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.