Reforming Catcalls: How to Be Affirming When Yelling at Someone in Public

by: Bobby Crowley

Why are we so afraid to compliment people? Sure, there is this anxiety that plagues us all when faced with interactions with strangers, but compliments seem even harder to dole out than insults. Why is this? Is it, perhaps, because we’re afraid they will think we are creepers? Possibly. Though I appreciate an ego boost every now and then (other than the ones I give myself hourly), I am the first to get uncomfortable when a stranger accosts me. For some reason, hearing “Hey you, wanna fuck?” from across the street is not the most joyous part of my day. Surprising, I know.

However, I truly appreciate the foundation of what we formerly called “catcalling.” The intention behind catcalling, minus the strong dose of creep seems to boil down to loud compliments. If this is the case, I fully support this idea. However, catcalling can definitely use a bit of reformation.

First of all, we should probably filter out any unwanted advances or sexual innuendos, as not all people are comfortable with such displays of affection being aired out in public. This means no more “I would most definitely tap that there ass” or “Why don’t we take a taxicab back to my humble abode and fuck like rabid bunny rabbits.” I know, I know, I will miss those ones too. But don’t worry, this will not destroy the world of catcalling as we know it, it will just lend itself to the necessary reformations.

Speaking of reformations, I believe we should add to our pool of publicly shouted compliments. Perhaps, instead of simply focusing on a person’s natural beauty using words like hot, sexy and foooiiiinnnneeee, we might use some intricate detail and, even, expand to the rest of the person.

For instance, I may walk past a girl and shout, “Hey you, that flowy blue dress brings out your stunning eyes and I feel you should be very happy with such a smart purchase.” Or maybe I’ll pick up a tip from Barney and tell the nearest sun-glassed pedestrian, “Hey you, your frames are legend…wait for it…and I hope you aren’t lactose intolerant cause here comes the…DAIRY!”

In fact, drop this “Hey, You!” crap. Let’s get a little creative. Maybe they look like a Natasha so you try it out, “Hey, Natasha, I know that is probably not your name but it definitely suits you and I didn’t want to be rude and say hey you,” and so on and so forth. Why not show this stranger that you mean business when you compliment them? If you do, they will walk away knowing that whatever nice thing you said must be true. You could make a person’s day, week or month!

Why just focus on the outside? Compliments can and should run deeper than one’s appearance. Maybe you see a stranger on the street who seems powerless under the weight of the world. You could try: “You are a wonderful human being with the potential to change lives!” Maybe you want a more formal approach: “Lady, Gentleman, Decent Human Being, you would make an excellent President of this United States!” Maybe you just want to tell them what their friends fail to, “You, George, Georgette, Geographer, whatever your name is, you are so clever, you could make Eeyore laugh!”

There are so many possibilities when it comes to complimenting a stranger via public announcement. And why not? Why should we hide our kinship with the rest of humanity? Sure, most of us might be strangers. Of course, we are all different individuals like perfect little crisp snowflakes. However, we have much more in common than we like to think. We all have a lot of the same worries, issues, struggles, dreams, hopes, and let’s not forget BODIES. We know what makes us happy so why not share that with the world? Why not try to make someone else happy? Maybe someday when we are all complimenting strangers, we’ll get our own drive-by compliment.

Maybe when we least expect it, but most need it, we’ll get the “I’m proud of you” we’ve been longing for since childhood. Sure, we won’t know the person, but doesn’t that make it even better? They took that moment out of their day for yours. Reforming catcalls is easy. All you have to do is muster up your best intentions and brightest smile for someone else.

Oh, and for you reading this, yes you, you’re such a magnetic human being it’s all I can do to keep from smiling.

Bobby Crowley is a Queer woman with a love for all that is fabulous. She is currently working on her Creative Writing degree at Loyola University where she is also on the board of Advocate and a writer for the alt. magazine LUChameleon. She is in love with Andrea Gibson, her labradaniel puppies, and singing loudly in the shower.

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2 responses to “Reforming Catcalls: How to Be Affirming When Yelling at Someone in Public

  1. Why the heck would you suggest just making up a name for someone? Assuming someone’s identity, gender, just a hell of a lot. This has a really weird tone.

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