Okay, watch this first. It will make your whole day. I promise!
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Do you remember the first time you were catcalled? I was in fifth grade, walking past the boys bathroom when a group of boys suddenly yelled (sung?) that line from a Michael Jackson song “Hey pretty baby, with the high heels on!” while hip thrusting and making awooooga! noises. One of them grabbed me around the waist and tried to, I assume, make some kind of lewd gesture. In reality it was more like the do-si-do we’d just been practicing in gym class. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my life.
First, I was wearing my white Keds (like every other girl in the late 80’s/early 90’s) not high heels so they weren’t even accurate. Second, I’d never really identified as pretty — already by that age I knew I wasn’t one of the pretty people. (I had big plastic hipster glasses back when they were still just nerdy. Does that make me retroactively cool? Let’s say yes.) Third, it was upsetting. My first reaction was to want to cry (HSP for life, yo!) but just as quickly I felt ashamed of my reaction. On one hand, weren’t they giving me a compliment? Kind of? But I felt a shaken, the way anyone would if someone jumped out of nowhere and yelled Michael Jackson at them. (Rule of life: You should only invoke the King of Pop when confronted by zombies or Pepsi.)