Post-Halloween and Cat-calling

I didn’t wear a costume this Halloween. In the past 3 years, in fact, I’m 1-2 on wearing costumes on October 31st. That 1 costume was the FBI composite sketch of the unibomber (unabomber?). Most people didn’t understand it, one dumbass drunk girl didn’t know who it was even when I said “the unabomber”, and apparently some guy at the party had a close friendly friend who was maimed by Ted Kacyynzki (sic). Oh well.

This year, I had some people over to my place for a little horror movie watching, pizza, candy, and booze. That’s pretty much all I wanted to get into this year, and it was great. Navigating the trains, and especially trying to get anywhere in Manhattan, is a huge pain in the ass on Hallowen, and much like New Year’s, I approach the usual adult selection of parties and bar hopping with weary annoyance. I am no Halloween humbug: I love seeing people’s costumes and getting a little lost in the mask of pseudo-anonymity and having a few nights a year where you drink your face off and talk codshit to strangers, but it’s not really my bag, as it exists now. Much as non-douchey people my age love to bash Santacon (lest there be any confusion, fuck Santacon), Halloween doesn’t really feel that much different in New York. I think this is probably my own personal beef with celebrating what is essentially a young man’s holiday. I don’t need to be annoyed for 45% of the evening, dealing with the MTA once again imploding under even the slightest pressure and seeing a bunch of grown-ass adults in black face fighting over who gets to date rape the cougar who can barely walk straight dressed as a schoolgirl in 50 degree weather.

I’d rather bask in what passes for indulgences in the mind of a prematurely cantankerous man pushing 30. Not leaving my apartment. Hanging out with close friends. Eating a lot. Getting pleasantly drunk without having to take a train or cab. Watching great horror movies. These are the things that made up my blast of a Halloween last night. We watched Hellraiser, which nobody else had seen and which looks great on blu, The Ring, an Silence of the Lambs (which is totally a horror movie, shut up). I ate so much candy and pizza I felt like a walking bag of salty gas, and drank so much wine and cider that I passed out at around 2am. What the hell happened to me?

Speaking of blackface…just stop. How is this still a thing that people are doing? Are they just trolls? That’s the only possible explanation I can think of. I can’t believe that any reasonable adult person living in the United States (or most other places, for that matter) can, at this point, consider using blackface in their Halloween costume and still think that it’s a good idea. Just…look, I’m not even going to get into why you shouldn’t do this because I respect people who will read this post more than that. You KNOW it is a shitty thing to do. So stop fucking doing it. Just stop. Thanks.

Speaking of things that people should just stop doing, I feel like I should comment on that cat-calling video that’s going around. Normally, I tend to stay out of these kinds of conversation, because they tend to get very emotional and the rhetoric tends to become garbled when you discuss something so personal (I could go on at length about problems I have with some of the rhetoric being used by some people writing about rape culture, but that’s for another post). However, after getting into a very long and good conversation with my good friend Amy about gamer gate (Amy is one of the smartest people I know, a gamer, and also as level-headed a person as I’ve ever encountered), I realized that I can’t ONLY be critical of the bad rhetoric coming from the side I believe in, I also have to be vocal, as a someone who enjoys all kinds of social and cultural privileges, to speak up when people are habitually doing shitty things.

So in the spirit of ending tacit approval, here it goes: stop doing this. Stop cat-calling. No conditions, no “what ifs”, no bullshit whiny derailing horse shit about how this means the end of chivalry or claims that men are going to start being demonized for saying “hello”. It is not hard for you to figure out when somebody does or does not want to be talked to or approached. It is not hard to respect their wishes. Nobody is saying that talking to somebody is harassment, so stop making that bullshit argument. The people in that video are being annoying and disrespectful at best and predatory/threatening at worst. No one in this video is trying to “start a conversation”, they are attempting to assert authority and feel better about themselves by wallowing in the fact that men are pretty much free to say anything they want to with a woman without consequence. And anybody who is legitimately trying to start a conversation with good intentions is an idiot and they need to brush up on their social skills. There’s a time and a place to talk to or attempt to chat up people, and there’s a good and a bad way to do it. Just in case you were wondering: the good way is to read body language, social cues, and other easy signs to first determine if this person wants to talk at all. If you decide to engage somebody in conversation, do so in a respectful manner. That means something along the lines of “Hi.” It doesn’t mean commenting on somebody’s body, or using a shitty pickup line, or interrupting somebody who is already talking to somebody else. It also means being ready, willing, and able to take “no” for an answer.

I’m getting too far off topic. If you’re a grownup, you should know that this shit isn’t OK. Stop doing it. And if you’re first reaction to that video was to start coming up with tons of ways to shift the conversation to how “unfairly” men are being treated, you should take a good, long hard look at yourself in the mirror and think about how you look at the world.

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