Do you know that sometimes my timing is spectacular? And I say that with all of grace, humility and a firm understanding of some import of time (owing to being a lawyer and living my life in itty bitty units of 6 minutes). But anyway, back to my timing being so spectacular.
I saw this several days after its publication and I immediately started following Shea on Twitter. I’m looking forward to favouriting and retweeting everything she has to say. Almost like a stalker but more like a really, really, really avid fan.
Interestingly, after seeing and loving this, I got a serious catcall when I was walking home from work. I don’t usually get catcalled so this is why I say to you: that timing of mine – just so good. As I got whistled at, then yelled at, then whistled at, and then beeped at by an oldish bald dude in some sort of suped up Mustang with the bass turned up hella on his favourite, reminds-him-of-his-youth ballad by the Hip, “Bobcaygeon” while waiting for the light to change, I had to ask myself what is this person getting out of this?
Here is what he was not getting:
A smile, wave, my number, high five, legal advice, dating advice, hair advice, car advice, jovial laughter, confirmation of musical taste, validation that he is actually not that old, validation that his Mustang is actually cool, or even a little head shake and smirk as if to say, aww, that was nice.
So, what then? What did he get?
I imagine he feels like one of those teenagers who draw little moustaches on billboards that have pictures of smiling people on them.
And so, the catcaller in the car is just sitting there, busting a gut, like a wannabe hoodrat pre-teen who thinks this is the best graffiti moustache in the most comedically placed part of town that anyone has ever seen. Oh, how they’ll laugh. Big, great, laughing laughs.
And I assume he did as he drove in that Mustang of his down Kings Bridge Road at 6pm on a Wednesday. I assume he wasn’t drunk and that the catcall was just a fleeting, quickly forgotten moment of fun. I mean, I was dressed very provocatively in my black and white high collared, knee-length, H&M flared sheath dress with my Vero Moda knitwear on top of that. Actually, it was probably my gladiators. Maybe my myriad of bags. Whatever it was – I was definitely just asking for those whistles and yelling and beeping – all in good fun, of course. Maybe he meant it as a compliment. Maybe this man in the Mustang, who is still mourning either his youth or his hair loss by listening to heart wrenching lost-love jams from the late 90s, was just trying to say hello.
And I then realized, as I stopped smiling and pondered this whole scenario and walked a bit faster even though it was 6 in the day, that it was real and true objectification. Like I said, I don’t spend a lot of time being catcalled. St. John’s isn’t the walkathon city of New York or Toronto or even Montreal or Vancouver. We spend more time in cars. Maybe it’s the elements, too, as when it’s cold here our many layers of bundling render our gender senseless. What’s more, you’re usually you’re with other people and it somehow is easier to stomach. But alone, you realize the person views you as not really a person but instead just a spectacle – because those are the things one would do if they passed a spectacle in the street. If you happened to see a busker and you liked what you saw, you would whistle and yell and beep. Because the performer has invited you to objectify their art – their art has become a commodity to whistle at and to cheer at and to applaud. This is part of the currency in which you may pay the busker. You encourage them to continue doing what they’re doing, this thing for which they desire approval, their art, their spectacle. So, too, my catcaller seems to endeavour to encourage me for tomorrow. To approve of today’s wear and encourage that tomorrow I will once again don my spectacular costume and strut into the world, performing the show that is my being female and, apparently, sufficiently attractive to warrant his applause.
God. I didn’t realize that flow chart would actually mean so much that day. And that’s why I say to you: my timing – really and truly spectacular.