Monday, July 16, 2007

Would you like some "sugar" with that coffee?

It's 10:30 pm and I just got to work. I leave early to drop my son off so he can go to bed at a resonable time. This means that I arrive to work at least 45 minutes early. I make my walk over to Starbucks to get my caffeine fix so I can make it through the night.

I braved the light rain, the humidity, and the dozens of somali men just to get it. Now, I have nothing wrong with men getting coffee, but I do have a problem with men who sit at the coffee shop all night every night while their wives are at home with the kids. When do they have time to make all those babies anyway? I can't imagine very much when you're socializing to all hours of the night. I tried to make excuses. Maybe they are taxi drivers working at night? There was only one taxi in the parking lot. This starbucks is known in Somali communities around the world as the place to see and be seen, so it should be no surprise that it is filled with people from opening until way passed closing time.

I always feel molested when I walk in that place. I'm a modest sister mashaAllah. I'm completely covered and I don't pay much of any attention to the men. I walk to the counter, order my drink and then walk out of the door. I get the usual Assalamu Alaikum sister as I'm standing in line, as they open the door for me, or even from across the parking lot. It make me want to knock someone out. Do they act this way with their own women or do they feel like I'm free game because I'm caucasian and obviosly out way too late?(notice the sarcasm) My family has to eat and with my husband incognito I'm it.

So, tonight I grabbed my drink( chai latte with soy milk and sugar free vanilla....way YUMM) and head over to the counter to put in some splenda. Next thing I know there is a middle aged man standing right next to me. I make a point to act as if I have no clue he is standing there. He's fiddling with the sugars, playing around with napkins, inspecting the half and half. He's obviously looking for something to do before he bothers me. And then I hear it:

Interested man: Assalamu Alaikum sister...he said sister just so he didn't feel guilty I suppose.
Me: Wa alaikum salaam...said in a completely monotone voice without even looking his way
Him: So, sister do you work at the hospital? Are you a nurse?
Me: Yes, I work in the pathology lab....I know I should just say yes and move on but I wanna see where this perv is going
Him: OH......MASHAALLAH! are you a lab technician?
Me: NO, I'm a Histotechnologist. Salamu alaikum as I'm walking out the door.

And then he has the balls to follow me and this is where his pervish ways really come out.

Him: Sister I have a business and I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can work human resources?
Me: Well, I have a medical degree.
Him: Maybe you can be a medical secretary, can I have your number?
Me: Well, why would I want to be a secretary for you when I have an excellent job with great benefits just across the street? Again......SALAMU ALAIKUM!

Can you believe this? I have a right to go in that Starbucks any time I well please and grab my coffee without feeling like a piece of meat on display. Wearing my hijab/jilbab I get more respect from most non-muslim men than I get from some muslims. It's absolutely sickening.

If any of you dirty old/young/married/single/divorced men out there are reading this: SHAME ON YOU!