Dear catcallers of the world! No, I didn't drop my smile. No, I won't show you my tits. And while, yes, I may look fine as hell in my dress, I don't need you to tell me from your moving vehicle. Shut up and be a decent human being for once in your terrible life. Sincerely, the women of the world.
Seriously though, what the actual fuck is it with catcalling dudes and their drive-by harassment? What's the thought process? They see a woman walking down the street and think, Ooh, a woman! I'm going to inform her that her ass is on point? Why do these men think this is OK? And on a related note, why does calling out this repulsive behavior draw online threats of rape?
At 13, I graduated into womanhood by receiving my very first catcall. A man strode up to me as I walked home from school and, in a low grunt, whispered, "I'll lick it for you." It was a moment so vile and vital in the coming-of-age process that it should be commemorated with a Precious Moments figurine—Baby's First Experience with Sexual Harassment.
I didn't realize what that perv meant until days later, when I asked someone and they gave me a talk eerily similar to the one I received when I got my first period. This is something that happens to every girl, and we can't change it. That's when I started getting the sneaking suspicion that being a woman would be forever fraught with bullshit.
Well, eff that noise! If I have no choice in the matter, and my uterus-carrying comrades and I are doomed to a life of harassment, then I'm gonna dish it out as hard as I get it. I set out to harass dudes on the street to see how they liked it.
I drove around, ready to hurl pre-prepared dirty come-ons at every man I laid eyes on. No man would be safe from a nasty tongue-lashing delivered by the Gozer. Vengeance would be mine! Muahahahaha!
As I sped up and down street after street, shoulders hunched over my steering wheel like an old-timey bank robber primed to unleash a swarm of bullets, I got nervous. I'd spot a dude walking down the street, slow down my retribution mobile / Mazda, ready to serve him a disgusting zinger. But just as I was about to give him a "Dat ass tho!" I chickened out. It was just too embarrassing, even in the name of justice. That happened about 15 times. If only catcalling men experienced a similar sense of shame.
Later, I asked a few male friends what they would do if a woman catcalled them on the street. Each answered with a query of his own: "Is she hot?" One even said he'd get in a catcalling woman's car, no questions asked, if she was pretty. If she were an uggo, though, no way. Creepy! This proves that men are the easiest people in the world to kidnap. Just be hot and you can Aileen Wuornos the shit out of them! We're forever judged by our looks, ladies. Never forget.
With revived blood thirst, I climbed back into my car, ready again to serve some harassment. My first victim was loading groceries into his trunk. I figured I should start off easy, so I slowed up next to him and yelled "Daaayum!" My target looked up in surprise, and I sent a few wet air smooches his way, then sped off. My heart was pumping harder than that of an overweight kid playing Dance Dance Revolution.
I zeroed in on a guy in his jammies walking his dog and gave him a whistle. Another buff fellow got a "Dang, papi," while a bearded gentleman was told he could get his dick eaten, all courtesy of the harassment avenger. Each of my targets looked surprised, even shocked. Not one yelled anything back at me or threw me a middle finger. Maybe they're not as used to it. Must be nice.
The things that have been hurled at me from passing cars are next-level disgusting. I'm talking, "Sit on my face," "Fuck me, slut" and what I can only describe as horny-pig snorts.
Once a guy asked if I was Brazilian, and when I said no, he said, "Are you sure? Cuz damn, let me get your number." I didn't tell him to fuck off. Instead, I smiled weakly, said I had a boyfriend (I didn't at that time) and swiftly walked away, looking back to make sure he wasn't following me. Because another thing about street harassment is the fear that comes with it. If you rebuff these type of advances as brutally as you want to, there's the chance you'll be attacked by some dipshit who feels entitled to come into your personal space and doesn't like a woman who says no.
Street harassment is not only disgusting, offensive and misogynistic; it also ruins those moments when a stranger is genuinely nice to you when you least expect it. A man can't just walk up and wish you a nice day without you scowling with distrust, because there are 500 other idiots out there who'll wish you a nice day and then compliment your ass. My best friend Michelle told me she can't allow herself to like the good stuff because we need to admonish the bad. We can't have nice things because someone will inevitably ruin it. How sad is that? I want the nice stuff, so I haven't been able to decide if I agree with her or not.
Either way, I implore all you catcalling men to stop. And to you good dudes who'd never harass a lady in any setting, I ask that you not make excuses for your shitty friends who partake in this behavior. Whether or not they had terrible parents shouldn't give them a pass. Call them out. At least when you stand up to them, no one will threaten to rape you.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also bug her on Twitter.