Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Wolf Whistles

Dear You,
how do you feel about wolf whistles?
I ask  because I found this funny passage in the hilarious book of India Knight, 'Mutton. Age before Beauty. Maybe.' The book's heroine, aged 46, walks by a scaffolding with builders - and nothing happens. Not one odd catcall comes. She muses:

"Oh, I know. I spent many decades of my life objecting vigorously to objectification. I could bore for England about the theory. Ew, everyday sexism: the horror. Obviously men shouldn't shout things out at women in the street. It's not nice. But I'll tell you what else I don't find nice either, to be absolutely honest with you: this weird silence. What is wrong with these freaks?" 

I have nothing against wolf whistles. Never had. Take them as a compliment. When I walk past a building site, and they whistle, the pack sits in a pit, or on a high scaffolding. To me it is only a rough way of flirting.
I once told you: I am a flirt and will stay so till I'm a hundred (or more?). I flirt with men, children, cats and even flowers (yes, you can - try it!) It is a very pleasant game, for both sides.
But some women find it upsetting.
For men these times are difficult. In the last decades they get what psychology calls "double-bind messages". Or, reversing my beloved quote from Shirley Conran - "A mother's place is in the wrong" - to "A man's place is in the wrong." Don't misunderstand me, please: I'm speaking of wolf whistles. Bravado. Flirts. Not pawing or violence.
I enjoy it when a man holds a door open for me - I do not cry angrily 'I can do that on my own!' (as I have often seen). I like knights in shining armour. Politeness. (In other parts of life too). Though one can go too far: Today I read that the BBC makes Britain discuss whether one should ask a woman before kissing her. Uh, what??? I think that goes without saying - let alone asking. You feel it. (I hope). What said my driving instructor about entering a dubious turn in the road in high speed? "When in doubt - don't." 
In the blog world there are wolf whistles too. Don't think I put comment moderation up against those. 
No - I have a very persistent "Anonymous", who always sends advertising comments disguised as comments on the post "Arsène Lupin, Raffles and..." 
Now I ask you: Who in his right mind can believe that this will lure me on his website? Anonymous might also easily believe that Little Girls, wearing a Red Riding Hood, will take a woolf for a grandma. (Tom, here might be the appropriate place for a Grandma-axe-pun). 
No, I keep it with James Thurber, who recast the story, ending: 

When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother's house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be. 








16 comments:

  1. I have never been able to wolf-whistle. Guys would try to teach me how but I would just splutter. I had to find other ways of meeting girls, like making friends with them. If I had just spluttered at Norma, she would never have married me.

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  2. Dear Geo.,
    I've never "met" a wolf-whistler as a person who wants to date you - they live in packs.
    And Lauren Bacall's famous line: " "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow" won't bring any man nearer to a woman, So it is good to know other ways of getting her attention.

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  3. Britta... I am sure you still receive your share of whistles! Flirting is an art...one enjoyed by the flirt and the recipient! Happy Weekend! Susan
    P S - I don't allow anonymous comments via blog setting so all go to spam!

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    1. Dear Susan,
      thank you! I agree with your description of flirting - it is like a little dollop of cream on strawberries.
      As to anonymous comments: my mail sorts them into 'spam', but I have to delete so many now - of the same stupid sender. I think it is a machine. But I still don't want to limit the commenters to blogspot-recipients only (though I start to think about it).

      Delete
  4. Hello Britta - I am in Paris at the moment using G-daughters Ipad so not sure how this will work, but in Settings on blogger if you allow Registered Users only it eliminates undesirables - good luck

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  5. Dear Rosemary,
    enjoy Paris! It is such a beautiful city.
    As to your tip - thank you! - : I will try it (at the moment I don't get spam - but see that statistic still count unnatural interest in this one Arsène-post).

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    1. I tried it out - it seems to work: still driving up statistics, but no more lots and lots of comments to delete as spam. Thank you for the tip!

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  6. I like the passage from Age Before Beauty, I think I remember you recommending that book to me once for laughs (which I love as much as you.)

    I also quite appreciate the 'when in doubt, don't,' school of thinking! But a kiss without doubt, ah ... such a lovely thing. ;)

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  7. Dear Suze,
    the book is fun (two thirds of it, then it starts to go over the top).
    As to kisses: of course there must be some frisson - I only mean: you feel it, don't you, whether it will be OK? A little bit of insecurity: yeah, but I mean: being asked?!? I like daring in people.

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  8. In order for me to get Wolf whistles from scaffolding, I invariably need to wear very tight trousers. A very uncomfortable affair, I must say but I do it for my fanbase :)

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    1. "Whewhewhewhe!" 'Whoo-whoo!', 'Chirp!'
      I hope my onomatapoeic whistle reaches your ear (I'm sitting on a scaffolding :)

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  9. I knew I'd missed a post over here! You must offer us a photograph some day of flirting with flowers. I'm sure you have excellent technique. You must, or you wouldn't have such a luxuriant balcony garden! 60 pots, was it? Remarkable.

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    1. Dear Susan,
      I'll try to persuade husband to take that photo - might look like the Aura-photography one sometimes sees :)
      Husband is not convinced that plants feel - but he is convinced that I disappear in the night of the 30th April (on a broom). (But don't fear - only white magic!)

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  10. I tried to wolf-whistle once. Almost got arrested.

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  11. Dear Optimistic Existentialist,
    I'm sorry to hear that - though the "almost" cheers me up.
    Being of a curious nature, I switched over to your blog's last post and can't resist the question: You didn't try it in --- a library?

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