Manners, freedom, and feminism.

The three things were going through my mind as I sat in a Starbucks, sipping my soy chai latte. I tried to read something or other on moral philosophy, but I could not concentrate. This is what happened:

The place is packed. Students are everywhere. Up in the loft area, there is one power outlet. Everyone twitches every time somebody in the general area of the Outlet moves, hoping that they are leaving. As soon as someone gets up, some other desperate coffee addict appears. The power outlet is calling us all by name, as our “low battery” notifications flicker.

The bell-tower rings. I’m still holding my spot in the general area and my charger is plugged in. I am lucky. The nice old man sitting behind the table in the corner, the table right in front of the Outlet, gets up, smiles, and says goodbye. Everyone is glaring. Little do they know, trouble is on its way.

A man dressed in tan corduroys, a light blue colored button down shirt, and polished dress shoes quickly appears. He’s wearing black glasses, because obviously the sun’s rays are overwhelming inside the dimmed coffee shop. Ridiculous. He also has a long board or a skate board, some kind of board.
Odd, but that’s besides the point.

He sits down. He did not purchase a drink or have a backpack. He sits down and a girl hurries over from a different table asking if he wouldn’t mind switching seats with her. But he says, “I was sitting on the couch for a long time and I have been waiting for this seat.” The girl, disappointed, says okay and leaves.

The man, maybe in his early thirties, takes out his phone and its charger. Everyone’s relieved that he is taking advantage of the best seat in the house. In the corner, by himself, he starts messing with his phone.

He waited for that seat not because he wanted to text his friends, call someone important, call someone unimportant, check his email, listen to music, etc. No. He waited for that seat because he thought he could hide what he was doing. He faced the room and mostly me, with his screen facing the corner.

Porn. He was watching porn using Starbucks’ complimentary Wi-Fi. He was nervous, looking around making sure nobody knew what he was doing. In his creepy dark sunglasses and his business casual attire, he was sitting in a dark, public room watching porn.

I’m not even going to elaborate on my disgust with porn in general. I’m just commenting on this man watching it in a crowded public place at 2:00 P.M. As a feminist, I was offended. I am still offended. I wanted to throw things at him. I wanted to confront him. I wanted to tell him to get the fuck out. There were kids in that room. He was lucky none of their parents or tutors were sitting where I was. I wanted to yell at him and tell him that his behavior was disrespectful and unacceptable. Maybe, sir scumbag, you don’t share my values or beliefs or whatever, but your actions are not okay.

But I didn’t say anything. I wish I had said something. I just shot dirty looks and he definitely saw them. He tried to hide his screen more. So he turned his chair and was facing me. I put on my over-sized sweater. He noticed my dirty looks. He left.

I don’t really care what people say about male sexuality. I don’t really care about any of it.
We live in a civilized world. People can control their desire to eat (which is something totally necessary for  health and survival). You can control your obsession with sex. And if you find it too dificult, there are treatment centers for that. Use them.

The world is a shared space. You may find corners in which you think you’re totally alone, but the truth of the matter is, your actions and you are never truly hidden. Your actions affect other people.

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