Written by Saran Lawson
Like most Americans, I love ice cream. The Quicktrip not far from my house happens to sell a decent ice cream cone for 49 cents. When you pull into the gas station you can see all types of people. There are the people who came to pump their gas and leave. Then you have the people who came for their pack of cigarettes and a lotto ticket. In the blazing Georgia heat, you see most people pushing the double doors open with their shoulder doing a delicate balancing act. They have their wallets in one hand and one of the tallest ice cream cones you have ever seen in the other. The girl who works the machine most days is very generous with the portions. Parents who are happy to oblige their children’s requests for an inexpensive summer treat makeup a good part of the customers. The rest are Adults of all ages who couldn’t resist the urge to buy a caloric treat that will surely tip the scales when indulged too often. You would think that weight gain would be most women’s apprehension when deciding to purchase a cone. However, I think most of us who identify as women will tell you it’s actually the feeling you got in high school when you wanted to eat a banana. Bananas are tasty but, phallic as are…ice cream cones.
I wasn’t going to let my anxiety get the best of me. I wanted an ice cream cone. I came all the way there for that specific reason. My sister and I were feeling generous and even brought my niece and nephew along. Why not, it was only 49 cent. It wasn’t exactly going to break the bank. I was excited about the creamy deliciousness that everyone wanted. Outside the gas station, it felt like we were in God’s own personal oven with temperatures in the 90’s. I felt like I was melting and leaving the gas station with 4 ice cream cones and they immediately started to melt the second we stepped outside. It was the easy choice to devour the cones in the car, because needless to say they weren’t going to make it. As we get adjusted and start to eat our cones, a group of young guys pull up next to us. Uh oh…my anxiety started to slowly creep up. This isn’t high school. I wasn’t going to avoid my banana in my lunchbox just to avoid unwanted attention. So, we continued with our cones. I look up because I felt eyes on me. I couldn’t decide if it was my paranoia or if it were justified. What the hell, I took a peek anyway and sure enough 3 sets of eyes were ogling us through the window. I’m a grown woman! Why is this still happening?! I just want to enjoy eating an ice cream cone without it being a free show for a group of men. It’s a feeling men may never understand. Leaving your house to get some fresh air and an ice cream cone, but feeling violated instead.
I hope that times will change, and the long stares and inappropriate comments will become glances. In the meantime, I will continue to be brave enough to eat my ice cream in the car. I will try not to be tempted to get the cup (she fills them way less than the cones) because I’m afraid of harassment. It’s a small step in times up and way more insignificant than the other causes. However, it’s my act of protest that comes with the joy of an ice cream cone.