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Hey, creep: Stop taking pictures of my feet

January 25, 2011 - 03:00 PM
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Off limits. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Are you the weirdo who took a picture of my feet Friday night? If so, not cool, dude.

Confused, loyal readers? You should be! TBD still is.

Listen to this story and tell me whether a crime occurred or whether it was just a poor girl and an odd guy, who had a strange, uncomfortable interaction on a Friday night.

Your TBD Justice reporter was walking to her Capitol Hill bureau late Friday when a man stopped her, asking for directions to Union Station. TBD helped the guy out, then started to walk away.

That’s when things got weird.

The man stopped your reporter again and said he was participating in a scavenger hunt. The prize, he said, was Super Bowl tickets and he needed a picture of a stranger’s feet. He asked if he could get a shot of my feet. I was a few few blocks from home and in no rush. I agreed without protest.

Then the man told me to take my bare foot out of my red ballet flat. This, in case you were wondering, is when I started to suspect a real problem was developing. It was, however, apparently not enough of a problem for me to start getting mean.

I took my foot out. The man took his picture. I thought it was over.

Then he asked for another photo, this time of the other foot.

He gestured to a side street, and suggested we take the picture there. I declined that offer but said I'd allow it if we stayed put. The second shoe slipped off, and I began seriously plotting my escape route. The man then cradled my foot, a move I did not approve, and took his picture.

I pulled away, starting to leave a third time. Now comes the part of the story that I hope my mother never hears about: the guy, in an apparent thank-you gesture, tried to kiss my foot.

This is the first time that I vocally protested and pulled away. Even then, I was fairly jovial about it. I turned quickly on my heels and never looked back.

At first, I was shaken. Then I was mad. Mostly, though, I’m sad. I’m confused and I’m disappointed and I’m embarrassed. I feel like an idiot. I feel like a dope. I feel like I should have known better, because I do.

I’m still trying to figure out how I got in this situation, one shoe off, in the bitter cold, calculating how long it would take me to sprint to my apartment. I might be scrawny, but I’m a tough, smart kid. I know a lot of creeps lure good people into bad situations by asking for help, just like this guy did. I know how to carry myself, I know when I’m in trouble, and I know how to dispatch with a jerk.

But I’m also generally a pretty nice girl. I give directions to strangers, I try to help out if I can. I love this city, and I expect the best from it.

Tonight I’ll go to the police station and file a report about this guy. It won't make me feel any better, or any less confused. On Friday night, I'll probably be walking down the same street again. I'll probably be alone. And as much as I hate to admit it, I probably won't feel safe.

Strange behavior like this is not really a crime, right? So why does this feel like one?

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  1. JonahC JonahC

    Jonah Chanticleer

    Jan 28, 2011 - 07:31:51 AM

    To answer your question, if this was a crime: I'm neither police officer nor lawyer, but I believe this would technically be considered assault. Someone with more legal expertise can confirm or refute this. Unfortunately, some people will not take this incident seriously out of their ignorance.

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  2. Frost Frost

    Fiona Frost

    Jan 26, 2011 - 03:34:03 PM

    Because women are socially conditioned from birth to be nice, helpful, and accommodating. So we can quite easily get drawn into situations that don't appear bad in the first place. Predators know this and count on it.

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  3. Eleventh Street Eleventh Street

    Eleventh Street

    Jan 26, 2011 - 01:38:09 PM

    Thanks, Dad, er, David. Next time: "Can I take a picture of your feet?" "Maybe. Can I take a picture of your face?"

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