As I sat down on a bench in Rittenhouse Square, I looked around me to determine who I should focus on. I decided to pay attention to the visitors who seems to be residents of the city, or at least frequent visitors. I believe I can decipher between the many tourists and the Philadelphians.
It was a very nice day out. A lot of people were wearing light clothes for the warm weather and the park was very crowded. A group of five boys were standing to my left, smoking and laughing. An older woman walks by with her tiny do. It goes over to sniff one of the boys legs and they all turn to look at it. The woman pulls it away quickly, avoids eye contact with the boys, and walks the other way.
A couple walks past. They are smiling and holding hands. They seem to be joking about something because he hits her lightly with his shoulder. She is wearing ankle boots and shorts and he is wearing shorts and a plaid shirt. The boys do not look up as they pass.
Two girls walk by, the opposite way. They are both in shorts. The group of boys turn to look at them and, once they’re passed, they resume their conversation. A middle-aged man sits down next to me. He is carrying two bags and is dressed a little warmer of the weather. He seems to be homeless. I can see him watch me as I write.
A mom walks pushing a stroller with two kids in it: a little girl who looks about two and a baby boy. The homeless man looks at her and watches her after she’s passed. There is a mom and a dad with a little girl. The parents keep their distance from each other. The girl, who looks about three, is running to the flowers planted on the sides of the sidewalk. The dad lags behind and the mom keeps a close eye on the girl, calling after her, “Meredith!”.
I sat there for quite a few minutes longer as tourists and residents idled by. Today, I noticed most people have conformed to gender roles. The woman with her dog would not make eye contact with the boys her dog was interacting with. The group of boys turned to look at the girls in shorts. The mom is out with her two children and the other mother is being mindful of her daughter while her husband lags behind. Her daughter is running to the flowers. These are all stereotypes of how each gender should act and although many people do not conform to these, the people in the park today seemed to be.