connect!

run, run, run.




As I settle into my 30s, I'm noticing little adjustments that need to be made to accommodate this new and exciting decade. For example, my anti-aging night cream is no longer a mere novelty. I actually have to use it. Limiting salt intake is also a wise adjustment, as well as alcohol (grrr). Another biggie is limiting my running, cutting down to hitting the pavement only once a week. My knees and ankles have been offering small warning signs that it's too intense for them, and that perhaps I look into another form of cardio like - don't laugh - aerobics. My mother tore her ACL in her late 30s from running and had to forgo surgery that resulted in over a year of physical therapy. To this day, she can't run or participate in high-intensity cardio.

Throwing caution to the wind, on a sunny albeit chilly Saturday morning, I treated myself to a brisk run at the Promenade Plantée, a long stretch of scenic beauty that goes from the Bois de Vincennes to Bastille. It's my favorite place in Paris to think.

On my run that turned into a brisk walk where I totally look like a suburban power walking mom, someone came from behind me. Figuring I was taking up the entire walkway, I scooted to the right to let whomever was behind me pass. Before I could process it, I felt hands run along my waist, down the sides of my hips and finally grab with both hands the juiciness that are my buns. The familiarity lead my brain to assume it was Aurélien who was surprising me by joining me on my run, but that made no sense because he had left the house at 8 am for his mysterious bachelor party organized by his friend Matthieu. I then turned to see a non-Aurélien, a young guy mid-thirties perhaps, in electric blue athletic wear breeze past me as if it was completely normal that he just felt me up. Okay, so I get that this happens in Europe more than it does in the States but I thought that I was on sacred soil! From runner to runner that was crossing major unspoken boundaries!

I was too stunned to respond immediately, although my face surely spoke volumes. I was beyond horrified. After the shock wore off, and not wanting to let him get away with it, I decided to chase after him. Once in my grasp I would then make an executive decision whether or not to stab him with my house keys. A violent thought, yes, but I was pissed.

The perveball knew that I was hot on his trail and ran faster and faster. I always thought I had somewhat of a good pace, but running after someone who clearly was a real runner who also didn't want to deal with confrontation was leaving me short of breath. I did my best Terminator T1000 run with flat robotic hands and wide strides but he was dusting me. Once we were at the wooden bridge near avenue Ledru-Rollin, I lost him. He completely disappeared from my sight. I looked down the promenade, no perve there, I ran down the stairs down to Avenue Daumesnil, no sight of a perve. I then went back upstairs and behind one of the large wooden planters, I found him crouching. Seriously, Sir?

At the sight of me, he pretended to start stretching to illustrate that he has not hiding for me.

"Are you really hiding behind a plant?" I said looking down at him with my house key wedged between my index and pointer finger. Geez, he might as well put on a pair of Nose Disguise Glasses.

He acted surprised that I was talking to him, almost caught off guard because he was a complete stranger and I was approaching him. My entire point exactly. He then picked himself up and brushed off the front of his blue leggings with his hands and said, "Allez-up! Sorry for le calin, I couldn't resist." And with that, he was off. I stood there again caught off guard, with my non-menacing key in my hand, thinking what the...

This word calin is one of those words with one too many meanings. It's official definition is to cuddle, but very rarely do I hear it used in this context. Did me and this freak cuddle on the promenade? No. It's also used in sexual contexts where going off to faire un calin is code to have sex. So no, me and this guy did not have any sort of calin. Argh!

Although he didn't attack me and I didn't feel threatened, having my physical space violated again is not helping me recover from my growing paranoia after the ill-fated incident in the 20th. Am I walking around Paris with like a kick-me sign on me? 

This small incident was just another warning to put out there, be aware, even during the most innocuous of activities like early morning runs because you never know what's lurking behind you...

38 comments:

  1. WTF??!! I need to say that again.. WHAT THE F**K??!! Sure he 'apologized' but he clearly doesn't think he did anything wrong. How could he think he had the right to do that??!! AARRGGHH!!!!!!!!
    I'm sorry that this happened to you. Again. xo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sara, it was seriously one of the strangest things that has happened to me. This trumps the crackhead in the 20th because this guy was young, in great shape and was out on an early Saturday morning jog. Who would have thought??

      Delete
  2. I'm going to repeat SL here: WHAT THE F**K?!?! That guy needs to be bitch-slapped times 200!! I'm so sorry this happened to you. Two words, chica. PEPPER SPRAY. My father gave me a can when I left home at the tender age of 16, and told me to use it without mercy. And since I'm Canadian, it's grizzly bear-sized. Oh yeah. I take no prisoners. Especially when it comes to the Battle against Creeps.

    Milsters

    (http://www.littlepiecesoflight.com/)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have pepper spray now after the situation in the 20th, it's just a little bulky to take out on a run. I naively thought that I wouldn't need it. The guy was so fast that it would have done much anyway as it took about 10 seconds to actually process what had happened. That's the scary part...the brain catches up later!

      I wasn't scared, I was just annoyed....still am! Argh!

      Delete
  3. You must have a sign on you or something. That is horrifying... cripes. Don't think anyone would have blamed you if you had actually gouged him with the keys! I second the motion above for pepper spray, get some! To lighten it up though, the first paragraph did make me nod my head a lot and think about this... http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/life-in-your-early-twenties-vs-your-late-twenties

    The days until 30 are dwindling for me and I'm a little afraid of how much worse it's going to get. These days I already feel like I need a spatula to scrape myself off of the floor after too much wine, so I feel your pain. Don't take my wine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's funny is that both incidents happened while wearing my over-sized black Champion sweatpants from the early 90s. My favorite pants in the world!!! Maybe I have been offending people with my horrid fashion choices and some people are retaliating, this is Paris after all.

      Enjoy your last moments (months? years?) of your 20s! And don't worry, you don't have to start with any changes right away, you get the first year free! I started at 31... : ) cheers!

      Delete
  4. Ah, sounds terrible and creepy. French men really have a different definition of boundaries than American ones, but you've had a bit of bad luck it seems recently!

    In another vein, as someone who slipped a bit out of exercise regularity when I first moved here, I would recommend trying Gym Suedoise as an alternative to running. Its fun, a pretty decent workout (especially once you find instructors that have better workouts), super french, and pretty affordable. They are all over Paris, so I'd recommend you check it out!

    Better luck with future creepsters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi CK,

      Yes, bad luck indeed! I've just been at the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess...

      Gym Suedoise sounds amazing! I will check it out. Thank you so much for the rec!!!

      And thanks for commenting. : )

      Delete
    2. Oh yea do! gymsuedoise.com (and I promise I don't work for them, just a big fan haha). Its so fun! I wish I had discovered it sooner!

      Delete
  5. Sorry for the CALIN?!!!! He molests you and then trivializes his appalling behaviour?!!!! WHAT. A. DICK.

    So typical! And he knew what he did was wrong, otherwise he would not have hidden!

    This just enrages me how men trivialize sexual assaults as if they were good fun and deep down women enjoyed them! And ironically, I just spent part of the weekend writing an essay on that very subject!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously....un calin??? I was like, wait, what??

      Oh he definitely knew he was being a creeper. I knew that when I saw that he picked up his pace making it impossible for me to catch him. Good thing I threw him off by leaving the track for a minute.

      Based on my reaction, he knew I didn't enjoy it...but I think that's what he got his jollies off of...grrrr.

      Delete
  6. Wonderful post...I like your blog.^^
    Maybe follow each other on bloglovin?
    Let me know follow you then back.
    Lovely greets Nessa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vanessa,

      Thanks for dropping a note. You have a lovely fashion/lifestyle blog. Good luck!

      Delete
  7. I am shocked beyond words. Wish you had the chance to kick him right where he hurts! Do what Milsters says and get pepper spray stat - you have had two too many encounters already!

    (oh and lol to Vanessa's comment above)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usha, it really was so shocking, so much that it took a few seconds to absorb what had happened. Had I been quicker, I would have been able to get him as soon as it happened. What an ass he was...

      Speaking of Bloglovin' I see that you're on it...yay! Consider yourself followed. I'm seriously sweating that chunky mint green necklace you're rocking in your latest post!

      Delete
  8. WTF?! Saying that, when I was 15 I was walking to the train station to go to school - it was exam time and I only had to be there when I had an actual exam, so instead of my mum dropping me off there, as it was the middle of the day she was already at work. The walk took me through my village, then over a footbridge across a motorway and a long hill down to the station. That last bit was totally isolated, and I found myself walking down there with this funny wee guy who came up behind me and put his arms round me. I tried not to completely freak out, wriggled free and walked very, very fast down the rest of the hill to where there would be someone hanging about. Turns out that afternoon he tried to feel up a couple of girls in the next village along, but although we reported it to the police he was never caught (freakily, in May, he was totally bundled up in a scarf and hat, so I couldn't see any more than to say he was short and fat!)

    I think you need a new sport - how about fencing, that would see the pervs off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. my. God. Now THAT is a freaky story....the fact that he confined you!! So creepy!!!! I'm sorry that that happened. I was talking to my landlady about this and I was like, not trying to make this a battle of the sexes but women just don't do this! We don't go around grabbing men's crotches and running off giggling like we scored or something. Maybe we should start doing it, see how they like it!!! Can you imagine?

      I am now doing aerobics in my living room and it's fun because I don't have to get dressed! I do it in my undies when Aurel is out of the house! I love it!!!

      Delete
  9. Grrrr, rage, how dare he!! Can't form coherent sentences right now, what an assaulty dick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For reals, Gwan, for reals.

      On another note, I CANNOT wait for the stories you're bound to have while staying at the hotel. Louis (you'll like him) is very observant too, so I expect some good reporting even though you'll be a little "pompette" : ) !!!!!!!!!

      Delete
  10. Well where I come from this is a sexual assault and should be reported to the police. Pepper spray may be illegal here ( and also in France for all I know) but a small hairspray or deodorant spray is just as unpleasant and legal. ..... and I agree with the others YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING TO ENCOURAGE THIS ASSAULT. He crossed the boundaries big time.

    As to running and injuries. I ran marathons in my thirties and messed up my knees like your mum and I have a dodgy joint in my hip. ... take up cycling it is much kinder!!!.... and possibly safer!!!

    Love Denise. .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Hi Denise!

      Did you have to get surgery for your knees? I sure hope not. I remember my mom could barely move for a year. She says it's the pavement that shocks your body. We don't realize how hard it is on our bones every time we slam our foot down.

      When I run now, my ankles and knees are sore, not like a good post-workout burn, but sore, so I have to choose another form of cardio. This little episode with this creepball just validated my decision to stop! Sometimes life just hands you the answers...

      I hope all is well. xo.

      Delete
  11. What an asshole!

    I agree with Duchesses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A-hole, indeed. Sometimes you just never know...

      Delete
  12. GIRL! I cannot believe this happened to you! What a merde-tête creeper. Next time you run, try to avoid that area.

    My bare ankles were once caressed by a man slithering along the floor of a metro train. Had to hold back the urge to 1) vomit and 2) hit him. Ick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi LL!

      It's hard to avoid this area because it's one long stretch that goes straight from Vincennes to Bastille. I think this was just a sign to stop running and chose a different form of cardio.

      EWWWWWWWW!!! Why was he slithering???? Was he missing his legs? That is so, so, so gross!! Thanks for sharing, now I don't feel like the only one that has creeps approach me. :)

      Delete
  13. What a freak! Wow. I am just shocked and grossed out. Sorry that happened to you! Wish I had a photo of him to spread around the interwebs to humiliate the a**hole..

    I've started running again- no knee problems yet; it is so boring though! I may do more bike riding as it is more adventurous-- plus no one can frickin' sexual assault me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dana, I know! This is one of those times where an iPhone was SO needed! I would have Gossip Girl'd his ass and taken a photo of him crouched down doing his fake stretches and put it on the blog. Ugh, that would have been super satisfying!

      I'm terrified of riding bikes in a city. I think I'll stick to home aerobics and power walks. This guy isn't going to scare me away from my favorite spot in Paris - unfortunately, I can't rock out to music. I need to be super aware...

      Really looking forward to seeing you soon!!!!

      Delete
  14. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Grenobloise, but a bike is hardly a deterrent... A few years back in The Hague, a creep would hide in the woods and flash a light in the faces of passing girls on a bike to destabilize them and then rape them. The only info the police had on him was that he was tall and blond and had a bike with a smaller front wheel. In a country where the average man is blond, 6'2" and rides a bike, that was not the most helpful, nor the most reassuring description...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's terrible! So they fall off their bikes (which is traumatizing in itself) and rapes them?!?! I'm beyond disgusted right now...

      So I take it he was never caught?

      Delete
    2. No. And curiously, he struck in the winter... Or not so curiously since it's light until almost midnight in the summer.

      Delete
  15. I'm outraged for you too. Good on you for going after him though - he probably didn't expect that and at least you showed that you weren't intimidated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I don't think he expected me to go after him. Nor did I! I surprised myself once I realized exactly what I was doing. I have never chased after a stranger in my life...it was a side of myself that I have never seen!!

      Thanks for dropping a note. : )

      Delete
  16. LOL the fact that you chased him down. Manda cojones!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahah, yes I had cojones but I did think at one point, what if this guy has a knife? I doubted the decision for a second but then said eff it, and went after him!

      Delete
  17. Wow, what an entitled a-hole. Takes guts to run after someone. Since he was acting so chill just "stretching," I think I would have just approached him, punched him in the face and ran away. Deserved that and more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Diane! I know right, he was an ass! Running after him was really outside of anything I would normally do, but it's not normal to be fondled by a fellow runner, so I was just working with the scene I was given. He could have attacked me, so I guess I was lucky that he hadn't.

      Thanks for commenting! I need to head to your blog, it's been forever! I hope all is well. : )

      Delete
  18. Hi Ella. After writing my recent blog post I thought about this incident again. I would urge you to report this predator to the police. The probability is that this not an isolated incident and there are probably more women he has assaulted. There may have been other reports of this man.

    If he thinks it is acceptable behaviour to fondle somebody's bottom who is innocently running in front of him, left unchecked this man may on to commit more serious assaults and even rape.

    Even if the police take no notice of you. ( which I cannot believe they will) at least you will know that if he does go on to commit further crimes, you tried your best.

    Don't wait 40 years!

    Love Denise

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry for my reaction, my darling, but I think it's all hilarious - especially that you ran after him. Good for you (although I was worried for you for a mite when you discovered him hiding behind a plant -- and that you called him on it is even funnier.

    A shame there's no jogger's trip advisor or some rating system where we couldn't shame him and his horrid calin.

    GREAT post!

    ReplyDelete