Men at the park

Pic by me, corner of Broad St & West Kinney circa 2018, wrote about it for Brick City Live: Stop Telling Women in Newark to Smile

The park by my house is made for passing through, not hanging out. That’s part of what makes it a good place to run every afternoon. There’s no playground no benches to sit, nah none of that. It’s just sidewalks running across grass, all taking up like two or three big blocks. You’re all out in the open. There’s no shrubbery, and all the trees are tall already. And people talk. I mean at the end of the day you are out in public, and Newark is nothing if not vocal. The men in particular want to make absolutely certain I know they see me and that I look good. Whatever. It doesn’t bother me. I say thanks and keep it moving. I know what I’m doing. I don’t care if people watch.

Junkies & drunks
The junkies and drunks aren’t 100% interested in me. I am not more important than what their drug of choice by any means. That isn’t to say they won’t look if I catch their eye. Then they’re watching me from a seat on the roots of a tree. This one guy only noticed me on my third lap around and had to say that I look really good. Another one will fake-cheer me on, which confuses my son on the bike ahead of me. They’re like you go and run run run. And I’m just like ok come on.

Various passersby
These guys are likely to say something wild or just stare. That’s seems to be the only two options lol. Those are the ones saying loud, DAMN or damn you have a tight physique. That’s as I run past. Another dude might be like oh can I run with you?? Or another dude who was in there I don’t know just chilling around, which is bummy and come to think of it maybe he could fit in the previous category. But whatever–he set up his crate to sit on to just watch me run. When I asked why he was grilling me, he said it was because he loves me. Then he kinda stormed off when I was done and ran into a dude I know parked up right there and was flirting with me.

Dudes from the halfway houses
Dudes from the halfway houses are out there a lot playing football or in group or walking through from one building to another are staring at me. They’re definitely not ODing but they’re looking hard. Like they’re not actually trying to get with you they’re just happy to see you with their own two eyes. Even the lil staff guys are out there telling me they like that. A lot of the dudes tho are speaking, especially if they’re in a small group. Lil brolic dude offering to be my workout buddy with another dude with him yelling out loud when I turned like damn that thang look GOOD. Another guy acting like he knows me or something. I’m just like yea yea can’t talk I’m running.

-Rachel Wagner 2020

Other things I’ve written on this topic: FEM: New Millennium Beauty & Fashion & Stop telling women in Newark to smile

Other Girltalk pieces:

One random hour without my kid

When that car door closed with my kid inside and I walked away, I was so relieved to be alone that I almost didn’t want to hit up this guy who had been trying hard to see me. And he’s nice. Still when I got inside I was like yea I could just chill this […]

Forgetting your book

My friend has a back porch that’s good for reading. It was built onto the house by her friend. The structure houses a table and chairs nonetheless. Sitting back, you face the long rectangular backyard. We sat there and talked and I also sat there whenever I was alone. In the morning with her sleeping […]

Another day 11/10

my chemical romance is really out here changing lives lol i’ve had a few students write about them over the years honestly weed was already legal to the extent that i use it lol and student loan 4giveness–ya’ll wasn’t getting that shit back anyway lol again… people are gonna do what they’re gonna do no […]

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