There’s something to say about those who find catcalling an effective way of communicating with a prospective lover. Actually, I’m not even sure these people are hollering in hopes of finding a lover or if it’s just some form of verbal masturbation. Or, do you just enjoy hearing yourself publicly objectify another human being? Either way, I think most women have been catcalled at some point and most likely find it repulsive/irritating/uncomfortable/etc.
I, for instance, find it incredibly annoying and generally use it as one of the first talking points with a stranger at a bar after I’ve had a few drinks. (Side note: if I get through this conversation it usually leads to my stance on gentrification. If not, it leads to the purchase of another drink).
Anyways, I was home sick from work last week and finally got the energy to walk the three blocks to my neighborhood grocery store (you probably haven’t heard of it, it’s called Ralph’s). It was a cold morning in LA – probably like, 65 degrees! Yowza! So I bundled up with my boyfriend’s jacket and a giant scarf that doubles as a blanket when I’m too lazy to get a blanket. I hadn’t showered in 3 days. The only part of my body you could really see was my eyes and they were bloodshot and watering from the million times I blew my nose that morning.
As I made my way across the street, I heard a man on a bike behind me mumbling something. I ignored him, as I usually do with other humans because I’m generally too lazy to get into conversation with strangers (sue me). Then, when it came time to cross the next street he very clearly yelled to me, “Mmm! I could follow you anywhere.”
At this point, I wasn’t sure if he was referring to the view of my ass or just the fact that he potentially would enjoy stalking me to see what interesting shenanigans I got into throughout the day. I lack naiveté, so I nixed the latter almost immediately. Then, my next instinct was to turn around, flip him off and yell any kind of obscenity, but I hadn’t had coffee yet and my brain was foggy. Chances are I would have ended up calling him a
“booger eater” or some other ridiculous cold medicine fueled “insult.”
Instead, I kept walking and started pondering this concept of catcalling that is oh too familiar to the women of the world.
I’ve lived in metropolitan cities since the moment I escaped small town living and have been exposed to catcalling since approximately 2 hours after moving to San Francisco. I remember walking around the busy Union Square area of the city and having a man say something as simple as “hello beautiful.” Of course, I soured my face and acted annoyed at first; I knew that’s what most women did (and by most women I meant the ladies
of Sex and the City, as I wasn’t even sure I knew of a real woman who had been catcalled before).
As soon as I was far enough away, I smiled to myself. I was finally a tough ass city gal! I had officially been catcalled! Probably should go get a tattoo of Market street to remember this day! (Don’t worry, I didn’t).
Obviously, this catcalling honeymoon stage was short-lived. Soon I not only ignored the men that continuously commented on my body, face, clothes, makeup, attitude, etc, but started yelling “fuck yous” and “fuck offs” around like I was a female character in a Tarantino movie. This made me feel better for a while. It gave me control when I hated the fact that a stranger could cause me so much anger and discomfort walking around in my own city, in my own skin. I eventually got to the point where I could tune it all out, just as I did the other day, crawling my sick self to the store for some bread.
And now we’re brought back to today. As I mentioned, I often bring up the topic of catcalling to friends/acquaintances/strangers/the one time to the cashier at Target and am amazed by the responses I get.
Most women agree that it grinds their gears, but at this point they choose to ignore it.
I’ve met a few who find it complimentary, dependent on what’s being yelled at them. Men, on the other hand, tend to give me the same response: “Those men that yell at women on the street are crazy/unstable/on drugs. You shouldn’t pay attention to them.”
This very well may be true, however, I’ve seen my share of crazy/unstable/on drugs women on the streets and have yet to hear one yell out “Damn daddy, I could see that cock from a mile away in those jeans!” It’s just not something women do, even if on bath salts. At the end of the day, this is a very niche problem that most women commiserate only with other women.
Now that I’m nearing the end of this rant, one would think I would have answers, a call to action if you will. I don’t. I don’t think anyone does. But if I can leave you with anything, God have mercy on your soul, do not ask a woman what she was wearing after she explains to you she was catcalled at. All bets are off at that point.
For fun, here are a list of some of the most original things that have been yelled at me:
1. You think you’re all fit and shit but you got a fat ass! Woo!
2. I love me some snow in the winter! (I’m still trying to figure out what this one means)
3. You have beautiful legs (Not that this changes things but I was wearing baggy sweats and you could not see my legs. At all.)
4. You’ve been doing them squats! (This actually happened to a friend while she was in line at the hardware store, but I couldn’t resist sharing.)
Finally, for the love of God, do not tell me to smile. I will reach into the depths of my dark soul and wish upon you the curses of a thousand scorn women. Because as you know, we’re all witches.