Wolf whis­tle due for big come­back

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - BOTH BAR­RELS

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.

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