As a pedestrian there is something that I really cannot avoid. Doggie bombs? I do my best. Cars? They're bigger, so they always win. No, they're not what I had in mind. It's catcalling, yes, catcalling. It happens to me occasionally here in Poland...still...even at my age. The catcaller is usually in a group of men, often road workers or construction workers, sometimes students. The catcalling consists of anything from a light comment that would be considered a compliment if it weren't shouted at me on the street (hey, you look nice today) all the way to the most vulgar commentary on me, my body, what the catcaller would like to do to me.
I can take a compliment. I have no trouble recognizing the difference between someone chatting me up and someone crossing the line. Years ago a very nice road worker gave me a very polite shout of "good morning" from across the street and told me that he had wanted to ask me out for a coffee for a month. I spoke to him for awhile and thanked him for his invitation, but declined. He said it was a pity. No catcalling there. All in all a nice interaction. Another gentleman invited me for coffee on the street after witnessing my amazing parking skills. I declined. He said it was a pity. No harm, no foul.
The roofers working on my building were catcalling me from the roof and were mortified when I went inside to the top floor where I live, opened the window, and called them out on it. A guy on the tram years ago invited me to his place, but in much more impolite words. Two guys on the bus made oral sex gestures to me. There was the time... Ok, you get the picture.
All of those people were strangers. Never to be seen again. But I have some neighbors that catcall me on a regular basis. I'm not sure if there are two or three of them. They spend their evenings on the balcony having a drink and a smoke. When the weather was better, a catcall from them was guaranteed - some kissy noises, some commentary on your ass, you know, standard. Now that the weather has changed, it's getting harder to catcall. They cannot spend endless hours drinking and smoking on the balcony, and the ladies walking by are all bundled up. Plus, most of the foot traffic on my street is from people who live here. No fresh meat.
A new tactic is needed and has been duly implemented. It goes something like this...
Almost 8 p.m. on a dimly lit street..
Smoking, drinking catcaller from his balcony: Hey Babe!
I don't know why, but this time I stop in my tracks and look up with an inquiring look.
Catcaller: (exhaling a lungful of cigarette smoke, leans over the rail, totally relaxed and in fact looking quite tired) Why don't you come up here and give me a blow job?
Me: Do you propose that to everyone who walks by?
Catcaller: Nope. Just the women.
Me: Any takers?
Catcaller: Not a one.
Me: Well, you're disappointed again because I won't take you up on your offer.
And the catcaller waves me on with his cigaretted hand, looking down the street for his next victim ;)
The most surprising thing about that interaction for me was not his proposition, nor his calm demeanor. It was the fact that I called him Pan. Why Chris, why?