Monday, June 25, 2007

How to Recognize the Creep in Yourself

If you feel like you're being creepy, chances are you're probably being perceived as creepy. What gets me is how many guys are being creepy as viewed from a female perspective. Well, at least my perspective.

Scenario: You're just a girl standing in line at the gas station, waiting to pay for your 32 ounce Dr. Pepper, a cream cheese Danish (a healthy lunch), and some gas. You're wearing your favorite t-shirt, a carry over from your past life when you actually DID rock climb and suddenly, out of the blue, a creepy, forty-something guy starts talking to you. He wants to know what Pusher is (as though drug dealers are going to shrug off the law and simply advertise their profession, unintimidated, recognizing the "it was a joke" potential). At the same time that Mr. Creepy is trying to strike up a conversation, the gas station attendant is also asking you what pump you're on. You finally get the chance to tell Mr. Creepy that it's a climbing company. He wants to know if you climb, you say yes (even though you don't, not really, anymore). He leaves.

You're a girl, do you find that creepy or just friendly?

Scenario: You're just a girl at a gas station. You're perusing the drink selection, trying to overcome the temptation of the fountain drink Dr. Pepper. Green tea? Yes, no? A young, twenty-something guy who looks obviously indie and totally harmless smiles at you. He's looking at the drinks too. You're friendly, you smile back, pick a drink, pay, and leave. You're out the door heading for your truck when you hear a voice behind you. It's the indie boy. You're wondering what the hell this could be. He asks you where you're headed, you say back to work (duh). He asks if it's by the West End area and you say no, it's in the opposite direction. Aw dang, he says, he needed a ride back to his car. You say sorry and good luck, and leave.

Creepy? I mean, just because he's not forty something and gross doesn't mean he's an angel, right? Would you give him a ride?

Scenario: You're at a local coffee shop (not a chain; shhh, it's important to the story) and you're buying some interesting drink like a Tazo plum juice or the like. It's your turn, you're paying. A sixty-something man standing behind you suddenly asks you out of the blue if you're a tourist. You're trying to pay attention to the cashier, but you look at him and say, "No." Then he asks if you're an artist. You say, "No," again. What is this anyway? He points to the Cash button on your bag and says, "I was just wondering because I saw the button." It's not making any sense to you. Only tourists like Johnny Cash? Hmmm.

In any case, creepy? As you walked back to your car would you check over your shoulder to see if he was following you?

Scenario: You're at work, heading back to the cubicle in your dungeon. A forty-something guy you have presumed to be a maintenance worker (he carries a radio and a lot of keys) sees you and starts talking to you. He tells you that you're hard to find and that he's been looking for you for a while. He says he's got it narrowed down and then he says you're first name must be "_______" [insert your name here, remember, it's got to be a girls' name]. You laugh uncomfortably*. Not knowing how to avoid this maintenance worker, you retreat to your cubicle, hoping he'll let you go. But along the way he says he's narrowed it down to a few cubicles. When you get to your cubicle you try to hide inside. He doesn't recognize any of the signs and he obviously doesn't care about the ring on your finger. Nor does he care that one time he actually happened to be at the same restaurant as you and your husband. He makes small talk, and you're polite because you're a polite person. After a few minutes of completely awkward conversation, he tells you that if you ever need new shelves in your cubicle, or hangers, anything, just to page him. Then he makes sure you write down his pager number and he leans in as if to show you the pager but you can't shake the impression that he's trying to get a whiff of your hair. He says you can call from any phone, not just your work phone.

Creepy? You decide.

The point is, men can be creepy and they need to be aware of it. It doesn't matter how attractive or wealthy, if you strike up conversation with a complete stranger, I call it creepy. Especially if you're asking for something like a ride. Women are ever aware of the physical advantage men have over them and if you don't want to be thought of as a creep, you need to be sensitive to that. I'm not saying to never approach a woman. I'm advising that you try to imagine the situation from her perspective and recognize where she, as a woman, might be coming from. Because you, as a man, have the physical advantage.

I don't speak for all women. Just this one and a couple others who put me up to it.

*All men need to learn to recognize the uncomfortable, this-is-awkward-you're-creepy laugh. It would do them good.


Jodie K said...

Love how you write. Damn fine reading. Let me break it down:

Scenario a stranger a lift no one else knows about (no matter how cute and emo looking the boy) can get you a headline in the papers as "dead girl found in trunk of own car". Creepy, maybe just a little. I mean, I’d prolly watch to see if he pulled the same game on the next girl that came by.

Office scenario, just wrong man. And why always the maintenance guys, huh? Maybe the thrill that you can get them fired. 'Cause you so can.

Old guy in the coffee shop, harmless and still living the legend of a boy named Sue singing to the inmates in Folsom, strung out on the dope and pills.

Last, gas station “Pusher”, also harmless, just chatting up a girl while having an excuse to stare at boobs and/or catch a glimpse of nipple through cotton tee.

All in all, not super creepy, but you def have a radar on. Then again, what I do I know? I went out with a guy once featured on “America’s Most Wanted”.

Aries327 said...

Wow, a guy featured on "America's Most Wanted." That's pretty chilling. I hope he wasn't wanted for something really creepy. I mean, bank robbery, that's not so bad. One time I almost dated a guy who had been in jail for bank robbery. It was pretty funny how he told me too. I'll write about it sometime because it's too priceless to just mention in a comment.

Great answers, by the way. A girl has to be ever vigilant you know. And because I get it, that a girl who gives a harmless looking guy a ride home is the kind of girl who, as you say, ends up in the trunk of her own car . . . well, that's why I don't pick up strangers. Ted Bundy, it was rumored, was very attractive and innocent looking.

Thanks for the compliment. You'll really have to write a post about that guy you dated from "Most Wanted." Unless you already have. If you have leave a link here.

Jodie K said...

Not yet...but it may be coming soon.

Oh, and it WAS bank robbery and counterfeiting.

Jodi said...

I can't get past the fact that you were considering green tea over dr pepper.

Jodie K said...

What's with all the Jodi(e)'s over here???? Some kinda prerequisite?

Aries327 said...

It's tough to admit, but I have to: there's no "nutrition" in Dr. Pepper. When I'm trying to be healthy, I try to resist the enticements of the Dr. Pepper.

As for the Jodi(e) comment, I have no answers. I stumbled over two blogs that I enjoy which are maintained by two different Jodi(e)'s. I like to think of it as synchronous.

Dani said...

Niks, just flat out tell them they are being creepy! Esp. the guy at work. HELLO, duh man! Honestly, he's the kind of guy that you say, oh, did you know I'm HAPPILY married?

Aries327 said...

D, you're right. I have no courage. If the maintenance guy says anything to me again, I'll tell him to back off. I'm all concerned that he'll come into my cubicle after everyone's gone home and root around in my stuff. You know? Something sick like that. He seems to be that kind of pervert. I mean, he tracked me down, you know? That's messed up.

Stoker said he'd come in and break his legs, and that's a great idea. And I might need to get my old bodyguards, Matt, Scotty, and Bryan to come down here to back Stoker up. It would be fantastic (said in an E. Izzard voice)!