ATLANTA—Returning home from work Wednesday evening, area woman Caitlin Levy suddenly realized that, quite unusually, she had not been harassed or propositioned for sex even once the entire day, the puzzled 28-year-old told reporters.
Noting that she had experienced a lingering sense of ease and safety all day long that “just felt off,” the paralegal told reporters that, strange as it may sound, she somehow could not recall one single instance from the past 10 hours in which she had been gawked at, hit on repeatedly, or otherwise leered at by a male as she conducted her daily routine.
“Huh, that’s weird,” said Levy, remarking on the fact that at no point during her day did a total stranger attempt to provoke her with suggestive language. “No unwanted sexual advances, no creepy comments, no obscene gestures, nothing.”
“Can that be right?” she asked as she ran down a checklist of emotionally scarring behaviors she has been confronted with every day of her life, in some form or another, since age 13. “No, that’s impossible. I must be forgetting something.”
Starting with her morning bus commute—a 25-minute ride during which she is accustomed to being slowly undressed in the minds of at least one or two passengers—Levy carefully revisited those times of the day when, ordinarily, she is subject to catcalls, hollered at, or gaped at with an unblinking, slack-jawed stare.
Even upon further reflection, however, the puzzled woman was unable to recall any incident that left her feeling humiliated, sexually degraded, or physically threatened in any way.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Levy said in growing bafflement as she recounted walking down the street Wednesday without a single man driving up beside her, asking where she was going, and then trailing her in silence for the next 200 feet. “It’s not like I didn’t walk past any street corners or construction sites today. And that same weird guy was working at the bagel place this morning, only he didn’t even make eye contact with me, much less look me up and down with a lascivious grin.”
“Usually by lunchtime I’ve already heard a wolf-whistle, a sexist remark about my clothing, or at the very least a juvenile wisecrack intended to get a good rise out of me,” Levy continued. “But nothing all day? Seriously, what the hell is going on here?”
According to Levy, even at work she hadn’t been called into her supervisor’s office for no reason whatsoever and asked inappropriate questions about her personal life, and at no point did she overhear two giggling male coworkers in the break room telling a suggestive joke about her and other other women they work with.
Perhaps more mysteriously, not one male superior she passed silently in the halls grinned at her unnervingly and told her that it “wouldn’t hurt to smile,” the 28-year-old confirmed.
“They must be preoccupied with something,” Levy postulated as she brainstormed a list of personal issues—including unpaid bills, missed appointments, and relationship problems—that likely precluded colleagues from inventing reasons to walk by her desk and steal a furtive glance at her chest. “Yeah, that must be it. Maybe everyone at work, and on the bus, and on the street, just coincidentally has stuff going on in their lives right now that’s distracting them.”
“On the other hand, what if something’s wrong with me?” a visibly shaken Levy added. “I didn’t change anything about my schedule, and I don’t think I look any different than I did yesterday. But if that’s true, then why didn’t a single person call me ‘sweetie’ today, or try to ascertain whether I had a boyfriend, or clearly turn their head and watch me from behind as I walked past them?”
Levy then politely excused herself to go thoroughly examine her appearance for anything—anything at all—that might help explain why she hadn’t been aggressively harassed or demeaned in nearly 24 hours.
“Maybe I’m just living in an alternate universe,” she said after returning with a look of utter bewilderment. “An alternate universe where I don’t want to crawl into a hole 35 times per day.”
At press time, Levy reportedly signed into her e-mail account, discovered a new message with a picture of a coworker’s genitalia, and said, “Oh, never mind. There it is.”