Recently, a young lady was complaining on Facebook about being whistled at by a guy in a street-side bar.
She said, “I was walking down the street minding my own business, and this guy whistled at me. This is 2017. How could such a thing happen?”
I became confused, pondering both her statement and apparent indignation. It seems to me that men have been whistling at women as long as there has been whistling.
It seems that the much more interesting question is: Why don’t more men whistle at women? Have you noticed how beautiful, desirable, and incredible woman are?
I asked a random sampling of guys about whistling. One friend admitted to whistling in the shower, but never at women. An ER doctor said that he whistles when overwhelmed, but it’s just an exhale through pursed lips, and never at females or in the operating room. A massage therapist friend of mine, a plumber, and I all had to admit that we have never whistled at a woman.
I think I know why we haven’t: whistling at a woman isn’t likely to to result in her instantly altering her course, veering toward us, wrapping her arms round us, nuzzling our necks, or insisting that we begin a long cuddling session that culminates in mind-blowing sex.
Taking that into account, I wondered why the fellows who do whistle at women do what they do. It isn’t for the same reason that I used to check phone booths for change, because I once found change there. If B. F. Skinner is right, it is because there is something intrinsically rewarding about the act of whistling at a woman.
Skinner suggested that behaviors don’t continue in the absence of rewards. And I am gullible enough to imagine that he is right? Though sometimes, especially when it comes to women, I get pretty confused about what is a reward and what isn’t.
Women whistling at men.
I also wondered what it would be like if women whistled at men, especially me. I’m not sure if I would like it or not, but I would like to give it a try. So ladies, if you are so inspired, fire up your whistles so they are ready to go if you see me. I’ll wear tight pants and wiggle my butt the best I can when I walk.
But I think—and let’s be honest here, ladies—you have never, in earnest, whistled at a guy—and you wouldn’t dare.
I was walking the streets of London with a friend of mine when two young women accosted us. Rather than walking past us and pretending that we simply didn’t exist, which is what usually happens, they stopped us for no apparent reason and began talking with us. They appeared to find us interesting.
Suddenly my unworthiness fell away. I felt wanted, needed, and virile—until it dawned on me that these were women of the night, and they wanted money for what I beg women to do with me for free.
I crash-landed back into my normal, “Women don’t really want me, and I have to learn to jump through hoops” mentality.
Learning to whistle.
It was time to stop pondering and to start whistling. I practiced a few times, whet my whistle, and gave a particularly sustained wolfish whistle focused at my nearly two-year-old, red-haired granddaughter. She smiled, giggled, and said, “more.” I whistled a few more times and was off to a good start.
In parting after a nice lunch with my two favorite women, my daughter and granddaughter, I whistled boldly at my daughter. She smiled and laughed. Not an uncomfortable laugh, but the kind you do when you are flattered just right.
So begins my research project. Thus far, I have concluded that the fellows who whistle at strangers somehow get a thrill out of it and go home alone. That thrill likely feels like some sort of connection to them, but it doesn’t inspire me and my friends.
Whistling at people you know, as long as you also talk to them occasionally, and like or love them, works well. It comes across as flattery.
There ought to be whistling lessons for women, so that we men can have a taste of being treated like sexual objects and discover if we like it—or if we wish to complain about it on Facebook and suggest that given that it is 2017, it just has to stop.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Travis May