With a two block walk between my front door and my office desk, I have found it good policy to keep my mouth shut about commutes. I never have to deal with traffic jams, pot holes, or really any other people at all. Now, it IS along a fairly major road with constant traffic, buses zooming by, and the occasional homeless panhandler. But in general, my commute is kinda the best.
About six month ago, a large multi-use apartment complex being going up and changed things. Between the necessary to-and-from and the common jaunt home for lunch, I walk past that construction site up to four times a day. I have gotten used the fact that half my sidewalk was eaten up by construction fences and that there may or may not be gushing water hazards on any given day. What I have NOT gotten used to is the increased feeling of being on display.
It’s not like I have never before experienced a catcall. I think most women have, but regularity seems to increase exponentially if you walk near a construction site dressed business casual. Don’t ask me why… I haven’t figured out a rhyme or reason to the days I get whistled at. It’s not just skirt vs pants, hair up vs down specific… jeans and a pony have gotten me a holler just as often as heels. The whole situation frankly has me baffled. But not that annoyed. Being whistled at just doesn’t really bother me that much.
Now hold on, world. Before you get all up in arms, I am not some anti-feminist chick who thinks its okay for women to be objectified. Absolutely not. I just straight up do not understand the desire to whistle at a random woman. There is no logic in it to me. I find the whole experience laughable and ridiculous and pointless, and not really insulting, because of the following:
- I most likely did not hear you. Maybe it’s because I am rocking out to a particularly entrancing audiobook at the moment, or thinking about what I want for dinner, or writing the world’s funniest blog post in my head. Whatever it may be. What I am probably NOT doing is listening for some stranger to acknowledge that I can put myself together in the morning. I am just straight-up in my own little world and not hearing or noticing you at all. (Hopefully obviously, this is also not an invitation to follow up your uninvited compliment with an insult because you think I ignored you. Just cause I have my headphones on doesn’t give you the right to call me a bitch. I have never experienced this, but have heard horror stories. Not cool, guys. Not. Cool.)
- Even if I did hear you… What do you think to accomplish from your action? I mean, in your fantasy world, what comes next after whistling at me? A high five from the guys? A back and forth shouting of compliments? A heated tryst? A torrid affair? My declaration that I want to have all of your babies and that we are soul mates and now we will have the best meet-cute story ever? (I should try that last one just for fun sometime) I mean SERIOUSLY. What is the point? It just seems so dumb. And I can’t get that offended by idiocy.
At the end of the day, I honestly don’t think your catcalling has anything to do with me at all. (And if any guys out there have a good answer as to the motivation for whistling, please let me know!) Maybe it’s a more non-person-specific admiring of the view, just in the way I might excitedly point out a bird or landscape to a friend.
Ohhh, look at that peregrine falcon!
Oh hey, did you notice that entrancing waterfall?
Whoa, that topiary is SICK! High five!
So I guess what I am saying is keep whistling (at me) while you work, if you must. I can’t stop you. And if I actually notice, just know that you come off as dumb and mildly annoying. If you are seriously attempting to make an actual connection with me? It’s not working. Try a simple and straight-forward “hello” or non-sexually-explicit compliment. Or anything from closer than 100 feet away and two stories up might work.
And if you are just vocalizing you enjoyment of the scenery?
Do it quieter or you might startle the wildlife. And then where would that leave you?