OPERATOR: Hello, this is Amelia with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. How can I help you today?
CALLER: Yeah, hi. I don’t want to wear my mask.
OPERATOR: Sir…this hotline is really meant to answer questions about safety and such.
CALLER: Well, I do have a question.
OPERATOR: Okay. What’s your question?
CALLER: Why do you think you can tell me what to do?
OPERATOR: I meant more like questions about how to be safe, how to do your part to slow down the spread of COVID, things like that.
CALLER: Ok, how do I do that?
OPERATOR: Well things like washing your hands frequently, wearing your mask when out in public, especially in situations where social distancing isn’t really an option, are incredibly helpful.
CALLER: I wash my hands at least once a day but I don’t WANT to wear my mask when I’m out in public.
OPERATOR: And why is that?
CALLER: The thing is, I’m an American man.
OPERATOR: Of course.
CALLER: And I don’t think my liberties should be infringed upon like this.
CALLER: My favorite movies are A Few Good Men and My Cousin Vinny, so I know a bit about the law.
OPERATOR: Yes…that tracks.
CALLER: Legally, you can’t make me wear anything I don’t want to. And ultimately, if I wear a mask then it makes it harder for me to catcall pretty women.
OPERATOR: I’m sorry, I just want to make sure I’m following what you’re saying here. You’re saying you don’t want to wear your mask because you…can’t yell at women on the street?
CALLER: I wouldn’t say that I yell at them. I’d say I loudly compliment them.
OPERATOR: Is this something you feel you “need” to do?
CALLER: Because if I can’t compliment a beautiful girl then what’s the point of having a mouth?
OPERATOR: Well, mouths serve a lot of purposes. Complimenting random women on the street is probably the least important thing they can do.
CALLER: You’re right. The most important thing they can do is kiss a pretty woman.
OPERATOR: Did it ever occur to you that some women, maybe most, don’t want to be catcalled?
CALLER: Yes, but it’s not about them. It’s about me. It’s about my right to voice my opinion when I feel like it.
OPERATOR: Can’t you just voice your opinion in your head? I think they’re called thoughts.
CALLER: It’s not really an opinion if other people don’t know you have one. Like if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, did it really make a sound? If I have a thought and I don’t voice it, did I really think today?
OPERATOR: Ok, fine. What about the fact that catcalling makes women uncomfortable?
CALLER: You’re just one woman, Amelia. You can’t speak for every woman everywhere.
OPERATOR: Chaka Khan says I can.
CALLER: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.
OPERATOR: What about the fact that we’re currently experiencing a pandemic that has many people, women specifically, anxious and frightened? Do you think that given all of that, now is the appropriate time to hit on women?
CALLER: If I stop living my life, Amelia, then the disease wins.
OPERATOR: Okay, I think I’m gonna stop you right there. This phone call is taking up a lot of my time and I don’t think we’re making any progress. I don’t care what you do.
CALLER: So you agree then?
OPERATOR: Agree with what?
CALLER: You agree I shouldn’t have to wear my mask.
OPERATOR: No, of course not! I just meant that it seems like we’re talking in circles and I think my time would be better spent talking to people who have actual questions and concerns about COVID.
CALLER: I do have actual concerns!
OPERATOR: Great! What are your actual concerns?
CALLER: Can COVID be spread sexually?
OPERATOR: Not necessarily. Saliva or mucus can contain strains of the virus, so it’s still possible to-
CALLER: So, I can still have sex with my girlfriend?
OPERATOR: YOU HAVE A GIRLFRIEND?!
CALLER: Please don’t shout…hello…hello…helllllllloooooo?