I have reached the point where if I go out and no one catcalls me, my day doesn’t feel complete. I assume something must be wrong with the men, because of course, there can’t possibly be anything wrong with me. That’s the kind of arrogance I’ve developed in Colombia. I tell myself the poor guys I happend to walk by that day don’t know how to appreciate true beauty. Yes, I pretend to be all offended and put-off because catcalls are degrading and I’m a modern feminist-type woman and all that; I give them dirty looks and roll my eyes and sigh to myself. But I can’t lie; being told your are beautiful many times a day gives you a slightly dilusional (if temporary) sense of confidence and self-esteem. But then I remind myself that the only real requirement for getting catcalled is being a girl. And under 50.
Anway, aside from the Barbie Botero guy, there are a couple others who stand out in my mind. For example, the would-be Vallenato singer who proudly sang to me that he liked his women bonitas y gorditas. For the non-Spanish speakers out there, Carlos Vives was telling me that he liked his women pretty and fat. That guy has a special place in my heart. Also, the guy who walked by me the other day, licked his lips and said to me — with very serious bedroom eyes — “Que exceso tan rico.” I have come to terms with the fact that most catcalls I get inevitably include mention of my “Botero-like” proportions.
Then there are the poets, the ones who put their hats on their chest and recite a few lines of colonial-era poetry in your honor as you walk by. I find those to be the most endearing, as it is nice to inspire poetry, even if the same two lines are read to every other woman. Perhaps the most common catcall is “Mamita, estas muy buena.” Not particularly inspired or original, but what woman doesn’t like to be told that she is a mamitaand she is muy buena? But maybe my favorite is the simple, hola,complete with raised eyebrow and seductive smirk. Because those guys — the hola guys — are so confident that they barely need words in their game of seduction.