The Prostitution of the Compliment

“The first time he offered me 500 pesos if I let him put his hand under my blouse,” says a girl. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 15 May 2022 — A new form of macho exhibitionism (even more sordid) is spreading in Havana. Instead of unzipping their fly they choose to show their wallet. They no longer whisper to their victim what they would like to do to them or what they would like her to do to them: “Look girl, if I catch you I’m going to…” or any other nonsense. Now the offer is priced in pesos, dollars or telephone recharges.

As is known, compliments, even the most “elegant,” have fallen out of favor. Although part of the female population may perhaps feel flattered when a man tells her something about the beauty of her eyes or the charm of her smile, it must be accepted that, in the end, it is an assault on privacy, which, depending on how rudeness demeans you, can become an insult.

A teenager who is still in junior high school has had to change her daily route to school to avoid the proposals that the same guy makes to her every day. “The first time he offered me 500 pesos if I let him put his hand under my blouse,” says the girl, noting that the man, who could be her grandfather, explained it to her in stronger and more direct terms. “Every time the figure went up, he launched into something more daring, until he showed me a hundred dollar bill, but that time I didn’t even understand what he meant.”

A young woman who sells fruit juices in a Havana market had to ask the custodian not to allow the entrance of a regular customer who bought a bag of lemon juice every Saturday by putting a hundred-peso bill on the counter and adding under his breath” For the other juguito [little toy], I’ll give you whatever you ask for.”

Lacking the slightest respect for their targets, these indecent assailants project on their victims the low self-esteem they have for themselves. As if they were at a fair where sexual favors are auctioned off, they put a price on touches that are not caresses, on contacts of the flesh that remain in outrage. They price each part of another’s body with the added value of what they want to do with it.

The street is difficult and money is worth less and less. The values ​​have also been degraded and it is difficult to calculate how steep the slope is. This new form of sexual harassment is another symptom of this degenerative disease, of this multiple trauma that the country suffers.


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