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5 Things I Wish I’d Said to the Men Who Grabbed and Groped

(Photo: Peggy Marco/Pixabay)

(Photo: Peggy Marco/Pixabay)

 It’s inevitable. Someone wrongs you, and then you think of the perfect response hours later. Here are some of the things I wish I had said to the numerous men who have flashed me, touched me and invaded my sexual space over the years:

When I was maybe 10 years old, my little sister and I were walking home from the bus stop after school and our neighbor, an elderly Irish man, was outside of his home waiting for us. He was creepy and not all there mentally (knowing what I know now, I wonder if he had dementia or if he was drunk). Anyway, he had his penis out, and he was trying to masturbate as he was talking to us on the street corner. I didn’t quite grasp what was happening, but I knew we had to get out there. I never trick-o-treated at their house after that.

To him I say:

“Leave thy neighbor alone.”

In middle school, my best friend and I were standing on the street outside our town’s main shopping mall when a white guy in his 20s with a big mustache pulled up in a Datsun hatchback. He was wearing a puffy ski jacket…and nothing else. He had a big erection, which seemed to be saying: “LOOK AT ME!”

He sat there for about a minute or so, and then drove away. We looked at each other in disbelief: “Did you see what I saw?” Believe it or not, we were flashed again as adults when we were out together one evening in New York City.

To him I say:

“Tom Selleck wants his moustache back.”

In college, I went to talk to one of my Spanish professors about a project. He had a big beard and a large office filled with books. Somehow, I found myself sitting on the couch next to him with his hands all over me. I got out of there as quickly as possible. I got a B in his class, incidentally.

To him I say:

“Hasta la vista, baby.”

I was returning to New York City from a weekend at the Jersey Shore on a casino bus, which is a personal violation unto itself. (You may recall the Sex & The City episode where the girls come back from an Atlantic City trip on the casino bus after Samantha gets dumped by her beau.)

I fell asleep against the window and woke up to find my seatmate’s fingers trying to get into my pants. He was a young Asian kid, maybe 20 or so. I grabbed his hand, put it back onto his lap and slapped it. Then I pulled my sweatshirt over me like a blanket and went back to sleep.

To him I say:

“Just hop off the bus, Schmuck.”

I was heading to the office on the subway, and I noticed a middle-aged man sitting across from me holding a newspaper. Then I saw that his pants were down and his erect penis was pointing like an arrow in my direction. He was black and — if memory serves — in professional dress. He seemed so FUCKING proud of himself. I moved seats in disgust. Apologies for defaulting to horrible racist stereotypes, but I really wish I had commented on his penis size just to bring him down a peg or two. I honestly thought of this zinger, however, hours after the shock of being flashed on a New York City subway wore off.

To him I say:

“That’s nothing to brag about.”

Filed under: Culture


Lauren Young

Lauren Young is the Wealth editor at Reuters, where she oversees personal finance, wealth management and investing coverage. Formerly of BusinessWeek and SmartMoney, you can find her on Twitter: @LaurenYoung


  1. Bonnie R Young says

    Hi Lauren,
    I never knew you and your sister were flashed as a child. Another thing I can feel guilty about!!
    Your Mother

  2. Kenju says

    I was flashed three times; ages 10, 17 and 22. I wish I had been quick enough to think of a withering retort but all I could think of was shame and disbelief.

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