What men want when they honk…

         Today in downtown Columbia a man I had never seen, driving a car I had never seen, honked at me. When I looked up to see if it was someone I knew, I was greeted by a creepy grin I have seen one too many times before. Let’s forget for a moment that this man appeared to be (at the youngest) in his late 40s. Late 50s early 60s is probably more accurate, but I will extend more courtesy than he offered to me.

      What do men want when they honk? Am I supposed to bat my eyelashes like some cartoon character and flirt with a man old enough to be my father? Or am I supposed to run alongside the car and flag him down, begging him for his number so that we can get to know each other? Perhaps he would simply like for me to blow him a kiss.  When I’m catcalled on the street, I usually have no doubt what it is going on in the mind of my new “friend.” Sunday on my way to CHURCH I stopped at a grocery store and was informed by a store employee that I was “wearing that dress.” For any woman who has ever been harassed, this was tame. I thanked him and proceeded to pick up my step. Whatever happened to hello, and you know, people who weren’t alive for several DECADES before I was born?

        I don’t welcome honking anymore than I welcome hissing or grunting or unsolicited opinions on my clothing. And as much as I hate being asked to ‘smile” at strangers on the street who think I’m “too pretty” to be so “mean-looking,” I really hate the honking. What did you gain? What was your end goal? If you imagined me running after your car to catch up to you… well, let’s just say that what I would have to say is probably no the response you wanted when you honked.

Yours in Activism,

Karli Janay

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, thoughts, topics or interpretive dances. And feel free to share your answer to the question:  What do you think men want when they honk?

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