I'm under no delusion that men have ever exercised the best etiquette when it comes to flirting. Part of the problem is that few fathers ever take their sons aside and teach them the proper ways to approach women. Growing up, I admittedly even remember seeing guys whistle at women from a distance. Still, the conversational skills of the average man seem to be at an all time low. This realization became all too clear last week when two groups of men attempted to pick me up by shouting at me.
The first episode occurred last Saturday as I left Tropicana Field, smiling from ear-to-ear after my boys brought home another win. As I was with my platonic male friend, I assumed I would be exempt from most pick-up attempts. I was wrong, though perhaps the presence of my male friend only deterred the respectful guys from initiating conversations. As we walked through a crowd of men, someone shouted, “Damn, HIPS, how are you?”
Assuming that someone couldn’t possibly be referring to me as a body part, I ignored the comment and kept walking. Then another man from the same group shouted, “What up, hips?”
I am by no means a phenomenon of the pelvic region, but I do boast a waist to hip ratio, that, much like Shakira's hips, do not lie. That being said, this was no way to get my attention in a positive manner. I was utterly baffled. Were there women who responded positively to such harassment? Perhaps these guys were not hitting on me at all, but rather trying to instigate a fight with my male friend who they assumed was my boyfriend. Maybe they got off on saying whatever they wanted to women without any repercussions. Or, maybe they were just casting a wide net, shouting comments at every woman who passed by for their own amusement until one was drunk or dumb enough to stop and talk to them, to pretend to reprimand them while secretly liking the attention.
The second incident occurred the next day while I was jogging around the lake with one of my best friends. As I regaled her with the "hips" story, we were targeted by another modern day Romeo. As a van drove by, a younger guy slid open the door just to shout, "Ya’ll are beautiful!”
As lovely as it is to have someone risk his life just to tell you that you are beautiful, I think we would all agree that it’s a much wiser and bolder choice to approach us with such a comment in a situation in which we can actually respond.
When did men lose their ability to approach women and say something simple, yet flattering? Something like, "I like your smile," or "You caught my eye." Maybe the Internet and social media is to blame. Online, young people have grown practiced at saying whatever is on their mind. Perhaps the same impulse has resulted in drive-by pick-up attempts? Maybe part of the problem is that the population has grown to such a degree in the cities that guys are no longer worried about the social repercussions of yelling whatever they feel like to every woman who passes.
I really cannot say what these men are thinking. I can say that a guy is more likely to win my favor by approaching me directly and saying something that does not need to be shouted.