how to hit on people on a train

By now, I’m sure a lot of you have already ready the story of the woman that threatened on the train because she didn’t want to talk to the psycho about whatever book she was reading. If you haven’t read it, here you go.

I’m always curious to know how people feel about catcalling and similar behavior (not like the crazy guy in the article above). Some women think it’s demeaning and hate it, and some women actually like it. I have not, however, heard of a situation where catcalling actually “worked,” as in, the woman turned around and said “hey, you have a fine butt, too! Let’s go grab a beer.” It always struck me as kind of like the dog chasing a car: what are you going to do with it once you got it?

Whenever I read stories like the one above (or ones not nearly as awful as that) and read all the comments about it,I get frustrated because people seem to think that there needs to be a consensus, that everyone needs to agree on how a catcall should make a woman feel, either good or bad. I think that’s ridiculous (and a little offensive). I can see how even a catcall can be intimidating (especially to someone who has been victimized in the past) but also think that the price of living in a society is that you are going to have to hear some unpleasant things. There’s a line that should never be crossed, but it’s hard to say where that line is and it varies by person and situation.

I also always want to share my best story of getting hit on but I don’t want to distract from the online conversations. So, I’m going to share it here. What else is a blog for if not to navel gaze? I was living in New York City and riding the subway. A man with a sketch pad set next to me. Since I’m nosy, I tried to see what he was drawing. I can’t remember what it was. I think he was making a comic of some sort. But then I saw he wrote, as I was watching, “what’s your name, sexy?” in the corner of the page nearest me. Being a socially awkward young adult that was not at all used to male attention, I quickly turned away to stare at my feet and turned bright red. A few minutes later, I was almost at my stop. I put away whatever I was reading and started to stand up. On the corner of his page, he had written “bye, have a nice day.”

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About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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4 Responses to how to hit on people on a train

  1. Tony Bird says:

    One thing I’ve noticed about many women (particularly my wife) is the conflict between wanting to be attractive and not wanting to be liked or loved solely based on attractiveness. It’s a lose-lose for a man who is trying to appreciate her, because he can give a genuine compliment about how nice she looks while still appreciating everything else about her, but she immediately jumps to the conclusion that he only likes her because she’s pretty. You bring up a good point when you mention women who have been victimized, because I can understand how they would shy away from that kind of attention.

    • emmawolf says:

      I have no wisdom for how to best compliment wives because I don’t take such compliments graciously either. I wouldn’t say that I jump to the conclusion that my husband only likes me because I’m pretty, but I think I see your (and my husband’s) dilemma. I don’t know why, but it kind of reminds me of the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy is pregnant and she is upset because Ricky seems to focus so much on the coming baby and not her. So he decided to take her out and focus on her, then she cries that Ricky doesn’t care about the baby.

  2. Personally when someone whistles at me or “catcalls” if makes me very uncomfortable and like they are making fun of me. It makes me feel objectified also. I know people who don’t feel that way but I think as a whole it is pretty demeaning. The part about the dog chasing a car made me smile. Thanks for that! šŸ™‚

    • emmawolf says:

      “like they are making fun of me.”

      This must have made new connections in my brain or something, because I think I’m realizing something that I hadn’t really thought of before. Let’s pretend a man at a construction site (for example) is making fun a woman walking by. He yells or calls her something. Since we know he’s making fun of her, and we know that it makes her uncomfortable (if it does), we call that behavior bullying. But if we change the scenario only slightly, we make him yell similar remarks but change his intent so that he’s not making fun, it’s now not bullying and she is “supposed to” take the compliment. But it could be the same tone, act, and reaction. I don’t know, maybe this is obvious and I’m slow for not realizing it before. I’ve noted before that it’s ridiculous that some people feel the need to tell others how to feel and interpret a particular act, but I just never made this connection before that catcalls can be so similar to bullying in style and reaction but for some reason, we’re supposed to consider the subjective intent of the speaker (who either way probably wasn’t someone who thought about his action).

      I don’t know if I’m making sense…

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad at least some of it amused you.

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