Classic cat-calls ...and other bad ideas

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Scenario A:

You’re getting ready to go out and meet up with some friends. You check yourself in the mirror. Lookin’ gooood.

You arrive and see your friends. They immediately start going on about how good you look. It’s kind of embarrassing – but hey, they’re right… 

GIF of Prince checking himself out in the mirror

Feelin’ good? Cool. Now, rewind… 

Scenario B: 

You’re getting ready to go out and meet up with some friends. You check yourself in the mirror. Lookin’ gooood. On your way, you walk past a bunch of guys hanging around on the street.

One guy whistles at you. The others laugh. You keep your head down and keep walking, but one guy steps up to you and says, “Hey, we’re just having a laugh! Why don’t you let me apologise… c’mon, what’s your name?”

How you feeling now? What’s the difference? You don’t know these guys, right? It’s a potentially threatening situation. Maybe they are just having a laugh, or showing off to each other, and maybe they don’t mean to be threatening, or maybe they do - you don’t know either way. 

So, let’s try…

Scenario C: 

Now you’re standing around on the street with some mates, having a laugh. You see someone about to walk past and you're thinking, 'Woah... CUTIE!'. You feel like you wanna say something. But one of your mates catches you staring and thinks it would be funny to whistle ‘on your behalf’.

Now the 'cutie' looks nervous. You know you mean well, right? You know your mates are good people. So, you decide to say something to relax the situation…

“Hey, we’re just having a laugh! Why don’t you let me apologise… c’mon, what’s your name?”

Just like you in scenario B, they don't know you either. You might think you’re giving a compliment when you say something.

Maybe they don’t look freaked out – a lot of people will smile in this scenario to avoid 'escalating conflict' – but the fact is, no matter what your intention, they don’t know who you are or what you want, and they probably don’t want to hear some stranger’s opinion on the way they look, or anything else!

The short story is… 

  • If someone asks for your opinion on how they look, sure, go for it. 
  • Nobody should have to put up with strangers yelling at them (or approaching them uninvited in any way).
  • Even if you think it's OK because your mates join in or laugh along – that doesn't make it OK for the other person.
  • If you see someone you don’t know and think they look so good you just got to tell them... stay classy and just don’t.

If you’ve experienced, or just want a better understanding of ‘harassment’ check out this page on reachout.com .

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