(1) i am a lady.
(2) i wear skirts.
(3) i work near a construction site.
as a lady who wears skirts and works near a construction site, every day i take a noontime walk to sit on my bench by the river. because this walk leads me past the construction site, i have become bizarrely desensitized to cat calls and long lusty gazes and the phrase "i'd like to get me a piece of that"- which as a lady, makes me feel rather less like a lady and more like an antiquated cadillac part.
this is the stereotypical construction worker culture. it is a tacit social agreement that the people who build our buildings have a right to look at us rather more closely and comment rather more freely than we might like.
but there's something fascinating happening here. simply being in close proximity to a construction site has the capacity to infect passersby with these same mores. the very presence of construction- maybe it's the dirt, the grime, the dust blowing about in the air and swooshing in to cloud people's brains or maybe it's the rather sexual aspect of creating something ginormous from something exceedingly small- whatever it is, it creates a bubble of permissibility. a temporary environment in which things that aren't acceptable are. it's much like the "we're on vacation" mentality. suddenly it's: "we're in a construction zone, baby. i'll say what i want."
it's a phenomenon that today led one standard, non-construction working chicago dude, standing in the construction zone, to brazenly check me out from head to heel, rendering me so uncomfortable that i prematurely crossed the street to escape the construction zone and his gaze- only to have him resurface at my side with the line, "hey, sexy. can we just talk for awhile?"
as though in that long, lusty glance he had diagnosed me as so starved for conversation that i would be willing to speak with a stranger who used the greeting "hey, sexy." that's what construction sites do to people. they fog the senses, dull your perception. he should've looked closer. because i'm a girl with a reading plan- i ain't got time for talking.