I am a young teacher who lives in a western EU country. I dress in attractive but fairly conservative clothes daily, usually with a nice pair of plain high-heeled shoes or boots. I have a “good figure” but a plain face; I’m really not very pretty or beautiful, just young. I’m single by choice for now, and I’ve personally decided to wait to have sex until/if I get married. I am NOT deliberately trying to attract male attention by my dress or manner, nor do I appreciate the following “advances” (also, no woman or man should experience such comments, no matter what s/he is wearing or what their level of sexuality is perceived to be!):
While on my way to work in the middle of the day in any area of my city, I get catcalled by a variety of men on the street. If I walk home from work at dusk, the comments only intensify. Old men, young men. Creepy men, adolescent boys. Whoever. They might say something fairly “benign,” such as, “You have very beautiful eyes” or they might say something very frightening, such as (approximately), “I want to bang you, b*tch.” Or just make some utterly degrading animal sound, laughing and giving their buddies a round of high-fives. Or, worst of all, pull over (nice car, beat up car–any class of men has its bottom-feeders), making such sounds from their car, then driving away, laughing maniacally.
I do not appreciate these comments AT ALL. If you think I have beautiful eyes, then appreciate them from afar instead of whispering a comment in my ear while I’m walking past you. I don’t care what your “complimentary” intentions are. I’m trying to get to my job or to walk home or to run some errands, or maybe I’m just enjoying the day. There’s nothing that will wipe the smile off of my face faster than these comments. My policy is to ignore any comments, although somehow I can’t help looking painfully shocked by a remark/drive-by yell. Additionally, sometimes these comments rattle me and I can’t do my job as well as I’d like.
I can’t drive or walk with a friend if I don’t like it. I don’t have a car right now–can’t afford it!–and the bus doesn’t run that often. My friends all live in a different area of the city.
I am so sick of these comments! I am not an angry or impatient person–I’m a very patient elementary school teacher! I just want to be treated with the same dignity that should be extended to all women, men, boys, and girls. These comments don’t even make me angry; rather, I feel sorry for men who feel that they have to stoop to this level. Please, just give me the dignity of silence. Old and young alike, female and male, no one should be treated like this.
– Tired Teacher
Location: Western EU Country