India Choquette is a writer, a trainer, a teacher, a breakfast sandwich eater, a person in love with a person, and a FOrmer Vermonter living in New York City.

I stopped to take a break and searched “tasers” on Amazon Smile. I was supposed to be writing, but I often take breaks to follow tangential whims that usually lead to me mentally saying, “Huh” before moving on to the next thing.

First, before I do anything, let me explain what “Amazon Smile” is. It is a branch of Amazon that donates a portion of every purchase to a charity of your choice. I picked The Nature Conservancy because of all the packaging I generate through my Amazon purchases. Like a tithe. As of today, I have only generated $25.51 over 106 orders for The Nature Conservancy. That’s approximately $0.24 per order, which doesn’t seem like a reasonable amount, but I guess is better than nothing.

I didn’t look up “Tasers” because I was thinking about buying one. I realize I should buy one for S. She waits for the bus at 5am to go to work, and she has weekly stories of people coming up to her. If you engage with them, they won’t leave you alone. If you ignore them, they scream at you and insult you. I want to be like DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND IT IS DANGEROUS FOR WOMEN TO TALK TO STRANGERS??? WHY WOULD I TALK TO YOU? I’D HAVE TO BE STUPID.

Also, I don’t like it when people speak to me before 6am, but apparently that doesn’t apply to people who stay up all night. They are ready to pounce when S. gets to the bus stop. She only has to do the early commute two mornings a week, and every time she gets up at 4am, I try to rally myself to go with her. If I were a better girlfriend, I think, I would go with her. But it is early. And the bus stop is across from a Dunkin’/Baskin Robbins. It’s hard to imagine anything bad happening to someone outside a place that sells Elmo shaped ice cream cake. Of course, Dunkin’ doesn’t open until 6. So the bright orange lights don’t even protect her.

I don’t know how I would keep people from harassing her anyway. The hope is that if there were two of us, they might leave us alone. But I’m honestly not that intimidating. Plus, I can never seem to get up with her, even though the alarm wakes me every time. As I search tasers on Amazon, I realize I could get her one and maybe save myself the guilt from not chaperoning with her.

The tasers on Amazon at for women. They even recommend “Tasers for Women” as I search “Tasers.” They are pink and purple and leopard print. They are also cheap—hovering around $15. I wonder if the cheapo ones are less powerful? It would be disappointed to zap a dude with what feels like a bee sting. Can you imagine? You are walking home late at night. You have your keys in your hand to open your door as fast as possible. Then you feel that someone is walking behind you. You speed up, but you don’t look back. You know that, if you look, you will alert him that you know he’s there, and then he might attack early. You are scared, but you are prepared. You fumble in your bag as you walk, and you grip your Amazon Smile purchased taser. You stay on the main street rather than turning off the side street towards your apartment. You feel him gaining. There’s no one out other than the two of you. He creeps closer, and just when you feel his hand on your shoulder, you whip around and taze that motherfucker in the ribs—Pip! He looks up at you, more confused than hurt. You look down at the taser and think, I should have gotten the $25 one. Damn my thriftiness!

And that’s a pretty good scenario that leaves out: batteries not included, dead batteries, a rechargeable version that is uncharged at the moment of attack. There’s also the likely scenario where you wouldn’t actually have read the instruction of how to use it. Then it would be back to sticking your keys through your fingers, like Wolverine, so you could try and punch him in the face.

This, of course, is a scary story we tell women to get them in touch with their fragility. Our fear is at least a solid third of our oppression. Let me make it clear: I’m not saying that it is in our heads. Clearly not. Women are attacked. But being scared all the time is demoralizing. It makes you fearful of taking a job that causes you to commute at odd hours. Which might lead you to be poor. Which will lead you to be additionally vulnerable and dependent. Which will lead to more fear.

One of my friends had a via driver the other morning (at 5:30am) who shook his head at a Harvey Weinstein announcement on the radio. “This is why men should have four wives,” the driver said. Apparently, his argument was that the man would be adequately exhausted by pleasing four wives. People are weird at that time in the morning, S. concluded. I pointed out that the main problem with the driver’s argument was that women are also people. We are not pets. You can have four cats, but you unless you own your wives and are their “master,” it doesn’t work to have four. My friend is gay, but he decided not to get into it with the driver. It was too early for that kind of thing.

But it did get me thinking about the abortion craziness that is happening across the country. I’m not surprised by it. To these men, it’s similar to outlawing spaying cats and dogs. More puppies and kittens for everyone! And aren’t they precious?

The world is dangerous, and women are weak and easily overpowered. That is what tasers tell us. But the phantom rapist in the street is a less realistic fear than the loony tune voters who think that women can’t be trusted to make good choices. They can’t even walk home, so how can they contribute meaningfully to society other than by reproducing? That seems to be the logic. I will not be getting a taser.

Riding the Bus

Graveyard Gym