Cat Calling or “Did you just pay me a compliment?”

  How different would our day be without that passing sexual inneuendo or that ‘ptchu ptchu’ sound a few “lesser” men make with both lips pursed. If not an obscene comment, then it’s an obscene stare. It’s the shared common public experience of most young women in this country. It is so common for me that once in a while I get to look at the better side of these Roadside Romeos. Some of them can actually pull off a subtle compliment very appropriately which makes me feel good. I’ve listed a few that happened recently.
  1. Madam, dupatta is short on one side”. I’m walking on street in the rush hours trying to get to work when I hear someone say this. I turn around to fix the length of my dupatta when I spot him. He then smiles awkwardly and says, “Looking nice!” It made my day.
  2. “Wow!” Man of a few words but the right word.
  3. This one happened in the same lane where my office building is. I was walking one morning when a guy on a motorbike stopped to ask for directions to another company. I told him the way to the address he asked for. The conversation ended with a smile and a thank you, or so I thought. . I continued walking and to my surprise this guy rode back to me and this time he says, “I forgot to tell you that you are very beautiful.” For a moment there, I didn’t know to process this as a roadside Romeo comment or a genuine compliment. I felt this was sincere and, I politely thanked him and smiled.
  4. I caught a guy staring at me in the billing counter queue at the Inorbit mall. To break the awkwardness and redeem himself, he asks me about my nose pin. “Is that a diamond on your nose?” I told it was and he just says, “Nice!” I wondered if he really was staring at my nose pin. Probably not, but still this wasn’t awkward or weird.
I’m not encouraging cat calling, eve teasing or passing comments, etc but just saying that there’s nothing wrong in complementing a stranger. Due to a few ugly encounters with roadside Romeos, women look and react to most men derogatorily. It’s almost offensive for a man calling a woman beautiful or cute. A stranger complimenting a woman is not an act of eve teasing. Men shouldn’t be afraid of picking up a conversation with women in public. Eve teasing is a lot worse and bunching in uninvited compliments in the definition is treating the matter lightly.    

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