A Piece About Catcalling from a Man’s Perspective

catcalling

“Why’d you let that ripe piece of ass get away?” There were 20 of them. Big fuckers. No like BIG fuckers. And they were drunk too. They were standing on the corner of Broadway and Columbus, outside the pizza place, with boxes of that greasy stuff. They were commenting on me putting my good friend Lauryn in a cab and sending her home. I was waiting for a cab myself.

I’m usually very quick with the bounce and roll and have something clever to say to pretty much everything. But I was stoned and drunk. Not that it matters.

I said, “She’s my friend.” The cacophony of “Why didn’t you fuck her?” continued.

I was exhausted and heading home, but I could’ve lied and boasted and played their game saying things like, “Shit, I hit that all the time.” or “I’m off to fuck another hot piece of ass” or “I’m heading to a threesome.” But I didn’t want to be complicit in their verbal assaults or the terrorism that women have to deal with on a daily basis.

I wanted to say, “I just needed to get her home safely away from people like you.” Which is weird since these guys probably weren’t rapists, they just postured like rapists when they’re in front of other dudes.

But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t say, “All 20 of you monstrous motherfuckers have moms or sisters or wives or girlfriends. All 20 of you have loved a woman before. All 20 of you have women in your life who you worry will come across men acting just like you are right now. How can you let each other say these things and act this way?” But I didn’t want to get to beaten to death by 20 big, drunk fuckers with pizza grease running down their faces. I knew that’s exactly what would’ve happened if I had.

Just then a pretty girl walked by and crossed the street while the chorus of creeps started hollering shit like “Not even a smile?” and “Not even one look this way?” I thought about darting out to her and saying “I’m sorry. We’re not all like this,” and walking her across the street away from them. But I couldn’t, it would’ve made it far worse for both of us.

So I just nodded and waited for a cab, occasionally deflecting their taunts of “Why didn’t you fuck her?” with vague responses like, “I’m not too worried about that.” Vague is good. It makes you see more clever than you are.

Then I ate the pizza they offered me, I was stoned and drunk after all, and got in a cab and went home.

*******************************************************************************************************************

This story isn’t for all the women who are reading it, it’s for all the men. Teach your boys what it means to love women. Teach them to respect their moms. Teach them to hug their sisters. Teach them that it’s not ok to harass women or intimidate them under the guise of “just trying to holler at them”. When you do this, women find you fucking terrifying.

Talking back to these 20 belligerent men, telling them that their mothers/sisters/wives/daughters are scared of guys who act just as they were, would not have been brave. It would have been stupid. Brave would’ve been a guy in their group saying, “Hey, this isn’t OK. I have a sister too. I love my mother. I don’t want my daughter to be scared to walk alone.”

Do you love the women in your life? Then be brave, stick up for them when it can actually make a difference. Then maybe your friends will do the same thing too.

Share This Page

About the author

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".
  • Panhandle

    People like that are why I avoid North Beach and, increasingly, the Mission. It’s now a part of the culture up there on the other side of the hill and it’s embraced by all genders. It’s gross. That whole neighborhood is gross, now. An extension of the Marina. The Mission and my neighborhood are also turning into frat-city. Oakland, though, is where my people seem to be heading. So after three generations of artists and bohemians, I’ll be the last one to leave. Though not just yet. I have a few more magical moments to experience…

  • Camille

    I’ve noticed this situation getting worse in SF, and it’s upsetting. Thanks for highlight the issue, Stuart. It’s really frustrating to be objectified and made into a sexual object by complete strangers. Crazy that often when I stand up for myself to catcallers, they immediately threaten me with violence. Most of the time I choose not to respond. If I do, I use these tips from http://www.ihollaback.org/

    • If you respond verbally, be firm. For example: “What you just said to me is offensive.”
    • Use strong body language. For example, make direct eye contact.
    • If they respond, do not engage in conversation. Keep moving.

  • Flo

    I understand your fear to say something to those guys, but please recognize that every time that happens to me, a young woman, I don’t have the same choices as you, a middle-aged male. I can only ignore that catcalling is happening for fear of instigating something worse if I speak up and tell the offender to bugger off.

    You are so lucky to have the privilege of being able to ignore those assholes, but you had an opportunity to say something and you didn’t. It’s why catcalling keeps happening. I can guarantee you none of those guys are reading your website and thinking, “Hmm, he’s right, I shouldn’t be such an asshole.”

  • Kiran

    Not that this changed my behavior since I never harassed women to begin with, but you know what allowed me to empathize with women as a straight man? Walking through the Castro and having gay men holler at me and grab my ass.

    It’s true that I didn’t actually feel threatened, but it was annoying and I can only imagine how awful it’d be if I actually feared for my safety.

    I agree with being the guy to call out your friends if you ever see them doing this. If this is the only thing you can do for a laugh, it’s pathetic.

  • Kiran

    Not that this changed my behavior since I never harassed women to begin with, but you know what allowed me to empathize with women as a straight man? Walking through the Castro and having gay men holler at me and grab my ass.

    It’s true that I didn’t actually feel threatened, but it was annoying and I can only imagine how awful it’d be if I actually feared for my safety.

  • Maggie

    Hey, Broke-Ass! Have you thought about submitting this to Huffington Post? Might be worth a shot: seems like they’d have a place for it. I can’t tell you how fcuking happy I am to read a man being honest about his thoughts on experiences like that. We all need to say and hear more. I dunno, but I imagine it’s a trap for those guys; a vicious cycle. One of them feels obligated to say something like that ~ or he’ll loose face ~ and then the others are obligated to chime in or they’ll loose face. I bet only one or two of those guys actually really embraces thinking of women like that and the others mostly follow along. Could be wrong: just postulating.

  • http://brokeassstuart.com Broke-Ass Stuart – Editor In Cheap

    I sent it to my friend HuffPo yesterday. Not sure it they will run it or not. I hope so!

  • http://willolovesyou.com Willo

    You’re one of the good ones, Stuart. Thank you for being such a gentleman, and prolific writer who can share your thoughts, insights & wisdom far & wide! I’m grateful for you. <3

  • http://brokeassstuart.com Broke-Ass Stuart – Editor In Cheap

    Thanks love. I appreciate it :)