This past Saturday night I went to a large halloween event that was held in the downtown area of my city. I ended up parking two blocks away so that I didn’t have to pay for parking, though I was already anticipating what would happen during my walk. The reality of being a women is that as soon as you step out of your car you’re a target. You’re a target to men who stare at you, harass you, and are just downright disgusting towards you.
The walk from my car on Cherry and Sheldon to the entrance of the event, which was on Oakes and Ionia was at most a 7 minute walk. The moment I got out of my car, I spotted two men across the street on the corner and already my heart was started to beat just a little bit faster. I just knew that they’d have a comment to make about me…or rather my outfit if I’m going to be honest. I could smell the weed they were smoking as I walk past them. I also heard the unwanted comments they made about my body and my outfit. Not even 30 seconds after I had left the safety of my own car and I already had two men make me feel uncomfortable. Though I kept my head up and looked straight ahead as if what they said didn’t bother me. Walking down the hill I saw two security guards and a few other people. One would think that since there are security guards present you might be spared from the inappropriate comments… Wrong. I carried myself through the handful of people and yet another round of comments were heard.
Daaaamn ma you look good tonight!
Aye cat woman! You look sexy as hell!
At this point I was maybe a minute and a half into my walk. While I stood at the crosswalk waiting to cross, the homeless man to my right felt the need to objectify me while I was stuck there with no where to go. Just like all the other guys I ignored their catcalls and continued on my way once I was able to cross. Then once I was almost across the street a women in her 30’s said something to me. This woman gave me a kind smile and told me that she loved my cat woman costume. And you know what I did? I smiled back and said thank you. Why did I even respond to her though? Here’s why: because it was a real and genuine compliment. This woman didn’t look my body up and down like I was a piece of meat. She didn’t yell obscenities at me as I walked by. She was polite.
There’s a right and wrong way to compliment someone and the majority of the time men are doing it all kinds of wrong. If I’m out and about walking around and I see someone who is wearing awesome shoes, a great shirt on, or their makeup is on point there is a 9 out of 10 chance that I’ll tell that person. One night I was outside of the bar smoking with some friends and I saw this girl in line wearing these awesome nude heels. I mean they were beautiful! But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t yell at her. I didn’t catcall at her because I liked her shoes. None of that. Instead I walked over towards her and very politely said “hey sorry to bother you, but your shoes are awesome!” and that was it. We maybe talked for a minute more before I went back to my friends and continued on with my night.
What about complimenting men though? Again…if they’re wearing an awesome outfit or whatever catches my attention there is 9 out of 10 chance that I’ll tell them as well. Same thing just different gender. And no, I’m not trying to flirt or make any advances on these men. It’s just a simple compliment. But what I don’t do is when I’m walking down the street catcall at any men or women for any reason. What men don’t seem to understand is that if you want to compliment a women then you need to go about it in a polite and friendly way. Take a page from women….please.
Telling me that my ass looks “fine as hell” in my leather pants as I wait to cross the street isn’t going to get you anywhere.