Like most people in the internet world, last week I sat and read Samantha Brick’s article in the Daily Mail with disbelief. For those who do not want Daily Mail dirtying the reputation of their screens and who don’t know about this story, basically a rather plain woman wrote a stuck up article about how she’s so beautiful that men give her attention wherever she goes and women hate her for it.
As I read, I kind of felt sorry for her. You will never catching me boasting about my looks as Mrs Brick did, but I am also a plain girl. You wouldn’t look twice at me on the street. And yet, in Frankfurt average girls as myself get constant attention (wanted or otherwise) from men in the street. Someone who didn’t know better, as is perhaps Samantha’s case, might take that to mean that they are overly beautiful.
So, what kind of attention am I talking about? Guys will often just shout hey to you as they walk by. Workers will stop and stare as you go by. For me the worst thing will be when cars pull up beside you and guys will shout at you to get in, or call out from you. This is even more distressing to me when it’s professional guys in their company vans doing this. Shouldn’t these men be working instead of paying attention to a normal girl stood waiting to cross the road?
You may say that since Frankfurt is a multi-cultural city, it’s people from other cultures doing this but actually it tends to be 50% German guys and 50% other (often Turkish…) causing these problems. I just don’t know what it is about this place that makes men think that they can hassle women on the streets like this. If you see a girl and think she’s pretty, then try to start a conversation in a normal way. Isn’t this common sense? Apparently not, because it seems to be that wooing techniques around here include encouraging women to get into your car, and making cat-calling squeaking noises at them.
Another thing I have noticed is that if you wear something out of the ordinary, women round here will also give you a good staring down. Though I don’t like a lot of Japanese fashion, I did enjoy using how eccentric it is to make my own wardrobe interesting. German women are on the other end of the spectrum and dress mainly practically, plainly and in quite dull colours. The other day I was wearing my favourite tights. Their colour is called “mocha” and they are a gorgeous slightly-darker-than-skin-tone beige. But apparently this was not acceptable here and women would really glare at my legs as I went by. I was wearing a pencil skirt, so it wasn’t the case that my skirt was too short, either. Again, the same as the men, if you find me some how interesting or funny, then sure it’s normal to look at other people. But isn’t it common sense not to glare someone down?! It’s quite upsetting when this happens.
Most girls in these sorts of situations will put it down to the people around them being a bit strange and forthcoming with their cat-calls or glares. But I can see it easily happening that people like Samantha Brick take these kinds of things to mean that they are something special. We’re not special. People are just rude sometimes. And normal gals will understand this.
I’d like to end by saying that despite what I’ve said about men here calling out to girls, Frankfurt is really safe – I truly think they would not lay a hand on me even if they did want to come and cause trouble. I often walk home alone at night time and I have never once had any problems – the worst is as I said, with the guy who pulled up and told me to get into his car. Frankfurt is a lovely, crazy place to live, and is perfectly safe.