Life with Lauren: Why is this still happening today?


Lauren Deisley, Columnist

This weekend was a weekend of many firsts for me. I went to a wedding for the first time (yes, I am aware that that’s strange) and I wore red lipstick for the first time. I got to dance with my boyfriend for the first time since the night we met years ago.

But the first that I’m not happy about is that I was cat-called for the first time. And it was horrible. I never truly realized that it still happens in our society.

It was just a moment out of my entire long, busy day. But it was such a big deal to me that it still bothers me even now.

We stopped at a gas station—more of a truck stop, really—to go to the bathroom. I was in my dress, heels and red lipstick and I felt pretty good about myself. My confidence was pretty high for someone with confidence issues.

I was leaving the gas station when two guys walked in dressed in Wranglers and trucker hats. I barely paid attention to them, or the way they looked at me.

Until they whistled at me.

I froze once I got outside, shaking my head in shock and disgust. I felt dirty and extremely self-conscious and I just wasn’t sure what to think.

At first, I thought it was my fault.

It had to be the red lipstick, or the pearl necklace and heels. Or the fact that I’m a large-chested woman and my dress didn’t help me out at all with since it was somewhat form-fitting, despite it covering all the way up to my collarbone. I forgot that I’d dressed in a very classy manner, all because of those guys’ reactions.

I asked my boyfriend about it when I got to the car.

Did I look nasty? Was I dressed “slutty?” Did I bring it on myself? I mean, I had to deserve that, right?

I had to tell myself that I was wrong. It wasn’t my fault at all. My dress was knee-length, covered my entire chest and had long sleeves.

My makeup was minimal except for the lipstick, and even my heels were conservative. There was nothing inappropriate or even the slightest bit sexual about how I looked.

Those men were wrong.

I know plenty of people who would tell me to take it as a compliment. That I must have looked really good for them to react like that. But it just made me feel dirty and wrong. It made my skin crawl. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I did not feel complimented in the least.

I know from personal experience that everyone is attracted to other people. We can appreciate how someone looks without making them feel uncomfortable. We can simply smile at someone to show that we like how they look. It also doubles as being friendly.

If we’re feeling bold, we can actually tell someone that we think they look pretty or handsome. There are dozens of very appropriate ways of showing attraction or appreciation towards another person without making them feel gross.

My previous column was all about giving and receiving compliments, and perhaps people should be more aware of how others are going to react to what they say.

Whistling at a woman in a truck stop is just in poor taste.

Nodding, smiling and just saying “you look pretty” is a lot less creepy and inappropriate and would have been much better suited for the situation.

Or maybe that’s just me.