for anyone who has actually claimed to desire objectification
When you say,
“Dude, I’d love it if women came up to me in the street and told me how
hot they thought I was.”
I can see the young women with windswept hair reflecting in your eyes.
They bite their lips
and blush prettily,
and drag their welcome fingers across your shoulders–
I would be totally fine with it too
if your fantasy had anything to do with reality.
But once you say,
“I would like to be objectified,”
you don’t get to choose who is doing it.
You are simply a piece, on display,
and all that’s standing between you
and the sticky fingers of the unwashed masses
is a tiny plaque that says
do not touch.
Trust me when I say
that if they want to touch
they will touch
and there is no alarm so useless as your own voice.
There is no way to say,
I wanted this,
but not from you.
I wanted the pretty girl,
or that gentle man–
Once you want this, you do not get to choose who gives it.
People whom you would call ugly to their face
still get catcalls;
when someone leers
or makes that kissing sound
or falls in step with someone walking alone on an empty street
it is not a compliment.
The words that come out may sound gentle,
like terms of endearment,
where are you going so fast
but what they mean is
you are less than the pavement you walk on
the minute you walk on it
I want your attention, not your desire
and I can smell the sweat on the small of your back as you speed up.
When you walk through it,
you are a thing
expected to open like a rosebud
for the appetite of eyes.
What you should say is this:
Everyone longs to be desirable,
to be desired,
visibly, and often,
by other desirable people–
I want to be desired too.
In my fantasy,
handsome men and beautiful women whom I don’t know
smile at me
and say hello,
and keep walking.
Melissa Newman-Evans is staff and a regular reader at the Boston Poetry Slam at The Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as a member of their 2012 NPS team . She has headlined shows around the northeast at Brandeis University, Emerson College, Sarah Lawrence College, The Providence Poetry Slam at AS 220, and the Cantab Lounge, among others. She thinks that if you wanted a tonic and gin, you should’ve ordered it that way.