A few nights ago I was walking home around midnight. I was somewhere in between a parking lot and the sanitized center of downtown when I heard a man cry out asking for directions. Now usually I’d just walk along, but there was something so plaintive in his voice that called to me like a baby cat in need.

I stopped. He shouted something frantically at me. I looked into his sad eyes. He had glasses, and the narrow face of a child. He couldn’t have been more than 18, 20. Was he out past curfew? Why was he so frantic? I asked him to repeat his request, but still I did not understand….

And then my eyes glanced down to see what he was shaking.

And it was his penis.

Of course it was his penis.

He was jerking off.

I shrieked and he drove off. I have no idea why.


(A photograph of a Beirut Street not showing the actual scene of the crime)

I recounted this story to a male friend of mine, who was understandably horrified. “Why would someone do something like that?” he asked.

It is in my nature to imagine explanations for things I don’t understand, so I offered one. “Maybe his mom used to walk in on him jerking off, and it’s the only thing he likes now, so he has to drive around the city looking for women to scare.”

My friend just shuddered. “Being a woman is a different experience than being a man.”

The odd thing is, since relaying my tale of the drive-by-masturbator to some friends, I have heard story after story involving a similar circumstance.

That is to say, men who drive around flashing their penises at young women is not uncommon. Somebody needs to make a meme about it. That moment when you are almost at your destination and you realize the service driver has been jerking off the whole time. 3adee.

I don’t know why, in a country as small as Lebanon and a city as small as Beirut, so many men would get off on molesting women via drive-by-wanking. I mean, it’s only a matter of time before you’re shouting, "kees Imak" at your own sister, and things get weird, real weird.

Men of the city, you've been warned. As of this week, I won’t be offering anyone directions past sunset – unless it’s to go straight to hell.

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