One afternoon, not too long ago, I sat waiting at my usual bus stop. It was around 6pm on a Sunday and the streets were fairly empty. Most folks were probably at home waiting for the Sunday football games. Every now and then, a car or two would drive by, but that was a rarity. As I sat, listening to my DMX pandora station, I noticed someone walking in my direction. I turned to get a better look and was astounded by what I saw. She was without a doubt the most gorgeous woman that I had ever seen in my life. I knew she was beautiful because she stole my gaze wearing minimal makeup, a pair of black leggings, and a hooded sweatshirt. She wasn’t even close to being “dressed to kill” and I could still feel her taking my life force with her as she got closer. I noticed that I had watched her last 6 steps, which at the pace that she was walking was about 4 seconds of staring. As awkward as I am, even I knew that it was time to look away.
She got closer and I had to actively force myself to avoid looking at her. I had to play it cool. I figured she must be heading to the stop to wait for her bus. It wouldn’t be too difficult to strike up a convo about the bus route, it’s punctuality, our destinations, or anything. As cool as I played it, you could see my breath condense in the air. I waited for her to sit down near me and a smile creeped onto my face. I suppressed it. I had to act natural…
Three seconds passed after the time that I estimated she would have sat down, yet she wasn’t there. She had continued walking past the stop. I turned to finally look at her again, but all that I could see was her back. Her hair was tied into a bun. I immediately thought to jump up and yell “Hey, wait up!” and run over to her. Instead, I relaxed my “gotta get the girl” muscles and just watched her walk away.
I remembered a video that I had seen two days before. An attractive young woman filmed herself walking through the streets of NYC for 10 hours. Over the course of her journey, she was accosted and harassed by a multitude of men. There were maybe a dozen on the video, but the text after said that she was catcalled around 100 times that day. I found some of the things that were said to her to be quite repugnant, to use a proper term. These were things that I would never imagine saying to a woman that I didn’t know, especially one that I found attractive. It seemed like shooting one’s self in the foot, yet they continued to do it. I had no plans of saying any of that to the woman that I had just seen. The video also clued me into the fact that even a “Hello, good morning” may be seen as harassment, if unwanted. I was enlightened. I now knew that some women just didn’t want to be talked to as they walked down the street. So, as the most beautiful woman that I had ever seen walked away, I respected her enough not to follow, nor call out to her. I felt as though I had missed out on quite a chance, but I at least had my morals, integrity, and respectability. As a man, I quickly…well, eventually got over it.
Fifteen minutes passed by, my bus had not. I began to wonder if I had misread the schedule or if the city had changed it without my knowledge. An old newspaper captured my attention. It lay on the ground with the comic section facing upward. I read Calvin and Hobbes intently until I, again, noticed someone walking towards me. I was astonished by what I saw. It was the same woman from before: The most beautiful woman in the world. I repeated the same process as before. Look away, keep it cool, suppress that smile until she’s closer. Then, I realized that she might walk past the stop again. As she got closer, I turned to preempt this. I asked her for the time. She turned to me, smiled, and said “Isn’t that what THAT is for?” as she pointed at the watch on my left wrist. “Dammit!” I thought to myself.
I turned back to mind my own business and let her walk away again, but this time, she sat down. “Can you tell ME what time it is?” She asked.
“6:34pm” I said.
“The bus hasn’t come yet?” She asked.
“Nope. I’ve been waiting here for ab-”
“Hey, sweetcakes! Wanna come home with me?” A gruff voice interrupted me.
I turned to see where the comment came from. I saw a stocky, greasy man standing behind the bus stop. This guys looked like he’s straight out of Sons of Anarchy so my first question was “Why is he riding the bus?” I turned away after I saw him and looked at the woman. She was obviously disturbed and annoyed by the comment, but she remained silent.
“Come on! I know you wanna be my little slut.”
She never turned around.
“Just for a night?”
The catcalling video shot back into my mind. From that video, I found a site that offered advice to male bystanders witnessing this type of catcalling. One of those suggestions was to distract the catcaller, so I stood up and asked the guy if he knew the score to the Raiders game.
“Can’t you see I’m talking to the lady?” He responded.
By then, I had run out of ideas and sitting there started to take its toll on both her and me. As she grew more uncomfortable, I began to feel cowardly. There was another woman who had arrived at the bus stop. I made eye contact with her and her eyes spoke to me, questioning me. They asked me why I hadn’t gotten up from my seat and confronted this rude and disrespectful man. That cowardly spirit grew deeper within me until I finally decided that I had to say something.
“Hey man, I don’t think the lady enjoys you talking to her like that.” I stood up.
“I wasn’t talking to you, so why do you care?”
“Because she deserves respect and you’re not giving it to her.”
“Oh yeah? Well maybe I should disrespect you, pal.” He walked over to me and pushed me.
I gathered my balance and opened my mouth to continue my intervention, but before I could get a word out, a powerful fist smashed into my jaw. I stumbled backwards and another fist crashed into my rib cage, sending me to the ground. I heard the two women scream and turned to see them both run away to safety. I don’t remember much more, other than the man running off upon hearing police sirens approaching.
They never caught the guy.
I don’t have health insurance so I’m paying the hospital bills for this broken jaw.
and I never even got her name.
[These events are fictional in nature. This story was written to gauge the responses of readers to a theoretical, yet plausible instance of catcalling and its results. ]