No, I’m not launching into the tale of the time I finally managed to freak B out during a shared showertime by dropping my voice a couple octaves and mumbling, “Hey cupcake, you dropped the soap” as he bent over to retrieve something. (Except in the real story I substituted the wrong baked good and said “muffin” instead of “cupcake.” And in the real story B really did jump a mile high.) Whoops, there’s that story. Now let’s move on to the one I actually set out to tell.
I studied abroad in college, so for a while I lived in a dorm in France. The accommodations were simple and everything was communal. Everyone on a hall shared a single bathroom (two barely functioning toilets and two box-stall showers) and something like 20+ students from countries all over the world–most of them male and very excited about American women–shared each of these bathrooms. Whenever I was in my room alone I had to keep the door locked and still men from various countries would drop by all hours of the day and night, knocking on the door and whispering or singing in an attempt to get me to go out with them. (I wasn’t special; they did this to all of the American girls in the dorm.)
The previous night I’d gotten back to my room late and I hadn’t had a chance to shower before falling asleep, so during our lunch break I’d decided to steal away for a bit. I came back to the sweltering hot dorm while all the other students in my class were preparing lunch, grabbed my shower supplies and made my way to an adjacent wing of the building since its bathroom was unoccupied.
Now I’m looking down and shaving my legs when I hear a noise. Catching movement out of the corner of my eye, I look up to see a guy hanging over the top of the shower stall grinning at me. Our eyes lock, he grins a bit wider, and then he hops down and takes off running.
And I throw open the shower stall door and take off running after him.
I’ve got shave gel all over one leg, conditioner in my hair, and the floors in the hallway are tiled so I’m ricocheting off one wall then the other, ping ponging my way after this guy at top speed–or best I can do, anyway–trying to catch up to him. He makes it to the spiraling stairwell in the center of the building and disappears before I finally give up, realize I’d probably kill myself on the staircase, and also HOLYMOLY I’M NOT WEARING CLOTHES! In a sudden rush of embarrassment I high-tail it back to the safety of the bathroom before anyone else can see me in my birthday suit.
Because that makes sense, right? I get mad at a stranger for peeking in on me and seeing me naked without my permission, so I take off running after him in public, still completely naked, so that I can do what to him? Wag a finger at him and give him a talking-to? Smear shave gel in his eyes? Wrestle? Dance around while shouting “my terms! You only see this on my terms!”?