My apologies for the poor grammar and spelling. I am not traveling with a computer.
New York is often considered a lonely place. There are so many people in such a small space, that it is easy for shy people to hide. There are 11 million things to do, so everyone hides into their niche. Amazingly, the culture shifts faster than the tourists on the sidewalk. One of the places where catcalling still exists seems to be in this city.
“Have you ever tried to call a cat, they don’t listen for shit” -someone funnier than me. Or, less funny, “catcalling has never worked” let’s address the latter. Catcalling used to work. In a time before it became illegal to talk to a stranger on the street. How do I know this? Because I exist because of it. My father tracked my mother down from the passenger seat of his friend’s car. He either wasn’t malicious, or he was attractive enough to pull it off.
“It was a different time.” It sure was. People didn’t have apps to hide behind, or an agenda to scream. They had to go out and interact with strangers in order to convert them into fellows.
Catcalling is a problem, if it is in a form of harrassment. The bigger problem is that is has been coopted by social justice warriors who want to play the victim. Now that I’ve lost half the audience, I can speak the truth to the reasonable half. If you hadn’t seen the video of the woman walking around NYC for 10 hours, you shouldn’t. It was deplorable! The vast majority of men were trying to say “hello” in one form or another, and this woman ignored every single one!
The irony of this, is that when women are given the ability to imitate conversation through an app like Bumble, “hi” is acceptable, but on apps like Tinder, a guy has to woo her to separate the wheat from the chaff. Why am I talking about a 4 year old video? Am I so much of a curmudgeon that I need to bring up old shit? In fact, it was part of a conversation I had with an attractive lady, today. She, like most women, was ambivalent about catcalling. She started off saying how disgusting it was, and within the same sentence starting complimenting the unique ones. My point is that the vast majority are trying to display interest, and in a sea of people, if someone is looking for someone special, and they happen to think they saw him or her, if they don’t act, they might never see that person again. Sure, there are assholes who are rude, or whistle (also very rude), but in that crusty ancient 4 year old video, the whistling was minimal, the touching was innocuous and meant to attract attention. If a man is trying to court a woman, he must make the first move. Right?
This is the right of refusal for women, and the responsibility for men. It is a tear in our social fabric. The conversation shifted to compliments, and how men don’t receive them. Men are allowed to be groped, mocked, and generally criticized, and I told this lady, “I have to tell my guy friends they are beautiful, because nobody else will.”
She responded, “that’s true, but every time I compliment a guy, he feels like I am flirting.”
I went to a wonderful comedy show tonight. And Ron Bennington was addressing the issue of transition. Not the kind of transition that you are thinking. The transition from a male-centric society to a female-centric one. He asked 2 ladies in the front row, “are you ready?” And the wooed the same way they did 20 years ago. But they are married, they aren’t courting anyone, although when big Jay Oakerson got up and started doing his world famous crowd work, he exposed them of their cheating, accidentally. I don’t think many saw the ladies’ reaction, but he pulled back the curtain. This isn’t the time to talk about how cheating is becoming more rampant on the female side, where males are just not getting into relationships. This is about transition of power, and the responsibility that comes with it.
We need all women to figure out a universal sign of attraction. Lev Fer, the host for the night, joked about how a woman will act like a child in a bar, and ignore the guy she is attracted to, and then is confused when he never went over and bought her a drink; the universal sign for a guy to show attraction to a woman.
The attractive lady I was having a conversation with, brought up the physical intimidation men have over women. 3rd wave feminists want to argue that there is no biological difference, until they hit a guy and find out the primal pecking order firsthand. Small guys don’t hit guys bigger than them. Well, sober ones don’t. Overcoming intimidation is the goal of a man who wants to court a woman. And catcalling is scary for women.
Ultimately, hard lines need to be drawn in this new era for women. Oh, the irony in that statement. The stupid commercial telling men not to ever talk to women, in order to stir up controversy, really displayed how much our macro-culture wants to just have humans never see, hear, or touch each other. In the commercial, a man starts to attempt to chase after a pretty woman walking by, before he says a word, some other man puts his hand on the guys chest and says, “not cool” how do we know he wasn’t chasing her down to give her back her keys that she dropped a few steps back? We are being conditioned to believe that every man is a rapist until proven otherwise?
The attractive lady and I never got a chance to finalize our conversation, mostly because she had as many thoughts swirling around her brain as I did, but we did agree that people are inherently good. That she is afraid, and she should be. I walked through Washington square park at midnight, I too get afraid, we all should. It’s what keeps us in a safe mindset. The one thing I didn’t get to say to my new attractive friend but whomever reads this gets to here is, we live in a society with rules that are overwhelmingly followed. If you can’t trust the rules that society has to protect us all, then we no longer have a society. They dont have to be laws, but norms need to have hard boundaries, because the vast majority of men believe that women are both the cause and solution to all of our problems. A true feminist believes in true equality. This requires hard lines to be drawn, and saying that version of catcalling was ok because it was funny, or cute, or he was cute, only ostracizes men from women. I say it to the people I talk to, and I’m going to say it here, “ladies, you don’t want to see the rules break down. Those rules (and weapons) are the only thing to protect you from bigger, stronger people.” Help us by solidifying the rules, and understand that rights come with responsibilities.