Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, and the temperature reached 75 degrees. In Chicago, the hint of spring after months of oppressive cold means that people rush out in full force to enjoy the weather. Spirits are high. Smiles abound. And people lose their damn minds.
Case in point. I went outside to grab some lunch and passed by a few young guys at the exact same time a young attractive woman walked by them going in the opposite direction. She was just a regular person going about her day wearing regular clothes, with a regular expression on her face. As she passed by the young men, they started shouting their “hey baby”s at her, said something inappropriate about her butt, and then one of them . . . wait for it . . . growled at her. Yes, growled. He also happened to growl at the exact same time I walked by him, so I got the full force of it in my ear. Fan. Tas. Tic. The poor young woman looked mortified and scurried past them.
I almost stopped and snapped at them. I work with young people every day, and I’ve gotten used to telling loud talkers to quiet down, gropers to back off of each other in public, and cursers to watch their mouths. Unfortunately, I didn’t say anything this time because 1) I was in a hurry and 2) I was just so shocked that a human being would resort to growling at a woman as some kind of mating call.
Now don’t get me wrong. If two consenting adults want to growl at each other in the privacy of their own homes (or in a wooded enclave or in a steam-filled car or . . . ok, you get the picture) that’s one thing. But this awful demonstration of young testosterone-filled animalistic aggression crossed the line. Is this what masquerades as flirting nowadays? Did the young man successfully growl at women in the past to the point where they stopped what they were doing and had sex with him right there?
The only positive thing that I could take away from this awkward encounter is another insight into human behavior that I could possibly tap into in the future. It might be interesting to explore the psychology of a person who thinks that it is ok to degrade women by growling at them and who enjoys making an ass of himself in public. It would also be very fun to create a female character who, after being growled at while walking down the street, walks up to the offender and kicks him in the nuts.
I love being a writer.