To get further into the '90s revival — not my favorite decade, but it is what's happening — I picked up three classics on CD from a used media store today. The Sign by Ace of Base, the Pretty Woman soundtrack, and the US re-issue of Pure Moods (the new age music compilation).
Still haven't played the Ace of Base one yet, but I immediately put on the Pretty Woman soundtrack while going for an early evening cruise down the main drag through the city. I just picked up the movie on DVD over the weekend, not having seen it since the '90s. The lead track "Wild Women Do" really brings the free-spirited Manic Pixie Dream Girl energy off of the home screen and into the crowded streets. Had to play that one twice!
When that was done, I put in Pure Moods, and almost right away found myself drawn into a catcalling situation. On the other side of the street there was a pack of 8-10 babes all in tight mini-dresses and heels, hair done, ready for girls' night out. Former or current sorority sisters by the look of it, in their early-mid 20s.
Nobody else was even remotely as put-together and traveling in a see-and-be-seen pack. I don't mean dressing with a certain kind of style, I mean any style at all. No alt-girls or art hos in a dress-to-impress pack of their own.
And while they're certainly going to get some looks and signals inside whatever bar or club they were headed to, I had to let them — and everyone else — know that the social-emotional climate has changed from the bygone #MeToo era of 2015-'19. Now that the restless warm-up phase of the 15-year excitement cycle is going, it's time to flirt unapologetically in public again.
With "Return to Innocence" blasting out of the windows, I slowed the car down, turned my head to stare directly out the driver's side, facing them head-on, and let out an OW-OW-OWWWWWW!, holding eye-contact with whoever noticed and reacted fast enough before the car moved past them. They were shocked, for sure, but pleasantly surprised — and also relieved that it was a random hot guy (phew). The tallest one raised her cup all the way in the air, in a salute, and another one catcalled back.
I really was not expecting this situation on a Wednesday night, so I didn't come prepared with typical flirting music, like power-pop. Still, there's something libidinal about "Return to Innocence", as well as Enigma's other hit on the album, "Sadeness". They're from the restless phase of the early '90s, not the vulnerable phase of the late '80s. So they're less calming, spacey, and floaty (e.g. "Orinoco Flow" by Enya from the late '80s).
It's not exactly C+C Music Factory, but the Enigma songs from the early '90s do have a stronger and more danceable beat from the drums, meant to wake you out of bed and get you exercising. And the signature chant from "Return to Innocence" is not sighing and ethereal in the dream-pop style of the late '80s, but more soaring, uplifting, and inspiring.
It doesn't have to be on-the-nose doin'-it music in order to provide the soundtrack for catcalling and flirting. It just has to have an impulse or drive. Also, the themes of innocence and returning to nature and celebrating the primitive or whatever, work better to establish a playful rather than a deadly-serious tone. You're just flirting like all animals do during the mating season, not cornering them and asking for sex like a degenerate.
Plus, how harmful or creepy could your act be when "Return to Innocence" is blasting in the background? It's so sincere and pure — so much so that, if they were art hos, they might suspect you of doing an irony. And even there, the disarming irony would let them know it's only flirting, not an actual pick-up attempt.
The songs on Pure Moods are so eclectic — the original release had Kenny G alongside the score for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me — that they'll work well for any audience, whether sorority sisters or irony-poisoned art hos. And absolutely no one will be expecting to hear these songs in public, let alone blasting out of a car, so the experience will strike the crowd as simultaneously a familiar fave and a novel deep cut.
Lord knows I've never played these songs like that before, and it was one of the most refreshing and exhilarating experiences, after receiving such a positive response.
* * *
If this had taken place during the vulnerable phase of the cycle, when everyone was in a refractory state, no way I would've felt like doing this in the first place. But even if I had, the girls would've given me disgusted looks, or clammed up in awkwardness, or flipped me off, and the other pedestrians would have speed-dialed a rape crisis hotline. That era is over (until the next vulnerable phase, 2030-'34).
I know most Millennial and Zoomer guys are too porn-addicted to have any libidinal energy left to do these kinds of things for girls, but that should be yet another reason to quit. Partly you're doing it for yourself, to get out some pent-up horniness, but also for the girls themselves.
They're risking the worst humiliation of all — being ignored in public while looking as hot as they can — and it's your duty to give them some validation to reward the risk they're taking. Uphold your end of the implicit social bargain. They provide eye candy — more palpable than the fake simulations on your phone or laptop screen — and will respond favorably to your signals. They get validation, without having to make the first overt move.
It's not a sexual proposition, it's praising them for a successful public presentation — you did it! You're desirable to men! Congrats! And their positive responses are also not a sexual proposition, but expressing their gratitude for you giving them good scores on their performance. It's like when a gymnast salutes and smiles and otherwise shows good-natured respect to the panel of judges who are scoring her routine.
It's no different from a gymcel guy wanting to show off during the summer, and get looks or catcalls from girls, or perhaps the admiration of fellow gym bros. He wants to hear someone randomly shout "Sun's out, guns out!" while passing by. It's a reward for past effort, and motivation to keep those efforts going. Imagine all that effort, and no one gives you an overt signal of recognition. You'd feel gutted, like it's only for yourself, and unless you're a self-lover, you don't care if "Well, at least I think I look good".
When the signals are leering looks and point-blank actual propositions, it's no longer catcalling. It's just being a creep, and girls will reject your offer because you're an undesirable loser. But assuming you have enough social intelligence not to behave that way, you're in the clear, and the girls will not confuse you for a loser with no options who is desperately begging every female he sees for a morsel of muff.
As long as you keep the tone playful rather than serious, what's your excuse? Get out there and start rewarding girls with some catcalls!