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Calling out Catcalling | Note 21

I swear that I will write soon about something – anything – that’s good and wholesome and that brings me joy, but for now it seems that I must push through a bunch of stuff that makes my blood boil. Bear with me. We’re doing important work here.

[trigger warning: sexual abuse]

The hotel on the outskirts of Liège looked worse than expected, but the dirty carpets and the faint smell of cigarettes didn’t bother me half as much as the supposedly appreciative hooting that welcomed us in the lobby. M. and I stood at the reception desk trying not to pay attention to the four construction workers who didn’t even bother lowering their voices as they discussed the event of our arrival. (Perhaps they didn’t suspect that we could catch the meaning of whatever Slavic language they spoke in.) Finally, one of them half-shouted toward us: “Do you speak English?”

I so hoped that they were not drunk enough to go further than making their weird sounds at us. I hoped that blatantly exchanging comments between themselves would be enough. Luckily, M. and I were just given our room card. Walking away, careful not to make eye contact, I threw a dry “non, pas du tout, désolé”.

We ascended a flight of stairs to our accommodation and turned the knob of the lock behind ourselves. Luck had it that there was only one duvet in the twin room. Hoping that a stern face would be enough to deter any further attention, I volunteered to ask for another one in the lobby.

Standing at the counter again I could feel the four pairs of eyes boring into my back. Finally, the same man spoke again over the chuckle of his mates. “Do you speak English?” I pretended not to hear. “Hey, miss,” the sound of his chair moving on the floor told me that he got off his seat. My heart... continue reading now→


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