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A Piece About Catcalling from a Man’s Perspective

Updated: Mar 26, 2015 14:18
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“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 seem 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.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. Panhandle
    March 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    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…

  2. Camille
    March 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    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

    • 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.

    • 10songsblog
      March 4, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Orrrrrrr…. you could just take it as compliment and walk on. That’s what I do when gay men get all mouthy on the street. It just to much negative energy to choose to be offended. I rather just take a couple seconds to say thanks and walk on or even compliment them back.

  3. Flo
    March 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    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.”

    • Mia Cucchiara
      March 26, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Christ. You need your own forum, like maybe a daytime talk show for exhibiting erratic logic and unrealistic standards in regards to any progress.

    • 10songsblog
      March 4, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      I don’t ignore cat calls. I smile and take them as a compliment. And you can ignore those “assholes” by walking right by. You have free will and personal agency to feel however you want to choose to feel. And to say what you want to say.

      The fact that you didn’t say something that offended you out of fear leaves them other in control of your action and emotions. Why the hell would you choose to do that? Sure you can also choose to walk by and not even register it in your own being.

      But letting somebody else, a total stranger no less, control you… Read the 7 Habits, read The Tools those books are really empowering.

  4. Kiran
    March 12, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    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.

  5. Kiran
    March 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    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.

    • 10songsblog
      March 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Huh… this kind of thing doesn’t bother me at all.

  6. Maggie
    March 13, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    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.

  7. March 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    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

  8. aynsavoy
    March 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Thank you for writing this. The only thing I’ll add, though, is that guys shouldn’t need to imagine their sisters, mothers, girlfriends etc as targets in order to understand that this isn’t something they should do. You shouldn’t have to experience a version of it yourself, like the commenter below, It just takes really, truly believe that women are people and listening when they say that this is a problem, that it’s not flattering, that hearing it over and over wears a person down, and believing them.