From Our Readers

Dear Guys Who Make Kissy Noises At Me

When I’m walking down the street and I hear you off to the side or behind me make lip-smacking, kissy noises at me, I have to admit, I’m really not quite sure how to respond. I would love to know what you’re expecting of me.

Am I supposed to swing around, walk over to you and thank you? Give you my number? Kiss you? It’s just so confusing!

You should know that there are other troglodytes out there who are much more clear-cut with their approach. Some employ the trusty wolf-whistle, the sound of approval recognized in most of the western (and cartoon) world. Others might even use words to voice their esteem, from a general, “Hey beautiful!” to a more specific, “Nice ass/legs/kneecaps/cuticles!”

With those kinds of appreciative messages being barked (or whistled) at me by apes, usually in front of construction sites or McDonald’s, I’m confident in my response, which is to stare straight ahead and keep walking. If it’s morning and I’m late for work due to crying about cellulite or a giant zit, I might actually smile. I might even feel a little better about myself.

But the kissy noises carry a more aggressive undertone, one I just can’t get behind. Some of you take it even further, making more of a ”tss tss” sound, like a tire releasing air in short bursts. Is that some sort of mating call I’m not familiar with? If I actually turned around, would you puff out your chest and do a little dance for me, like one of those crazy Amazonian birds on Planet Earth?

I suppose I’ll never know because guess what I’m never turning around. In fact, if it’s dark, I’ll probably pick up the pace and pretend to take a call from my boyfriend, loudly proclaiming that I’ll be home in TWO MINUTES and if I don’t arrive, to grab his bat and come looking for me. Is that what you want? For me to start worrying about being accosted, and mentally thanking Oprah for teaching me to hold my keys between my fingers and not wear a ponytail for you to grab onto?

I hope not, and I don’t really think so. I think you’re just primitive little men who never learned how to interact with women. I hope this letter serves to enlighten you a bit. Next time you spot a lady whose appearance pleases you, try a smile, or, if you really can’t help yourself, a (quiet) compliment.


Jennifer Cordery


  • Asha Galindo

    The line about the keys was so right on. I do that all time because I’m super paranoid. I get hassled on public transit a lot but have yet to master the “stare ahead, I can’t hear you I have headphones in” defense.

  • Giuline Vitória Bastos

    and I thought it was problem of boys from Brazil … Men, the same everywhere.

  • Anne-Marie Tonyan Lindsey

    I felt exactly the same way when I lived in New York! What is with the kissy sound?! By the end of a year living in Washington Heights I was actually roll my eyes at them. Because I did not know what they expected me to do either!

  • Jen Ko

    one of my friends, when we studied abroad in W Africa actually used to turn around and mimic what they were doing back at them. they were instantly stunned and it made everyone laugh…sometimes it IS about safety, but sometimes it’s about poking fun at the situation (and them :)). though i have to say, i’m still of the stare ahead and play deaf team.

  • Shandra Goldfinger

    I once had a guy ask me to dinner while walking past me. I couldn’t help but laugh. My friends were jealous that I get classier cat calls than others. Living in NYC, I’ve pretty much mastered the “look straight ahead like you are the least friendly person in the world” look.

    This post reminded me of this stand-up act:—getting-hit-on

  • Jacquelyn Joan

    Have you heard of the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback? Here’s a link to it:

  • Jessica Dauscher

    Yes! Thank god for this post! I often wonder what EXACTLY it is they want me to do. What is the their idea of my best response? oh, boys…

  • Corie Scibelli

    sometimes i turn around, give them a very visible THUMBS-DOWN sign and make a raspberry/mouth fart noise. they usually come back with an, “oh, come on!” or something like that and then i say, “NO YOU COME ON. YOU THINK LADIES ARE GOING TO RESPOND POSITIVELY TO THAT? NOT IN THIS LIFETIME, PAL.” tell ’em to have a good night, give ’em a smile and thankfully, they go home alone with a lesson in manners learned.

  • Tania Roman


  • Stephanie Anne Howell

    I ride my bike as a main form of commuting, and I get hollered at all the time. Being on a bike has brought out some more interesting comments. Like ” I like the way you ride your bike” I’m coasting down a hill, how do you ride your bike? Amanda Palmer has a song called Ampersand, where she address this situation, saying she responds by introducing herself. They react shocked, because honestly I don’t think they even know what response they are going for.

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