Flowers come out in the Spring and so do the wolves...

This morning, as I stepped outside my door, I saw a gaggle of male construction workers gathered on the corner waiting to start an honest day's work. You know where this is going right...  I took a deep breath and proceeded to walk past them refusing to cross the street. I immediately noticed how my body--covered head to toe because winter freeze refuses to leave us--tensed up. And for the first time in a long, long time, I wanted to be invisible. In fact, I said to myself, "I am invisible, they don't see me" as I walked proudly between the thick wall of testosterone. But of course I wasn't invisible and several of them muttered some ish under their breaths about how "hot" I was. I wanted to throw up. Now, some men and yes, some women will argue that these are harmless compliments, nothing to get mad about. You know, males just expressing themselves. But, the issue is more complex than a woman not liking male attention or knowing how to accept a compliment. Sometimes, these alleged harmless advances turn sour or deadly when women don't acknowledge them. I've been yelled at, cursed at for refusing to smile or say thank you.  One young woman was killed in DC last year for refusing to respond to a male aggressor. Thanks to HollabackNew York City is considering banning cat calling near school zones.

I know that some men honestly see flirting with female strangers on the street as innocent flattery. Not really guys.  Walk in my shoes for a minute: today, I felt like a piece of meat walking past these guys. I walked fast and the feeling of being on exhibit lasted a few seconds. Weirdly, I almost felt lucky that a) nothing gross was said to me, and b) they didn't get nasty that I failed to acknowledged them with a smile or a thank you.

Here is the thing: it upset me deeply that on a glorious sunny Spring morning, I had to experience unwanted sexual advances from a group of strangers. That just ain't right.

Anyway you look at it, one thing is clear: cat calling, whistling, etc etc is street harassment. It's not cute. It doesn't feel good to be objectified. It feels unsafe. Some women, and I have experienced this with some female friends, are really afraid and even the sweetest compliments fill them with anxiety. Hollaback is a great international movement that is doing a lot of educating on the issue. Check em out. Or check out this fantastic piece in Clutch Magazine by Kimberly McLeod.

Now that warmer weather is here and we start peeling off layers of clothing and out come shorts, and summer dresses so do the nastier cat calling. And that sucks. I walk past a high school each morning and feel for those young girls getting all that lewd unwanted attention.

Bottom line: women of all ages should be able to walk the streets without having to feel like they have to shrivel up and be invisible because men need to tell them how they feel. We should be able to feel safe. Period. Punto.

One final note: for any male reading this, if ever in doubt about complimenting a complete stranger you find sexy, beautiful, fill-in-the-blank here, I have few words of advice: Keep the comments to yourself.