“Oi, baby I’d like to suck your pussy!”
Is this the most direct, most visual, most disgusting thing I have ever been catcalled? As far as I can remember, it is, yes. The image of the man, who was cruising past my friend and me in his car last night, offering to “suck” my “pussy” revolted me to new heights that I can feel my skin crawl 24 hours later. This feeling was more uncomfortable than hearing Donald Trump talking about shagging his daughter, or picturing Gordon Brown at an Arctic Monkey’s gig. I’ve been catcalled many times before (sorry to brag), but this one felt… different, nay special. Usually catcalls are short, one or two-worded remarks, but this one was graphic and absolutely oozing with mental imagery.
There are just so many different elements to this particular catcall that both repulse me and make me almost roar with laughter (almost). It happened last night and I honestly cannot stop thinking about it, so I propose the best thing for me to do would be to deconstruct the verbal disturbance in a pseudo-open letter to the man who addressed me last night, so I can make meaning from this unsettling and unpleasant experience. I was going to tweet about it instead, but my old work placement follows me on Twitter now and I’m not sure they’d like to see “Oi, baby I’d like to suck your pussy” on their Developmental Psychology twitter feed.
This annoys me. From an early age, I was taught that “oi” is not an appropriate or respectful way to address another person. “Oi” is intrusive, it’s offensively brief. You want my attention? How about doing it in a way that doesn’t show how blatantly you’re interrupting my life for your attention. Now I’m not saying “Good evening, Miss, I’d like to suck your pussy” would have made me more interested in your offer, but “Oi” just makes me feel so insignificant.
“Baby” is arguably the most unacceptable term of endearment out there, followed by the utterly fowl “chick”. I’m not a child and I’m definitely not your child. Do I look like a pre-verbal infant? Calling me “baby” is only acceptable if you’re addressing me through the lyrics of DJ Ötzi, followed by a succinct but satisfying “oo – ahh”.
“I’d like to”
Oh you would, would you? Well I’d like to receive monthly free rib-eye steaks and achieve the highest psychological degree ever attained without any real effort, whilst simultaneously deconstructing the patriarchy through song and interpretive dance – but we can’t have everything can we? On the other hand, this catcall would have been substantially darker without the use of the conditional tense; it is likely “I want to” or “I am going to” would have made me run screaming to the closest trustworthy adult. In fact, it’s almost like you were… asking for my permission? Though that does sound a little far-fetched, they do say people catcall because they lack established enough confidence for socially acceptable self-expression. It’s just a theory.
“suck your pussy!”
So vivid. So slimy. Can you absolutely not please? Everything about this is awful, from thought of a seedy stranger getting anywhere near my inner thighs, to the casual use of the word “pussy” in the middle of the street (before midnight!) and the idea of you doing what I can only imagine would be “engulfing” my vagina (really – the whole thing??). Engulfing isn’t sexy, you should work on that.
On the whole, this was an unwanted and largely unpleasant experience. The purpose of catcalling is not only to reduce a woman to a sexual object, but to force her to see herself as so. This man could have very easily kept his unrequited desires to himself, but instead decided I should know exactly what he was thinking; I highly doubt he was expecting me to stop in the street, unzip my jeans and offer myself up to him like an appetising sexual sacrifice. Catcalling is a grotesque way for cheap chauvinists to remind us that we are being looked at like a desirable person-shaped steak; it’s a real mood-killer on a night out – or at any time in anyone’s lives ever.
Of course all of this might be irrelevant – he may, truthfully, have been talking about my friend.