Doree Lewak, a features writer for the New York Post, published an op-ed Monday night that touted the joys and thrills of getting catcalled by New York City's finest construction workers (who appear, based on the accompanying photographs, to not ever be doing their jobs—too busy catcalling!). The article has the perfect title "Hey, ladies—catcalls are flattering! Deal with it!"
But the mystique and machismo of manly construction workers have always made my heart beat a little faster — and made my sashay a little saucier. It's as primal as it gets, ladies! They either grunt in recognition or they go back to their coffee break. It's not brain science — when a total stranger notices you, it's validating.
You hear that? It's not brain science, which you probably wouldn't understand anyway. Being a woman means three things—pleasing men, having babies, and wearing cute clothes that please men so someone will enable my body to make those babies. If I can do all three and still get that sacred compliment from a man on the job building a house that I can live in with my babies, the kind of compliment that makes my "sashay a little saucier," then mission accomplished. As far as I'm concerned, I've checked everything off my list for the day. Quitting time!
I know that Ms. magazine subscribers and Vassar alums will have some big book-learnin' words to throw at me about all the other things women have to do: fight for equal pay, demand access to free contraception, convince male-dominated industries that gender discrimination is not only wrong, it's illegal, etc., etc., so and and so forth.
But who can remember all that when the beautiful simplicity of a guttural "You're hot!" makes all the other noise melt away? What was I just thinking about? I can't remember because damn, a man in a hardhat just noticed my body!!!!!
Now, a decade later, I still get that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling whenever I walk past a construction stronghold. I've learned that it's not what you wear — the skimpy sundresses, the sky-high heels — but how. Walking confidently past a mass of men, making eye contact and flashing a smile shows you as you are: self-possessed and playful. The wolf whistles that follow will send your ego soaring.
Being a confident woman is a simple job. If you do it right, you'll get men talking at you, maybe to you. Are men walking around getting praised every minute of the day? Surely, no. And now you've got confidence, women, bestowed upon you from on high—from a man.
Here's a checklist to keep in mind when you're walking down the street:
- Walk confidently but don't wear slutty clothes or else you're a tramp and therefore not a good lady
- Make eye contact—with strangers!!!
- Flash those teeth. Your mouth is your most valuable asset. ;)
Watch as wolves, literal wolves, come looking for you. They're hungry. So carry some dog food on you, or a bloody human bone. And remember: when a man says he likes your nipples or you're beautiful, that is the only proof you need that being a woman ain't bad at all. In fact—with all these awesome compliments—it's easy!
The only enemy? Ugh, iPhones!!!!
The only thing standing in my way these days isn't pesky models from Meatpacking hangouts, but technology. Lift your eyes from that iPhone, fellas — your Facebook feed can't be that interesting!
Put down those phones, men: A lady is coming.
[Image by Jim Cooke]