A while ago, over at Skepchick, Elyse asked for suggestions for dealing with the “creepy dude factor” as a barrier to women’s participation in skeptic and atheist events. A (thankfully small) number of guys asked whether their geeky lack of social skills or someone else’s would be classed as part of that problem. I would love to be able to say that if you think to ask, then no, you’re not part of the problem. But…
Yes, guys, sometimes your social skills are part of the problem. However, it isn’t in the way that you think it is. It isn’t because you’re awkward or not sure how to manage your body language. It isn’t because you don’t say the same things everyone else is saying.
It’s because you can’t set aside being self-conscious long enough to notice that someone just asked for your help with something really damned important.
Still don’t know what behavior I’m talking about, or Elyse was talking about? All you have to do is wait.
yeah… people I’ve never met before falling all over me trying to lay the charm and flattery on thick is CREEPY as hell. Far more creepy than some WoW geek. HOWEVER, if that WoW geek is making a lot of rape jokes, or describes his character’s latest exploits as “raping the shit out of other character” whatever, that is ALSO creepy as hell (apparently this may be common in many games?? I don’t play, I don’t know, but it’s not appropriate in a social meeting). Being condescending is also a super turn off and mostly just annoying, not necessarily creepy, but still likely to make me want to stay home next time.
Not that hard to understand. Neither is this.
The last time I played D&D, two male players spent the whole game having their characters attempt to rape my character, saying it was “in character” for them to do so.
And if the women explaining it isn’t enough for you to understand creepy, just wait for the guys to show up and demonstrate.
i have no interest in learning about your likes and dislikes, i’d rather talk about the last speaker or an issue brought about by that weirdo woman who talked about female porn at TAM london, romanticizing sex at a public venue is sorta lame.
i mean honestly, what percentage of your sexual encounters, are filled with bouquet of flowers, rose pedals leading to the bedroom, champagne and caviar, cheesy music, constant wind to blow back each persons’ hair, and it going on for an hour?
this creepy guy comment brought to you by the committee for more relaxed attitude toward strangers and sponsored by the get over yourself foundation.
Once you stop looking at yourself for a few minutes, it becomes kinda obvious. But to get back to you, since that’s your main concern, what’s so creepy about the way you’re behaving?
How do I put this? Well, think of it this way. When was the last time you had to tell the world that you didn’t feel safe, that you were dealing with people who thought it was funny that you were scared, that you were dealing with people who thought they had a right to whatever they wanted from you?
Okay, there’s a good chance you’ve never been in that position, but try to imagine it. Imagine that kind of insecurity, that kind of fear. Now imagine the risk involved in telling someone else how vulnerable you know you are.
Now imagine that person’s response is “Huh. You don’t think I’ll have trouble making friends or getting a date because I don’t know how to make small talk, do you?”
That’s where you get creepy.
Look, guys. You don’t need to know how to make small talk. You don’t need to know how to make someone laugh. You do need to figure out how to listen to what someone says and understand that sometimes it’s time to put aside your own concerns. It’s really that simple.