The term “catcall” may not mean the same thing to everyone, including those calling out to students on the streets.
When a girl walks by Earl Brown’s home on 16th and Diamond streets, he said he and his friends standing on the porch always say hello in one form or another.
“I’ve said, ‘Hey baby, how you doing?’” Daniel Mosley said, adding that it’s more out of politeness than to pick someone up.
“I’m not trying to pick y’all up for a booty call or anything like that,” said Brown, who has been married nine years. “We’re seeing you over the next two, three, four years, so you’ve got to be friendly and get to know who’s who.”
Often girls will ignore them because they’re apprehensive, Brown said.
“A lot of people just aren’t familiar enough to speak to you,” he continued. “Once they see you two, three weeks in a row, they might start.”
But sometimes, the three men catch students at bad times.
“Sometimes we get the wrong students in the morning,” Moaiga Dyson – who said he thought a catcall was when “you go ‘psst’ to call someone, like a cat” – said grinning. “When they don’t feel like going to school, they put their heads down or turn their iPods up louder. They look at you like, ‘Not right now.’”
Brown quickly chimed in, adding that some girls will step off the sidewalk to avoid talking to them.
“This is a new one,” Mosely said, flipping open his cell phone and pretending to talk to someone as he walked down the sidewalk. Brown and Dyson laughed, shaking their heads in agreement.
Whether they receive a response or not, the men said they don’t mean any harm.
“We just want to get to know them. We might need to help them [sometime],” Brown said. “We’re neighbors.”
Ashley Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.