Rachel is one of those preternatural beings whose top notch personality is the only thing that transcends her 5’11” Nordic good looks. None of this matters (all we are is dust in the wind; it has little to do with the story that follows, outside of the fact that she is a woman, this is an interview, and that’s how they all begin).
Moving on… bonnie, talented, and extremely woke Rachel’s sapphire blue eyeballs suffered a hideous injustice last month when a grotesque but run-of-the-mill sexual predator exposed himself to her. I’m here to talk to her about her experience.
In your own words, describe what happened.
R: I work in Brooklyn and frequently park on the street under the BQE in a pretty well-trafficked, busy area. This day I was feeding my meter at lunch and taking a quick phone call in my car when I felt someone standing near my passenger-side window. With what he was wearing, I figured it was a businessman stopping to look down at his phone. Turns out he was NOT looking at his phone, but instead unzipping his pants and flashing me. Just standing there. With his penis. At my eye level. And not moving—despite my honking, banging on the window, yelling…
That is horrifying. Did anybody else see?!
I don’t think so. He angled it in such a way that it was only viewable to me and the side mirror.
What did you say or do that caused him to expose himself to you?
Probably be born a female. And be naïve enough to think that you can make a phone call in your car in broad daylight without having to look at a man’s penis.
Mm hmm. What were you wearing at the time?
A long sleeve shirt and mom jeans. Flats. Clothes. So yeah. I guess I was taking a gamble.
How much had you had to drink?
A non-alcoholic morning coffee.
How many sexual partners have you had?
Did you consider that maybe it’s just a compliment?
Joking aside, did you react in any way?
My first reaction was confusion, like what is he doing? Peeing? Does he know I’m here? So I honked and yelled. And then very quickly, when he didn’t move I got scared. It felt more like an act of aggression. The thing I realized is that being flashed is violating, not because I hadn’t seen a penis before, but more because this person is willing to cross social norms. You’re thinking, if he’d be willing to do this to me against my will, what else is he capable of doing? I was kind of paralyzed and didn’t move from my car for a while, even after he ran away.
What about him, did he have a response to your reaction?
Well, I think he probably enjoyed me freaking out. I’ve read that’s part of the appeal. He stayed there as long as he could before someone walked by behind him.
I wonder if he’s done this before. What do you think?
For sure. He did it in a way that I couldn’t see his face and he wouldn’t get caught. It didn’t feel like this guy’s first rodeo.
Bad (or sick) guy. Now that some time has passed, are you still haunted?
A little bit. It took a while before I parked my car over there again, out of the unlikely fear that’d he’d return. Also, my illusion that you are generally safe while you’re walking around the city has been bruised a little. Like when a “normal” looking, well-dressed, middle-aged man could decide to do something like that out of the blue you’re kind of like, what new freak show could present itself to me today?
You’re so right. The closest memory I have to what you’re describing is my very first summer working in New York, I took the bus to my very chic internship. You would see the same faces, day in and day out. One man got on at the stop after me. He always stared 3 seconds too long, but I took pity on him because he resembled Lee Harvey Oswald and that must’ve been some cross to bear his whole life. Anyway, one day I had fallen asleep on the ride home and as she was exiting the bus, an attractive businesswoman said very pointedly to me, “What a perv,” signaling with her eyes she meant him.
I’d been wearing this tight Calvin Klein shirt and I never wore it again, thinking maybe he’d been staring lasciviously throughout the 75-minute bus ride. In 2018, I wonder if it was something far more sinister.
Ugh, that poor woman.
Tell me about it. So I retired my top. Is there anything you would do differently in your case?
I think if it happened again, and I have presence of mind, I wouldn’t give him ANY reaction. That way he’d have nothing to get off on. Also—if I’m feeling brave, I’d get out of the car and try to take a picture of him so I could give the police more than just a description.
…I think you’ve seen enough for one lifetime. Any concluding thoughts?
There are a lot of creeps out there in the world. Creeps on a bus, creeps by your car, creeps to make you a superstar.
These are the breaks, break it up break it up break it up!