Think before you speak

We need to have a frank discussion about what we’re saying in public settings.

I’m talking to you, woman on your phone in Walmart describing you menstrual cycle in detail.  I’m talking to you, too, freshman boys loudly comparing sexual histories in the dorm lobby.

I suppose it’s possible that some of you don’t realize how loud you’re talking.  But for the most part, I suspect you either don’t care or you want us to hear you.  But why?  

First, let me state the obvious.  No one else wants to hear what you’re saying, probably not even the poor soul stuck in the conversation with you.  

It’s getting to the point where I have to listen to my iPod everywhere I go just to drown you out.  

Even in my dorm room, I can’t escape you.  You stop in the middle of my hallway to talk about what you did in a bathroom stall this morning.  

I’m in my room memorizing all the bones of the human skull.  Everyone else on this floor is doing homework, getting some sleep or simply trying to relax.  

So take your pointless conversation to your own room and give the rest of us a break.  

Today alone, I’ve heard several loud, public conversations from men and women on topics so base that I’m sure my editor wouldn’t approve me describing them in this article.

We’re in college, people.  A little class would be fantastic.  

What’s even worse than these conversations are some of the so-called cat-calls or comments yelled across campus.  

When I worked at a desk on campus, I had groups of male college students walk right up to the desk and make blatant sexual remarks.  

I’ve put up with comments like these since I was a preteen and usually I can shrug them off.  

But to have this happen on my campus and to have a group stand there taunting me in an almost threatening manner is completely unacceptable.  

Is this some kind of attempt to prove your masculinity?  If it is, let me assure you that it’s not working.  You look like a lot of things while yelling out of your buddy’s car window.  Manly is not one of them.

To the guys doing this on campus: if you want to be treated like a man, then start acting like one.  The women on this campus have no time to waste on overgrown boys acting like they just hit puberty.

To the guys that see this happening on campus: step up and help the girl.  You wouldn’t want your mother, sister or girlfriend to go through that.  

I can tell you from a lot of personal experience that cat-calls aren’t taken as compliments.  They have a definite feel of hostility.  Cat-calling signals disrespect mixed with sexual thoughts.  When those two come together, it’s a dangerous situation that can escalate quickly.  Even if you plan on only yelling out your car window as a harmless joke, a woman has no way of knowing that’s where you draw the line.  So stop hassling us.  

I know I’m not the only person here who’s tired of inappropriate conversations or comments in public settings.  Maybe these people just never learned better.  

So let’s educate them.  Tell them to take bathroom talk somewhere else.  Tell them to show some respect to your female classmates.  

I’m a huge advocate for freedom of speech.  But just because I have the right to talk about personal hygiene or how sexy you look doesn’t mean that I’ll yell it out in public.  

I have too much self respect to waste my freedom with pointless, offensive remarks.  

Want to yell something out?  Go ahead.  Just make sure it’s something worthwhile.  The world is waiting to hear you say something that matters.