Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pussy(cat) Calling

I get cat called all the time. Am I special? There are certainly some people in this world who have that certain something about them – I’ve always thought Buzz Kill was one of these people. Me? I’m fairly certain I’m not, yet I still get cat-called and hit on more than a major league baseball. Sure, it’s flattering, but over time I’ve come to believe it’s just another charming characteristic of Charm City. My boyfriend has a theory that the men in this town hit on every attractive woman they see, because it’s merely a game of numbers. If you hit on 10 women a day, 7 days a week, out of those 70 women at least one or two should be willing to take the bait, right? I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a good strategy for getting laid, because you waste a lot of time and effort, but it is a strategy nonetheless and one countless men in Baltimore subscribe to.

Yesterday on my lunch break I tweeted: “Shamelessness hath no boundaries; I just got cat-called by some guy in his car as I was walking down the street in Towson.”

I kind of caught some shit for using the word “shame” and then decided I couldn’t say enough on this topic in a 140-character tweet or a Facebook comment reply, so I’d write a blog about it – a novel idea and something I haven’t done in far too long (I have Facebook set to automatically publish my tweets as status updates – a glorious invention for people like me who have diarrhea of the keyboard but not the time to update 47 different social networking statuses).

Here’s the deal: I’m not being hit on in bars or at social events. In fact, I never get hit on where you’d think I get hit on. Instead, I get hit on by people in places and situations that seem destined for failure. Yesterday, it was by a man in his car, driving through the business district of a suburban yuppie Mecca, stopped briefly by a red light. What’s the best case scenario here? I drop what I’m doing and get in? How often does that happen?

(No fucking joke, as I was typing that last sentence while sitting here in the car-dealership waiting area for my oil change to be complete, I was hit on: “I wish I could type like that, baby. Damn, you type good.” Seriously? Well, at least I know he has a car…)

Not too long ago while running at the Lake I had a man ask me if he could tell me “how good I look in those sweatpants.” One time I had to change grocery stores because the fish guy would follow me around, and then when he finally stopped working there another employee approached me in the candy aisle, asking if I’d “get him something sweet if he asked real nice.” A cop followed me home from work one afternoon, only to stop in front of my house once I got out of my car to ask me a question that’s popular around these parts: “are you married?” My all-time favorite incident, however, occurred at a mini mart. It was a nice summer day, and while we were both inside, this guy started with the “hey baby you look good” and proceeded to try to convince me to come hang out with him. When I got in the car, I noticed him parked beside me – on a mini-bike the size of a large house cat! How the fuck did he expect me to fit on there with him?! I can appreciate the effort, but part of me also wants to scold some of these gentlemen for writing a check with their mouth that their ass can’t cash.

I usually respond to these cat calls and drive-by hittings on one of two ways: I ignore them all together or I say “thank you” and leave it at that. However, over the past day I’ve really been pondering fun and unexpected responses I can pull out of my ass the next time someone wants to tell me just how good I look in my sweatpants. On one hand, I might as well come up with some witty replies, because I’m engaged by strangers like this on the regular. On the other hand, I am taken, and I don’t want to lead anyone on or get into an awkward conversation about why I’m refusing to give out my phone number. What I’ve come up with could both be fun and a sociological experiment: a business card with a link to a brief survey designed to find out the motivation behind the solicitation.

Stranger: “Damn, girl, you really know how to wait in line at the grocery store for your prescription. I like your hair. You married?”

Me: “Check out my website.”

Naturally, they assume I’m buck naked on it – hey, whatever gets them to the survey. I only need one survey respondent for every ten people I hand the card to in order to be statistically relevant (damn, girl, you’re smart and shit too). But am I really going to have enough people to whom I can distribute the cards? People, whatever you’ve heard about Alaska is wrong – they may have five men to every one woman up there, but your ass will get hit on more in Baltimore than anywhere else in the world. I’ve since left the car dealership, and on my 2-mile drive home I was hit on in traffic while at a light. It’s not called Charm City for nothing.

Survey results or no survey results, cards or no cards, I really do appreciate the feedback of strangers, because their methods keep me in a constant state of surprise and amusement; each cat call like a really fucked up greeting card, each line like a different amateur song lyric. Some days I may be caught by surprise more than others, but I’m not aggravated. It’s actually quite fun.


zee said...

I almost never get hit on in San Diego. Either I've grown hideously ugly in the last 5 years or its a Baltimore thing.

5-7-5 said...

Damn girl, you be bloggin' all smooth an shit, that grammar is on point!
For Serial, do any of these guys have sisters?


5-7-5 said...

Damn girl, you be bloggin' all smooth an shit, that grammar is on point! For Serial, do any of these guys have sisters?


DeadpanAnn said...

The only random guys who hit on me are the Mexicans who hang out in Wal Mart.

Erica Ortiz said...

My most recent groan worthy pickup line:

"Girl, I'd like to EAT you for breakfast".

Right. Because that works EVERY time.

Tasha said...

Oh man I have read SO MANY blogs about street harassment lately, and I get it almost every single fucking day. It makes me not want to go outside. But I totally love your idea... It'd be cool to set up a site full of ads and just a big "YOU JUST MADE ME MONEY, DOUCHEBAG" or something so you could hand your card to these guys and earn money from them being creeps. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

My favorite reply to this is "I'm going to stab you in the testicles". Unrelatedly, here in California, a person walking on the street is likely to get comments shouted from passing cars, regardless of gender.

Taylor said...

I get hit on at bus stops a lot for some reason (Minneapolis). The best was when this guy on a bike started chatting me up as I walked from the wrong stop to another. At least he was kind enough to tell me the right bus to take in exchange for my phone number... for which I feel a little bad, because he didn't tell me a fake bus line.