Hey Baby!

Since I was eleven years old, men and boys have been yelling at me from cars and trucks, once from a bicycle.  Once some college boys pointed at me and laughed.  Sometimes there were wolf whistles and howls. Less frequently the comments were innocuous. The boy on the bike said, “To Spain and Back!” It probably happens more often to me because I am a life-long walker. Yesterday, it happened again. I’d gotten turned around in my new neighborhood, my walk lasted longer than I had planned, and I wasn’t feeling well to boot.

A truck roared past and a young fellow yelled, “Hey baby!” This may sound funny as I am 53, but just like when I was 11, it unnerved me.  I had been deep in thought. Maybe, the boy just wanted to be cool. However, when someone yells at me, I feel intruded upon at the least, at the most–attacked. When I was twenty something, a car slowed down to match my pace; the man started calling me from the street, “Hey little girl, hey little girl.” I was holding hands with my future husband at the time. Before Thomas could respond, I blurted out something very rude. Uncharacteristic of me and unheard of in those days. I started laughing hysterically, so surprised by myself.  The driver said, “That would hurt!” and sped off.

Have others of you been verbally accosted from the street? How do  you react?  Have you honked and whistled at girls or guys? What do you think?

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One Response to “Hey Baby!”

  1. Kaitlyn Says:

    Actually, I get whistles or cheers semi-frequently while walking on campus. Those don’t bother me. The only instances in which I’ve felt harassed in situations like that are when the passersby are shouting some sort of proposition (which I find presumptuous and disrespectful). Another instance that comes to mind is when I kissed Caitlin on the sidewalk when we were out walking together. Some girls leaned out of their car window and shrieked, “LESBIANS!” at us, and that did bother me– because the way they said it, it was clear that they felt it was an insult.

    In short, I suppose my feelings are that expressions of appreciation either don’t phase me or make me smile– I’ve occasionally struck up pleasant conversations with roadside admirers. Unless someone is being crude, like your “Hey, baby” fellow, or otherwise trying to be insulting, like the so-perceptive girls in their car, I’m generally unperturbed.

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