Catcalls and kisses: I love New York!

Special to The Times

I was ogled, checked out and catcalled. I was sized up, winked at and air-kissed. And then, to top it off, a middle-aged guy in a business suit, briefcase in hand, Wall Street Journal tucked under his arm, full-on wolf-whistled me.

And I loved every minute of it.

I’m not one to start an East Coast-West Coast war, but on a recent business trip to New York, I got more male attention in a few short days than I have in Los Angeles in months (and months and months).

I’ve always thought this about New York men, and it was confirmed on this trip. They like women, they appreciate them, and they don’t seem at all afraid to show it. Let me add that my recent experiences did not border on the lewd or threatening, and that’s key. So, absent those factors, the attention was honest, open and flattering. It was 92 degrees and humid, but I might as well have had one of those mist-makers following me around. That’s how refreshing it was.


Could it be that New York men are more secure than Angeleno men, or just more demonstrative? Are they more likely to say what they’re thinking, unconcerned about the repercussions?

One reason could be proximity. Unlike L.A., where walking is practically verboten, New Yorkers throw themselves together on the streets in a big multi-culti soup. Men there have the nerve to capitalize on it. And they’re not all talk. They’re not shy about asking women out on dates. It happens frequently, I understand. No big deal, no major drama, just one person reaching out to another.

No such situation exists in image-conscious L.A., where there’s a dating drought the scope of La Nina. Informal polls I’ve taken of women show that this dearth of attention is happening from the east Valley to the Westside. It doesn’t discriminate by ethnicity, education or income. It’s bone-dry, the absolute worst dating time in memory.

Any number of women I know -- smart, funny, beautiful, successful -- can’t get arrested. Transport them to New York, and the men there would show them the love, I am completely convinced. Why it doesn’t happen here is a mystery.

Maybe Angeleno men have been shot down by one too many flawless 5-foot-11, 100-pound model-actresses to take the chance of striking up a random conversation. Or perhaps they’re too busy admiring their own headshots. Whatever it is, it’s pervasive and, over time, demoralizing.

A straight married guy friend said the other day that male attention of the type I’m describing is reserved for “girls who are 22 and have pneumatic breasts.” Because men, never mind that they bear no resemblance to Brad Pitt, honestly believe that they can have a woman like that, he said. Maybe they can, which will mean that any of us who don’t fit into that category are out of luck, no matter how bright, fun, pretty or, dare I say it, date-able we are.


Los Angeles is my adopted hometown, and I love it, but I have grudgingly started to believe the cliches about shallowness and superficiality. I don’t know the answers, but I can offer advice: For real affirmation -- the kind that will make you feel like a girl again -- go east, young woman.

Contact T.L. Stanley at