Last week I had Jury Duty. It was interesting in some ways, great in others, and horrible in yet others. I will tell a few stories here over the next few days to get myself back in the habit of blogging.
This is from an email I wrote to a friend last Wednesday:
A weird thing happened on the way home from jury duty. I was walking to the bus stop and passed a group of older-than-me-but-not-old homeless men. One of them called out, “hey, you with the hair! [I’ve been wearing it long and in my naturally curly state, and gone back to red color. It stands out.] You are SO fine! You’re beautiful!” To which I smiled and said thank you. That may have been a mistake, but I always thank a person for a sincere compliment.
He went on again and said something else about me being this or that (didn’t quite get the words but it was essentially a repeat of the previous sentiment but in slightly less socially-acceptable terms, but not offensive either. Just something about being hot and “damn” and such.) at this point I’m thinking “well. That was nice. Haven’t heard one of those in a few years. Guess I’m having a good appearance day.” I felt pretty good. You just don’t get told you’re hot out in public much once you’re over 35 or so.
And then the kicker… He says “you so fine if you were my woman I’d drown you. Yep. Drown you. (Long pause) With my loooooooove. Next time I see you I’m getting your phone number. You better not be married!”
I didn’t respond to anything after the original “thank you,” and ignored his dumb ass and walked to my bus stop with him yammering about drowning me over and over as he walked past the bus stop with his buddies.
WHAT THE FUCK!?!?? DUDE. Pretty sure that’s the weirdest catcall I’ve ever experienced. Maybe the creepiest, too.
I went from a “hey, cool, I still look good” moment to a “what just happened there?” in less than a second.
I don’t agree with catcalling in general and usually ignore it. However, in this case it started as a well-mannered, sincere compliment that absolutely deserved a thank you in return.
Generally in situations where women explain to (usually) men how demeaning catcalling is, we also tell them that to pay a true compliment in a respectful tone is a different thing than a “hey baby blah blah blah” you know? So you don’t want to discourage the good ones either. It was a little bit sad because at one point he was definitely ahead.
Life lesson: when you compliment a stranger on the street and they smile and thank you, quit while you are ahead and don’t get all creepy on them.
For reference, here’s what I was wearing that day. Harassment doesn’t only happen to skinny girls in short skirts.