A Post of Two Cities

So, there are lots of things that are different between San Francisco and New York City. There's the weather, the size, the unique NY garbage smell, and SF's general sense of carefree liberalism compared to NY's angsty liberalism. Yes, they are both major cities with a serious leftist bent, but obviously they've got drastically different cultures within that.

Canvassing in New York City is also somewhat different. It's definitely the same animal, but perhaps a slightly different breed. It's harder to get people to smile at you as they pass by without stopping. They're way more in a hurry and used to be hassled. They've got the blinders on in a way that San Franciscans never did.

One major difference between the cities, both in canvassing and just in being on the street, is that I get street harassed a lot less here than I did in the West. I'm not really sure why. It could be because San Francisco, as Aviva suggested in the comments on that first post, has a more lenient attitude in general over what's acceptable public behavior. If sexual behavior in public is easier to get away with, does that make sexual harassment easier too? I don't know, but I can see the difference.

Now, I do still get bugged. People definitely hit on me when I'm in public, but it's so much more polite. It's still annoying, but much less so when someone says "Pardon my saying this, but you're very pretty," than when they ask my friend, "Hey, is that your girlfriend? I'd put that on my tongue," or just shout "You're hot" from their seat in a door frame.

I'm still not sure how to respond to street come-ons. I'm thinking calm honesty would probably be the best policy. You know, respond like I would if I was canvassing. "Thank you. It makes me uncomfortable that you say that, but thanks. It's weird on the street." I said something to that affect to a guy who wanted my number the other day, and it worked really well. He just said "That's cool, I understand" and walked away.

Has anyone had any successful rejoinders to this kind of stuff? I'd be interested to hear what works for you.


On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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