talk, walk away quickly.

Later my phone rings.

"Bon soir, it's Micheal," a young man who's calls I've been avoiding, "do you want to come to a club tonight?"

"No, I'm busy."

"Do you want to do something tommorrow?"

"No, I'm busy. Look, I can't see you again. I leave in a week and until then I'm very busy." My voice is firm and my French fluent.

For the first time, this overly persistent young man gives up.

"Okay, goodnight."

I pour myself a vodka tonic to celebrate, and realize that yes, Paris has changed me.



Blogger Haley said...

Hey I think it's great that you are more aggressive. I feel like I've been popping in and out of your life in Paris for the last year. It's wild isn't it?!

So are you going home in a week? What are your plans now..if you don't mind me asking of course.


3:24 PM  
Blogger ayah young said...

you're right, we are soooo related.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

. . . and if they get too aggressive, grab their balls and turn them into mush! (smile)

Beautiful photo!!!

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

I remember we talked about this before...
As much as I love attention, coming back to Toronto has been refreshing.
So you're going to be back soon? I was going to send you a CD but I doubt it will get to you in time. Either way, you've got a little Mayer waiting for ya ;)


P.S. Gorgeous, gorgeous photo.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Ms. Glaze said...

You do have to be more aggressive about not wanting sexual attention in Paris. I sometimes wonder if all French men are just walking penises. In one way it's a compliment and in another it can be scary and totally undesirable. I get it a lot at work which baffles me because it's sooooo illegal in the U.S.

They really don't have sexual harrassment laws in France like we do in the U.S.

What was that phrase you taught me to say again!?!?! (hee, hee..)

Ms. Glaze

12:11 AM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Thanks guys.

Haley--I go away to the North of France with the kids in a week until July 27th, then July 30th-August 7th I'm in the South of France, and after a quick bout in London I'll be in Vancouver on the 10th of August!

Annnd eventually I head to Toronto on August 30th.

Feeling slightly scattered right now!

2:13 PM  

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