By JESSICA DELFINO
If you’ve never gotten a “Hey baby,” then perhaps you’ve heard a “Yo mommy” called out in your direction by a man who is getting paid a lot of money to be doing an actual job, and not trying to solicit a blow job.
An old comedian friend of mine, Liz Laufer, has a great joke she used to tell on stage about street harassment. She’d say, “I went to London recently and over in the UK, construction workers are a little different than here. There, they actually build stuff.”
While Liz’s joke is funny, as most of us know, it isn’t entirely true. Men in every city around the world—construction workers included—harass women. When these same men are in uniform or visibly on the clock, it can be even more disheartening.
Construction workers the world over have long carried the stigma of being terrible offenders of street harassment. The nature of their work lends itself to this—oftentimes, jobs take place outside in full view of pedestrians and female passersby. A large percentage of the workers are male, and large groups of men statistically do not convene to discuss ways of improving women’s rights and gender-based harassment.
So imagine my surprise as I approached a large construction site in midtown the other day, my muscles involuntarily tensing up and my skin naturally thickening a few inches in preparation for the verbal degradation I felt I was likely about to face. But instead of a, “Pssst! Heyyyy beautifullll” or a whistle, I was greeted instead with this terrific sign [at left].
What a novel idea! After picking my tongue up off the dirty NYC ground, I proceeded on my way to the doctor for a TB booster shot, head held high and completely morally intact. What a treat for women everywhere.
I encourage everyone to call the number and say, “Thank you and please keep up the good work.” Though this is such a simple, decent and humane gesture, good behavior deserves appreciation and encouragement. That sign is—simply put—a clear, huge sign of improvement.
Jessica Delfino is a comedian living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jessicadelfino.