catcalling

This summer one of the flash-in-the-pan topics that had the interwebs a-chatter was catcalling. HuffPo posted articles, others jumped on the bandwagon, serious videos made the rounds, and all of this ultimately culminated in the cul de sac of the internet, BuzzFeed, with a “hilarious” video about what men are really saying when catcalling women (or maybe it was genuine, honestly I have no clue ‘cause I have no desire to watch it). This resulted in some engaging conversations with my female friends. The most interesting aspect of these conversations was that it seemed to really highlight how men and women see the world differently. To be clear, all I’m saying here is that  a guy’s perspective of the world is inherently different than a gal’s. There’s no inference to right vs. wrong, it’s just different.

In light of these conversations, I thought it might be helpful to present a guy’s perspective on catcalling. Now, I’m clearly only one dude, and I have opinions that may differ from the “average guy” (though I’d say I’m pretty average). But I did speak with my guy friends about this topic at-length, and for the most part the view that I’m going to present seems to be the general consensus on the matter.

The first thing that I think is important is that a distinction is made between catcalling and checking out. There were some articles and videos that seemed to pair the two together, and from a guy’s standpoint they’re very much distinct. The distinction can be made with a broad statement that I may not be proud of, women may not like to hear, but it just is what it is. Which is that guys are gonna look. As it turns out, the majority of what women wear makes them physically attractive, even if women don’t think it does. I think this is in part due to guys being these dumb animals who are wired that way, but it also has a lot to do with women’s fashion. I’m sorry to break this news, but if you’re a woman and complain about someone checking you out while wearing your workout clothes, check yourself out in those clothes. How many parts of your outfit are form-fitting? I mean, you may think that yoga pants are comfortable, but they also literally show the world the lower half of your body. I’m not trying to objectify a woman’s body with that statement, it’s just a fact. If I wore yoga pants out in public I’d get a lot of looks too (not entirely for the same reason, though I maintain I have a cute butt). So does this mean that guys are allowed to blatantly stare at women’s bodies? Hell no! That’s classless. Checking someone out should be done subtly. But my point is that it’s going to happen. Everyone checks attractive people out. Get used to it.

 The second distinction that I’d like to make is between catcalling and physical harassment. I would never condone catcalling. It’s disgraceful and wrong. but it’s nowhere near the level of physical harassment. If I saw a guy catcalling a woman on the street, I may give him a “Really, guy!?” look. If I saw a guy physically assault a woman on the street, I would hurt him. A lot. That’s not a macho statement, I know women can defend themselves, that’s just a thing that I personally could not tolerate. But because one is much more extreme than the other, I’m not sure it’s good to lump together catcalling with physical harassment.

Someone who’s a sexual predator will be one regardless of whether catcalling exists, or is socially acceptable or not. Yes, a sexual predator is more likely to be someone who catcalls, but as the saying goes, correlation is not causation. It’s like the whole “weed is a gateway drug” argument. Just because you smoke pot doesn’t mean you’re going to end up doing crystal meth and get caught up with a mild-mannered high school teacher who decides to start cooking meth to leave something for his family when he dies of cancer. Yeah, I’m sure the majority of meth heads also smoke or have smoked pot, but there are plenty of potheads who don’t use anything else. So even if you think that pot is wrong, I think you can admit that meth is much more wrong. Same goes for the topic of catcalling. Catcalling is stupid and wrong, but physical harassment is despicable. While it’s important to educate on both topics, to say that one leads to the other can seem over-reactionary and may even belittle the much more severe of the two.

OK, so I’ve made clarifications and distinctions, but what about how guys perceive catcalling? Get to the point already! Well, look no further, ‘cause here we go. Catcalling, from an average guy’s perspective, is just plain sad. Clearly the dudes who are catcalling have serious self-confidence issues, because they’re resorting to a pointless endeavor. I mean I once saw a guy catcall as he was taking out the trash at his McDonald’s job. Like, dude’s not even a fry cook. He’s the guy that takes out the trash. He’s basically saying “I hope you’re the type of woman who will settle for the trash guy at McDonald’s who’s saying something crass.” Maybe I’m naive, but I can’t possibly see how that type of woman exists.

I mean, there’s no way that catcalling works. Granted, with my near-celibate lifestyle I’m the worst person to comment on this matter, but I’d submit that picking up women is hard as s**t. And that’s if you go the standard route of introducing yourself, offering to buy her a drink, wooing her, etc. etc. But if she sniffs out even the slightest inclination that you’re trying too hard (especially if by trying too hard you douse yourself in Javon Musk), you’re screwed. You’ll either fail immediately or you’ll have to do some serious work to get back in her good graces.

And catcalling is the epitome of trying too hard. Look, I get it. Catcalling is a numbers game. But what are those numbers? I honestly would like someone to do a study on that. If I’d have to guess I’d say that number is 2. In the history of catcalling. I literally have never met a woman who would hear someone on the street say “Hey baby, you lookin’ fine” and think “Well this gentleman is a worthy suitor! I shall give him my number forthwith!” (apparently women think in proper English). Catcalling is stupid, sad, and pointless. It shouldn’t happen, and it makes us look bad. And I can safely say that’s the general sentiment shared by guys.