I had a pretty bad day here in Vegas on Thursday, but I didn’t tell you the main reason why. I actually left out a big chunk of the story.
Why? Well, to be completely honest, it’s not an easy topic to write about. However, as I considered my post from yesterday, then read through all of the comments that were left on that post, I realized that I hadn’t done justice to what was really upsetting me – the problem I really had here in Vegas.
Yep. Creepy guys are EVERYWHERE in Vegas. That’s certainly not a surprise or a shock, but it definitely makes it difficult to enjoy a nice day by yourself when you are a female traveling solo.
I had strange guys physically block my path FIVE times yesterday. Two other weird guys touched my hair (on separate occasions), three followed me down the street, one put his hands in front of my phone so I couldn’t see the screen, and another sat right next to me in a restaurant booth where I was sitting by myself.
I’ve learned that the best way to detract and deflect this kind of attention is to walk quickly and purposefully, without smiling or making eye contact. When I have to sit still, I’ve learned that acting slightly robotic and completely walled-off is best. No laughing. No friendly nods. Certainly no pleasant chit-chat.
The problem is that I don’t like experiencing my life like this. I’d like to stop and take a photo just as much as anyone else. I want to be able to sit on a bench and feel the sun on my face. I want to walk slowly down the street, noticing and appreciating details. But when I’m alone, all of that freedom evaporates.
And I SO I hate that, but what I hate more is the feeling that I get when a stranger physically invades my space. It’s like a clutch in my chest. A badly skipped heartbeat. A sinking feeling.
I’m not asking for this. I don’t deserve it. Is being hassled and harassed just part of traveling alone as a female? Even writing that sentence makes me feel angry, because I can’t and won’t settle for that reality.
And yet clearly, I have, and I do.
I’d love to hear your experiences here. What’s been your experience traveling solo in Vegas? What about in other cities? How do you handle unwelcome attention?
And guys – I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well.