What to Wear When You Are Catcalled: Style Advice from Hobo Scumbag

Flipped birds courtesy the author

I was walking down the street one day when I heard a whistle and a “____ _____,” and I immediately recognized it for what it was, a cry for stimulating conversation! I went to him, and he was an intellectual, like all men. I said, “If adornment of the body, by virtue of it being so close to my flesh canvas, is immediately sexualized, how difficult is it to initiate platonic respectful contact with women who are covered from neck to toe?” He said, “It is tricky. Woman is desexualized the moment she is stripped naked, as Barthes says, but you are wearing a lot of clothes, so nothing I say could make you unsexy right now, and yet by undressing you with my eyes and words, I have desexualized you in context. It is a paradox, and I respect it.” I nodded, and started undressing, because it was the most interesting debate I’d had since that morning. “But if I am, indeed, a text to deconstruct, then what does this mean?” Here, I was naked standing in the middle of the street, both hands in the air, my middle fingers two peaks in the mountains that were my fists. “That is obscene,” he said. “What is the matter with you? You need to learn how to communicate with people. Weren’t you raised better? What would your mother say right now?”

“Probably this,” I said, looking at myself. “Yeah. Definitely, this.”

Hobo Scumbag is a native of Southern California. Find her at hoboscumbag.com.