By Caroline Murray
There is a single moment shared between women of all shapes, sizes and colors. It can happen at any time, in any city and in any type of weather. That single second (or two) in a woman’s life can change their day for better or for worse. I am talking about the infamous catcall. You know, when a stranger feels inclined to shout “Damn! You are looking good today,” to a woman on an innocent stroll down the street.
If that wasn’t convincing — I don’t care. You know exactly what I am talking about.
As a single woman who lives in a city and has experienced this on more than one occasion, it is a wonder why I still cannot formulate an opinion about the catcall. Yes, it feels good when a complete stranger compliments my body, smile, hair or outfit. But, do I wish that he or she would yell “Have a great day. You deserve it,” instead of focusing on my appearance?
Yes. Yes, I do.
On the other hand, it is not every day your friend, coworker or significant other appreciates your outer beauty as much as they fixate on what is wrong in your life.
So, as much as it makes me anxious, the catcall also kind of makes me feel good. And, I honestly don’t know what to make of that.
This leads me to a magical tune called “Hey Mami,” by Sylvan Esso, which best describes my relationship with the catcall.
Lead singer/ songwriter Amelia Meath of Mountain Man stepped out of her indie folk band in 2013 to join forces with electronic producer Nick Sanborn. Together they produced “Hey Mami,” a delightfully whimsical song, among others on their self-titled album.
In a recent interview I heard Meath admit, she too, does not know how to feel about these unsolicited compliments. She pondered whether it was wrong to enjoy what so many women deem unacceptable, and unnerving.
The lyrics fly off her lips with subtleness. The aggressive repetition of bass paired with a soft jingling tune, almost makes the song sound like a lullaby for street walkers and their unwanted audience.
She walking so fast/ She walking so fast/ She walk like a babe/ Hey/ Look at that ass and I know/She floats along as she goes/ She owns the eyes as she flies right through the sound/ Moving her body all around town/ Hey mami/ I know what you want mami.
“Hey Mami,” brings me to a hot summer day in a city hinting Spanish influences. It brings me to a dirty bodega, flooded with cigar smoke and wife-beaters. It shows me a strong, sexy woman, who wants to own the floor she walks on. The song is an ode to women who receive such candor and tribute to the men who dole it out.
I still don’t know what to make of cat calls, but hell this song is killer. It makes enjoying them feel alright, and not liking them feel even better.