There is something about me.
I'm not sure if I have a particular openness to me, or seem weak, or am just strikingly beautiful. It's probably the middle one, since I'm pretty sure I walk around with bitchface and I'd give myself a solid 6.5. But something has made me a frequent recipient of oddly polite cat-calls.
Mind you, there's no question about whether or not they're cat-calls (they're not THAT polite). But instead of yelling creepy, sexual things at me, men tend to yell bizarrely nice things in a somewhat creepy way.
Exhibit A: I used to take an... umm... colorful route home from work. I hit some neghborhoods on this drive that I wouldn't have lived in, but I never minded driving through them. My boyfriend at the time actually made me drive him down the route one day, so he would know where to look if I didn't make it home. I didn't think it wasn't THAT bad, at least during the day.
[I have a mantra that I refuse to be afraid of people, generally. Sure, I'll take note if someone in particular is giving me the creeps, but I refuse to avoid entire populations out of blind fear. It might be stupid, but it hasn't let me down yet.]
This particular day, someone had gotten shot (not a joke) and everyone was being routed down a side street and around. It was summer and something major had just gone down, so there were people EVERYWHERE. Porches were full. In the span of a city block, I would say somewhere between 4-5 different men yelled at me. And you know the only yell I remember? The guy who said, "Damn mami, you wanna be my wifey?"
I get called "mami" a lot for a white girl of Eastern European descent.
Exhibit #2: I was, again, in my car, sitting at a stoplight with my window down. A man on the corner started calling things out - why don't I pull over, he wants to talk to me, blah blah blah. I pretend that my music is too loud and I can't hear him and stare straight ahead. That is, until he yells, "GIIIIIIRRRRLLLLL, I'll buy you iccccccceeeee creeeeeeaaaaammmm!" To which I immediately burst into laughter and couldn't help but give him a grin.
FYI: I did not take him up on his offer, despite my glee and my love for ice cream.
Exhibit 3: I'm going to be straight with you here - I'm no spring chicken. I'm in my 30's. It's not like I'm pencil thin and wandering around in short-shorts or anything (well, okay, I do wear unreasonably short shorts once in a while). Which is why this last example is particularly delightful to me.
The other day, I was walking from my office building to the parking garage down the street. I could hear echos of people yelling and laughing from inside the garage, followed by the emergence of 5 kids on bikes. The oldest was probably not even half my age.
They see me as they're on the way out of the garage and tentatively give a few "Hey girl"s, to which I smile and give a little wave. This clearly gave the leader a little confidence, who threw out a "Girl, you're beautiful." Once the leader tried it out and I didn't scream at him, the flood gates opened. They were like tiny cat-callers in training.
"You're so pretty!"
"I think I love you!"
"Girl, will you marry me?"
It was bizarre - they appeared to be the world's most positive, polite teen-aged riff-raff.
There was one boy who was a bit younger, maybe 10 or 11. It took a lot of yelling from other boys in order for him to get up the courage to say anything, so the rest had basically stopped by the time he shouted, in his noticeably higher-pitched voice, "YOU HAVE NICE HAIR!"
If anyone is looking to start making a list of people who are not too proud to have their day improved by compliments from pre-teens, you can put my name right on top.