“Why do you feel compelled to yell vile things at women you don’t know?”
About a year ago I was walking down the street in Soho when a huge guy, about 300 pounds or so, turned to his friend as I walked past and shouted “Damn, girl. I’d like to pick you up and throw you against a wall.” My throat closed up, all 4 foot 10 inches of me and my stomach flipped, and my palms began to sweat. I felt sick, confused, uncomfortable, angry, and viscerally afraid. But what could I really do about it? In instances similar to this before I’ve tried yelling back, I’ve tried the angry stare down—all that got me was insults, and more fear. I stared through the swarms of people criss-crossing the sidewalk ahead of me and quickened my pace. Every woman you know has a story like this.
Thinking back on that moment, the queasiness comes bounding back. While advocacy and campaigning against street harassment is the most important course of action here, I’ll admit it’s particularly gratifying to imagine these two lumbering jabronis in a situation just as humiliating. Lucky for me, comedian Melissa Hunter has made something almost as satisfying with her “Wednesday vs. Catcallers” episode (seen above) of Adult Wednesday Addams.
After experiencing a particularly hellish bout of harassment at the hands of two bros in a Jeep (“You know, you’d be a lot prettier if you smiled.” “Why don’t you take a load off, sit on my face, dude?” “Fuck you, goth bitch!”), Wednesday tracks the two down to their home by the scent of their Axe body spray. When they unsurprisingly continue to harass her and ask what kind of music she’d like to have sex to (“Buckcherry?” “Newer Smash Mouth?”) our goth goddess tells them she’s just there to “return the compliment” and introduces them to three very big, very scary and in part very mentally unstable friends.
“I’ve hired these men to lurk on your sidewalk and pay you compliments all day long,” explains Addams. When one of the catcallers tells her that he’s calling the cops, Wednesday shares the sad truth, “Why? I’m sure you know most forms of verbal assault on public property are perfectly legal. Isn’t that just twisted?” Then, of course, as she bids her frightened harassers adieu, she tells them to smile. “You’d be prettier.”
Snap snap, girl.