Letter to a cat-caller

Dear kind sir,

I write to you today in regard to the incident which took place on the corner of Ralph and Madison, Brooklyn, yesterday evening, at which I feel particularly aggrieved. To refresh your memory — because I’m sure you have the attention span of a goldfish — I’ll rehash the events which transpired.

Having carefully selected my outfit and ensuring I was indeed “on fleek” for my second Friday night out in New York city, I strolled out of the apartment into the warm summer’s night only to turn the corner and encounter you and friend, sauntering toward me in your less-than-carefully chosen white tank tops and high tops. Now, admittedly, immediately upon seeing you my back was up. Having lived in Paris before, a city notoriously unforgiving to younger women – constantly plagued by sleazy men on paths leering and shouting at them, I’ve become very accustomed to the scenario and know an asshole when I see one. I quickly reviewed the situation and hence placed you in such a category.

Keeping my eyes straight ahead and not paying any attention to the concentrated gaze emitting from you and your minions following my every step, I was just about to pass when you so rudely stepped in front of me – all but barricading my way past you.

DAAAAAAYYYYYYYUM GURL, you like FIIINE in that dress – UHH!’ you squawked at me to my utter repulsion that was surely splayed across my face, something that has never been much good at hiding my feelings. Upon realizing I wasn’t interested in being your ‘gurl’ – or ‘mammi’ as your little bollox of a friend so politely hollered as I walked away, which, may I add, took far too long, you so kindly allowed me to keep traversing the sidewalk, inevitably to forget your pathetic existence and continue on with my considerably more meaningful life, by not taunting strangers on the sidewalk.

Only, I didn’t forget, because it has now been one too many times that you and your sleazy compatriots have stopped me while on the street or waiting for a subway, and made me feel a mixture of discomfort, annoyance, and generally being pissed off, and I’ve now decided to ‘cat-call’ you out on your grotesque and ill-mannered behavior.

How dare you stop me in my tracks in your white tank top circa Usher 2002, and your equally upsetting footwear choices. Why do you think I would ever feel the need, or rather, want to be ‘complemented’ by someone like you on the side of the street? Do you really think I leave my apartment everyday hoping for someone just like you, a stranger, to validate my outfit choice with a “dayum” shouted at me across the street? And when will you realise that you will get nothing from this approach (or so I hope) for the rest of your miserable life? No, tell me, have you ever found romance successfully after such an encounter?

No, it is not flattering. No it is not heart-warming, or kind; it is rotten. Your leering on the side of the street is imposing, derogatory and infuriating for a person like myself who spent the majority of her collegiate years wielding the flag of feminism and choking on the patriarchal madness that defines, and has defined, the entire span of history.

Please, kind sir, if you perchance to stumble across this public address to you and your associates paving the streets with torment for girls like me – pay attention.

We don’t want to talk to you, we don’t want to look at you, in fact we don’t even want to know you exist. Stop shouting at us on the street. Stop barricading our way to the train and for god’s sake stop calling us ‘mammi’. I am a pale, Irish cailín who has never, and will never have any inclination to swing for someone like yourself donning a white tank top, (except perhaps to give you a black eye) – that is only ever acceptable in my culture when ‘the lads’ are in Magaluf or the Costa Del Sol, and even then, only ironically. Please see yourself back to the edge of the path and remain there while I walk by, and while you’re at it – keep your gob shut.

Extremely unkind regards,

Pale/frightened/annoyed Irish girl.

Adios.

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