Those Looks

On my long walk home I got to thinking about all the different looks I get from passer-byers. They were especially noticeable today. I decided to mentally log and put them into categories so I could blog it out. One of the things I’m most looking forward to during my upcoming visit to Canada is the fact that I’ll blend in and no one will stare. Here goes the list of the looks:

1. Disgust: This comes with the territory. I’m white and therefore I’m automatically an unwelcome foreigner. My skirt is too short, my chest is too bare, my hair is too light, my skin is too white. This look comes with the “what are you doing here, go back home, we don’t need you” sort of vibe.

2. Opportunity: My skin colour equates to wealth. Meaning, I have some to give away. Which is really not the case at all. However, opportunists will seek me out solely and beg with their eyes and their hands extended. “Sorry, not today” is my usual response. Or, rather, street salesmen look at me with earnest offering me bananas, a newspaper, a cold drink, peanuts, a car cell phone charger or a mosquito swatter.

3. Curiosity: This is probably the most common. People look at me at me with wonder. I can see them working it out in their minds: “What is this white girl doing here? On this street? In Kingston of all places?” Along with this sometimes is a look of protection or pity, like, they think I’m lost and need finding. Or that I’m stuck here somehow. Anyway, this one doesn’t feel as intrusive as the others.

4. Warmth: This is my favourite – warm eyes. And a smile.

5. Objectification: This primarily from the men of Jamaica. These looks are accompanied with the following subtext: “Hey sexy, hey baby, hey can I walk with you, hey where you from, hey are you single”, etc. This one freaks me out the most. I just want to run and hide.

6. Astonishment: I walk pretty fast and sometimes will pass people twice – once while they are waiting for the bus and again further down the route after they’ve gotten off the bus. There I am again. I’m faster than traffic. These people look at me with complete astonishment, like I’ve won a gold medal or something. It’s called walking!

7. Oblivity: Lastly, there’s the few that don’t give me a look at all. Like I’m not there. Their headphones are in and they are singing loudly to a gospel or dancehall tune. This one is a welcomed relief.

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