Before we set out to the bus stop, I confidently stated that by insisting on chaperoning I was merely reinforcing the “stranger danger” myth – that women are most at risk outside the house. The vivid stories of people attacked by strangers are easier – and more ‘comforting’ – copy for hacks repeating known tropes of the Enemy Out There than the grim reality of domestic violence.
I was, as is so often the case, wrong.
Just in the fifteen minutes we stood waiting for the bus, the pretty woman (and I don’t think it really would have made any significant difference if she’d been chew-leg-off-ugly) and I had two really sketchy moments. One from two guys swaggering past, casting covetous eyes on my bike, and the other from morons in a car, laughing at the ‘losers’ without their own wheels and an internal combustion engine. I can’t prove it, but I think these incidents would have been uglier if either of us – but especially her – had been on our own.
What a miserable and fear-inspiring place this city – this country – can be. In other countries we (the species) don’t behave like this to each other. “There is no such thing as society” – a prediction that fascist crone did everything she could to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Helped ably by the meat puppets who followed her.
Am I glad that I over-ruled myself and reinforced the patriarchy? Tonight, yes.