You’re walking down the street alone and it happens out of nowhere— you get catcalled.
I never used to get catcalled as a teenager because I looked like an ogre. Now that I have discovered it is acceptable to shower more than once a week, every now and then it’ll happen. Anyone that has been catcalled knows that each experience is very different from the next, but there’s always that sense of discomfort. It is especially uncomfortable when you’re walking alone and a particular member of a passing-by group yells out some random “compliment.” Which is exactly what happened to me the last time I got catcalled…
Picture this: I finish six hours straight of class and head downtown to buy some dinner. It’s winter, so I’m bundled in my huge winter jacket down to my knees and a massive scarf. As I walk home with heavy bags in hand, he walks by with a group of friends and in passing screams, “Nice ass!”
Gah, I’m so mad because not only does the group erupt with laughter at my expense, but he couldn’t even see my ass through my knee-length parka! With both of these things in mind, I knew I had to say something, but I didn’t have much time to think before I reacted. So I just went with the first thing that came to mind. “Nice tits!” I screamed back. Let me tell you, this guy was stunned and was definitely not expecting that. It wasn’t only meant for him to rethink his decision to catcall me, a girl struggling to get her groceries home, but it was also to put him in my shoes a little bit.
A picture of me in said parka
Catcalling is so weird it boggles my mind that it’s a thing. Why is it socially acceptable and “normal” for people to pass by others and scream, “Nice ass!” Imagine if it was acceptable for someone to scream other random and useless shit at you from across the street, like, “You look lactose intolerant,” or “I had chicken parmesan for dinner!”
But catcalling does very much exist, and with most things in my life I *try* not to get angry because it tends to only make situations a lot worse. I am in no way trying to undermine the problems surrounding catcalling, I just think that when possible, it’s important to alter our reactions to it. Without lecturing them or freaking out, I think these catcallers got the message quite clear that I was unhappy with their behaviour.
We’ve all been there, and often it happens so fast that it’s impossible to come up with a response. I think that’s exactly the point. It leaves the catcaller with a sense of victory, but no! If you have some really weird, funny, sassy response ready, it’ll make the whole experience a lot more empowering and hilarious.
So I went around and asked my friends some ways that they have dealt with or would deal with catcallers. Here’s what they said:
1) Yell “Father my young!” Because nobody wants that kind of commitment.
2) Turn around and impersonate a cat: meow ferociously, lick the back of your hands, purr, etc.
3) Scream “Come back and let me marry you!”
4) “I’m only 12!!!”
5) Respond aggressively in a different language
6) Turn around and silently join the catcaller crew, be a problem and make it as awkward and uncomfortable as possible.
7) “Wow that’s so nice since I haven’t showered in the past 6 days…”
8) *Flash your ugliest smile*
9) Just drop to the ground
10) Aggressively run for a hug
If these don’t work for you, come up with something that works with your sense of humour. Catcalling is weird and shouldn’t exist, but it does. So why not try and have a little bit of fun with it too?
Erez Zobary, Online Reviewer