In Malta, June means warm temperatures, July brings hot temperatures, and August equals to scorchingly dry days and afternoons where the sun beats into your head like a jackhammer, the streets are bare of humans and animals alike, and the smell of raunchy sweat and decomposing food swarms around every corner like the ever more populous flies.
It also means that we get to wear skimpier clothing. Which may be a blessing for some, and an irritating side-note for others. This is because many people, it seems, can’t see some human flesh without feeling the need to call out, presumably, to make their appreciation of said body part (or whatever) known. What anyone expects to obtain from such booty calls, still remains a mystery. Because let me tell you – no one, Maltese or otherwise, will ever date you simply because you shouted how much you like his or her body from the ‘bankina’ (sidewalk) or the pastizzi stall across the street. And while some may shrug your comments off as an irritating ‘compliment’, others may justly take offence at the objectification. No one likes to be relegated to having the value of a side of beef. Any commentary on any body part which is uncalled for and unsolicited, especially from a stranger one has never seen before, is, in my opinion, an invasion of privacy.
Indignation aside – while some of these comments tend to be quite colourful, with others being plain stupid, there are a number of local catcalls which seem to have reached quite a hit (among the catcallers that is) since they tend to be repeated all over the island by different people again and again.
- ‘Aw Lilly’ – literally translates to ‘Hey Flower’, meaning, one supposes, that the catcaller likes the individual because s/he is as beautiful as a flower. When one actually introduces eye contact with the catcaller and asks him (or her) if s/he needs anything or actually has something to say, wide-eyed startelment and a lot of mumbling is the only answer one usually gets.
- ‘Aw Sabiħa’ – ‘Hey Beautiful’. This is a variant of the above, and, in my opinion, is the least offensive of the local catcalls, since it is at least obviously a compliment.
- ‘Aw Koxxa’ – ‘Hey thigh’. Yes, people actually shout that after random individuals walking in the street. Usually when the catcaller is in a group of like minded individuals wanting to show off some machoism or highlight their ‘coolness’… go figure
- ‘Dak Sorm!’ – ‘What a piece of ass’. Thinking some things is all well and good, actually shrieking them at strangers trying to wade their way through oncoming traffic, is something else.
- ‘Aw Ġisem/Aw Ġilda/Aw Laħam’ – Literally translated as ‘Hey body/Hey skin/Hey meat’… is that to be considered a compliment? I wonder what kind of reply is actually expected!
- ‘Aw Ġobna/Aw Mazza/Aw Ħadida/Aw Sodda’ – Translation ‘Hey cheese/Hey mallet/Hey metal rod/Hey bed’ – seriously, what is it with inanimate objects? Can’t people hear how ridiculous that sounds? These terms are supposed to convey approval and sexual interest (as though any person actually needed another’s approval of their body to lead a fulfilling life), but do they really?