I’m a big fan of walking home after a night out. This pastime does not have much support among my male friends. They say I live in a bad neighborhood (Petworth), and I’m asking for trouble to traverse the streets between my nightlife and my home. I like to think of Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, who marched herself through the dark wintery avenues of the Bronx to report Random Family. Plus, I’m not reporting at 2 a.m.—-I’m going home—-and I don’t walk if I’ve had too many. The one time I’ve been the victim of a crime, I was standing in front of my house, and I’d let my guard down. You can’t live under a rock in a city.
Last night I discovered that my new journalist girlfriend and Petworth neighbor also enjoys an evening’s walk homeward, and is better than me at assuaging the fears of our male protectors. We walked north on Sherman till we got to her place and then I decided to shortcut on Georgia to get myself home. I quickly realized I should have turned back to Sherman. Georgia was a gantlet. I was bombarded with cat calls. Those didn’t faze me—-but then one of my fans started following. I sneered and walked faster, and he sped up and propositioned me in Spanish. I got a little scared so I looked for a business to duck into. The only one in sight was the House, so far my favorite D.C. strip club.
When I walked in I told the bouncer I was going to wait just a moment until “this guy who’s following me moves on.” He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Baby girl, you need to go back outside. Don’t bring that shit in here.” He physically ushered me back onto the sidewalk, where my fan was waiting. He lurched forward and I darted around him into the street, where two men pulled over in an SUV, obviously mistaking me (in cowboy boots and a short skirt) for someone interested in a business transaction, or so I imagined. I ran past them and finally stopped at Temperance Hall. The bouncers there were nice, and invited me in, but I thought I was safe and continued on. By that time though, I think I’d lost my street composure and two more guys in cars stopped to try and pick me up. I gave up and hailed a cab, who noticing my developing hysteria, drove me the five blocks home for free.
That said, I’m still walking home. Still gonna wear boots and skirts. But I’m avoiding Georgia Avenue. And I have a bone to pick with the House.