TRUE TALES FROM THE SEASON OF THE CATCALL
By MANDY STADTMILLER
June 28, 2007 -- 'HEY baby, if beauty was a crime, you'd be locked up for life!"
"Come on, hot stuff, how short does that skirt go?"
"Damn, why you got to keep walking like that?"
Why yes - it is the height of catcall season, again.
Now reaching full swing as summer heats up, the women of New York are facing the come-ons of construction workers, businessmen and the occasional 4-foot-tall man freestyling his love supreme.
At the very least, it's nice to know: The experience is universal.
"You could be wearing a paper bag and still get street harassed," says 26-year-old Emily May, one of the founders of Holla Back NYC, an organization dedicated to fighting back against catcalling. "A lot of women like to turn around and say, 'Would you ever do that to your daughter or to your mother?'"
Started in September 2005, hollabacknyc.com is dedicated to catching pesky catcallers in the act. How? With the click of a camera phone, women around the world are able to snap photos of street harassers and then share their personal stories online.
"We encourage women to use their street smarts," May says. "And if the situation seems dangerous, there's no benefit to taking it any further."
However, most of the time, she says, many guys just don't know any better.
"It can be a really effective response to confront them because it demonstrates to them that this is not OK," she says. "We want to give women a response to street harassment. It's an epidemic you have to take down bit by bit."
With the interest of educating fries-and-shake-loving men everywhere, here's our bit as The
Post presents the "best of the worst" catcalls from around the city.
Next time you want to give a special shout-out, just remember dear old mom.
* And They Say Romance Is Dead
A guy on the street passed me and said, "Someone's getting laid tonight." I'm not sure if he was complimenting me or bragging. I'm sure someone somewhere was getting laid that night, but I was on my way to book club. Another guy said as he was passing me, "Hey cutie," then once he was behind me said, "I'd eat that ..." That's moving a little too fast for me. I was like, "Slow down, guy with a bag full of cans. If you don't cool it, this is not going to happen!"
- Amanda Melson, 31, Manhattan
* They Were "Spinal Tap" Fans, I'm Sure
I was walking toward a group of construction workers sitting on a bench, when they all started shouting out my score: "TEN! TEN! TEN!" As I walked by they ogled my butt and said in unison: "ELEVEN!"
- Kambri Crews, 36, Queens
* Yes, But What College Was It?
One morning, I was coming back from my run around Central Park. I walked by a deliveryman who was unloading stuff at the corner bodega. "Girl, you look fine," he said. "How much do you cost?" "What?" I said. "How much would it cost for me to get with you?" I was wearing running shorts and my college T-shirt. Apparently, though, I looked like a hooker.
- Cecelia, 30, Manhattan
* Wait Until He Gets to the Paper Towel You Bought
I go to the 94th Street Duane Reade, and it's raining. It's pouring outside. I'm buying dry cat food. "Miss, you need an umbrella?" says the Duane Reade cashier, and he wiggles his eyebrows like this is a sexy thing. "I've got an umbrella back at my apartment," I say. "Not like the umbrellas I've got here. I've got an umbrella that would be sooooo nice for you," he says. Then he asks me if I have a Duane Reade club card. "Yes I do," I say, and I fumble through my bag looking for it. "Oh yeah," he says. "I'll give you a Duane Reade club card all right. I'll give it to you all night long."
- Ginnie, 23, Queens
* And That's Just What They'll Tell Their Grandchildren, Too
A crowded F train pulls into the West Fourth Street stop, and a very attractive woman in a business suit steps in. Immediately, she catches the attention of a young gentleman who looks like Snoop Dogg and sounds like Busta. He cries out, "Damn, your booty fine!" and then proceeds to expound upon this thought, unleashing a veritable tidal wave of nonstop street poetry, describing every last detail of how fine her body was and just what he would do to it, given the chance. For five stops. Finally, at York Street, she casually rises, puts a finger to his lips and hushes him, slips her number into his hand and remarks, "You had me at, 'Damn, your booty fine.'" And with that, she disappears into the cool, Brooklyn night air. I like to think they're married now.
- Benari Poulten, 29, Manhattan
* I Wouldn't Mess With This Chick
It was a few years ago. I was uptown in Washington Heights, a block or so away from where I lived. I had heard one too many "Mira, mira, mira"s that day. There were three guys hanging outside the bodega when I was on my way to get a pack of cigarettes, and one of them was saying, "Hey mama, can I take you out tonight? You are beautiful, God bless you." Giving me the look up and down and eating me up with his eyes (gross). Fed up, I turned around and looked him in the eye and proceeded to ask him if he would "like to go back to my place and [bleep]?" The poor guy looked so surprised, and had no idea what to say. He and his friends all had slack jaws at this comment, and he was stuttering. I responded to the stuttering by saying, "That's what I thought." They never bothered me again and were much more pleasant the other times I saw them.
- Molly, 25, Manhattan
* This is What's Called "Reverse Psychology a Tu Madre"
I was walking down Prospect Park West last summer when these teenage boys lounging in front of a bodega hissed "Ay mami" and flicked their tongues out at me. Since I have fair skin and red hair, they assumed I couldn't understand them. Were they surprised when I wheeled around and said, "¡Si yo me parezco a su madre, su padre tiene suerte!" which means, "If I look like your mother, your father's a lucky man!"
To tell you they all stood there with their jaws gaping open does not even begin to do it justice. And then one of them smacked the one who did the catcalling on the head and said, "See, I told you she was Puerto Rican." Ha, snag!
- Michele Carlo, 46, Brooklyn
* Catcall No. 9
I'm Chinese, and I was walking down the street when this random white dude came up to me and said: "Hey pretty. I'll be your John if you will be my Yoko." As much as I appreciated the Beatles reference, I turned him down.
- Cathy, 20, Manhattan
* Someday This Is How The Mideast Crisis Will Be Solved
I was crossing Park Avenue when a guy wearing baggy jeans and a shirt stained with paint and plaster said: "Very nice ... sexy." So I turned to him and I said, "I'm actually fully aware of how much more powerful I am than you are, but nice try anyway," and I continued walking. He stopped. I stopped. And he smiled and exclaimed, "Damn, girl!" and high-fived me. He must have gotten it, too. I accepted his high-five and smiled back at him, and said, "Have a good day," and waved. He said, "You too, sweetie, you too."
- Livia Scott, 31, Queens
* We Represent the Lollipop Guild ...
Recently my sister and I were walking around the East Village at night when this 4-foot-tall, baggy-clothes-wearing guy came out of nowhere and began following us halfway up the block, continuing on about how he would take either one of us shorties cause he was easy like that. Yup, "easy like Sunday mornin', mmm shoot." After a few more "mmm shoots," "dangs" and "da'amns" he finally closed with, "Yo, check it out. I don't need to be the champ, I just want a shot at da title!" We actually turned around and shook his hand and thanked him for his time.
- Ali Jesinkey, 28, Brooklyn
* FYI, She's German, and She Looks It
I'm walking past a building site on the Upper West Side when one of the workers calls out "Hey Swiss Miss, come milk my udder!" (FYI, I'm German and look it!)
-Stephanie, 39, Manhattan
* The Best Community Watch Story Ever
While waiting outside a bodega late at night in the rain, a much older man circled my umbrella and gave a low whistle, saying, "Why you all by yourself? Come party with me! I got a bunch o' guys all havin' a good time!" I smiled and politely explained that I was waiting for my husband, at which point said husband walked out of the store and we headed home, only to run into the guy a block later at our building. Turns out we're next-door neighbors.
- Jennifer, 30, Manhattan
* Let's Call This the Anti-Catcall
Years ago, I was waiting for the subway with a friend, and some guy came up to us and was telling her how beautiful she was. I think he compared her to Audrey Hepburn, and then turned to me and said, "And you look like that person in those Richard Pryor movies." I'm thinking there must have been some hot woman in some of his films. And he says, "I know! Gene Wilder!" Ouch. Well, at least he's funny.
- Allison, 27, Brooklyn
* And Now He Has Some Idea What It's Like To Be Tom Cruise
During the blackout in August 2003, I was strolling around the West Village, arm-in-arm with my boyfriend at the time - who happened to be very good-looking. As we were walking down Charles Street, a group of gay guys were hanging out together on the stoop of a brownstone. Suddenly, one of them shined a flashlight at the two of us and yelled out: "Ooh, he's hot. Drop the bitch and make the switch!"
- Laura, 38, Manhattan
NYC Speed Dating