Location: Choba area of Port Harcourt City (once known as the Garden City, but, with trash put out on the major roads, and street corners turned dumpsters and dump sites, Garbage City comes to mind. You get the idea).
I am at the junction getting fruits for my midnight snacking, I’m a fruit junkie now, when I notice a very attractive looking female approaching me rocking killer vitals…38DD-42-48, a true African bombshell by any standard (sorry my European folks, we love thick women). I play it cool, and try to not stare, focusing on my oranges (which started to remind me of mammary glands), the lady walks past me and not more than 10 seconds later, I hear “baby how are you? It’s me”, I look and it’s a police officer, in full uniform and AK-47 in hand standing in the way of this lady. She lets out an ear piercing hiss, walks past him, the policeman and his colleague share a laugh, and keep on catcalling, “fine girl, come, baby, u go sweet o”. I shake my head and walk away.
Catcalling, is not new, everywhere in the world, men catcall, in some climes it’s even indicative of appreciation of whatever outfit the female has on, our pop culture videos, even have scenes where the female is seduced and won from a catcall, by the ‘dashing hero’, pathetic, if you ask me. Catcalls are used as a marketing tool to get the attention of potential customers; in our region local marketers in the markets are often seen calling out to folks sometimes even pulling them into their shops, promising great deals. Let me quickly state the definition of a catcall:
a sound or noise that someone (such as an audience member) makes toward a speaker, performer, athlete, etc., that he or she does not like.
Emphasis on the word ‘like’, so for the sake of this piece the cat calling culture in Nigeria is by and large offensive, and I see it as sexual harassment. I don’t believe they are made out to be compliments, to appeal to the woman, on the contrary I see them for what they actually are, sexual innuendos made by weak men in the faint hope that it could lead to sex. The fact that it is institutionalised, (yes I said, or is it typed it) makes it more disgusting: Policemen, Doctors, Engineers, Broadcasters, Teachers, Lecturers who should know better, and of course LAWYERS, the guardians of our civil liberties, seem to also be guilty of catcalling.
A social experiment was done a while back, and females were asked to make lewd comments about passing males, surprising result some guys felt shamed, insulted, ridiculed, and my favourite ‘pieces of meat for sale’. For years my society has condoned this, and it isn’t going to be a walk in the park to start to change their minds and actions but change is what we must do. There is no scenario absolutely none, that should encourage catcalling. The average man who catcalls, is ignorant, insecure, a shade of inferiority complex, and dare I say it, WEAK. You see, if you want to pay a woman a compliment, or even try your luck at getting laid, you stand a better chance if you approach, yes APPROACH her and introduce yourself. The individuals, who result to catcalling have an innate fear of rejection, probably see these females are more beautiful than what they can or usually get acquainted to, and use catcalls to distract the women and make them appear not as glamorous as they feel.
So the next question is how we deal with the scourge? Most women in Nigeria (and I assume the world over), ignore the calls, some however have been known to challenge them, insult and occasionally even get physical with these men, however I’d like to proffer a more subtle means of managing this. Most countries have laws against sexual harassment, enforcement is different kettle of fish, but if we the MEN of our society begin to teach our sons, irrespective of social standing or class (cause in my view wealthy people too could be crass and crude) race or creed, to respect, and comport themselves. If we scold or reprimand the youth who do this, we ingratiate in a generation the decency and tool to approach women, we will get to a point where, catcalling would be extinct, or at the least rare, it’s not impossible, we have stopped using leeches to take out ‘bad blood’, why can’t we do this?
What do you think?
Other Fun Stuff…