a note on creepy men…

This isn’t about the socially awkward slightly clueless guys that can’t really figure out how to approach a woman.  Not guys that stumble over their words.  It isn’t the shy guys.  It isn’t even about the overly confident cocky assholes who think they’re god’s gifts to women.  This is for the creeps.  A bit of advice from me to you?  Don’t be creepy.

Don’t talk to me in parking lots.  Don’t catcall as I walk down the street.  Don’t come up to me in a crowded place and try to take my hand to get my attention.  Actually don’t touch me at all. Anywhere.  And don’t follow me down the street to talk to me.

All of this is triply true if I have my kid with me.  You may have a bit of a MILF fetish or something, but I really don’t care.  All of that behavior is out of line.

As I was walking with my kid today a man came up behind us.  He’d been following at a somewhat respectful distance but I was still aware of him.  Then he sped up.  When he was about 4 feet away he tried to engage me in conversation.

“Hi!  How are you doing?”

We walked on.

He followed.

“Hey, do you need some help?”

“No.”

I shifted a bag I was carrying, put my hand on my kid’s back protectively and we walked to catch up with a large group of people crossing the street ahead of us.

“Hey, is that your kid?”

“Yes.  Goodbye.”

Walking and putting some distance.

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

Still walking

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

And he stopped following, but stood there watching us walk away.  I breathed a sigh of relief but continued on with that large group of people longer than I really wanted to, making sure we weren’t followed.  I kept looking over my shoulder the entire way.

My mind was racing.  Thinking through each question.

Did I need help? I guess I was carrying a bag, he could have thought he was being chivalrous.  He was dressed in work clothes, he could have been a day laborer looking for work.  Still, I didn’t like it.

Is that my kid? Fuck you.  You’re a stranger.  What if it wasn’t my kid?  If I had a litter of kids with me and a stranger giving me the creeps asked me if they were mine I’d probably get my mama bear hackles up and say yes.

Do I have a boyfriend? Guess what creepy dude?  Regardless of my relationship status there is no way I’m going to tell a creepy dude following me I’m not seeing someone.  I’m always going to say I’ve got someone in my life. Someone that likes to whack creepy dudes across the face with a giant stick.  For being creepy.

Perhaps I should have stopped talking sooner but talking seemed to keep him at bay and give me the means to maneuver my kid and I into a safer situation.  As I write this, I’m still a little shaken.  If it had just been me I would have recovered sooner.  Sadly I know this because it’s not the first time some creepy guy has followed me down the street.  Or around a coffee shop.  Or through a store.

The only good I can pull from this unfortunate experience is to use it as a teaching tool.  All kids should be taught how to be safe in situations like this.  It’s a scary reminder that recalls lessons from my childhood.  Don’t take candy from strangers.  Walk on well lit streets.  Don’t talk to strangers (yeah… I know. my bad). Just say no (that’s to drugs, but it comes to mind).  Stop, drop, and roll (if you’re on fire… not when a creepy guy is following you).  It’s a delicate balance between scaring kids unnecessarily and making sure they understand that not everyone in this world has the best intentions.

Regardless of lessons learned, I just can’t make sense of “creepy” behavior.  I can’t imagine that it would ever work to gain someone’s favor or affection.  All it does is frighten, freak out or piss off the object of interest.

So creepy guys?  Knock it the fuck off.

5 thoughts on “a note on creepy men…

  1. stephanie (bad mom) says:

    All right on.

    About the not-talking to strangers piece: It is unrealistic and ultimately undermines your intuition if you make a blanket resolution to never talk to people you’ve not met. Doing what you did – simple, unengaging responses – sends the message that you are okay with basic info [if on the move], as you would be with a bank teller or grocery clerk, but not willing to stop and chat over coffee. Or make extended eye contact. And that gives you time to really assess your own instincts, which in this case told you his behavior was definitely odd & discomforting.

    Sorry you had the experience but yes, valuable for your girl to witness & learn from.

  2. Rachel says:

    Reminds me of the introductory scenario in The Gift of Fear. There’s one explanation for the utility of his behavior.

  3. aDaM says:

    The world isn’t the same anymore. I can recall walking home from your house at night after gaming with friends there. It was late sometimes, it was dark most times, and never once did I worry about these kinds of things.

    Now my son is 12. He’s more independent, and he wants those same freedoms I had when I was his age. But now I worry about these kinds of things, and I wonder when I should be letting him have those freedoms.

    And even our old stomping grounds, which always had that safe and comfortable feeling, are no longer the safer streets of yore. Just recently and elderly woman was attacked, had her purse stolen and her throat cut in broad daylight, just down the street from my parents house.

    Apparently, we need to approach these issues with our kids. Perhaps, its good for us to review them for ourselves as well.

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