Monday, 7 October 2013

Letting the side down

Going to pick up Son Number Two and his student buddy after their day at music college, I got stuck in a long queue at traffic lights. As the cars coming the other way ground to a halt behind someone that wanted to turn right, I stopped singing along to my CD in case I looked stupid (it was Gracelands - one I used to sigh and complain all the way through when my parents played it.) As I sat there and hoped I wouldn't be late picking the boys up, I happened to glance at the driver in the car next to me. Hmmm, I thought. Forty-something, I estimated, and wearing a nice suit and loosened tie, tapping his steering wheel in time to music that was probably far cooler than Paul Simon. To my embarrassment, he clocked me looking at him and gave me a rather naughty wink and a grin. The poor chap obviously had bad eye-sight and I just hoped he wouldn't crash his car on his way home, but thankfully the traffic lights changed and I was able to drive on before he saw me blush deeply. 

Now, I know I've let the sisterhood down by not being offended and disgusted by such behaviour (and, no, I didn't start it by ogling male drivers, I just glanced, thank you). Actually, I find it rather sad that builders are not allowed to wolf-whistle any more - as teenagers, my friends and I felt disappointed if we didn't get whistled at. Whilst researching this (read: wasting time on the internet when I should be studying) I found this article which, although a few years old, makes for interesting reading. And read the comments on it: hmm, yes, those diet coke ads... double standards indeed. Is anyone asking these poor men how they feel at being portrayed as sexist stereotypes? 

Imagine the complaints if this ad featured a woman 
being stared at by five men...

Comments on other forums (it's either blogging or making tea - I'm making this last as long as possible. Don't stereotype me into the kitchen!) say that some women feel intimidated or in fear of being attacked if men smile or whistle at them. 'Oh, blimey,' is all I can politely say. When I was young, I was attacked and can assure these women that being winked at is in no way comparable.

So should we all behave, and pretend that we don't innocently appreciate attractive people of the opposite sex (or even of the same sex, if that's your thing)? Are Ms Fab and I bad people when we stop talking just to watch the nice postman with the orange mohican cycle past? I promise we're not planning to attack him. Well, I'm not - I can't vouch for Ms Fab. 

I can't even do that 'hailing a taxi' whistle, although some of the year 6 boys tried to teach me a couple of years ago. It wasn't pleasant, but it passed a maths lesson...

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