Thursday, 9 September 2010

Shout, Shout, Let It All Out

Over the weekend I witnessed the inspiring sight of a miniskirted blonde shouting back at staff leering out of a nearby kebabery, who had taken a fancy to her hot rotating meat. Her accusatory “WANKERS!” drowned out their hisses of “sssslut”. They reminded me of snaky Spanish boys who would hiss at anything female, like nondiscriminatory malfunctioning kettles.

I also recently discovered HollabackUk, a site for woman who’ve (stupidly or otherwise) braved their verbal attackers and want to share their experiences. I too have fallen prey to the white van collective and scorn the opinion that I should take their abuse as compliments. Nor do I want to drown them out with headphones, as I’ve found wearing headphones only serves to make me more aware of the outside world. I’d dare say many of us have experienced the embarrassment of ignoring someone’s requests for attention when we’re encased in sonic solitude, and the heart-stopping fright of being narrowly missed by a vehicle because we didn’t hear it coming.

As this site and its predecessors have pointed out, these ‘compliments’ only serve as a form of intimidation. Why do people go out of their way to make strangers feel uncomfortable? What satisfaction can it possibly bring them? What kind of mindset must you possess to think that these sorts of personal remarks are by any means appreciated? If girls go out together and spy an appealing manly morsel, they’ll mostly merely giggle and whisper to themselves, the object of undulation/adoration being none the wiser. I’ve asked my friends how they fancy escalating this by driving around and honking at boys for kicks but the response to this proposal has been less than encouraging.

I read recently that most crimes are likely to happen between 6am and 6pm (I’d do further research into the accuracy of that statement, but meh, I’m not getting paid for this) so you’re actually safer at night. Creepy remarks have mainly been directed towards me in the daytime, with female friends reaffirming it seems to occur on the way to work (a time when you’re at your most vulnerable, because you can’t see straight yet).

Recently I was making my way from Victoria Train Station to the nearby coach station. Not much of a stretch, but still plenty of time to give at least one predictable weirdo chance to tag along, muttering “Ooohh, baby...” I can understand, to an extent, the safety in numbers thing where it is largely a demonstration of heterosexual affiliation, but what of these babbling predatory loners? My time working in mental health led me to believe that the entire population has ‘issues’ and these pavement pests don’t do anything to assuage me. I mean, do they just decide they’ve watched enough Ultimate Big Brother for one night and decide to see how many people they can scare on a stroll? Is it some kind of ongoing competition with a like-minded underworld who award binoculars and balaclavas to the highest-scoring participants?

I’d like to think Hollabacking girls will one day unite and the force of verbal reciprocation will make would-be admirers change their approaches. I’m hoping for chocolates and money and flowers in the place of offensive missiles.

Well, she was asking for it, going out dressed like that!

However, if she didn’t dress like that she’d only be called frumpy and frigid instead.

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