This past week, I was walking down Sibert Avenue, minding my own business and taking pictures for a story when a guy in a lifted white Chevy truck rolled down his window and shouted “hey girl!” at me. Sir, I don’t know who you think you are, but you are no Ryan Gosling and it is not flattering to get yelled at from a moving vehicle.

I really wanted to flag the man down to ask him if that kind of behavior has actually ever worked for him. I can’t say I know of a single, lasting relationship that started off with a guy yelling at or cat-calling a girl, especially from a car. Please contact me if you can correct me, I would love to hear your story.

Men, cat-calling is never appreciated. Not only is it disrespectful but it’s also extremely uncomfortable. You might think you’re complimenting me, but the truth is, I can think of a thousand other ways you could compliment me that don’t involve aggressive or rude behavior.

First off, you could start by keeping your window rolled up and your mouth shut while you’re in your vehicle. Women do not like to be yelled at while they’re walking or running. We’re in a zone and we’re happy there. Please let us be.

If a woman is walking by and you feel the urge to whistle or say something of a suggestive nature, bite your tongue and say nothing. If you feel you must speak, say something like “have a great day” or something similar. Commenting on a female’s physical features first thing will get you nowhere unless you’re a teenager or at a bar, but that’s a different story.

When I was young, I used to think being cat-called was flattering. That’s what the girls in the movies thought, why shouldn’t I? But then I realized that men, real men, wouldn’t treat a woman that way if their life depended on it. Whenever it happens to me now, it just makes me very uncomfortable and I don’t know how to react. I usually just ignore it and act like I didn’t hear. I wish I could yell something back and make them feel just as uncomfortable but I have heard too many stories about men who got violent when rejected.

This day and age is dangerous for women. We have to carry pepper spray, tasers or other forms of defense with us everywhere because nowhere is safe anymore. A college student goes jogging in her neighborhood and is murdered. A woman in France refuses a man’s advances in a public café and he punches her. Teenage girls go to parties, have too much to drink and end up being raped by boys who take their lack of consciousness as consent.

My point in all of this is simply this: Men, stop harassing women with vulgar remarks or cat-calls. Not only does it make us feel unsafe, it makes you look like a disrespectful jerk.

Sheri Kotzum is a reporter for The Destin Log. She can be reached at skotzum@thedestinlog.com or 315-4353.