So according to the internet, catcalls have become as pressing and dangerous an issue as the spread of ebola. The web is up in flailing arms over the complete and unacceptable horror of being hit on in the public realm by unattractives, possible perverts, maybe molesters, and total fucking creeps, all while you're just trying to scoop up some tampons and Chobani at your local bodega.
You all saw this "viral" video of a young, expressionless woman sporting a lackluster ensemble walking for literally hours around the city as men try to get some attention from her. The whole time she does absofuckinglutely nothing. I mean, nothing. When I walk around the streets, I find a smile or a simple "hello" with eye-contact really helps keep the pervs at bay.
When a man asks me, "Am I too ugly for you?" I say, "Yeah, baby. It's not your fault that your face looks like an afterbirth. But no thanks." When a guy walks too closely next to me on the street, I make sure to turn his way and give him a "what is actually wrong with you?" look, and then sometimes I cough blood or fart in his direction (I could actually have ebola, you know).
This video also offers sad proof that New York City has perhaps become like a the third world populated by disempowered, mostly white women.
The first time I went to a developing nation, I was 14 and it was North Africa. I found it was a tradition for men to sit on the street and shout out at women; I imagine they must have some success rate, or they wouldn't do it. This is pretty common come-on shit in most of the world. And now that very brown world has in fact, it seems, invaded the Big Apple with its wormy little tongue, and these first world ladies ain't having it.
I grew up in Miami -- which is basically a Caribbean island with lots of tight-pant-wearing pretty boys making art and sipping craft cocktails, all surrounded by alligators. I have what is considered a bubble butt. I have had to use my middle finger a lot as well as those classic catcall-holla-back words "you're fucking gross" or, my personal favorite, "go eat a dick, you disgusting piece of shit" almost daily during my entire adult life. And I'm not sweating it.
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When I think about the New York I visited in my youth, I don't think there was any question that catcalls bitch-slapped me and my friends as we wandered wearing baby-tees through Soho. But the mystique then was that New Yorkers were tough. That they had street smarts. They were pervert savvy. They talked back. And you know what a cretin who yells out, "let me touch your tits" to a rando on the street respects a lot more than being ignored? A retort.
This is very much a cultural conflict. Nowadays, it seems from the outside that most "New Yorkers" are people from Iowa who've managed to find a halfway decent job that maybe pay(s) their rent in South Park Slope while mom, dad, or that old trusty trust fund cover the booze bills. The old "if you can make it there" vibe has vanished in the face of videos like this one. A white girl walking through dark streets in fear.
And now it's, if you get an unwanted compliment on Bedford, you're gonna show that guy what a piece of human garbage he is by blogging about it on the internet -- the great big sounding board of idiocy (why, hello there!).
God, what has the internet done to us? We don't even know how to interact with your run-of-the-mill pervs that pound the pavement outside our doors or deal with cultures outside our own and how they approach the dance of seduction -- however odd it may seem. If you're uncomfortable, put a mirror up to the face of the harasser with words, with looks, with confidence. I don't want to read another article about this until every single one of these women is donating time or money to NARAL or Greenpeace, actually protecting their bodies.