Hairy balls

Hairy balls (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I purposefully gave this article a ridiculously provocative title.  I don’t mean any offense, as some people really enjoy doing a lot of things with testicles.   I just wanted to use heated sexual language directed at men to make a point. Gentlemen, imagine hearing a phrase like that yelled at you all day long.

Some men resent women because they think we have it so much easier when it comes to dating.  In some ways we do.  For instance it’s a lot easier for the average women to get no strings attached sex. Of course, a few men have a lot of luck hooking up with multiple partners, but for the most part, women usually have no problem having casual sexual encounters.  The downside is that women are often the victims of forced sexual advances, sexual harassment, rape and sexual violence. For most of us, unwanted sexual attention comes at us all day long.  This is exactly why cat calling sucks big hairy balls.

Now because men and women do have different realities when it comes to street harassment, I don’t know an easy way to put this.  If you are male and are reading this please picture the LEAST sexually attractive person you could imagine coming on to you. If this real or imaginary human were to overtly make some type of advance, your skin would crawl.  The thought of having sex with this individual makes you want to vomit.  It would be so disgusting, you would never want to have sex again.  Really burn that face into your psyche. Now imagine if nearly every time you stepped out of your apartment or home, there they were…ready to make some graphic or illicit sexual remark directed at you.  They might follow you down the street, prevent you from walking, lean in close, physical touch or intimidate you.

That is what many women deal with, every day, all day long, all year round in nearly every conceivable situation.  Has it hit home yet?  Maybe? OK I’ll try to tell it from a woman’s perspective now.

When I’m walking down the street, I’m usually thinking of the next place I have to go, I’m not thinking I about any number of men:

  • Who I know nothing about
  • Who might be drunk, or flying high on drugs
  • Who might be much younger or older than me
  • Who could get violent at any moment or try to assault me
  • Who chances are I have no physical attraction to whatsoever

Believe it or not lovers of cat calls, street harassment is quite intimidating.  In fact, there have been several cases of rape, and even murder have begun with seemingly innocuous cat calling.  So no, I’m not overjoyed when some stranger treats me like a sexual object when I didn’t want the attention.

In my short 40 years on this planet, I’ve had to deal with the following scenarios of street harassment.

I have had men assume I was a prostitute – They would pull their cars over, open their doors and ask “how much?” – this happened several times when I was going to work at a coffee shop in college at 5AM.  I was always wearing khaki pants, a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt, tennis shoes and carrying a bag.  I usually also had a hat on, so I have no idea why this read as prostitute.

I been groped by strangers – I wish this wasn’t true but it’s happened at clubs, bars or on the subway. The physical touching wasn’t ambiguous. Men would grab my ass when I was a cocktail waitress – every time it happened a security guard threw them out of the club.

I been followed, threatened and stalked – You name the threat I’ve heard it.  From “I’m gonna cut your head off” or “I’m going to smash your brains in” and the usual “I want to fuck you so hard”

I have had total stranger grab me, or block my path – When this happens I totally blow up at the man, which usually leads to one of the “I’m going to smash your brains in” type of comments.  But honestly why should any stranger physically touch or grab someone they don’t know? No one has a right to touch another person or prevent them from walking down the street.

I had men expose themselves and masturbate towards me – This has happened more than once and both times on the subway in Chicago.  I learned after my first experience to completely ignore the man. The second time it happened I refuse to acknowledge anything was going on, and luckily this strategy worked and he got bored and stopped.  Again before this might sound HOT to any men reading picture the someone you who actually sexually repulses you doing this to you!  Not so fun now is it.

It happens every day, all times of the year, all day long, regardless of what I’m wearing, or how I look. Even mild interactions tend to wear me down.  Here is a typical one.

It was 5:30 a.m.  I was walking down the street dressed in a conservative skirt suit while hauling a rolling suitcase behind me.   A sanitation worker blocked my path on the sidewalk and physically prevented me from moving.  He said simply, “Hey baby.”

I don’t look up, and politely walked around him with my suitcase.  As I walked past him he shouts, “Bitch.”

Was I supposed to make myself late to work, and just start talking to guy who chose to say “Hey baby.”  Should I have smiled back only to invite even more attention?  Why can’t I just ignore it?    This type of attention is grating, annoying and seriously starts to make women angry at the men who do it.  We don’t view as complimentary.  It’s harassment plain and simple and sadly no joke.

If none of this has swayed your opinion and you are man who still thinks street harassment is welcome, picture your daughter, niece or a friend’s defenseless young child walking down the street…now imagine grown men making sexually lewd comments to her.  The first time I was sexually harassed and intimidated I was about five years old.  So it really does start when girls are extremely young.  Would you want your daughter, sister or mother to go through it?  Of course you wouldn’t.  So the next time you think of making a kissing noise at a random woman, or shouting at her about her ass, or blocking a female on the street, stop yourself.   Your tactic not only won’t work, but you are probably making that woman’s day that much worse.  If a woman thinks you are cute, she will probably find a reason to talk to you, but when you scream “Hey baby you look so good I want to fuck you”, you’ve just lost any chance that it will happen.

One comment on “Street Harassment: Why “Cat Calls” Suck Big Hairy Balls

  1. Barry Lyons (@lyonsnyc)

    Who are these Cro-magnon knuckle-scrapers? I have never, ever, EVER (let me know if I’m shouting) cat-called a woman. This whistling and hooting and all the rest of it appalls me. I don’t know how these men who do so live with themselves (probably alone; heh).

    But just the other day at the Met Opera I had a Larry David-ish moment. I was talking to a friend (male) who had invited me to the performance (it was Nico Muhly’s new opera; meh), and as we stood there waiting for the ticket-taking to begin we got to talking about something or other, I don’t remember what it was. At one point he said something that elicited a “wow” from me in a I-can’t-believe-it kind of way, and just as I said it, unbeknownst to my peripheral vision until it was too late, a very attractive woman was just about to walk by and pass me. No less than a millisecond after I said “wow” she jerked her head to look at me. I knew what had happened (Bob saw it too), and I was mortified by her misunderstanding. Fortunately, she gave me a smile and kept walking with the boyfriend/husband she was with (good thing HE didn’t hear me!).

    And that’s the end of my not-so-terribly exciting story, and it’s as close as I’ll ever get to saying “Hey, baby” (or any inane variant thereof) to a woman I happen to find attractive.

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