Double Standards at the Gas Station

10 Jan

So there I was. Almost near that horrible empty line. The gas pump icon lit up the second my Hyundai rumbled to life in my driveway. Like a true procrastinator, I never make time in my schedule to get gas unless I absolutely need to despite the many times I have been warned about how dangerous it is to drive on a close-to-empty-tank and, especially as a young lady, to make sure my tank never runs out.

Thankfully because I have procrastinated so many times before, I knew that I had enough gas in my tank to make it to a cheap decent gas station. And, I did. I killed my engine with a triumphant smirk on my face. Then, I looked up and that smirk vanished before I could blink.

What do you think I saw?

a) Beyoncé

b) an ice cream truck

c) my car’s front hood on fire

If you guessed a, b, or c, you’re wrong. The answer is d) two guys talking to each other in between their stations. Both guys appeared close to my age. Both were average in physical appearance and hygiene. They wore pretty shoddy clothes and pumped gas into equally inglorious cars.

My first thought: Great. The day this week I decide to wear a dress and need gas. I don’t feel like getting hit on today. I just want to be home. Stupid contacts coming in early.

A lot of other thoughts run through my head. Like: Maybe I should just move to Pump 1. It’s closer to the road. I’m gonna drive that way anyway so might as well. And, Why God? Why me? Why today?

Finally, I got a grip on my mental, took a breath, and stepped out of my car. I’ve been hit on at gas stations before (on multiple, unfortunately memorable occasions), but I survived every single time and recently the incidents have grown pretty predictable. This time wouldn’t be any different just with different guys. So I thought.

I walked toward the store to pay for my gas and the boys’ eyes fell on me. They smiled, nodded hellos and me I shook out a smile their way then jerked my head straight ahead. I heard them exchange words, but neither said anything directly to me. I was a little taken aback, but when I paid for my gas and peered out of the store’s window to see them still conversing after pumping their gas, I prepared myself for anything. Finally, I exited the store and strut quickly to my pump without a look over in their direction with the straightest face I could manage fixed on my face. I’m talking the same face I make whenever I walk down the streets in New York. While pumping gas, I can’t help but look their way because both guys were parked at pumps in front of mine. To my surprise, they barely took advantage of the set-up.

Now, I’m looking around thinking, Okay. So maybe they aren’t going to hit on me. I’m actually free. 

But seriously. They aren’t hitting on me. What gives?

That’s right. The entire time I was pumping gas, even though I had taken extra care with my makeup, my hair looked wow-mazing, and the gusty wind that day was Marilyn Monroeing my dress, the boys didn’t say a word to me.

I’ll never know if anything might have come to a date or even a relationship with either of those guys had our lives crossed paths in a different place and time, but I think that’s okay. The fact that I was expecting any type of exchange, whether nice or vulgar, is not okay. I feel like any decent guy wouldn’t ask a girl out at a gas station unless the girl happens to be Choice A in my quiz above, of course. 😉

Another lesson I learned from this experience is how wrong it was of me as a woman to automatically think I would be assaulted just because I was surrounded by men. Although I have previous experiences at the gas station to make my case, I still felt like I had failed as a human being to have judged someone without any knowledge of their name and to have assumed their actions in part of their gender.

Furthermore, I caught myself bewildered by the fact that they hadn’t hit on me. I found myself almost troubled by the lack of exchange. Then I thought, If they had hit on me–or hey, had the confidence to ask me out–what would I have done? I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I knew my answer and boy, was it shallow. 

I would’ve just smiled and blown them off. No matter what they did. I would have been blogging about an entirely different story, most likely complaining about some smutty-low standard guys at the gas station who hit on me, the poor, pretty girl who just wanted to get gas and drive off unviolated and less disappointed about the world we live in nowadays. #Feminism, right? (These are paraphrased thoughts, of course. Well, partly.)

But no. They proved me wrong. Guys still have control, guys still have standards and possess civility. Not all men are scumbags trying to score top player in the Belt Notch game and women should give those guys a shot. Every time.

Maybe I’m wrong and the reason those two guys didn’t hit on me is because they weren’t interested, but maybe they were. And maybe, just maybe, they are a glimmer of hope for the revolution of a beautiful-equal coexistence between our two sexes.

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