A Midnight Train to Westchester, and My Feminist Revelation
by Emily P I boarded a midnight train to Westchester from Grand Central with a friend of mine. We were exhausted, it had been a long week, and we had trekked out to Jones Beach for a concert after work. Choosing a car on the Metro North is always a chore. You don’t want to be in the cars with the bathrooms, you try to avoid the cars with the drunk high schoolers and the air conditioning isn’t pumping enough. Cait and I chose a car with some seemingly benign characters and sat down. I looked around a minute later and realized we picked a car containing only men, but thought nothing of it.
Cait and I are chatting, recapping the concert, talking about summer plans and her boyfriend..and I start to overhear bits and pieces of a conversation from four 50 to 60 year old men sitting in the four seater a few feet away. “This MILF I met…got her card…gonna get laid tonight”, one of the men says. I live in NY, I’m 26 years old, I’ve heard this all before…but these guys are my dad’s age, I was surprised. My interest is piqued, so I start listening and what I realize I’m hearing is four adult men chatting with a junior in college about a trade between the age groups. The older…I can’t call him a gentleman…male…and the younger male. The older one will give the 20 year old the “milfs” card to call and try to sleep with because she is “easy” and the young one will bring the older ones to hang out with his group of friends who they can “try to hook up with”. I am ENRAGED at the situations they are proposing, the language they’re using to describe women, and the complete and utter disregard for the two young women sitting in the car so close to them.
I can’t sit still, I’m adjusting in my chair, peering over the seat in front of me, hoping my piercing stare will set their seats on fire. Alas, this doesn’t happen. We are nearing our stop and I am fighting with myself, do I speak up? Do I ignore them? Do I punch them in the face? I decide no…just let it go. Our stop comes and we get up from our seats, and walk to the door. I’m about to exit and the men whistle..with that I launch back into the train, stick my finger out like an old school nun, shove it in the ringleaders face and muster “I’ve been listening to all the disgusting things you’ve been saying, and you should be ashamed of yourself!” and step off the train.
I got in the car and immediately told my mom. “Well did you say anything?!” And I told her what I said, “good for you!” With a big smile on her face.
Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’ve come to three conclusions:
1. I doubt that my words meant anything to those men in the train and I’m sure they forgot it happened by the time they got home, but I’m glad I spoke up about something I felt so strongly about. Women should never let anyone extinguish their voice.
2. The age of those men made me think about my dad and how he would never think that way, act that way, or speak that way about women and I’m very appreciative of the men in my life who support me and other women.
3. I am proud to be a feminist.