Jamaican men are infamous for their pickup lines; in fact, many women who have emigrated say that being hailed by men on the street is among the things they miss most about their island home. No woman is exempt from this kind of attention. Even though I don’t recall having been interested in any man whom I have encountered under such circumstances, I have learned to be respectful and courteous to them. My strategy is to smile and wave, while proceeding along my merry way.
I find that the men who employ such techniques are usually the ones embedded into a certain spot [wall, piazza, sidewalk] each day of the week, ‘holding a meds’. It would certainly be a cultural disadvantage if suddenly we had a flood of jobs, permanently removing these men from the streets [I am not serious].
The main technique employed is calling to a woman by describing her physically; less tactful men will make a hissing sound, ‘pssssssst’. What I find remarkable about the strategy of the Jamaican man is that even the most undesirable attributes are glorified in their attempt to get a woman’s attention. Women on the fatter side have more names geared towards them, like ‘fluffy’, [heavyweight?] ‘champion’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy body’, ‘my size’, and ‘big ooman’. Slimmer women are simply, ‘slimmaz’ or ‘modeller’. Unlike in African American culture, ‘shorty’ actually refers to a short person and not any woman and a light-skinned woman is hailed as ‘browning’.
Ladies: It is important to respond politely, as the slightest sign of a ‘dis’ could cause an onslaught of equally descriptive insults. ‘Fluffy’ could easily turn into ‘mampy’ and ‘slimmaz’ to ‘crawny ’, the ‘browning’ could suddenly become ‘red gyal’; some men even have the gall to use expletives. While you may not have the time or desire to stop and converse with these men, being graceful and polite will perhaps help to brighten someone’s day who has probably never received a favourable response. If nothing, it will at least spare you their wrath.