Wolf whistle due for big comeback
TIME to bring back the old wolf whistle! Whoa! I can hear the screams of outrage from angry PC warriors and rabid feminists throughout the universe already.
Where did this topic spring from, you ask?
Well, the other day, while walking the dog, I copped a wolf whistle.
First reaction was to look around to spot the object of this old-fashioned display of admiration but there wasn’t another person in sight.
I figured then, it was either me or the dog and the pooch has two legs too many anyway, so there you have it.
Clearly the perpetrator of this politically incorrect faux pas was vision impaired (we’re not supposed to say ‘blind’ anymore either).
Then I spotted him, a chap sitting on his veranda in the early morning sun, sipping on a can of lager.
He may not have been blind in one sense but the term does have other connotations, so who knows.
And with no way of telling whether it was his first or 21st drink for the day, at 8.30am I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But seriously, who on earth wolf whistles at an aged pensioner? Answer? Someone who is also on the downhill side of life, cracking a can on the front veranda at daybreak and trying to take the p-ss, that’s who.
After thanking him for what was once considered a typical Aussie sign of appreciation towards a ‘good-looking sheila’ (might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb), I went on my way and he probably cracked another can. But it did get me thinking. The event took me back to my last wolf whistle more than 40 years ago, so you might say, it’s been a long time between drinks.
On that occasion I was sitting in my car outside a shop in Pako when my admirer, a handsome young chap around the same age, delivered a ripper wolf whistle in my direction.
It brought a smile to my face but the grin on his didn’t last long, when I alighted from my car to reveal my eight months pregnant belly.
He nearly bit his lips off in horror at the sight of my impending motherhood, not helped at all by the fact he was driving a nappy cleaning service van.
In any case, while I may have felt fat, heavy and unattractive at the time, I also appreciated a gesture which, believe it or not, improved my outlook on the day.
And though the earth failed to move for either of us, there was a sudden bolt of lightning in the form of the nappy van and, for a split second, I actually pondered the possible side benefits to his admiration.
Today, the wolf whistles have all but gone.
No more do we hear them emerging from building sites around the country. Instead they are denounced as sexual harassment, creepy or sleazy, maybe all three, depending on who you speak to.
It makes life even more interesting when the definition of sexual harassment is never clear cut.
It depends entirely on the perception of the person in receipt of unwanted attention of any kind relating to their (female) sexuality, irrespective of the intentions behind them.
Having grown up in the era of Germaine Greer, the ‘burn the bras’ campaigns, the fight for women’s equality in all things and the introduction of the contraceptive pill allowing women to take responsibility for their own bodies, the need to respect each other is not lost on me.
But I do wonder if we haven’t gone too far with our paranoia of all things that ‘might’ offend rather than things that are clearly offensive, when you include something as petty as a wolf whistle.
And given the strong, confident and independent young women around today, you would think the wolf whistle would be like water off a duck’s back rather than a personal affront to all womanhood.
So pardon me if I don’t feel offended by this basic display (albeit taking the mickey) of one bloke’s appreciation for some old gal past her prime, walking her dog.
It’s just that I don’t regard a wolf whistle as something worthy of me breaking into a sweat over.
Save it for stuff that matters.
I do wonder if we haven’t gone too far with our paranoia of all things which ‘might’ offend rather than things which are clearly offensive, when you include something as petty as a wolf whistle
WHAT’S WRONG WITH A LITTLE ATTENTION? The humble wolf whistle is no more.