Angry strangers


A woman on the tube today had a high vis vest on, she wasn’t acting oddly at all, just standing by the window at the end of the carriage looking out so that her back was turned towards me. Written in huge letters across the back of the high vis was

I’m straight, get it? Yes, I’m a woman and an engineer so keep your prejudices to yourself. Even in a high vis I’m straight.

Then on the front

Straight hetero engineer

I’m undecided what I think of this. On the one hand I’m sympathetic to the hassle women get for working in what are traditionally men’s roles, because I’ve had plenty over the years. It isn’t upsetting, but it’s irritating and it wears you down. On the other, writing it in huge letters on your clothes is somewhat stroppy and attention seeking, since 99% of people wouldn’t give a crap either way, and the only reason people were staring at her was because they were trying to work out what her high-vis said. On the other hand (I have three hands now) what’s the stress about being gay or straight? Does it matter if someone assumes she’s gay? On the other hand (now I have four hands, I’m a mutant!) I don’t know the circumstances surrounding this, maybe she didn’t even write the words herself.

Any other hands people can help me with?

Word of the day: paralipsis – fixing attention subject by pretending to neglect it

25 thoughts on “Angry strangers

  1. I get the same thing with my car. They would look at Nick and say “Nice car!” even when he would get out of the passenger seat. He would look at them and say “It’s hers.” Then they would go quiet. It’s amazing how many men think women can’t have Muscle Cars.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Stupid people make stupid assumptions all the time and the right thing is just to think ‘Meh’ and let ’em get on with it, but I guess if you get the same thing constantly you need to kick back now and then. As you say, what does it matter anyway? Four hands though… that’s quite a different thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all about balance and finding a way to feel unstressed but not cowardly. I haven’t quite got it right yet.

      I’m tempted by the four hands, but I’d need to know where they are (what they’re attached to) and how well they work.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some might say I am me to an almost ridiculous degree!
        It depends what the arms are attached to. Don’t agree to anything until you’ve seen a diagram. What if they’re on the balls of your feet? Or hanging out the side of your head?


      2. Wouldn’t you fall over? And you’d have to wear special hand-shoes which might make picking up coins difficult. Unless the hands were retractable. I still think this would be fraught with difficulties.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Weirdly there is no appropriate emoji to respond to this comment. Here’s a medley

        🤣 👟 👉 🧤 😝


  3. Here, I am ready to give you a hand! 😀 Her vest was probably designed by someone else, so she is not alone in believing what she believes. Also, what an amazing way to say that you are looking for a boyfriend and not a girlfriend, without really saying it!

    Honestly, I have dealt with crap like that during college because I wore trousers and short hair, never seen a beauty parlour in life, did not use make up and drove a scooter–all very unusual things in small cities in India at that time. Since my bestie was always with me and none of us had boyfriends, people teased us about it too… 😀 But we let them assume whatever they may. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Five hands!
      People used to gossip about me at college too, but I took your road – let them! It sounds like you were a proper rebel, I love it, I’m glad you didn’t feel any pressure to change. Life is so much happier when we don’t have to force ourselves to conform to what others want.
      I think if it was her way of signalling her interest in men, it was a bit over the top, most men would be scared away. Or maybe it was a double bluff and she’s only interested in really persistent women 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. She could be wearing the vest without knowing what the words mean. People buy clothes that have swear words printed on them and not know what they say. On the other hand (more hands the better) that message was specific.

    Could be she had a problem on the tube with those topics so she is telling everyone to back off those conversations. On the other hand (gonna need followers) a vest like that starts more fires than it puts out. She has people staring at her that would have never looked, if not for the high vis vest.

    A think she’s a walking time bomb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Extra hands! I love the idea that she didn’t know what the writing meant. The poor woman would be wondering why people were staring at her so intently and whispering together.
      You may have a point that she’s a walking bomb, can engineers deal with bombs? Probably better than i can.


  5. Has she used a ruler to check she is truly straight?

    I’ve yet to meet a truly straight person. A truly straight person would have sharp corners unless they were rounded at the edges I guess. But that kinda ruins the ‘straight’ look.

    If I did see a straight person I’d probably run away.

    Also the whole declaring “I am a woman and an engineer” I think actually helps the narrative that women aren’t usually engineers. If she was just herself and did her engineering job and continued to fuck men instead of women, she’d be that woman who is an engineer who also has a boyfriend (if she has a boyfriend) and no one would care. It just makes people with many hands look at you and point more. And because they have more hands, they have more fingers to point with. It’s a vicious cycle.

    I’m making no sense.

    But If i wore a high vis vest I’d wear a sign that said, “I’m wearing a high vis vest” because that would amuse me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re making no sense, but also making glorious sense, a twisty-turny journey into words 🙂
    You know, I don’t think she was super straight, like most people she was quite lumpy with limbs hanging off her. Nobody else has as many hands as me though, I think it’s about six now, I may get a display case for them.
    Think I’ll get a high vis with ‘You can see me! I’m luminous!’ on it. 😀


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