How to Respond to Unwanted Cherpsing (Pick-Up Attempts)

22 Jul

Because single women out in the town or city defy patriarchal norms that aim to put us back in the kitchen and/or bedroom, we receive unwanted attention from some men who assume our unattached presence is an invitation. We reject this attention with decisive, declarative responses similar to the below and, if possible, quickly continue on our way.

This content has been added to the Sisters of Resistance Terminology Toolkit.

CHERPS/PICK-UP LINE: Hey! (or other shouting, yelling, hooting, calling over. Often done on the street or from a passing car.)
RESPONSE:  None required.

CHERPS: Did you hear me?
RESPONSE: Yes, I did, and I’m choosing to ignore you.

CHERPS: Where are you going?
RESPONSE: Not where you’re going.

CHERPS: Are you single?
RESPONSE: None of your business.

CHERPS: What’s your name?
RESPONSE: I will not be providing you with that information today. (This was developed in response to police officers’ attempts to gather intelligence at protests but is applicable in a variety of other situations.)

CHERPS: I want to get to know you.
RESPONSE: I don’t want to get to know you.

CHERPS: I can’t be your friend?
RESPONSE: I’ve got enough friends.

CHERPS: Can I get your number?
RESPONSE: No. (Repeat as necessary.)

CHERPS: Any other question or attempt to carry on the conversation.
I’m in a rush.  Bye!
I’ve got to be somewhere. Bye!
I’m on my way out. Bye!
(Repeat “Bye!” as necessary and walk away.)

2 Responses to “How to Respond to Unwanted Cherpsing (Pick-Up Attempts)”

  1. Chimaobi August 5, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    LOVING IT. Will be sharing this with a Sister who I spoke to just yesterday who says she feels guilty when she tells them (men) no! When I question her further she indicates to me that she, in fact, does not know how to be clear when declines. Plenty of black females I know don’t seem to know how to decisively (and politely) decline any invitations when they are not interested. We need a R’n’B hit-song about that.

    Anyway, I don’t cherp – in fact I don’t even talk to women unless I know them (gues that’s why I’m single). How about a list of acceptable ways to be addressed or spoken to when in public? I simply can’t follow my female friends advice and go over and ask them if they’d like a cup of coffee or whatever. Too juvenile. At the same time, I can’t go over and ask what her stance civic virtue and democracy is or if she har read Fanon.

    In any case, this is a great resource!


    – Chimaobi

  2. Kiran August 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Hallo there, I was going to comment saying that surely there must be better ways of responding? I mean, I usually insult a persistent chirpser (only if I am in an environment where I can avoid any unpredictable retaliation) because their lack of respect winds me up rotten.

    However, after reading the other comment I realise that this is more a guide to women who do not feel comfortable saying no, or do not know how to respond, so in that case I will say I am glad someone is addressing this. Also, to any women out there who feel uncomfortable saying no, I wanna say that there is no reason for you to feel that way. You have absolutely every right to tell a persistent chirpser to get lost.. in fact they have no qualms about making you feel uncomfortable by assuming that you want to be picked up just because you are not with a guy.

    Anyhoo, glad I found this site, will be keeping an eye on it.

    toodles, Kiki

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