Catcalling in Latin America is expected, constant, and almost never aggressive. Whether a wink or a pssstt or a que linda! After you get used to it, you actually almost start to smile when you hear it. No malintent, they truly believe it to be a compliment. This is a stark contrast to the USA, where catcalling truly feels like a threat.
However it’s not all compliments and air kisses. I was accosted on the street around 6:30PM on 15 December 2016 and never have I ever been so happy to see a cop. An older Cuban man grabbed me and I actually got a bit scared. Normally I’m cool as a cucumber in all situations. The man wanted to see my tattoos but I was eating dinner on a bench and either way he had no right to touch me.He grabbed my forearm and accidentally (I think) touched my chest when he did that and it freaked me out. I yelped then froze. A cop immediately rushed over and told him to leave me alone and threatened him with jail time. The man’s hands went into the air and he walked away. The cop wished me a tranquil night and I thanked him endlessly.
I walked down the street a few more blocks and had a seat in the park. In Cuba, you connect to the wifi by purchasing a 2-3CUC card for an hour. I noted when I logged in that I only had about 8 minutes left on my particular card when another man spoke to me. After the earlier situation, and my preoccupation with my very short time on the internet and I misheard him. “Esta ocupado?” Sounded like “estas preocupado?” To me and I said very rudely “si, estoy preoccupado.” After my wifi time completed, I apologized to the man and explained about my 8 minutes so yes I was busy, and he explained to me he was asking if anyone was sitting on the bench next to me. I felt horrified about the lost in translation. I spent the next 2 hours with Yuri, talking about what happened to me, working in Cuba, the medical system, Rhianna, teaching, Los Estados Unidos..