Staring and Sensing

So there are like a billion dudes on the KIV, compared to a few hundred women. Anyone with boobs gets stared at all the time, especially by the foreign guys (and especially the Georgians and Afghans for whatever reason). At first it’s kinda flattering—hey, people think I’m attractive!—but after a few days it becomes obnoxious, then disturbing, and then infuriating. I hold my head either down or up to ignore the constant staring, to the point I want to stop in the middle of the road and scream, “Stop fucking staring at me!

For such a small space, the KIV has a lot of poorly-lit areas. It’s a strange sensation walking through these dead zones and fearing, even just a little bit, that someone might jump and rape you despite the gun strapped to your thigh.

Apparently I’m not the only female who feels this way, as a recent climate survey revealed—as almost every climate survey since the beginning of time has revealed, to the consistent shock of male leadership. So they got all us lady-folk together for a “sensing session” to talk about our lady-problems, in a women-only lady-safe environment, all of which will be passed on to the men-folk.

And so we preach to the choir for about an hour. One woman lists off a few public bathrooms on the KIV we can use without being spied on by Peeping Toms. I make a mental note.

Dudes are still staring at me.

Later, I see this sign:


“Does your wife wear the pants in your relationship?” “Does your mundane lifestyle make you feel emasculated?” “Are you an Alpha male (but in reality, you tuck tail)?” “Don’t be a sissy your whole life!”

Eliminate my weak, feminine qualities with grappling. Got it!

All genders welcomed. Huh. Doesn’t read that way on the sign.

Now a man who brags about “grabbing women by the pussy” is my new boss.

A day after the election, I sit on the sidelines of a small meeting of senior leadership—all male, all white. The head of the group, the highest-ranking guy, laughs about “what a day we had.” Everyone else at the table laughs with him, I suppose confident in the fact they’ll never be grabbed by the pussy or beaten for the color of their skin.

The very first item on the agenda? Lack of participation in the female sensing session.

“Less than fifty percent of females showed up,” one man laments. “It’s like they don’t care.”

I’m pretty sure “they” is the wrong pronoun.

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