Evolving Backwards

I’ve read Holla Back DC for several months now – I may not always agree with their pronouncements but I am endlessly fascinated and disheartened by the uncivilized behavior of my brethren with non-matching chromosomes.  I also found my friend, Urban Bohemian’s, question about Catcaller Zero to be an interesting take on the knuckle-dragging courtship ritual of yelling random and frequently vulgar things to women on the street.

Like the two aforementioned bloggers, I also wondered about the implied positive reinforcement of this behavior.  Surely some woman, at some point, responded affirmatively to this, else evolutionary law dictates that it would stop.  I just had never seen it… until Monday.

I was walking through Columbia Heights, which can be argued is ground central of the Holla problem, when I heard a typically crude cat-call.  The object of this vulgarity responded with “You can’t speak to me that way; that’s not my name.”

“Well, I don’t know your name; what’s your name” was the hollarers attempt at a logical response.

To my horror and more than slight amazement, this woman replied “My name is Foolish Woman Who Rewards Troglydyte Tendencies.”  Increasing my horror, FWWRTT reversed direction and walked towards the hollerer to speak with him.

I don’t know the outcome of their conversation, and I am not in any way suggesting that we blame women, the subjects or victims (depending on your perspective,) for the behavior of the offenders; but at least we now know that it works sometimes.

*****

Speaking of encouraging negative behavior…

I had just left the wash closet of the restaurant when I was conspicuously distracted by a Long Lashed Ingénue, and her severely hot boots, as she walked into the joint.  When she settled into the bar a couple of empty chairs away, I said “I love your boots.”

“Thank you, it’s the first time I’ve worn them and I was a little nervous walking here because I couldn’t walk to fast.  Surprisingly, I am on time for something for the first time in like ever.”

“Are you on a first date” was the question I asked despite knowing the answer.

“I will be once he gets here.”

We chatted for a moment or two more before my friend, the Only Slightly Sleazy Lobbyist, returned from his phone call and we returned to conversation.  LLI’s impatience grew after ten minutes elapsed with her date still not there.  When it hit fifteen minutes late, I joked that he had five more minutes before she should ditch him and come drinking with us.  When it got to twenty minutes she was visibly annoyed and said that the first words from his mouth better be a huge apology and an explanation of a lost cell phone.

LLI’s date eventually posted.  He was attired by accident, a subject that I’ve never understood, and there was no apology offered.  He went to get their table and she asked for her check.  I insisted that the bartender put her bourbon on my tab and wished her good luck.  She replied with a not too hopeful “thanks.”

Thirty minutes later we walked by their table on our way out the door.  She was holding his hand and looking wistful and happy.

I don’t know what the exceedingly tardy gentleman said in those thirty minutes, I don’t know if he waited until he got to the table to issue the profound apology that was required.  I don’t know if he lost his iron along with his cell phone, and the power was off so he had to dress in the dark.  I don’t know if he made a case for himself that mitigated all of the lateness, the absent apology, and the sloppy dressing.  I would however, bet dollars to donuts* that it never happened.

Am I blaming women for the poor behavior of men? Maybe just a bit.  I know that most of my lady friends and suspect that most of the female readers of this blog don’t contribute to this problem; but there is little room for debate about the fact that “bad boys” have their behavior rewarded by too many women.  When behavior is rewarded it is defacto encouraged to expand.  Please talk me down from this position.

* That phrase used to have a great deal more meaning before the price of donuts got pretty close to a dollar.

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13 Responses to Evolving Backwards

  1. Brando says:

    In fairness, don’t men routinely reward poor behavior by women and therefore encourage it as well?

    Without question, that occurs. However, I would be willing to bet that more women encourage the poor behavior of men, rather than the reverse.

  2. brookem says:

    goodness. i think past the 20 minute mark i would have texted him to see if he was on his way, and if i didn’t hear, id let him know id made other plans. (ie, id take my hot boots and join you and your friend for a drink.)

    by the way, i like when you do these little collages- i wish i could be that savvy with this stuff. uploading ONE photo is tricky enough for me!

    I’ve given a woman 45 minutes before – though I think that gentlemen are obliged to give more time than a ladies who I think are perfectly reasonable to bail after 15 minutes. I am not sure that a gentleman who is that late without making contact, even deserves an “are you on your way” text. Had it been a friend who asked me how to write the text, I would have advised something along the lines of: I assume that you’re not coming so, I have made alternate plans. If you’d like to discuss this please send me an email another time when I won’t be quite as predisposed to thinking that you’re full of shit.

  3. k8 says:

    Sigh. I was visiting my friend Tiny in the hospital on Tuesday night and we had this very discussion. He said that the longer I stayed sober, the higher my bar was getting and that I was no longer entertaining even a THOUGHT of dating an idiot boy – yes BOY – who treated me badly. Whereas I know that’s a GOOD thing, I also know that my pool of candidates just got incredibly smaller.

    And that is also a good thing. This is kinda a zero-sum game – the sooner you can get to the “No” the better off you are.

  4. Christina says:

    Part of it is a self esteem issue, some women need attention to thrive. Others would not put up with that behavior.

    I am sure that you’re right for some women… it is a sad thing.

  5. A says:

    We all do this (some to a greater extent than others), because feelings aren’t logical. Love and attraction cannot be turned on and off like a tap. I am, of course, speaking of the second situation, because I cannot explain the first.

    I get that feelings aren’t logical, I still don’t understand how they could have been created in that kind of environment.

  6. Alice says:

    to k8’s point, it may even be that because the pool is so small, we’ll allow bad behavior just to try to desperately expand our dating pool. like, normally i would be AWFULLY annoyed at 20 mins late with no call or text as a status update. but after 15 or 20 or however many shitty dates in a row, if he shows up and seems charming, despite the rude late entry? i might cave and want to believe that he’ll still be a “good one” because damn… you have to believe that or you’d never date anyone else, ever.

    It just seems so counterintuitive… and maybe counterproductive too. Wouldn’t anyone who meets the good guy definition respect you enough to not leave you in radio silence for 20 minutes and without apology?

  7. I don’t get the whole “bad boy” thing. It’s boring, annoying and like watching a shitty Canadian sitcom where they’re really trying to “act their hearts out.”
    Blech!
    ps- Being that I am Canadian, I am allowed to say that.

    So it’s not cool when I mock Canucks?

  8. In the second situation, I think she was probably so relieved that she wasn’t completely humiliated in public, that it became a lot easier to overlook what he’d done wrong. At least, I remember a few first dates where I let a lot slide simply because I was so relieved they’d shown up, and I wasn’t the obvious dressed up girl with no place to go.

    How is the good fortune of having someone prove themselves to be a complete flake, and having the courtesy to do so very early before any real emotional investment has been made, prove to be humiliating?

  9. kitty says:

    overthinking will get you every time. the truth is perhaps far more simple — no one wants to be lonely on Christmas.

    Would you rather be lonely in a couple or lonely by yourself?

  10. LiLu says:

    Ooooo. I kind of love kitty’s response… that hadn’t even occurred to me, but so, so true.

    That is another very valid hypothesis, but it still doesn’t explain the willingness to be treated poorly.

  11. Michelle says:

    I know for sure I have, in the past, contributed to men’s bad behavior. “Hi I’m Michelle, your new doormat, walk all over me because I want you to like me!” I now can spot the douchebags and avoid them. I’m not bitter, still nice, but have grown a spine!
    I sure hope that guy did at least apologize to her!
    Classy of you to pick up her drink tab. But that is you…a gentleman through and through.

    We’ve all contributed to or rewarded the bad behavior of others at one point or another. As with most of our mistakes, how we handle the response is more indicative of character than making the mistake itself.

  12. dorothy says:

    I have many bones to pick with many of my fellow X-chromosomers – the bad boy problem is high on that list.

    I’ve never understood that phenomenon… even when I was that less than good boy.

  13. Grace says:

    A poorly dressed man is not worth my time.

    Word.

    It is so nice hearing a woman say that. Though I am sure that you would agree poorly can also mean: haphazardly, unintentionally, sloppily, carelessly.

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