I’m from a small town in Wisconsin, and the men in the Midwest are not very assertive when it comes to making the move on a woman. In fact, the only way you can know if a Midwestern man is interested in you is if he’s not talking to you.
So since I moved to New York a few years ago, it’s been interesting to see how men of other cultures try to get the attention of ladies.
Urban black men will just yell things. Most of the time it’s garden-variety catcalling, from “MMM MMM!!! I wanna eat you up!” to crass “I WANT YOU TO COME OVAH HEAH AND SIT ON MAH FACE GIRLIE!” (from a homeless guy sitting on a stoop one morning).
Sometimes I don’t think they are even sure what method they are using. Once a subway bench dweller started chatting me up while we both waiting for our train. He looked me up and down and in an admiring voice said, “Well aren’t you pretty. Look at your pretty red hair and pretty skirt. Pretty pretty pretty.” Then after a pause he added, “Are you a gold digger?”
But occasionally you will hear something sweet. One day while walking past one of those “lost men” homes, an elderly black man called out to me, “If you was mah girl, I would treat you so good.”
South African men get right to point, “You are very beautiful, are you married?” without the warm-up of any small talk.
I think I like the style of Dominican men. A friend of mine said that once, when walking in the Dominican part of Brooklyn, a man a block away yelled in her direction, “HEY BEEG BUTTED WOOMAN!”
Latino men often make a kissy kissy sound when I walk by. Then a friend told me that Latino men like a redhead with a big ass, so there’s that.
The Orthodox Jewish religion is something completely new to me. I haven’t been directly hit on by them, but I do notice their eyes over my curves when I’m wandering through Williamsburg, Brooklyn sometimes. One day a younger Hasid with the curly sideburn hair started walking alongside me, and I anxiously waited to hear his pitch.
“You look kind…”
(Well that’s a good intro…)
“Would you consider a donation?”
I said, “No, sorry I don’t have any cash.”
“How about a check?”
Ah, “kind” equals “sucker.”
I haven’t really been hit on by Indian men – I don’t think that’s their modus operandi, but one night when walking in the East Village wearing a form-fitting knit dress, a very tiny Indian man said quietly as we passed on the sidewalk, “Nice bohdee.”
But my favorite attempted pickup story started one day while I was waiting for a friend on the sidewalk in front of a West Village cafe.
I was answering an email on my phone, but was aware of a man looking at me, and walking back and forth in front of me. I looked up, and he was Italian, wearing the Aviator sunglasses, white jeans without socks and with long floppy over-gelled hair.
He was appreciating me at length, ok. But then, the clapping.
The man was APPLAUDING me.
“BELLISIMA! BELLISIMA! Has anyone told you how FABULOUS you look today?”
No, no they hadn’t.
I shot him an “in your dreams” look as I walked away, but secretly I was smiling.
Wisconsin women do like being applauded occasionally.