I’ve been very lucky in that I haven’t received many unpleasant catcalls, and have received several genuine-sounding compliments. I’m a redhead, and men and women both sometimes stop me in the street to say they like my hair. It’s nice. I tell them I like theirs too. Then we go about our days, and everything is fine.
The scariest catcall I’ve ever gotten was when I was fifteen. I was walking either to or from my secondary school (I forget which), wearing a jumper and jeans because it was cold, and a man called me over to his car. I thought he was going to ask for directions and since I was practising being confident I decided I’d go over and help. Instead he said “every time I see you, you look yummier and yummier.” I was genuinely shocked so I just stared at him. “It’s a compliment,” he prompted. Finally I managed to blurt out “I’m FIFTEEN!” He told me it was a compliment again, and just kept staring at me and smiling/leering. I walked quickly away and felt terrified. When I got home I told my parents, and they told me to tell them if I saw him again. They were angry. My parents never so much as hinted that street harassment was anything other than scary and creepy. Thank God for my parents.
Now I’m 22 and usually quite good at holding my own when people are creepy, I almost wish I could find him again. “I was fifteen,” I’d say. “You, sir, are the biggest creep I’ve ever encountered, and I sincerely hope they didn’t let you breed.”