catcallingRecently, I privately made the statement that if I were a woman living in New York, I would go crazy.  I stand by that.  Now, while I have on numerous occasions and for a wide variety of reasons posed the hypothetical of if I were a member of the farer sex—this is a little different.

Allow me to explain.  There are many things that people let slide in New York that wouldn’t fly anywhere else.   I’ve seen many a bizarre and borderline mentally unstable behavior, from a woman pushing a baby carriage of kittens through Central Park to the guy on the subway last month who was ranting about how Miley Cyrus was trying to control his brain.  The basic consensus is that if no one is getting hurt then New Yorkers will just ignore it and go about their business. It’s really the only way that so many people can coexist in such small a space without open violence.  And one of the many things that New Yorkers accept is the constant catcalling to woman on the street.

Not a day goes by when I don’t see a guy yelling something out to a girl on the street and pretty much every woman I know who lives in the city can quote some recent line that was shouted out to her.  Of course, I understand that this happens everywhere—I knew a guy in high school (in Virginia) who couldn’t drive longer than a mile without shouting something out his car window to a random woman walking down the street.  But in a city where most people use public transit and walking to get around—it happens all the time.  And if I were constantly being harassed while I was just walking to work (I get annoyed with the people for charities and causes I actually support try to talk to me on the street) I could seriously end up going on a shooting spree.  Most women here have the patience of saints and simply ignore it.

Here’s my question: does this ever work as means to picking up a woman?  Has there ever been a scene that goes something like:

So Steve, how did you meet your wife? Steve smiles knowingly at his bride, who shoots a mischievous grin back at him. “Well, it’s a funny story,” he says.  “I saw her walking down Broadway and called out to her.  I said, ‘Hey baby, I like that dress…I think it would look even better crumpled up on the floor of my bedroom.’”  To which Steve’s wife will chime in “And from that moment on, he had my heart.”

Guys, can we as a gender just step back for one second and look at this behavior? Let’s admit that it’s just posturing for other men.  When I think back to that high school friend, hollering out from his car window, someone was always in the passenger seat.  And for every guy shouting out something on street corner to a passing woman—there’s another guy around.  I’ve never seen a lone man catcalling by himself.

So in the end—this act, which appears on the surface as an attempt to attract the opposite sex, is nothing more than an empty way to try and reaffirm masculinity, via pointless swaggering, for other men.   It really has nothing to do with women.

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