Community

A Curfew for Men

I was reading about a proposal for a curfew for men in London.  It seems that the women of London would feel safer, more secure, if there were a curfew that kept men off the streets.

I have some slight experience with this sort of thing.  We have to go back 40 years and more, and south to Bozeman to set the stage.  I was either taking classes in ag engineering, or working at the state office, when I learned that I needed to get my wisdom teeth pulled.  Being about 30, and figuring that the best call was to get it all done at once, on a Friday afternoon, go through the pain and recovery on the weekend . . . the decision made sense at the time.

Knowing that I might not be in the best condition to drive, I planned to walk home.  The dentist prescribed painkillers early, so they were sitting at home, ready for the weekend.  With all 4 wisdom teeth gone, and the empty sockets filled with gauze, I walked 4 blocks to mainstreet, where I could push a button to walk across, and leaned against the wall of the saloon as I waited for the light.

A well-dressed, obviously professional woman crossed the street ahead of me, and I shuffled from the wall across the street, only a little slower than she.  I was on the home stretch – 3 ½ blocks to go to my apartment.  On a cul-de-sac.  A dead end.  It would have been 7 blocks by any other route.  It’s just past 5, getting dark, and I’m walking south behind a nervous woman.  After the second block, she’s out in the middle of the street, high heels clicking like castanets, blowing this bloody whistle like it’s judgement day and Gabriel needing accompaniment. 

Jaws clenching the gauze in place, I couldn’t even speak to reassure the panicked woman.  All I could do was keep walking behind her, listen to the whistle, and hope that nobody would come to her rescue before I turned right onto my dead-end street.

At least she passed my right turn and kept clicking down the street blowing her bloody whistle as I made my turn to get to the apartment.  So I understand why men shouldn’t want to share dark streets with a frightened woman.  I don’t know if she ever got back on the sidewalk and put her whistle away.  Hopefully she made it home safely.  I know I really thought about how much simpler my life would have been if I had just waited for the next light.