Before I start I really ought to acknowledge that a Greek man has just apologised for whacking the back of my chair with something heavy, but he works here so he’s probably got his eye on a tip. When I knew we were moving here I’d managed to persuade myself that I could cope with the fact that as a woman I would be pretty much invisible. For instance, my name isn’t on our rental contract, because …well, why would it be? I have a husband who pays the rent and so why would I be on there? That’s okay and I can live with it but what I do find difficult is the way in which my physicial presence is often completely ignored. Ignored to the point that I’m literally pushed out of the way by men. It’s happened too often for it to be a a couple of instances of bad manners.
It seems that the only time I’m not ignored by men is when I’m sitting on the bus or the metro and some slack-jawed, unshaven, unkempt man of about 70 has decided that I’m up for a good time with him and all he has to do is stare at me long enough and I’ll be ripping off my clothes and shouting, ‘come and get me, big boy’. Today’s specimen thought that digging around in his nose with his finger would add some appeal to things. The only thing to do in this situation is to not, under any circumstances, make eye contact with them. Make eye contact and you might as well have dropped your knickers on the floor of the bus. Of course you know how difficult it is not to look at someone when you can feel their eyes drilling into you and last week on the bus I found myself sniggering at the absurdity of the whole thing. I was forced to get my phone out and pretend to be reading an amusing text to cover up for the fact that I may have lost my mind and have finally turned into that woman on the bus that no one wants to end up sitting next to. But it seems that even madness won’t put them off.