On International Women’s Day regular catcaller switches to more empowering catcalls


“You’re incredible!” came a loud, taunting voice from the inside of a trash can. A woman had just passed by and Al Guerrero was never one to miss a chance to let a member of the opposite sex know how they made him feel. This time was a little different though. 

“I’ve been told today is International Women’s Day,” Al confided to us excitedly. “You know, I think women are special, special creatures,” he said, carefully omitting the word ‘bitches’, from his parlance “and it’s amazing we got a day for them now. So I want to do my part to help spread good vibes.”

Al has been living inside a garbage can in east Philadelphia for the last twelve years. He says that while it wasn’t his first-choice he has come to regard the receptacle as home since it mirrors his garbage personality. Without much to do in life he has taken to becoming a career provocateur, mainly for his own amusement. Part of his routine is dedicated to regular catcalling, which, he says, yields some of the best moments of his day. He calls these compliments.

“Part of it is that I’m just trying to get a reaction. Another part of it is that I have this dream that one day one of these beautiful goddesses will turn around and invite herself into my hood here for a passionate affair of love and grime and I never want to believe that I didn’t do my all to make that day a reality. The other part is that meth makes you say some things.”

His favourite compliments include “Mamacita”, “That ass”, “Bend over for me, beloved’”, and “I’m fucking talking to you, you dirty slut.” For today though, he has adjusted his efforts to convey less aggressive sexualization and more spiritual empowerment. 

“‘You’re incredible’” is an easy one, Al explains. “It’s sort of the same energy as what I already do so it’s just a pitch shift.

Then I wanted to do something more glorifying, because bitch-… broads are just fantastic. I tried “the world is honoured by you” a few times. But it just seemed too wordy so later I cut it down to just ‘honouring you!’”

Finally I wanted to play with one a bit, keep it fresh and cheeky, so that it seemed genuine, like it was coming from me. I ended up with ‘Girl, you put the ass in glass-ceiling! Break that shit!”

Unfortunately, Al’s efforts didn’t appear to have a dramatic effect on the women his revised catcalls were directed at, and he was spurned on a number of occasions when he jumped out of his hovel trying to give them a hug. Nonetheless he felt high on the spirit of what he was doing. Asked whether he’ll maintain this adapted approach after the day’s end he says it’s unlikely.

“I’ve been cultivating this persona, this lifestyle for a long ass time. I’m happy to make a once in a while change, like I’m celebrating a birthday or something, but I just don’t see a future where I actually have a loving partner and neither of us are on meth.”

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