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Polymorphism

I got catcalled the other day. It's not an every day thing for me,…

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I got catcalled the other day. It's not an every day thing for me, but it's also not unusual or shocking. My usual response is either laughter or ignoring it, depending on the context.

I was going to post a humorous overanalysis of the incident, as is my wont. I kept going through male dominance and power theft, I kept going through class differences, but when I realized race and culture clash were also about to come into play, man, it was too much fucking work to put into a two minute incident I laughed off. Some things just aren't worth it.

So, cutting off before that crap, the things that make this incident stand out:


-- I could not hear what was being said; I determined what was happening through body language and tone of voice.

-- I am puzzled by the fact that the facial expression that goes with, "Hm, what did he say?" is interpretable as encouragement. I realize that I looked at him (initially because he was making noise, then because it seemed to be directed at me) and that ANY response is interpretable as encouragement for this behaviour, but I don't really understand why. It certainly allows for only a very narrow range for expression. In retrospect I am amused by the idea of calling out, "What? I'm sorry, I can't hear you." What does that do to the dynamics of the exchange?

-- The reason I couldn't hear was because I was in the McDonald's drive-thru, and the guy was in the outdoor dining/play area. I don't usually think about imagery in daily life, but in this case it was both broad and strange: those areas are generally fenced, presumably to keep small children enclosed and "safe;" the upshot is that he was in a cage, while I was in my car, which is still a symbol of modern freedom in America. I doubt he saw it that way, but then I'm pretty sure I've also put about 500% more thought into the incident than he, so hey.

-- An employee who was working in the area during this scene happened to be on the other side of the building as I was leaving, and stopped me to ask if I had been harassed, saying there had been "comments" and that I was a customer and should not be made to feel uncomfortable. I thanked him and told him I was fine. It was sorta sweet, or something. Actually I am not sure what I think of it.


I tried to envision what the ideal outcome for the catcaller would have been: "You have won my heart, and I didn't need this car anyway!" At which point I would abandon my vehicle and leap over the fence to be with him, trapping everyone behind me in the modern version of a tar pit: the curbed drive-thru lane.

As an aside: the fact that this is the version sans the overthinking says so very much about me, don'tcha think?
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