Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cat call memo circulating. Did you get it?

Dear Jadyn and Liana,

I might as well tell you now that as a woman you will have to get used to certain things. One of those things is feeling like a piece of meat, feeling like eyes are on your bodies at all times.

From the time I went through puberty, I've experienced more than my share of cat calls, whistles and comments. I could blame it on my voluptuousness, but I have a feeling that it has more to do with desperate men needing to express themselves. Why women don't shout out at hot guys when they get the urge is beyond me. Do we not possess that Call of the Wild mentality?

Because we live in a small, poor community, even I, your prized candidate for What Not to Wear, get comments like, "Hey, you're pretty" from a passerby (who's been smoking a little too much of something, clearly). I feel embarrassed for the men who shout these things. It's like they didn't get the memo (aka graffiti down the street) that this kind of treatment of women isn't proper anymore, that women don't really buy this kind of sexist attention. That studies show that 9 out of 10 men who cat call end up going home alone and eating bon bons while watching that show, Desperate Perverts.

I've never dated a guy who yelled at me from across Main Street or winked at me from a drug-induced daze. Heck, I've never even dated somebody I didn't have at least one all-night conversation with.

But, I digress. I need to tell you about today's stranger we know and how he fits into my lesson for you about being walking prey.

There's a guy I kindly refer to as Mr. Gross. He's unsightly, he's dirty and he's eager to flirt with any woman with legs (or not). He's commonly greeted me with "Hey sexy" or "Hey pretty Mama." I kindly try to avoid him like the plague.

We encountered Mr. Gross today while walking just before lunch. I was guarded as we walked together despite my every effort to stop at least three times to find out what is wrong with your mouth Jadyn (nothing) -- hoping that he had some place to be and would just keep walking. No such luck.

"Everything OK?" he asked.

He lingered, he stalled, he waited. He gripped the can in the brown paper bag he was holding in his right hand.

I had no choice but to indulge the conversation. Little did I know that I would stumble upon a blog post while walking the span of just one block.

I smiled as I do with all the strangers we know and said all was just fine.
"You've got your hands full," he said.
"Yeah," I nod, not making eye contact.
"They both yours?"
"Yes, they're mine."
"What's their age difference?" he asked, pointing between them.
"Um, their twins."
"Oh, oh, yeah, right."
"Um, no, girls," I said, glancing at their pink and yellow shirts.
"Oh, my bad, my bad. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"You dress them alike?
"No, just similarly."
"Oh, right ... I see. One's wearing gray. One black."
"So, um, what were they born like a week apart?"
"Um, no, same day."
"Oh, right."
"So, they're what, two weeks, no, I mean, two months, no, wait, yeah, two months?"
"They're almost 2 years old," I said, staring him in the eyes.

Then he began telling me a delightful, slurred story about someone he knows with twin boys with blonde hair who are also 2 and ...

Then we came to an intersection in our conversation and I was able to, oops this is our turn, cross the street with intention, even though it was intentionally a half block sooner than I normally would have turned.

He walked on, glancing back and glancing back some more.

You see, girls, he was harmless. Annoying, yes. Not very smart, yes. Drunk, yes.

But harmless.

Perhaps I've been wrong about Mr. Gross. Perhaps he did get the memo after all.


Mama Zen said...

Born a week apart? Just how drunk was this guy anyway?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a bogeyman isn't that at all. He's lost. All the more to prove that you are found.

Shannon said...

You're so brave. :-)

lesleysmeshly said...

I love it! Harmless, entertaining, drunk, and crazy...what more could you ask for!!!

bella said...

We have these kinds of neighbors too.
Like the "crazy" lady I was scared of for weeks who screamed at us and then one day learned it was because she had a small rubber ball she wanted to give my son.
It makes you stop. Wake up a little. Open and see in a strange new way.