My Dear Emerson has a new coworker, with whom he loves working. Yesterday, we drove past a cyclist, and he began to chuckle.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Oh, man, I was thinking about something Coworker said the other day."
"Oh, you know, girls who cycle. He said sometimes they pull up on the street waiting at lights near him, and he said to me, 'You know, sometimes I just want to reach out the window and smack that gorgeous ass. Just smack it, and drive off.'" Emerson gives me slightly goofy grin.
"Ah," I say. "Well, you know that does happen, right?"
Like shaking an Etch-a-Sketch. Utter dismay now. "Wait, what? People do that?"
"Yep. You hear about it often — women who can't even feel safe cycling or jogging in exercise clothes, because some asshole decides it's okay to harass them by slapping their butts or grabbing them, or yelling suggestive stuff."
Emerson, struggling with the concept: "But — that's sexual harassment! I mean, okay, it's one thing to think about it, because you would never ever actually do that to someone, you know? Like, okay, passing thought. But people actually DO IT?"
"Yes, my dear," I sigh. "People actually do it. A lot. They see an attractive woman and think, hey, public property."
My Dear Emerson, thinking silently a moment. Then: "I think you should stick with your yoga class. No one harasses you there, do they?"
"No, but I don't particularly like to cycle or jog, either. If I did, I would have a hard time making myself do something else because of a few entitled assholes."
My Dear Emerson muses over this. Then, slightly hurt: "Women shouldn't have that happen to them. That's just not right."
Me, smiling. "No, it is most definitely not right. And the fact that you can see that makes me feel a little better."