Fair warning, males! If you see a woman on the street who's clearly distressed, do not attempt to approach. You have got to first hand in a handwritten application soaked in some magical dust that'll make it okay for them upon inhalation to speak to this superior race.
There was an infomercial style sketch called "Women, know your limits!" which detailed the then acceptable patterns of behaviour for women. Which were: shut up, listen, and be docile. One of the women in the sketch expresses eloquent political opinions by which all members of the male company are vehemently appalled. Then said woman, to contrast this behaviour at the end of the video with the proper and expected demeanour, to diffuse the caused social embarrassment, turns to her lady friends to chat about kittens that are fluffy and white and how she just simply adores them. This, needless to say, is tremendously endorsed.
That, though, is not the society we live in anymore, and while prejudice is a thing, there are far worse things than men saying hi on the street.
I would know cause I get approached frequently, and as ungrateful as it sounds—yes, it is getting old. However the gesture itself to express our interest in another human being does not lose its value just because it is sometimes unwelcome.
I was never the person who freely engaged in conversations or opened up to people easily or was comfortable from the get-go to approach strangers on the street or simply ask for directions when I was lost. When I moved to the UK, I was forced to change this since I had to start from the absolute zero. I had no friends. I only knew my family, so I had to own up to it and go and approach all the others. The hoomans.
I remember, for the first couple of weeks I sat alone at this huge, round table because I was the new girl and British people are awkward enough to gawk and are entitled enough to consider their cowardice awkwardness or social anxiety. Not all, but it was a small town, and small town high schools have a hierarchy which I completely upended by being the exotic, foreign student accepted into their autocracy and was towering over them both psychologically and physically (5'9, remember?).
Approaching people became easier since I wasn't speaking in my native tongue and there's a significant personality shift between an Eastern European language than a Western one. No matter how much we think Eastern Europe is westernised and no matter how much we want to believe the stereotypes about the British being cold and unsentimental, there has been a great support for a slight personality shift by adopting the second language's temperament. This is how, when I speak in Hungarian, my boyfriend has a slight feeling that he has never met this person.
So I went out there, put myself on the line, and got three or four friends I managed to keep until the end of the two year period I spent at my second high school—some even after that. BUT I had to approach them. Something I've done last a decade before that, maybe? Maybe it was intuition, maybe it was the purpose with which I decided to present myself with that won them over ultimately. I never asked them to find out...
Well, the situation was different here because I had no choice but to be brave and do it unless I wanted to wallow in crippling loneliness like I did for five years prior to that.
I actually, weirdly enough, got really into meeting new people. It was fun, it was interesting; and I don't think they minded meeting me either. We went to a couple of meetings for people in the film industry and got to know a lot of people, and even if we couldn't serve with anything valuable in exchange other than a good conversation, it was mutually enjoyable.
Now, back to the mostly male attention I get on the street; while the only reason it's annoying is because I'm taken, it is an overall flattering thing. It is flattering because less and less people do it. Because it's easier to type "want sum fuq" and there's a semi-attractive person there to satisfy your needs. Dating apps have made people more of a commodity than before. You rarely hear stories about how you met this guy while you were walking the dog or how this girl asked you for directions and then invited you for a coffee near Trafalgar Square. Say again it's a British thing, but I did not experience this back in Hungary either.
I thought it was really cool when one of my former flatmates told me that she and her ex-girlfriend met on the overground. They kept eyeing each other and when they got off, she approached her. That still takes a gutsy person. Even if they did not manage to stay together, it would have made for a far better story to tell their grandchildren, had they decided to have kids. I am certainly going to invent something far more interesting than what actually happened unless it's far more amazing than something I could imagine.
So shaming men or just people for gathering the courage to go up to someone on the street even just to say hi for such an innocent thing is, quite frankly, revolting to me. Are there not enough other things to bitch about already than establishing a normal, face-to-face connection that people have to get offended by a simple 'hi', too?
And do you know what? Women miss out on a lot of guys who think they can't approach them, because they're afraid of rejection. I know my current boyfriend certainly wouldn't have dared to come up to me and the shallow bitch I am probably wouldn't have given him a passing thought either. It just so happens that we were in the same friend group at one point, but people don't always have the luxury of that, or they just find themselves attracted to a person who is up til that point a complete stranger.
People are intimidated by having to approach strangers. It's awkward, you don't know what to say, eventually you might run out of topics because you don't seem to guess their particular interest. This is even worse when you're attracted to someone. You do the darnest effing things when your lady-parts are all butterflies. Or male-parts are manly butterflies.
Ridicule this and do it in a way that absolute moron did it and you make me wish your parents sat you down and explained with excruciating detail how they had sex for the first time every day for the rest of your life. This, or I hope if she would be subjected to just three days of solitary confinement in addition to the aforementioned torment. Because if going up to a stranger who is visibly, palpably, and perceptively sad on the street is WRONG, then I don't want to be right.
Human relationships take place more on the internet than in real life now, let's be honest. I know this because mine do too. Without it, it would be immensely more complicated to maintain a relationship with my boyfriend (it already is difficult), but it's still extremely damn hard with it. So in order not to have human interactions completely replaced, just don't get offended by the people who feel for you when they see you crying on the street and don't send them away when they want to console you. Let's not make rats the superior species; they're already conceited bastards enough, with giving them the exclusive right to use empathy the proper way (Side note: A study I've just read stated that rats free their incarcerated mate before they would go and devour a stash of chocolate, because sharing is caring, unless you're Joey Tribbiani and food is better in company).
Instead, try and open up and thank them for their time. Okay, maybe don't tell the toothless Chinese man who runs after you saying, "Let me love you darling," on the street...but I'm guessing everyone knows where the line is for them. That said, there's a chasm between the levels of inappropriateness of someone saying "hi" and a mentally unstable Chinese man propositioning you in broad daylight—not that time of the day would've mattered... I HAVE A BOYFRIEND.
All in all, feminists should dial down on preaching about what men should and should not, or can and cannot do because they're in the dangerous proximity of becoming the oppressor that first wave feminists have fought against. And we wouldn't want the tables to...remain still and not move in a revolving fashion, would we?