Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Creative Solutions to New York Catcalling

Last week, my friend T. was in town. We used to work together at the newspaper in Little Rock, and now he’s at the WSJ. He’s getting married this weekend in New Orleans and I had been given the duty of helping him pick out a vest to go with his tux, as his fiancée has her hands full.

As we walked up to Saks, he caught me up on some mutual acquaintances I hadn’t heard from in a few years. Brian? Married. Jeff? Married. Mark? Married. That mousy girl who covered NASA? Married. And now it was T.’s turn. I said something to the effect of, “Wow, I’m feeling a little left out here.” And T. said, “It’s just that you’re too picky!”

Sure, I’m particular about finding someone to spend the rest of my dadgum life with; shouldn’t we all be? But am I really PICKY?

As I mulled over this possibility, I realized he might be right. I’ve dumped people or dismissed them before it even got to that point for various “offenses” such as: not smelling right (not bad, just not right), having body hair (fine, blond, wispy) that weirded me out, being a bad email correspondent, and having picky eating habits. Then again, I’ve seriously dated gay men and pathological liars, so apparently I’m just picky about the wrong things. Like to bang guys? No problem. Don’t like Malaysian food, or have poor punctuation skills? See ya.

I was thinking about all of this again as I walked down 48th Street – otherwise known as New York’s Diamond District – this afternoon. It’s hard not to think about marriage or proposals or engagements when you’re being assaulted by an avenue-long assortment of 600 million carats or so.

Just as I was pondering my propensity for pickiness and, apparently, my aptitude for alliteration, some chap sidled up to me and started serenading me with “Uptown Girl.” This was not someone I wanted to be sidled by, never mind that I am a Brooklyn girl, motherfucker, and wouldn’t be caught dead living on the Upper East Side.

Maybe the problem isn't that I'm picky. Maybe it's that instead of attracting the type of guys who want to express their adoration for me by buying one of those nice fat solitaires in the diamond district, I attract the type of people who want to sing off-key to me in the street and ask me about the color of my pubic hair. Because while I managed to shake the Billy Joel wannabe, I was verbally harassed not once, not twice, but FOUR more times before I made it the length of the block to Sixth Avenue.

I feel like catcalling is becoming a running theme here in No Parachute land, although I truly wish it weren’t. I’m sick of hearing what every rude, loud, leering asshole thinks about my luscious booty or my fiery hair or my smile (or lack thereof). Admire my booty all you want -- silently. But please spare me the commentary on how the very sight of it is causing funny things to happen in your oversexed groin. Don’t honk at me from your car; I am not going to run over and stick my number under your windshield wiper so you can call me later and I can come over and pleasure you. I don’t want to hear about which celebrity you think I resemble, and I don’t want to tell you whether the curtains match the drapes. You are a stranger, and your comments make me feel threatened, belittled, objectified and, most importantly, pissed off.

Now, I know this can’t just be happening to me; certainly there are more desirable women in New York than I. Exacerbating the problem, it’s been springlike in New York and apparently that means the skirts are coming out and the sap is rising. Ladies, I think collectively we need to come up with creative solutions to rampant catcalling.

Beyond the knee-to-the-groin option – which, mark my words, someone is going to get if this happens ONE more time today – I’m kind of at a loss as to how to handle these fuckers. Eyerolling, glares, stony silences, muttering "fuck off" under one's breath and trying to have a sense of humor regarding the horniness don’t seem to be working.

Any ideas beyond ballbreaking or hiring a bodyguard?


Blogger Krissi said...

Nice, I enjoy your blog mucho...especially since I was born and raised in good ol' SLC, UT!

12:37 PM  
Blogger SwallowedAlive said...

Some T-shirts declare "Princess", "Cleavland", or something really high class like "High Class" but I'm sure you could find or make one stating "Look fucker, I have Encephalo-Herpes and I will fucking spit blood on you if you don't mind your own!" The only drawback is where do you post that kind of message? On your chest? Your back? Does New York have gun laws?

2:37 AM  

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