For NJ based comedian Vinnie Vitale, the comedy lifestyle isn’t always pretty. Late nights, binge eating, excessive drinking; these are not healthy habits for a guy entering his 30s. On the path to success sometimes you’ve got to make a few sacrifices along the way. Join him each month as he discovers the challenges of conquering his ultimate vice: comedy.
For some reason, nearly every Halloween I cross-dress. We won’t delve into varying degrees of psychoanalysis as to “why” at this time; just know that this Halloween was no different.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since last week, at this point you’re familiar with the catcalling video. To summarize, a fairly curvaceous woman filmed walking through the streets of NYC wearing jeans and a crewneck shirt is subject to degrading behavior from nearly every male encounter with whom she crosses paths. Albeit at first I thought she was wearing spandex, nevertheless her experience opened the world’s eyes to a widespread problem many women* face on a daily basis. As a man, surprisingly this video struck a chord with me too; and it wasn’t just because she had great knockers. I couldn’t believe all the attention—and tangential publicity on the web—she was getting from simply walking! Of course I couldn’t resist an opportunity to use her recent exposure for my own self-exploitation, which is why I went out dressed as her for Halloween.
Going out in nothing but velour pants and a crewneck t-shirt, and a wig, and makeup, and a 34-DDD nursing bra with 2 toy soccer balls for breasts, I learned a few things from being a woman for a night:
- Women have every right to feel insecure and vulnerable
- Men are still pigs
- To a fair degree, female sensitivity is fueled by the task of being a woman
As we walked to our first party of the evening, my girlfriend filmed me in case we witnessed any harassment. Within this timeframe, a homeless lady outside a community center proclaimed, “Have a blessed day!” I’m not sure this statement falls into the arena of catcalling, but since I didn’t invite her to speak with me I’m going to count it as harassment. Unfortunately it wasn’t audible on the recording. Another suspenseful experience arose when a group of college guys followed me until they turned a corner. Although they did not engage in catcalling, it was not clear if they were staring at my ass. This also could not be deciphered on the recording.
The night’s pivotal moment came when a British man walked by and hollered, “Big tits!” I was in shock. Aside from the fact that I thought British people were more polite than Americans, all I could think was, “Oh my god! He just yelled ‘big tits’—did my girlfriend catch that on camera?” Which, of course, she did not. Adding insult to injury, she and her friends laughed while I stood there feeling helpless because I had missed my opportunity to be a viral sensation. I could try to get another British man to yell “big tits” at me, but it probably wouldn’t seem as authentic or spontaneous. I gave up on documenting the rest of the night and went to the bar to drink my frustrations away. When I awoke the next day, I had an epiphany in the mirror while trying to remove my eyeliner: being a woman is tough. [pullquote]When I awoke the next day, I had an epiphany in the mirror while trying to remove my eyeliner: being a woman is tough.[/pullquote]
After attempting everything from face-wash to scrubbing with a washcloth to peroxide—all the while my girlfriend coaching me, “…another thing when I put on face lotion is take a Q-tip and rub it under eyelids because that usually helps…”—nothing worked. This shit would be caked on my eyelids forever, I thought. Eventually her roommate advised me to use Vaseline and that finally did the trick, leaving a slimy residue all over my lovely lashes. It was good enough, but I still couldn’t believe what I just went through to remove every trace of woman from me.
“Really?” I implored my girlfriend, “You go through all this? Everyday?” Nevermind what I went through the night before trying to apply the makeup and put a bra on! To deal with catcalling on top of all this is unfathomable. I now understand why so many complain and tend to be irritable; your daily routine causes it! Maybe you wouldn’t be so uptight about men hitting on you in a lazy manner if you didn’t feel like you have to work so hard simply to be a woman. You do deserve better than catcalling. If these men knew what you go through all the time maybe they would be more respectful.
So I have a possible solution. It’s simple: just stop trying. That’s it. If you don’t feel like getting your nails done, or putting makeup on, or doing any sort of upkeep that enables you to be attractive in any way, then don’t. Go out wearing loose-fitting clothing, cut your hair so it’s out of the way, and stop wearing heels and miniskirts—especially in December. I guarantee you’ll start to care less about what men think of you and be more appreciative men do hit on you, as it will likely happen less often.