Welcome To The Bitchery

On my train ride

I’m very fortunate in that during my daily train commute, random people don’t attempt to talk to me. I’ve been commuting for over a year now, and I can only think of one person who has tried to have a conversation with me. Well, tonight, this older guy sat next to me and after a few minutes, he asked me if I was of a particular South Asian descent that he happened to be from. I am not, so I told him that. He said that I looked like I was [South Asian ethnicity]. Then he asked me where I was from. I lied and said, “Here. America.” And then he asked me if my parents were from America too. Lied again. I’m Middle Eastern and wasn’t born in America, but I did NOT want to have this discussion. Then he asked me for my name, and I said, “Sorry, I’m not comfortable sharing my name.” And for whatever fucking reason, I felt like an asshole for saying that. I HATE that I feel like an asshole because I KNOW I was not.

He mentioned that this was the first time he was visiting my particular city/area. I replied with, “Oh, that’s nice!” Then, he asked me if I studied in the city, and if so, what. So I just answered him, and I guess the fact that I kept staring back at my phone and wasn’t trying to make eye contact made him realize that I didn’t want to talk. I just felt so uncomfortable.

I’m...kinda upset with myself because I feel bad, and realistically, I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t think I was rude, and even if I was, so what? I had a long day and was tired and didn’t want to speak to anyone. If someone else was writing this, I know the first thing I would say to them is that, “You have no obligation to hold a conversation with strangers just to seem polite.” Why can’t I listen to myself? Why do I feel bad or rude? I hate that women/girls are socialized this way. Ugh.


ETA: I guess I just want to add this...one of the main reasons I feel bad is because I don’t want this dude to think that the reason I was not holding a conversation with him was because of his background. I just didn’t want him to think that I was being discriminatory or was put-off by his ethnicity.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter