Our red brick city has been blooming for a couple weeks now: cherry blossoms, magnolias, tulips. I’ve been enjoying it to the fullest, since my childhood home in Arctic Finland mostly offers frost flowers.
Unfortunately, a species even nastier than the stinging nettle has also raised its ugly head as a consequence of the recent heatwave: the catcaller.
The first individuals appeared simultaneously with the spring sun, but this early generation was weak: they just whistled or stared.
That doesn’t fit the behavior patterns of the fully grown individuals of late spring. Their natural habitats are divided into two, and two sub-species can be identified. Some catcallers like it green: there are steady populations in the city’s numerous parks and alongside the canal. They often consume other herbs by inhaling smoke, which makes their sound repertoire relatively harmless. A typical expression goes ”Nice ass!” or ”Go go go!” if they encounter a running or a biking human female.
Others reach their full bloom only in the night time, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. These individuals are known to be very loud and even physical. Due to their likely intoxication, their verbal messages do not often translate into any human language. The creatures of the night are more prone to grabbing or trying to follow women home.
Encountering a steady catcaller population in the Netherlands has disappointed me. I didn’t think they’d have spread to the coastline of the North Sea yet, but maybe climate change has enabled them to extend their territory.
I’m fully aware that catcalling is never the target’s fault, but I’m still struggling with how to react to it. By ignoring the words, I’m just encouraging the guilty party to repeat what they said and often more. By looking at him I’m giving him what he wants. By showing an internationally recognized hand gesture I’ll just piss him off.
It’s rather sad that instead of admiring the real show of wildflowers, my focus lies on anticipating the next catcalling attack. Every time I pass a group of men on an evening run, I’m afraid they will open their mouths.
How could this issue be weeded out?