What's the point of wolf-whistles?

23:29, Jun 21 2012

"Nice ass girl," a man hollered at me as I zipped passed on my run. 

"Errr ... thanks," I mumbled to the man, who was sitting on the hospital steps sipping a beer.

It's not the first time I've been cat-called while I've been out running. I've had every kind of response from wolf-whistles, to shout-outs, to barking (actually, I'm not sure that one counts as a cat-call, more just a plain ol' insult).

They're not always from drunk vagrants outside the hospital either, but groups of males driving around or random men strolling along the footpath.

It got me thinking for the rest of my run (which proved a nice distraction from how unfit I've become since my surgery) - what exactly do men think the purpose of calling out to females is?

Do they think the females will be pleased with their effort? Was I supposed to swoon over the man who complimented my derriere and fall lovingly into his lap?

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"Thank-you so much for your enchanting flattery. I've been running around all day waiting for a man like you to call out to me. Who says romance is dead?"

Surely no-one can be that stupid to think that'd actually work.

Is it just meant as a simple compliment?

The thing is that I am 100 per cent certain that I do not look at all attractive while running. I'm sweaty, I'm panting and I have a slightly constipated look of exertion on my face.

I'm not one of those joggers who goes out in little more than a sports bra and lycra pants for my run - I'm usually in a daggy old t-shirt and a pair of those highly-unflattering tights that some people like to wear as pants.

So, I think it's fair to assume that cat-calls from males aren't always linked to the appearance of the female they are yelling at.

Maybe it comes down to a testosterone thing - it builds up until it explodes in a string of exclamations at the nearest female. Maybe it's a show off thing - I want to show how manly I am by shouting my manly thoughts at you.  

Or maybe it's just a Neanderthal thing.

I have no idea.

I would be interested, however, to see how other females feel when they get cat-called. I don't mind a simple wolf-whistle. It can be a great boost to your self-esteem and leave you feeling good for the rest of the day.

But that's where the buck stops for me. Anything more - taunts or hollers - and I'm left feeling cold. Don't I have the right to go for a run without someone telling me my bottom looks fine - or barking at it?

So, men can you enlighten me - why do you cat-call women? Females: how do you feel when a man yells out at you - flattered or offended?

Comment below, email me at anna.turner@press.co.nz or follow me on Twitter.

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