[not really part of the ‘Men Say The Darndest Things‘ series but might as well be]
With feminism taking on the public sphere, women seem to be speaking out against misogyny and cat calling more than ever. On any given day in NYC, a woman is susceptible to being gawked at, oogled and becoming a victim to verbal harassment. I’m not delving into a diatribe on misogyny, feminism etc. Because, to be honest there are days when I’m just not feeling 100% and a cat-caller can ensure me that, HMM I GUESS I DONT LOOK LIKE A GARBAGE CAN TODAY (which, is actually a win for the day on my part). I find myself walking alone (to/from work, home, from the gym, etc.) and it can be a treacherous minefield of catcalls to dodge.
LOOORD, HAVE MERCY!
Are you praying? What should the Lord have mercy for?
Oh my GOOOOOOD!
Who is your God? Let’s talk abotu this. Who is your God you are calling out for publicly?!
Oh bless you, ma.
I didn’t sneeze. Which leaves me to assume that it looks like I need religion in my life. THANKS FOR THE INSULT.
I see you covering your mouth with your hand and saying something under your breath. Just because I refuse to pay you any attention (inner monologue: just keep walking, head up, keep walking, don’t give them satisfaction) doesn’t mean that I can’t see / hear you. If you have something to say, speak the fuck up. At least be a man about it.
Walking past a group of men whispering among themselves and all turning to eye you, is probably one of the most uncomfortable feelings. Have some decency and maybe look up “SUBTLE” in the dictionary?
HEY / DAMN SHORTY
Yes, I’m short. I get it. I don’t need you to tell me that. I KNOW I’M SHORT YOU ASSHOLE
THE ONCE OVER
I’m not blind. I don’t understand why you are going through painstaking lengths to not-so-subtely look me over up and down. I SEE YOUR EYES. I SEE YOU LOOKING AT ME. Is something wrong with my outfit? Do I have toilet paper on my shoe? Is my dress wrinkled? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!
THE PEOPLE CONCERNED WITH MY HAPPINESS
This is the actual worst. Sometimes, after a 9+ hour workday I just want to b-line to the comfort of my home and relax. I don’t need to pass someone who tells me to “SMILE” / “JUST SMILE” / “WHY DON’T YOU SMILE, GIRL?” / “OH GIRL LET ME SEE A SMILE”, because… no. I am a victim of resting bitch face, so let me be. Are you SO concerned with my happiness? Granted, a lot of work (and money at some point) goes into these pearly whites, but I only flash them when it’s genuine and I have a reason to. NOT when I’m being accosted on the street. Maybe if you stepped in a piece of shit I’d smile.
THE PHYSICAL LEARNERS
IN NEED OF CHAPSTICK
Ooops, so you accidentally made eye contact with a public accoster. He is licking his lips profousely. Like LL Cool J hosting the grammys. He won’t stop. I think he’s looking at me because he needs chapstick. He should probably just get vaseline at this point. I’m very concerned. No one wants cracked lips.
This is actually a serious problem. I’ve been groped a few times on the subway and it’s the most uncomfortable and demeaning thing ever. If I’ve learned anything, its that you do not make a public scene… especially in an enclosed space like the subway. These assholes just need to go to hell.
This last aspect in particular brings me to the important part of this conversation: Why do men (and women) think that this is okay?
Of course, as I’d mentioned before, everyone has those low moments where a catcall can reassure you that you don’t look like the walking dead. However, most of the time – actually, all of the time, it’s pretty demeaning. Women seem to be at the recieving end of all of this. Considering I rarely, if ever hear the reciprocate (correct me if I’m wrong, guys).
-The Religious: Nope, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a female say anything along the lines of “LORD HAVE MERCY” as an attractive man walked by.
-The Whisperers: Maybe this could be the only part women may be guilty of. Like a flock of hens, groups of women are bound to hushedly whisper amongst themselves about a piece of eye-candy that entered their foray.
-The Anatomists: Again, I don’t hear women saying outloud in public, “DAMN BOY LOOK AT THOSE GLUTES!” Because, that would be weird… so why isn’t it weird when it’s flip-flopped?
-The People Concerned With Happiness: Ladies, has a man ever walked by and you said “OH BOY YOU SHOULD SMILE MORE OFTEN!” Yes? You’re weird. No… yeah, thats what I thought.
-The Physical Learners: Men, have you ever been publicly groped by a woman? I’m sure some of you may have… but its not a common occurrence. Also, tell me – do women lick their lips whilst making aggressive eye contact with you? No? That’s what I thought.
The other day I left my headphones at home, making my walk and commute to and from work extremely long, and making me increasingly sensitive to the comments on the street.
Jokes and kidding aside, this is a very serious issue that men and women need to be aware of and need to stop encouraging. Perhaps some will see this as a humble-brag of sorts – but the truth is, women are susceptible to this objectification on a daily basis – regardless of what they look like.