The Little Man Who Bullied Me on the Way to Sainsbury’s

Chilling on the beach

I was all checked in to my London airbnb, showered, sorted, phone and laptop on charge and I went to get some food from the Sainsbury’s a three-minute walk away. A 50-ish year old Indian guy walked towards me and just as he was 1 second past me, he muttered…

“You’ve got fat legs”

I couldn’t actually believe what I’d just heard. It took me a few seconds to realise that yes, he had just said that to me. I turned around to challenge him but he’d scuttled off. I debated just ignoring it and carrying on but decided I wasn’t having that. I ran after him.

“Excuse me, what did you just say?” – I demanded behind him.

He ignored me.

“What did you just say?”

“I didn’t say nuffin,” – he said, still walking.

“Yes, you did. You were just rude to me. I heard you.”

At that point he turned round bent finger pointing.

“Why the fuck would I look at you?” he sneered.

“I heard you say…”

“Why the FUCK would I LOOK at YOU? WHY THE FUCK WOULD I LOOK AT YOU?
WHY, THE FUCK, WOULD I LOOK, AT YOU?”

He just kept repeating his question in the middle of the street. Shouting in my face, smaller than me with his ugly face twisted in anger, hooked nose a twitching.

I wanted to argue, I really did, not with the fact I have fat legs, I agree that they’re not the slimmest, I never said they were. I tend to note it myself on a daily basis – I don’t need anyone else pointing it out for me. I wanted to argue with this dirty little rat of a ‘man’ thinking he has the right to make comments like that to women he passes on the street.

I hadn’t even asked him if he was ‘looking at me’ anyway, I’d asked what he’d said. So, childlike logic says he was looking at me.

There was no point in challenging him any further though. This was not someone capable of conversation. He just kept repeating himself louder and louder, and faster every time. I couldn’t get a word in, and I wasn’t about to raise my voice level to his to repeat what he’d just said on the crowded Stockwell street.

Stung me enough the first time.

Instead I stared at him silently, looking him up and down as he shouted. Then I smiled and just walked off back in the direction I was going.

“You ugly BITCH,” he shouted after me.

Good one.

Some girls over the road had come round the corner and stumbled on the whole event, they asked if I was ok. I was. I’m glad I challenged him. He couldn’t actually even repeat what he’d said, whether out of shame at himself or the shock of getting called up on it. He just resorted to some lame one-insult-suits-all when under pressure.

I don’t know why. I found what he’d muttered a lot more offensive that what he ended up shouting in my face. As if, in his beady eyes, I’d want someone like him to be looking at me?

As I walked into Sainsbury’s my hands were shaking. I’ve read about how people have been stabbed for less in London and usually I’d let something like this go, thanks to that fear. That guy was obviously seething with rage, for some reason, offended by the mere presence of my legs wandering the streets.

Sad, sad little man. I can’t imagine the thought process of the type of person who would think to call someone up on something like that, let alone actually do it.

So yeah, within two hours of arriving at my new home for the month, I have an enemy on the streets and even more of a complex about my thighs. Great.


Sunday update

And then this morning, on my way back from the gym where I’d done an hour of Spin followed by an hour or HIIT Aerobics, I get this…

“Mmm you have a nice fat naan bread, I’d like to pour liquor on it and eat it all up”

W.T.F?

W.T.A.F?

Some black dude who by the look on his face was saying it as a compliment, also felt the need to comment on my body shape. I Googled what naan bread meant in that context – Google didn’t know either. But he was looking at my bum, I know.

Again, the shock left me dumb. I just carried on this time, and text my friend to find out when the streets of London had become a judging panel instead.

My friend’s reply?

“1) I was at a birthday meal and this man next to me was asking if I did cocaine, I said I did not and in front of everyone he said, ‘why not you’ve got the nose for it‘.
I was so mortified I couldn’t reply.
2) I was sat with my boyfriend and some friends by the canal and two girls came up laughing and said to him, ‘you are far, far too good looking (turned to look and point at me in disgust) for that girl‘.”
– I can tell you absolutely, positively, neither of those statements are true.

What’s happened London?

Everyone a body critic these days? 

What would you have done?

More on life stuff

Week in the life of a travel bloggerBest Worst Life Events
My Favourite Photos from 2 Days in Mykonos
Why I'm Moving Back to London
tagged in street life

21 Comments

  1. by Tara Povey on July 24, 2016  7:46 pm Reply

    Oh my God this is outrageous. I'm off to London in the morning. Will keep you posted if I experience anything! Hopefully not though. I nearly got kicked out of a night club once for going mad at a man who had walked right up to me and said "nice tits". God job on standing up for yourself.

    • by Vicky on July 24, 2016  7:55 pm Reply

      Thanks Tara, I'm glad I did. He obviously didn't expect me too. The way he said it as he was just past me was disgusting, well even more disgusting. He could say comments like that all day every day to women, or he could've just been so disturbed by my legs that he felt the need to speak out today – who knows? I hope I've made him think twice about doing it again. I wish I could've said more but he just wasn't listening or leaving a gap in his shouting to me. Good on you too. Some people really are just nasty.

  2. by Roma on July 24, 2016  8:25 pm Reply

    Oh Vic. Good on you for taking a stand but rude bastatus need a big slap IMO!

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:36 am Reply

      Thanks Roma, yeah he definitely needed that. How can he think he has the position to tell me that?! Crazy fool. Hope I don't see him again.

  3. by Helen on July 24, 2016  8:42 pm Reply

    Oh My God! I would have given all of them a right mouthful! Maybe not the best course of action!

    Sorry you met these horrible people babe. Ignore them. Says a whole lot about them and nothing about you.

    xxxxxxxxx

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:35 am Reply

      Yeah that's what I'm telling myself. Just disgusting that he thinks he can make such hurtful personal comments to people and then carry on with his day. I hope he thinks again about doing it to someone else as it would've been easier to just let it go. Horrible person.

  4. by Gail Varney on July 24, 2016  8:43 pm Reply

    That is outrageous. Glad we live up here in the midlands where mostly all you get is a nod and a smile. So sorry to hear that lovely. You are beautiful inside and out xx

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:33 am Reply

      Thanks Gail. There's definitely some weirdos in London, I'll see how today goes but maybe I'll join you!

  5. by Angelica on July 24, 2016  9:45 pm Reply

    I don't understand people. What is the point of them opening their mouth to comment like that ? I actually had something similar happen to me today but I wasn't sure if I actually heard the man across from me say what I thought he said..packed train and he was talking with a friend normally before and afterwards. I wanted to shout back too and I would have if I paid more attention and was 100% certain. Hopefully you don't have any more encounters like this one and if you do, stand up like you did for yourself now!

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:32 am Reply

      Exactly! Even if you're thinking it, what good would ever come from saying it? He obviously just enjoys putting people down to make himself feel better. Classic horrible behaviour. Yeah I was like that, I mean I knew he'd said it but couldn't actually believe he'd said it. My friend was telling me that yesterday a girl at a mutual friends' BBQ had told her she had 'big eyes that made her look like Gollum and mousey hair' – WTF?! Why is everyone being mean to each other? Has this become acceptable?

  6. by Jayne on July 24, 2016  11:14 pm Reply

    What the hell. I'm so glad you challenged that evil little man - maybe he will think twice about insulting women he passes in future. And the naan bread? That's just gross. So sorry you had to experience these things. There's lots I miss about London but the lurid comments you are susceptible to as a woman out walking alone is not one of them.

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:28 am Reply

      This kind of thing never used to happen in St Johns Wood! I remember you used to get grief in Kilburn though. Horrible little man. Yeah I hope so too – he definitely didn't expect me to come after him. And yeah, naan bread man was gross too. Scared to leave the house today!

  7. by Arianwen on July 25, 2016  10:03 am Reply

    Wow. Sorry to hear that! Good on you for standing up to him. I know I never would.

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  1:07 pm Reply

      Yeah I bet he's done it loads of times before and no one has said anything to him, that's why he had to respond by shouting at me and swearing. Hope it's made him think twice!

  8. by Ersie Courea on July 25, 2016  10:28 am Reply

    it's not London. It's human nature. He probably has something nagging him! Ignore this kind of toxic comment and move away!

  9. by Vicki Winters on July 25, 2016  10:31 am Reply

    I remember being on my rollerblades in New York City and a black man said to me "you've got some thick legs". To him it was a compliment, in his mind he was going to be getting some action for that compliment. To me, it was devastating. Also never forget the girls in camp also never forget the girls at summer camp who put a sign over my bed, "Fatso sleeps here."

    Fucking skinny bitches. I was the one who got in trouble because I got mad and angry.

    And the shoe salesman who looked at my calves and said you expect to buy boot with calves that size? I must have been 11 years old....never ever forgot that... Could things like those things be driving young women to eating disorders and depression? You can bet your fat asses it does.....

  10. by Hand Luggage Only on July 25, 2016  11:23 am Reply

    Good on your for calling out that guy! I think people who feel like they can speak like that are actually quite vile and I’m pleased for you that you actually got the chance to call him up on his BS. It may have rattled you but I bet it bothered him even more (especially judging from his reaction) and I reckon it’ll make his think twice about saying something like that to another woman.

    One thing I do have to say though is that your post makes it sound like you also have an issue with the race of the guys. “A 50-ish year old Indian guy” and “Some black dude” makes it sound like the race or ethnicity of these guys seems to you to be part of the problem. If it were a white man, you wouldn’t have described him as ““A 50-ish year old white guy” or “Some white dude” and instead have focused on other physical traits/descriptives. If race truly is an issue to you then its your blog and its your platform to talk about it. I’m guessing it isn’t the key issue here but your blog post does make it sound like it is. I would just like to point out the obvious here – not all black or Indian guys are like these guys you’ve met. They don’t speak for all of us. Most of us are well behaved and would never dream of saying anything like that to a woman on the street.

    Again, huge HUGE kudos to you for standing up for yourself. No one should be made to feel the way those guys made you feel and I think its absolutely fantastic that you stood up for yourself.

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  1:03 pm Reply

      I definitely would've said about the race. If he was white I would've said 'an old white guy'. I think it adds to the story and gives more of a background of what had happened so my readers could envisage it. I knew someone would pick up on that though. Am I being ageist too by saying he was 50ish?

      These are just physical descriptions to help readers see it as I saw it. If we're going into it, the fact it was a little Indian guy makes it more surprising in my personal experience of Indian people, and the way the second guy spoke added to the ridiculousness of his statement it my eyes. I feel it helped the story to know he was a black dude.

      I've spoke to a lot of Indian people, and black people (yeah I went out with a guy from Sudan for six years, I'll just throw that in there) and I know they're not all like that. I didn't write anything in that story that suggested I thought they were. I lived in London for 7 years, I've travelled the world for two, I can assure you I know these two people aren't representative of their race. It was just a physical description, like I said he was shorter than me.

      Thanks for your comment. I hope it does stop him doing anything similar again, and to think about the effect a casual comment like that can have. Someone suggested on my Facebook page that I shouldn't have challenged him, but I think it's important to help stop people thinking behaviour like that is ok.

      • by Hand Luggage Only on August 17, 2016  10:02 pm Reply

        That's' cool. Didn't think you were to be honest, that's why it read funny to me. :-) Still, very pleased you stood up for yourself cos you're standing up for other people who can't.

  11. by Steve Biggs on July 27, 2016  6:11 pm Reply

    Maybe a case of the fable "the fox and the grapes"? In his head he was annoyed that he couldn't have something (namely you) and instead insulted you as a way of saying "I didn't want them grapes anyway"!

    • by Vicky on August 1, 2016  12:52 pm Reply

      Yeah, maybe. I think he was a weirdo who just liked saying stuff like that for some weird power trip because he didn't think I'd say anything. Messed with the wrong girl there :) I'm going to read that fable now.

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