'Nice butt!'… How Flattering

April 15, 2005, midnight | By Melanie Thompson | 18 years, 1 month ago

Females seek to understand the logic behind cat-calling

Dear Men,

Admit it. Many of you have done it. You've seen a pretty girl walk down University Boulevard, looked her up and down and whistled, made kissing noises or shouted some obscene remark about her behind. But take it from a girl who is tired of it: It doesn't work.

Yet even when it is obvious that cat-calling yields no results, many men keep doing it. Why? Is it that pesky Y chromosome? Are some guys that desperate? If the answers are out there, I need to find out.

Wassup, shorty?

Cat-calling probably begin in the caveman days and, well, it hasn't really changed much since — it's still a bunch of grunts, hoots and hollers that can either inflate a girl's ego or make her feel terribly uncomfortable.

My friend, senior Suzie Adjogah, and I went to health teacher Susan Soulé to find out if cat-calling goes beyond being annoying and can be considered sexual harassment. She emphasized that if repeated cat-calling makes a girl uncomfortable and is unwanted, it qualifies as sexual harassment. "Sexual harassment is how you perceive it," Soulé says. "If a guy cat calls you and you say no and it continues, it's harassment."

State law states that in these cases, cat-calling would be illegal. But even this doesn't stop men who are desperate or inconsiderate enough to do it.

Can I get your number?

Case in point: On a recent trip to New York City, a grown man told me that he "would be [my] daddy, for a while." Ewww. Come on, my mom was standing next to me. Is the entire male gender a bunch of insensitive creeps?

In an effort to find out, I grab Suzie, and high-tail it to the mall to catch some cat-callers in action. Our mission: to understand, if it exists, the logic behind cat-calling. Our method: Hit the mall, a haven for cat-callers, in the hopes that we will be hollered at by hormonal and desperate men. After being cat-called, we would turn the tables on them.
As we walk across the street to the mall, two 20-something guys in their car honk the horn. Expecting the guys to drive off, we walk away; instead, they follow us into the parking garage.

"Hey honeys," the driver says, trying his best to be suave. He looks about 30 years old.

As the driver and his pal continued with lame attempts to woo us, Suzie asks them why they cat-call. The two obviously weren't expecting this; they respond in mumbles and grumblings (that cave man mentality must be kicking in). We then ask, speaking slowly and enunciating more clearly this time, if girls ever respond to them when they're on the prowl. The guys look at each other quizzically before the passenger, shrugging his shoulders, says, "Sure!" It's not exactly the groundbreaking answer we were looking for.

We head back to Blair in hopes of a clearer answer. Freshman Edwin Bodhquez, a curly-haired, self-proclaimed cat-caller, breaks it down for us: He says guys are just giving compliments to girls they find attractive, often with the hopes that something might come out of it - but the compliments are sincere nonetheless. Bodhquez demonstrates his much-used technique to us, saying, "You got to say, I like your eyes, or you're beautiful," in a silky and smooth voice.

His friend, sophomore Angel Camilo, nods in agreement. He tells us the story of their sole cat-calling score during a routine trip to McDonald's. "We went like this — pist, pist," he makes the sound by blowing air through his lips — "and [the girls] were like, 'Y'all want to sit with us?'" He smiles, remembering his triumph.

So cat-calling may work once or twice if you're lucky, but it's clear that more often than not most cat-callers are unsuccessful when they holler at random, unsuspecting girls.

Moving beyond the pick-up lines

Having found Blazer cat-callers, Suzie and I proceed to search for guys who don't cat-call. We find junior Rodney Derose, who finds cat-calling "degrading." "I find it wrong because I think about it as if somebody were doing it to my sister, and I wouldn't like that," he says.

Fortunately, there are other ways to win over women's hearts. Boys, we'll let you in on a secret: in an informal Silver Chips poll of 100 female Blazers conducted on March 17, 88 percent said they are annoyed by cat calls and prefer guys to act like gentlemen around them. That's right, guys - chivalry is back in a big way.

Junior Aden Kinfe is all for gentlemanly behavior. When she thinks of cat-callers, she squirms in disgust. "They don't know your face or your personality, just what you look like from behind," she says. Instead of yelling at the girl like a crazed monkey, Kinfe suggests, interested guys should "go up and talk to her nicely."

That's because the best way to get the girl has been and always will be to actually get to know her. Forget pick-up lines; try a conversation. Learn her hobbies, her likes and dislikes, the names of her pets. Bring her flowers, hold her hand and open the car door for her. And yes, compliments are good - but not when they're shouted in vulgar terms across the street and directed simply at her behind.

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Melanie Thompson. Melanie Thompson is currently a junior in CAP and a page editor on Silver Chips. She enjoys hot baths, appearing aside famous stars in movies, and watching Agent Vaughn on Alias. A little known fact about Melanie is that she is a huge fan of … More »

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