Getting catcalled is never fun. But 28-year-old Lisa Edwards’ catcallers have found a way to make it even less fun: For the last six months, Edwards’ catcallers won’t stop talking about game theory, and it’s starting to take a toll on her sense of self-worth.
It started in August when she was on her way to the farmer’s market.
“Hey, baby!” a man shouted as she rounded a corner. “You ever hear about game theory?” Edwards dismissed it; she’d received plenty of strange catcalls before. But the next day, it happened again.
“Game theory does apply to games, like chess, but it’s more than that,” yelled a man outside her yoga studio. “It applies to any situation in which two or more rational entities make choices in the hopes of gaining something. Also, nice ass.”
And it hasn’t let up. Since then, every man who has inappropriately tried to get Edwards’ attention on the street has mentioned game theory.
“It’s often used to analyze social and economic interactions,” said one catcaller on her corner.
“Theorists divide games into ‘cooperative’ and ‘non-cooperative categories,’” said another in the park. “If you think about it, what is life but a series of choices? Also, you should smile more.”
Edwards hasn’t found an explanation for this new phenomenon, other than the simple fact that men love explaining game theory.
“I don’t know what it is about game theory,” she says. “But men are obsessed with telling you about it. Sometimes they have some point they want to make, but mostly they just sort of define it. The worst part is, I’m an economist and I wrote my dissertation on game theory. Not that anyone asked.”
“I guess it’s better than overtly sexual or threatening comments,” she adds. “But not by much.”