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Call Me Never

September 18th, 2014

 

Hey there, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to play everyone’s favorite Higl’s Squiggles game: “picture this.”

 

I’d like you to let your imaginations run wild. Picture a strapping young lad in his 20’s. He works a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, and lunchtime rolls around. He leaves the office, and innocently walks down the street, on a quest for a Chipotle burrito.

 

Yet, he has to survive the mob of women coming up to him, commenting on his derrière, catcalling across the street.  “Nice booty,” says one woman. “I’d like to get some of that,” says another.

 

And when you get down to it, all he really wants right now is his stinking burrito.

 

Let’s flash back to real life. Would that situation actually happen? I’m going to say no. That’s role reversal right there, friends. If you say that does happen in real life, you’re kidding yourself.

 

Let me clarify that statement. That scenario rarely happens to men. But, I’m willing to bet you a Starbucks latté that something like this has happened to the majority of ladies out there – at least once.

 

Or twice. Or three, four or five times every darn day. Especially when you just want that Chipotle burrito on your lunch break.

 

You’re probably scratching your head and wondering what in the world I’m talking about.

 

Let me tell you a little story.

 

Ever since I’ve voyaged into the strange land called “womanhood,” I’ve noticed catcalling has become a reoccurring issue. As someone who interned in downtown Cleveland this past summer, I can confidently say that catcalling is far from rare.

 

Each lunch break, I’d venture out on my daily walk, greeted with a slew of catcalls. Everything you could think of was thrown at me. Some were innocent: “Hey, sexy.” Others, not so much.

 

Please use your imagination. If the types of comments you’re envisioning make you want to throw up, you’re probably on the right track.

 

These became so reoccurring that I started to purposely “dress-down” on my walks. I’d wipe off my make up, wear baggy clothes and fix my hair in a messy bun. However, I feel like even if I strut the streets in sweatpants, the comments still wouldn’t stop.

 

One day, I reached my breaking point when one particular catcall turned dangerous. I was followed. I was verbally harassed. I was asked for certain things (again, use your imagination). The best part – this was in the middle of the day.

 

Believe it or not, it all began with a simple “Hey, beautiful.”

 

To say I was frightened was an understatement. I felt like a piece of meat. I felt violated. No woman or any human being should ever feel like this. Ever. You feel less than human. You feel dirty. Even though all you really wanted was to grab a bite to eat, take a leisurely walk or just go home. Can’t I just buy my darn burrito in peace?

 

To top it off, I read a New York Post column in the midst of my “summer catcalling adventures” entitled, “Hey ladies – Catcalls are flattering. Deal with it.” The writer talked about how she basks in the whistles, comments and calls of the men – especially married men – on her daily walks.  According to the author, it’s flattering, and gives her a boost of confidence and reassurance.

 

To all the young ladies out there reading this column, this message is for you: if you have to be reassured about your beauty and self-worth by some disgusting pig’s comments, then you need to take a long, hard look at your life.

 

To all the gentlemen out there: if you’ve ever catcalled before, you should seriously reassess your motives. Why are you doing this? Are you that desperate?

 

No, catcalls are not flattering. They’re dangerous. They’re demeaning. They’re just flat out rude.

 

Sure, some may have innocent motives. Yet, in my “catcall days” I’ll tell you that I’ve heard many more dangerous, jaw-dropping catcalls directed at me, than a simple, “Hey, beautiful.”

 

Next time you’re about to whistle at the girl running on the sidewalk, think about how she feels. Imagine if it was your sister, mother or cousin. What if the guy next to you catcalled at your little sister – demeaning her as a person and attacking her sexuality?

 

Do you want that to happen? I didn’t think so.

 

And let’s think about this: most companies set aside at least $25,000 to settle sexual harassment claims out of court. Additionally, they hold mandatory trainings sessions for employees. They’re obligated to sign waivers so the company isn’t responsible for their actions. That’s how seriously corporations regard sexual harassment. Yet, on the streets, this form of sexual assault is a way of life.

 

And, I hate to break it to you, New York Post writer, but you’re totally out of touch with the real world.