Sunday, September 14, 2014

What Boundaries?

Is it just my perception, or do a lot of people have boundary issues?

I've been feeling that a lot lately.  Recently, I've encountered an abundance of men who think it's okay to touch me, put their arm around me - or even kiss me - without my express consent.  Why do they think that's okay?  That's not okay!  DO NOT TOUCH PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW.

Last Friday, I crossed paths with a plethora of boundary-blind citizens.  I was in New York, working as an extra for a television show, and there was a 20-something guy who would not. stop. touching me. I'd had this problem before on set, but with someone whom I'd come in contact with on a previous occasion and was already friendly with (though the touching was still inappropriate and unwanted).  This time, however, this guy and I hadn't spoken one word to each other before he decided to come up and put his arm around me.  I politely pushed him away, but when he did it a second time I said, "What makes you think it's okay to touch me?  Stop touching me!"  He stopped, but didn't seem phased by my reaction.  Whatever.

Later, on the ferry ride back to my car, I had a much creepier incident.  The ferry was less than halfway full and I was seated with nobody around me, my bags in front of the adjacent seat.  I got on my phone to call Husband and a large man holding a smelly sandwich came up and stood in front of me, motioning for me to move my bags so that he could sit down.  I moved them, though I regretted it immediately.  He sat down directly beside me, began eating his sandwich, and put his arm around the back of my chair, as though we were a couple.  What.  No.

Here's a helpful diagram of the incident:

Clearly, this dude could have sat in one of many open seats, but he chose to encroach upon my personal space.  I tried to speak, flustered, to Husband on the phone, but I couldn't concentrate.  I got up and walked to the back of the ferry where I stayed until the boat docked.  I carried my pepper spray in hand as I walked to my car, where I encountered...

A girl peeing.  Right next to my driver's side door.  What the HELL.  NO.

Okay, look.  I get it if you have to pee really bad and there's nowhere to go, but this was the ferry parking lot.  She just got off the ferry.  There are bathrooms on the ferry.  There are bathrooms in the ferry terminal.  The parking lot is NOT A BATHROOM.  IT IS NOT OKAY TO PEE IN A PARKING LOT SO CLOSE TO SOMEONE'S CAR THAT THEY'LL HAVE TO STEP OVER A PUDDLE TO DRIVE AWAY.

At that point, it was all I could do to not lose my shit.  I did not want to end a long day by fighting a drunk girl and getting arrested, so I held my tongue, waited until she pulled up her panties, got into my car, and drove away, incredulous of the day I'd had.  I blamed the solar flares, but really, people just need to learn some manners.

On the way home, I called my husband to complain and he pointed out that I was hired that day to kiss a stranger during a scene (I didn't end up having to do it) and that it seemed ironic I was complaining about people not respecting my personal boundaries.  Here's why that's irrelevant:  boundaries are defined by the individual.  If I agreed to kiss a stranger and that stranger kissed me, then that person is not violating my boundary.  If, however, I was hired to kiss a stranger, I wasn't used in that scene, and a random stranger came up and kissed me anyway, that person IS violating my boundary.  See the distinction?

Anyway, maybe the people who do this kind of stuff don't really care how they make other people feel.  Maybe I'm too sensitive.  Maybe I should be less friendly and learn to scowl rather than smile at strangers.  Maybe I need to carry a stun gun instead of pepper spray.  Whatever the case may be, I would like to invite the creepy, gross people of the world to just stop being creepy and gross.  That would be great.  Thanks.

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