I am walking down a street,
It is dark, fruitlessly lit by dim yellow street lights
I am wearing my sports clothes
They are wet and clinging to my body
I am uncomfortable; because they show contours of my body I am trying to modify in the gym
I walk past you, you are standing tall with someone else beside you
right in the middle of a narrow road with cars double parking all the way down the street
‘Fine girl’ you call out, as I squeeze past, my head down and my eyes glued to my phone.
You are convinced I owe you an answer
Or perhaps you are slighted by the fact that
a woman would not indulge your careless and thoughtless attempt
at sexualising her on a random street
With bitterness in your tone
You call out ‘you cannot answer? Will it reduce you to answer?’
For a second, the jab at my insecurity startles me.
There is snickering from your companion. You are encouraged
‘See as you be like man.’
‘See as you be like Taribo West’ you call out and your partner snickers all the more.
I am tempted to turn around to yell out the obvious, which the log sitting comfortably in your eyes would not permit you to notice.
The fact that you, an adult ‘man’, are standing in the middle of a darkly lit street,
In front of a provision store by day, turned beer parlour by night
Wearing a jersey that is at least 2 sizes too small
Not considering your 6-month-pregnancy-sized potbelly squeezing through the shirt, Occupying more space on the street than the entire frame of the other grown man standing next to you
Yelling out invitations to a young woman, rather a form,
for the street is too dark to make out much else,
whose attractiveness or lack thereof
Whose charm or lack there of,
Whose character or lack thereof
Is unknown to you,
And whose silence stuns you to stupefaction and bruises your fragile ego
That all you can do to maintain your ego and masculinity
Is to assume that she looks like a man.
Or perhaps you must be on to something though.
I must look like the man, because you, with your football sized head and swollen beer belly have the semblance of a heavily pregnant woman.
I snicker at you and your perceptiveness.
I raise my head from my phone, chuckling,
The insults you pelt to mask your mental and emotional fragility
Rolling off my back, like water off a duck’s back.
I glide more gracefully down the road.
Oh how that must have hurt you to see
Oh ye of fragile ego
Whose masculinity is threatened by the silence of a random stranger
Watch me sashay away’