Dear Amy: The other day, I was out for a jog when two young men pointed their cameras at me and shouted a disgusting and pejorative slang word referring to my breasts, which I cannot repeat here.
I was humiliated and angry with them for their behavior, but I didn't know the best way to respond: Introduce myself and engage in conversation? Grab their camera and throw it in the street?
What should I do the next time this happens to me?
Objectified: Depending on where you live, street harassment such as you experienced might be illegal. Check stopstreetharassment.org for guidelines. The organization also runs a hotline: Call 855-897-5910.
When this happens again, consider calling the police to report it. If you suspect they are workers at a job site, report them to the company.
Most harassment is about power; these people want to objectify you so that they feel strong and you feel weak. Try to maintain your outer confidence (rage helps). Always remember that you are stronger, smarter and greater than they are — otherwise they wouldn’t need to call you out to feel better! Think of yourself as Teflon; nothing sticks to you. Or if you prefer, be Wonder Woman, repelling the male gaze with your “Bracelets of Submission”!
Everyone handles something like this differently, and you need to do what works best for you. You could try to ignore it, or you could go my daughter’s route: stopping in your tracks and fixing them with your best death stare (she has also called the police when she has witnessed or experienced harassment on public transportation).
You could attempt to photograph them (from a safe distance) and post the photo on social media, as a warning to other women. You could also stop and shout, “Attention sidewalk! These men would like to say something about my body! These men are taking pictures of women without their permission!”
Most important, always put your safety first: Don’t engage physically, and if your instincts are telling you that something is wrong and you should get to safety, and then follow your instincts.
And a note to bystanders: If you witness this sort of behavior, please stand in solidarity with the woman experiencing it and shout down the harasser.
If readers have other techniques for responding to street harassment, I will happily run them in future columns.
Dear Amy: I am a 54-year-old man who has been married for 36 years. My wife is amazing. We are not having any issues.
My concern is I have recently become infatuated with a younger woman.
I didn't date much as a young man, and I find myself fantasizing about being with this younger woman.
I feel bad about this most of the time, as I have no desire to cheat on my wife. I think about this new woman often, and it is quite distracting. Any advice is appreciated.
Faithful Husband: You report that you and your wife don’t have any issues, and congratulations about that — you may be the only couple on the planet that can make this claim.
Understand that as you age, it is completely natural to try to place yourself in situations that emphasize how young you feel inside; this has led many men into the sports car dealership, or to the plastic surgeon. Your wife may be experiencing something similar in her own inner life.
You are not doing anything wrong; you have not initiated anything with this person and have no plans to do so. But you should find someone that you feel comfortable talking to about this. Consider seeing a counselor who specializes in working with men.
This is clearly making you uncomfortable, so figuring out what is triggering this fantasy may help you find a way to stop it. You may also be able to use this fantasy to connect with your wife in a new and positive way.
Dear Amy: I have some wisdom to share about granting loans to family members. This is what my mother said: "Here, this is either a loan or a gift. You decide. If it's a loan you can pay it back and it will always be here for you to borrow again. If you don't pay it back, then it's a gift, but you can't ask me for any more money." It's always a gift until it is repaid. Then it's a loan.
Never a Lender
Never a Lender: I love this method. Thank you.