"Show me your genitals"

YouTube dude translates catcalls into plain English.

Published June 4, 2008 5:20PM (EDT)

After the second round of vodka lemonades at our Memorial Day picnic, a group of us ladies decided to enlighten our various menfolk on our daily encounters with total strangers who turn out to be surprisingly sociable -- as long as the guys aren't around. (Our men, of course, are totally innocent of such things, as they would never make a sexually suggestive comment to a woman they don't know.) What does that guy in front of the tire shop really mean when he says, "Can I get a smile, girl?" How about the car full of men last weekend who slowed down to inform me I looked "mighty hot" -- after I'd just spent two full days digging in the garden and was literally covered in soil and paint? That random "Hey, Mami" hissed at my teenage daughter and me on our way to the movies? Surely the man just wanted to share an anecdote about the pretty spring flowers.

Thanks to Canadian comedian Jon La Joie, then, for schooling us. In his "Song for the Ladies" video he explains the deeper subtext of man-on-the-street encounters. Turns out, they just want to say, "Show me your genitals." The song includes lines like "I can't put my penis in your college degree" and clever off-rhymes with "gay" "may" and "big" (this last adjective in reference to his penis, of course). Because, hey, as Jon says, "It's not sexist if I say it in a song." We'll optimistically take this as sociopolitical parody, since we're the fun kind of feminists -- you know, the ones with a sense of humor.

By Amy Benfer

Amy Benfer is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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