“On the day Brett Kavanaugh was voted into the Supreme Court despite multiple, very credible accusations of sexual misconduct, I left my apartment. I went around town, running errands while trying not to cry. I walked along Market Street. A man catcalled me. ‘Are you fucking kidding me,’ I said, flaring brave, for once, with fury. ‘Today, of all days.’
“It was late afternoon and I was on a crowded street, but even so, when I saw his face go rigid, I was terrified. I wished I hadn’t said anything. I walked away as fast as I could.”
—R. O. Kwon (x)
I wonder if that man knew what she was talking about. Probably not, right? It probably never occurred to him that catcalling makes you sound like a rapist. Even if it did, he probably wouldn’t make the connection between his own boorishness and the confirmation of a justice. Who knows, he may not even pay that much attention to the news. He may have the luxury of thinking the news doesn’t have much effect on his life. His face probably went rigid because he was taken aback, even embarrassed, to be mysteriously confronted by someone he thought was nothing to him, an unexpected human being, somebody he had angered and hurt. Maybe he’s been shaken. Maybe he won’t do it again.
I’m tagging this “failures of human connection” despite it being a situation where, on one side, a connection is hardly possible, and on the other side, it’s hardly even conceptualized.
Is it wrong, or sad, that I devote so much more thought to this man’s psychology than he has given it himself? Is it wrong, or sad, that I devote so little to the woman’s—and that I have so little need to?