How, Though?

I was out running errands the other day and, as one does in Seattle, passed a crazy person. Now, whether she was normal and I just judged her, she had a mental health issue, or was on something, doesn’t matter to the story; my feelings about health options is a whole other post.

What mattered was our brief but lasting interaction.

We were walking the same direction on the sidewalk, me in red modest heels, faded black skinny jeans, and a black peacoat. Not unusual in Seattle but I was feeling fierce in the sensible but striking shoes. I was searching for an unfamiliar branch of my credit union and had to double back so I passed her twice; One walking the same direction, faster once facing her. She seemed to be on the phone the first time around so I gave her the polite freeze and moved on. However, as we passed face-to-face she struck me.

Not physically, I mean, c’mon, it’s Seattle. But with her face. She looked me in the eye, half luaghed to herself, said “You’re a whore”, and kept walking.

Now I’ve been catcalled, and crazy-person-ed before. I used to work downtown at night. I get screaming and crying and panhandling and whatever and I know that the kind of woman who tells strangers their profession while passing on the street is probably not in the best control of their senses but my first reaction was “wait! How did you know!?!”

Because while I’ve been yelled, whispered, creeped, solicited, claimed, ired, and begged at, I have never in my life had anyone, stranger or otherwise, so calmly and surely called me out.

Of course she was either crazy or somehow supernaturally adept at sussing professions so I’m not actually worried or upset, I just couldn’t get it out of my head.

The way she said “You’re a whore” was the same expression and emphasis I show when I say “you’re an asshole” after some new acquaintance demonstrates their despicable nature. It’s a combination of resignation and realization and she fucking nailed it.

It made me giggle a bit, smiling to myself at my shared secret, but part of me wanted to chase her down and ask her. How did you know? Do you have a whordar? Do you cruise the boards and you recognized my shoes? Are you a crazy bitch and said it to hurt me? Or is there some kind of confident, sexually educated stride I take that signals to some that I’m a proud effing whore? I couldn’t help but laugh to myself, despite the mild discomfort.

No matter what I do or where I go, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave my scarlet letter behind, haha! I’m sorry boys, I’ll be a sexual champion until the end!

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