Tony Robinson

Sunday, September 15, 2019

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If we offend, it is with our good will,
That you should think, we come not to offend,
But with good will…To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
— Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, V, 1

“Psst…nice girl, shapely girl, fat thing, big bumper baby, sexy lips, cutie pie, me want deh wid yu…” All these and more are directed towards women and young girls every day. It doesn't matter what age or stage in life they may be, they are fair game for the verbal onslaught from men as they go about their business.
Yet the men, as the above quote explains, say that they mean no offence, but it's merely their way of showing appreciation of the female form, female pulchritude of feminine beauty. But in spite of the good intentions of the men, which is a well- paved road, women are negatively affected by this verbal barrage and express not only disgust, but fear. “I can't walk down the street without being bombarded by lewd comments from these disgusting men,” is what the women say.
Yet, there are some who actually like it, look forward to it, and are disappointed if men do not ogle them, leer at them, and make the obligatory catcalls and wolf whistles as they walk by. It's their way of feeling appreciated, verifying that they look good, a validation of their beauty and that they're desirable. “If man don't call to me, I feel that something wrong with me,” say some women.
So, pssst…baby, mi check fi yu….” Let's see what the response is, right after this feedback to 'The good wife'.

Hi Tony,
Thank God that I have who I consider to be a good wife, who I have been married to for almost 49 years and who has stuck with me through all those years. I imagine some men are looking for the perfect wife, but just as there is no perfect person, there is no perfect wife.

Many wives may not like what you wrote, but that may simply be a case of them not liking the truths that you tell. Many women start out in relationships as angels, but as soon as they get the ring, their true self emerges as they push it through the man's nose. Speak to many husbands and they will tell you how their wives try to tip the balance of power and treat them like they are boys. The transformation is real.

There is this huge issue currently raging about the verbal abuse that women say is being meted out to them by men from all areas of society. Some refer to it as catcalls, wolf whistles, as the men hoot, shout, wink, whistle, holler, make hand gestures, blow kisses to women in public and private places.
It's certainly not confined to Jamaica, as for decades, Italian men were notoriously famous for not only calling to women, but pinching them on their butts as they walked down the streets. Rome was famous for that, but with the emergence and explosion of various women's movements, the practice has been curtailed.
Imagine pinching a woman on her bottom in public? Instant lawsuit for sexual harassment. Here in Jamaica it's open season on women of all ages. So much so that the issue has reached a boiling point and is now the subject of a raging debate in the media — TV, radio, print and social media.
Women from all walks of life have expressed outrage at what they consider to be verbal abuse hurled towards them as they traverse the public domain. But is this really justified, or are they blowing things out of proportion, making a mountain out of a butt implant?
After all, some men say that they are merely expressing their appreciation of the female form and perceive their actions as being complimentary.
“When I see an attractive woman I have to let her know,” said one man.
“How else am I going to get her attention if I don't call to her?” said another.
The image of the construction worker ogling and leering at women and making catcalls is legendary, and in fact, some women have been known to enjoy the attention. But when it gets ugly is when those catcalls descend to a sexual level, gets personal, and crosses the boundaries of being offensive. There are different ways to skin a cat and also different names to give a cat, 'Feline, kitten, kitty, puss, pussy.'
“I was an 11-year-old schoolgirl when this big man called to me and told me what he wanted to do with me,” said this lady. “When I eventually found out what he meant from my friends, I felt violated and cried for a week. I originally thought he wanted to cook and eat my cat.”
Yes, the catcalls can be graphic, lurid, lewd, lascivious and more descriptive of the female anatomy than what a gynecologist could outline. And yet there are some who say that the women advertise it and flaunt their wares for all to see. “If she didn't want man to call to her, why she dress in that provocative way?” is a common question.
Hmm... maybe they have a point. But how do you explain men hurling this verbal abuse in the direction of schoolgirls who are dressed in their voluminous uniforms covered from their necks to their ankles with no skin showing? I haven't heard of any cases in Jamaica, but nuns have been raped in other countries, so perhaps dressing sexily is not a factor.
Even so, some women dress as if they're really trying to excite and titillate men. Now, some will say that the men should exercise self control, but the reality is, all men do not have self control and will yield to the temptation and at least make a comment aimed towards the woman. “Baby, you are so sexy, what a sweet outfit you have on.”
Sure, women should be able to wear what they want to wear, but walking through the jungle with raw meat tied to you is not recommended. Predators exist, so why excite them? But what's a guy supposed to do? Can't he call to a woman and tell her that she looks good and he would like to make her acquaintance? Some women are offended even by a casual remark, but perhaps it's the only way the men know how to express themselves.
A man may say to a lady, “Your hair looks really great,” but another man may say, “Your body shock out and you bumper bawling out.” Now, some women may appreciate the first comment while others will not be offended by the second. It all depends on their socialisation.
It's a delicate balance, for in the dancehall scene, a comment about the bumper may well be accepted, whereas the polite comment about the hair may go down as being too soft, weak, ineffectual.
Some women express that it's not only the words that offend, but what accompanies them that scares them. The gestures, the leering intent can be frightening. “Not only was he saying those awful things to me, but I could feel him undressing me with his eyes.”
What is true is that this disgust felt by the woman is often hinged on the type of man who is doing the catcalls. If she's driving a Benz and this walk-foot man says psst to her, she'll be offended. But flip the script, put him in a Benz and let him call to a walk-foot woman and quite possible it'll be a different outcome.
I remember back in my young, single, wild oats days, just as an experiment I used to walk to the bus stop and put argument to young ladies. Some weren't impressed. But then I would walk back to my car, drive by that same bus stop and pick up those same girls with consummate ease. Women are selective when they cite verbal harassment. It all depends on who is making the catcalls.
Still, this catcalling and verbal abuse, real or imagined, does offend many women, even though sportscaster Oral Tracy and others think it's overblown. The fact is, it's against the law in some countries. But guess what, women do it also. Back in the day when I was handsome, women would catcall me. I've even had my butt squeezed.
But I ask again, what are men supposed to do to get the attention of women? Pssst just not cutting it, so I may just have to work on a manual for men.
More time.

Footnote: Everett Fenton's Garage is a place that I've driven by many times without a second thought. Fortunately my vehicle had never spent any time in a garage apart from the usual servicing, oil change, and minor stuff. However, the high sulfur diesel fuel changed all that as it crippled my vehicle's engine, resulting in it needing a complete engine overhaul. A huge job.
Well, I must tell you that I was blown away and more than impressed with the treatment that I got from Fenton's Garage. I have never seen this type of professionalism or heard of it here. At every step of the three-week process I received videos, photographs, and audio updates of my vehicle. I was shown in detail what parts needed changing and what parts still had life. You know that I cuss when service is bad, but I have to salute Mr Fenton, his wife Camille, and staff for their courtesy and excellent service that they provide for the consumer. There is hope for us yet.

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