Real life

These days, when men wolf-whistle at me, I thank them

Perhaps I should work on my striptease act to get them to do it more often

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

Incredible as it seems to me now, there was a time when a wolf whistle was annoying. A man would shout something approving from a scaffold and I would harrumph about my privacy being invaded, my gender not being respected, my dignity as an intelligent woman being violated. Then I got old and a wolf whistle made my day.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that I knew I had turned a corner, gone over a hill and started to slip down the other side, so far as age was concerned, when I first heard a wolf whistle from a scaffold and, instead of feeling outraged, felt the sweet surge of hope. I remember standing there looking pathetically up at the builder in question, like a forlorn budgie, beseeching him to whistle at me again. Or, even better, shout something offensive about my rear end. He didn’t. It doesn’t work that way. They only shout something about your rear end if you harrumph.

But you know you are getting really middle-aged when you explicitly thank the wolf whistler. I was walking down the road with the spaniel only this week, for example, when a gorgeous guy who looked every inch a personal trainer jogged past and shouted at me. I had sunk so far into a state of mid-life mortification that for a second I really did imagine he had yelled, ‘What a minger!’ But a split second later, when I saw he was leering, I realised he had shouted, ‘What a figure!’

I stopped dead and as he jogged away, still looking back at me, I heard myself shouting, ‘Thank you! Oh, thank you so much! Thank you!’ Cydney looked at me as if to say, ‘You’re milking it now. It’s embarrassing.’ ‘It’s alright for you,’ I told her. ‘You’re always getting admiring comments. You have dogs throwing themselves at you on a daily basis. Me, I need to reel ’em in.’ I looked at what I was wearing and made a mental note to dress in this slightly too small Chelsea FC Aertex and Asda stretchy jeans every day for the rest of my life.

I don’t think it’s that I usually look unattractive, per se, it’s just that lately I tend to walk about flinging off layers. You would think men would like women to rip off all their clothes in the street but they don’t seem to. I suppose it gives the game away, casting off garments until you’re standing there in a vest cursing about how hot it is when it’s pouring with rain, blowing a gale and barely 10 degrees.

It’s a bit early, I know. But I’ve always been precocious when it comes to inconvenient things happening to me. As the GP read me the doom-laden test results, I was stoical. Do not women nowadays simply slap on a patch and march on to empowerment and glory? How wrong I was. Turns out there is a Catch-22 when it comes to treating the M word.

A bureaucratic double lock specifies that a concern that one might be menopausal is the process of a non-menopausal mind. A woman can, in theory, be given a patch. All she has to do is ask; but as soon as she does ask, she is considered way too rational to need it and so she is sent back out to maraud through Sainsbury’s then almost leave without paying for a basket full of crazy shopping — e.g., six bars of Lindt salted chocolate, a bottle of evening primrose oil and a fluffy cobweb-dusting stick.

Even if my doctor had wanted to override this powerful double lock, she couldn’t. The computer would not let her type out a prescription until I attained the age it deemed appropriate to need it, which was not less than 45, and, most suitably, 52.

‘So, what you are telling me,’ I said to the GP, ‘is that you can’t offer me any kind of help now, but you will be able to help me in three to ten years’ time when this will be over?’

‘Yes,’ she said, looking embarrassed because even she realised this was mad when you said it out loud. Then she added, ‘Wait. Maybe there is something I can do.’ She tapped at her computer again and announced, ‘Yes, there is a clinic you can go to where there are other women like you.’ The way she said ‘like you’ left me in no doubt that this clinic would involve me getting told off.

‘There is a waiting list, though, of six months. Where are you going?’ I hadn’t got six months. I hadn’t even got six seconds. I was flinging off my jumper and hurtling back into the street. Maybe I can refine the striptease to elicit a wolf whistle.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • Kitty MLB

    Quite honesty women should worry when men stop looking at them but I must say there is something feral about the ‘wolf whistle’

    Mind you French men are quite scandalously unsubtle..and will
    look at you as if you are prey..even in the presence of their ladies
    who are looking at other men.
    A wolf-whistle would seen very bad manners for them.

    • anon

      Fuck you.

      I will not allow you or anybody else to tell me that women exist for the approval or disapproval of men.

      • Mr_Ominous

        Calm down dear.

        • Liz

          Pipe down love.

      • Pootles

        Neither Kitty MLB nor Melissa Kite are telling you to do or think anything. Actually, Melissa’s piece is amusing because it relates to age, not sex. I’m a bloke in his mid-50s, and I know where Ms Kite is coming from. So, stop being bloody rude, and up yourself.

        • whattheflip

          Problem is that society is full of radical, brain-washed, self-entitled, offence-monger idiots like the above and they are encouraged by our media and “politicians”

      • David S

        There’s one thing worse than being grossly offensive, and that’s being grossly offensive and anonymous.

        I will not allow you to tell me what I may or may not say.

      • Darnell Jackson

        Hair trigger?

      • Stevie Mac

        Saying that women should worry about their attractiveness when men stop looking at them (presumably directed at women who care about being attractive to men) is not the same as saying that they exist for the approval or disapproval of men, that that is their sole purpose for existence or their raison d’etre. That’s an illogical inference.

      • The_Average_Joe_UK

        Love freedom of choice. Going lapdancing this weekend, its going be an absolute hoot.

    • eclair

      Im just going to France to give it a try, any special area the best?

  • Ahobz

    Go private, it’ll cost but you only have one life.

  • uberwest


  • Liz

    Why are men such show offs? Why did he have to shout it?

    • berosos_bubos

      He wants her to join the herd.

  • rjbh

    seems Kitty needs her tummy tickled

  • maruja de lujo

    Wolf whistles are one thing, but are you still grateful when it progresses through “Tits a nice day” and “Hey! You gotta nice arse” to “fuck me” and “show us your gash”? Men in the street used to make such comments to me quite a lot. I was a modest, practical dresser, not into hot pants or cleavage or high heels. My mistake was to be young and pretty. Time has rectified that for me, and I’m quite grateful not to have to hear such comments any more.

    • Liz

      Which immediately turn into “bitch” and “stupid slag” and “dumb whore” when you don’t look suitably grateful for their attention.

  • Polaris2

    It would seem that your endometriosis (mentioned in your Daily Mail article) was a precursor to what looks like early menopause. Take a look at the comments to this article by women who have had success with what they call the Paleo Diet (nutrient dense foods) – “Curing endometriosis with diet and holistic therapies alone” – :
    “Paleo will help you balance your hormones a great deal. Reading the book
    “What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Premenopause” by Dr. John R.
    Lee, MD will help you even more. Seriously it is an AMAZING book, and
    will really help you.( he also has one about menopause. If you search amazon
    for him, it’ll all come up. His stuff is life changing).
    I’m using Paleo and his methods to help me reverse my endometriosis and
    estrogen dominance. It’s been a life saver. Just ignore his…recommendations [on] “whole grains”…”

    We are thirty per cent cholesterol. To make a baby requires a lot of cholesterol and the way this is transported across the placenta is as cholesterol sulphate. This why egg yolks contain a lot of cholesterol and sulphur which are very good for us. Cholesterol sulphate is a vital component of connective tissue. Connective tissue holds our organs in their relative positions and a lack of cholesterol and sulphate may explain why in endometrosis, pieces of womb lining can be found in other parts of the body. A good source of cholesterol sulphate is oysters. If we have an adequate intake of dietary sulphate our bodies can also make cholesterol sulphate by exposing our skin to the summer sun. BTW, exposing our skin to the summer sun makes vitamin D sulphate too.

  • Alastair McLeod

    30 years ago when my Mum was in her sixties, was walking in George Sq Glasgow with her best chum Sandra Melrose who was some 20 years her junior. A scaffolder whistled and shouted “Hello red – fancy a cuppa?”. Red headed Sandra turned to mum and stated “Oh Jean – dont you just hate it when that happens?”. Mum replied “Not nearly as much as when it doesnt happen my dear !!”

  • Alastair McLeod

    30 years ago, when Mum was in her sixties, she was walking in Geroge Sq Glasgow with one of her best chums Sandra Melrose who was a gorgeous red head in her forties. Passing some scaffolding there was a wolf whistle from above and a shout – “Hey red, fancy a wee cuppa?” Sandra turned to Mum “Oh Jean – dont you just hate it when that happens ?” to which my Mum replied “Not nearly as much as when it doesnt happen my dear !”

  • commenteer

    Try the internet. Doctors no longer have a monopoly on providing drugs.

  • cromwell

    As an apprentice 40 odd years ago my tradesman said always go for the older or uglier birds as they are always grateful. Young as I was I thought this was not a nice way to categorise people. Now thanks to this article I have been liberated and realise what they used to call male chauvinist pigs is the way to go, its what women want apparently.

  • Sam_Beresford

    I’ve reported you to the proper authorities for this piece Ms Kite. Having an independent opinion that differs from the appropriate abhorrence of hetero-normative, misogynistic, fascist, capitalist, neoliberal patriarchy that is rampant in society is unacceptable.

    Clearly, you need to be re-educated.