When walking alone through the medina here in Essaouira, Julie occasionally gets unwanted male attention. It’s low-key and harmless, and comes with the territory. It’s not nearly as bad as she’s experienced in Italy, though.
In both Palermo and Rome, she was constantly harassed by Italian men. She couldn’t sit down to have a coffee without some chotch doggedly attempting to join her. She was followed for a block down the street, and solicited by an aging hound dog who was definitely on the wrong side of seventy. These men really wouldn’t take no for an answer.
- The success rate is greater than zero, and the effort involved is worth the occasional success. If they never succeeded, you’d think that they’d eventually give up.
- The behaviour has nothing to do with earning female affections, and everything to do with lekking. From Wikipedia: “A lek is a gathering of males, of certain animal species, for the purposes of competitive mating display.”
A premise of that book is that our brains stoppped evolving 10,000 years ago, and that our basic goal in life is simple: reproduction. Presumably the psychological goal of option #2 is to intimidate the other males in the lek, and get to the female first.
But why is this practice particularly common in Italy (I’m sure it’s common in other countries–this is just the worst among those that we’ve visited)? It’s probably cultural.
I wanted to use this photo to illustrate this post, but it was all rights reserved.