We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Let's first accept that men, especially young men, tend to be hormonally sexually alert and curious most of the time. Flirtatious too, when feeling confident. Doesn't that mean that the catcalls and other uninvited words simply come down to a matter of manners?
Here's a related question:
A good and mannerly young fellow on the subway finds himself standing next to a young lady who is reading Jane Austen. Cupid's arrow strikes him. From her appearance, her movements, etc. he feels that this is the girl God has made him for and he can't keep his eyes off her.
Should he say "How do you like the book?" Or should he decide not to be taken as a creep, let it pass, and kick himself for a month for passing up what might have been a life-changing opportunity to meet the woman of his dreams?
I watched the catcall video and was surprised by how mild most of the comments were. The only ones I found irritating were the creeps who kept following her, demanding to know what she found so inadequate about them.
Jane Austen or Jane Austin? I suppose it shouldn't matter. Seeing's how God made the female in question for the male in question, yes, the young man should certainly strike up a conversation.
But, if one were hoping to drop a bit of know-it-all into the conversation (Do you prefer "Sense and Sensibility" to "Pride and Prejudice?"), it would matter if she were reading Jane Austen or the more obscure Jane Austin...
Either way, it would be wise to heed the words of either Shakespeare or R. Traverner, whomever is more obscure... "Faint heart never won fair lady."
Every man over the age of 25 knows that women dress and act differently when they are looking for love then they do if they are married or otherwise happily involved. Sometimes this is subtle and sometimes so overt that comedy shows have used it for a laugh. Men pick up on this and act accordingly sometimes with good manners and sometimes with a more direct proposition approach. If the women are interested in the men then it is mutually agreeable and pretty much how people meet up. If the women are not interested in the men they attract then the contact is "creepy" and unwanted. Same contact the only difference is if the women are interested in meeting them or not. So who is wrong? The one sending the signals and deciding if the results are good or bad or the one receiving the signals and making the first move?
Some of the calls also seemed to be more like "Hey, buddy. Wanna buy a rolex?" They weren't focusing on her, just anybody passing by.
Let's not forget that America is so blessed to have the time to make things like these videos, and sit around and talk about them.
I have had the occasional cat call; the cat call is simple appreciation as I see it. Frankly, it can make my day. The follower is potentially creepy. Physical interaction, though, is rather different than verbal.
I've only felt threatened once by words; and it was by someone whose repeated comments (a homeless man who camped out by my flat) tended towards graphic descriptions of where in me he would like to place his knife. He didn't target anyone else.
The difference between the cat call and 'I'd like to shove a knife up your c...' is remarkably clear. Or should be if one has a basic understanding of reality...
(signed, young, female, redhead)
Oops I didn't answer the question.
Striking up a conversation with a well thought out remark is appreciated by me. I cannot speak for other women, but I think I am in the minority here. I don't understand women who respond to such approaches with rude remarks.
As Pajak quoted Shakespeare 'Faint heart ...."
No. It did make me more aware of the various legal intricacies and practical concerns of self defense though. which was all to the good.
As for the question I forgot to answer: I'd hope the man would strike up a conversation.
He should ask "who's your favorite character?" and hope the conversation leads somewhere. Given that it's NY, he should also expect to be cursed at in return, but maybe not ... and in that interval of uncertainty lie all the hopes and dreams of civilization ... blah blah blah
He should definitely strike up a conversation. Doesn't matter how, as long as it's polite.
I have no problem with catcalls and they are rewarded with a smile. They are rare and they make my day. Someone following me is not OK - creepy - and that whole knife thing would have scared me to death.