It was 9:45 pm. Hardly witching hour, but still dark out. I was walking up 8th Avenue to meet a friend, reading twitter on my phone. A man I didn't know fell into step beside me.
"I just thought you should know, you look very attractive in that outfit."
I spared a side glance at him, didn't break my stride, then replied while looking at my phone, "I just thought you should know, that makes me uncomfortable."
Now, as NYC catcalling goes, as pedestrian sexual harassment goes, this was fairly mild. Polite, even. So I replied politely but firmly that this wasn't great behavior on his part.
"You can just take the compliment." Again, not an aggressive tone, but he's pressing the issue when he should back away.
"Yes, but you don't know me and I don't know you and so it makes me uncomfortable."
He said something else but I peeled away into a u-turn to cross the street, and I didn't hear it.
Here's the thing - I believe he didn't mean anything cruel by it. He didn't cuss me out. He didn't corner me against a wall. He wasn't a potential rapist. He didn't even call me a bitch (that I'm aware). But he also didn't realize that even what he did was inappropriate, was a quiet form of harassment.