Stalkers: Welcome to life as a girl on the internet

I think people sometimes underestimate the weirdness that one faces by being a semi-public online woman.  The following is a story about extreme creepiness and stalkerdom.  I was asked by another stalkee to publish the stalker’s name — I felt justified in doing so on my own, but probably wouldn’t have, but since she has requested it: his name is Mauricio Martinez, he is from Ontario, and he is a creepy ass liar who uses the internet to try to hurt people.

Prologue: Once upon a time (2 years ago) in Canada, there was a Girl and there was a boy, MM. MM was married, with a pregnant wife. Girl was polite to MM, and so, barely knowing her and right after they met, he asked her out.  Girl was not interested, for many reasons, including because he had a wife and children, and so she said no, thinking that was the end of it.  Very soon after this, MM proposed to Girl.  Girl, unsurprisingly, said no to this as well.

In response to the proposal rejection, MM ragequit his job.  He sent Girl a message and was dismayed to find that she didn’t particularly care.  There were some fleeting attempts at contact, and then Girl blocked him.  And so two years passed without her thinking about him.  Occasionally, the pass one another in same public spaces, but do no interact other than to avoid one another.  She had no idea he still thought of her, and now is afraid because he knows where she lives…

Last winter, Girl and I became Facebook friends because we both enjoyed the same sort of threads and arguments.  We weren’t terribly close or anything, just friendly acquaintances on the internet.

Beginning in April, I got several Facebook messages from this guy, MM.  In the first, he complimented me on my choice of FB picture, but then he followed with some basic questions about atheism.  Basic meaning many paragraphs long about him, but questions like “does calling religion stupid help atheists”, which I answered in a short reply, and he followed with a lengthy essay to which I gave an even shorter reply.

I did not reply to his many further attempts at contact.  I don’t know him, have no friends in common with him, and did not friend him.  He seemed creepy and weird, but hadn’t done anything particularly Alarm worthy.  Just weird messages like this that I didn’t respond to:

I was wandering around the internet (quite innocently) the past few weeks when suddenly someone decided to pull out the fucking ACME Handbook of Online Seduction and Emotional Manipulation (believe me I am familiar with every page of it, don’t get me started) and they clearly also bought the expansion pack with 50 per cent more passive aggression. Being well-versed in its conventions I naturally spotted it and shut it down pretty quickly, but you know, sometimes with a sports team, you like the team but you hate the playbook; sometimes with a movie you like the actor but don’t like the script. And sometimes, with an individual, you can like them just fine but their methods are pretty fucking disgusting. They really followed the handbook with a kind of dogmatic fervor, down to the implied suicide threat.

Doesn’t bother me too much really; it does bring out a ruthlessness in me that I must admit I kind of enjoy. It’s just that a surplus of profit soon brings an embarrassment of riches. It’s funny, kind of, in that I’m sure IRL this person is somewhat of a prize. Wasting their time on bullshit doesn’t seem like a good use of time and resources. But you never know, maybe it’s influences of environment or people they hang out with. Too bad. It’s a game really, with the ending always decided in advance. The game always ends with a block.

Anyway, it’s not the first time it’s happened. If there’s any real annoyance involved it’s that if I really start attracting that many psychos I guess I’m gonna have to take a second look at the cologne I’m wearing.

A couple of weeks ago, I guess he got called out on lurking by somebody when he commented on some post about rape culture, and I got another very long message from him, but this one was significantly weirder.  As far as I can tell, he started stalking me on Facebook so he could convince Girl that he and I were “soul mates”. For unrelated reasons, around the time he started following me, she deleted her FB account and started a new one under a pseudonym, but he interpreted this as a sign of success of his plan to drive her away, despite the fact that he had not been in contact with Girl for years.

I would like to reiterate that I do not know this guy at all.  He has apparently constructed in his mind that his assholery has cost him something with me — like I was interested in him before he sent his confession e-mail rather than someone who ignored the five previous long e-mails he’d sent.  I don’t know, the whole thing is super weird and I don’t know what to make of it.  Other than I feel 1. stalked 2. like someone intentionally tried to make someone hate me for twisted, fucked up reasons and 3. like someone is stalking my internet friend hardcore and trying to transfer his weird stalker obsession onto me.

August 21

Hey,

Sorry for speaking out of turn or whatnot but I felt I had to make that point as I’m really interested in rape culture and this whole harassment situation has really angered me and that anger needed an outlet.

I think your friend there kind of called me out for lurking and rightly so – I have been lurking, for quite some time – and here’s why.

I guess around two years ago now I had an unfortunate entanglement with [Name Redacted] which I ended – to the benefit of me, her, and everyone around us – but which led to close to two years of passive-aggressive trolling from both of us. She was basically tracking every single move I was making on the internet so I kind of cooked up a scheme whereby I would find someone on her f-list and kind of make it look like I was into them. Maybe you didn’t notice. She did. And so.

And it worked! Holy shit. The whole thing lasted for about five minutes but led to – as far as I know – her deleting fucking everything and moving on with her life. Yay! You have no idea of the victory dances that were had with this. Ok. So it should have stopped there. And then…

AND THEN…

That whole TAM thing exploded and it was SO FUCKING INTERESTING. I started lurking lots of people in the skeptical community because every day there was more new drama and it was (sorry for being morbid and prurient here) SUPER FUN. Like, you ever watch Maury and are like *GASP* all the time and you can’t turn away? Yeah. And it continues now, even with the tfoot thing.

So there it is I’m a drama addict and I lurk. I think it’s pretty harmless, but if it makes you uncomfortable obviously let me know and I will try my best to pry myself away. I must admit a highlight for me was the blocking of [Name Redacted] – I really didn’t like that guy – I hated his vulgar Marxism.

On an added note, I do self-identify as an atheist now. I used to say I was just agnostic, but I agree with Penn Jillette that agnosticism and atheism are answers to two separate questions. And since I don’t actively believe in God… yeah

43 minutes ago

Hi.
I keep writing because I keep feeling as if I owe you something, and I think that’s true, and now I guess it’s time to settle up.

I’m sorry for using you as a bit of a chess piece there. Now, I realize I was just going by the surface of things, and there’s a lot that I will never know about the situation, but [Name Redacted] – as she goes by now – really seemed to have this persistent obsession/bitterness that needed to be put to rest, and I hope it is now.

Please believe me, this was a real problem. Sure, for the short time (six fucking weeks) we knew each other emotions ran high but we’d never kissed or even so much as held hands with each other. We’ve never even been out for coffee – and I go out for coffee, even drinks, with women all the time and it’s never been a problem, and we never even got that far. For someone to act as if their life is ruined and that somehow that justifies them owning your ass is seriously fucking dangerous. I’m sorry for venting but she makes me really fucking angry. That said I hope you reconnect, because I’m sure she’s over it by now. And if you don’t, I’m really sorry you lost a friend, especially from this.

So why you, and why did it work (at least, I think, in the long run)? Well, part of this – how shall I call it – ‘determined love’ (oh my. lol) was this idea of soulmates or two people who were so alike that they were perfect for each other. And the fact is on paper – or in the third person, what have you - you fit that description far far far better than she did, or ever will. That was the trump card. And I genuinely thought you were really cool. You are, of course, very crushable and I’m sure you have stockpiles of creepy internet love there in your archive as evidence to support that sentiment. But my intentions are far less than creepy so I’ll decline to elaborate on that here.

To close, I’d just like to reiterate how sorry I am for treating you like an object in some twisted manipulative game. While I can argue that my intentions were good, there was some real damage done and this has resulted in a significant loss – for me. I’ve always liked you and I tend to be careful with people I have reservations about losing. And if I had met you under any other circumstance I would have been far more careful with you.

Welcome to the creepy archive, MM.

He sent Girl the following message as well.  This is creepy 1. because it’s the first contact she’s had from him in years and 2. because he had to seek her out and find her new FB profile which is under a pseudonym:

Thank you for rejecting me those years ago. It was a really good decision and at the time I didn’t realize how important it was. I’m sorry for ending it the way I did and for whatever hurt it caused then or after but I felt so stupid and guilty for messing with you – and the fact is, if you would have taken that chance believe me it would have fucked a lot of people over and would have killed you, and would kill you now if I ever gave you that chance again and you took me up on it. You have no idea how divorce fucks everything and just looking in from the outside I have to say that nobody ever gets what they want but you have what you need, and I will never be able to match that. And I’m not talking about material possessions here, I’m talking about family ties and support networks and just free time, which I won’t have for a about ten more years. I never want you to feel that whatever happened was because you’re not good enough or whatnot. It’s because I can’t fit you in my life and you fit so much better in other places. Better places. Believe me. So please just let it go. There’s nothing for you here. I’m so sorry but you have to let it go. Just let it go.

TL;DR This is incredibly weird and stalking. You do not get to use someone in your ridiculous plots to hurt other people and then complain that YOU have lost something.  You do not get to make up lies about people and expect them to simply go along with it.

Wow, Richard Dawkins is Clueless

I love Richard Dawkins.  I like his books, I love watching him read his hate mail, I loved listening to him talk at TAM last year, I loved watching him smirk about everything, I loved his documentary and I just like him in general.

But he doesn’t get what it’s like to be a woman.  Not that one would expect him to have a total understanding, he is not a woman, but you would think that he’d be able to empathize just a little with women.  Apparently not.  Apparently if your genitals aren’t being mutilated and you’re complaining about creepy behavior from men at conferences, you’re just complaining about nothing.  Wow, that’s great PR from a movement trying to get more women involved.

Have some background:

  1. Rebecca Watson was part of a panel about feminism.
  2. A stranger followed her into the elevator at four in the morning, waited for the doors to be closed, and tried to get her to go back to the room with him.
  3. She was creeped out majorly by this behavior. And was bothered that her talk had apparently made no difference and that her wish to go back to her room and sleep, which she said to a large room of people that included the stranger, was being ignored by someone who thought it was his right to hit on her regardless of what she wanted.
  4. Another female blogger, Stef McGraw, said she was overreacting.
  5. Rebecca Watson mentioned Stef, by name, in another panel.
  6. Stef then said it was abuse of power for Watson to call her out in a panel.
  7. A bunch of guys in the movement started protesting that if you can’t approach a stranger in the middle of the night (in an enclosed, inescapable space) then how will you ever meet anyone in the movement??? Plus, Freedom of Speech!
  8. PZ posted about it, which garnered much response and vitriol from various people.
  9. DAWKINS came into the comment thread and said basically that it was OK for guys to be creepy because some women get their genitals mutilated. That the creepy behavior was NO DIFFERENT from someone chewing gum on an elevator. Richard Dawkins said this, PZ confirmed it was actually him.
  10. My head exploded

Here’s some advice for guys: If a woman, particularly a complete stranger, can literally not get away from you, that’s not a good time to proposition her.  If you’ve got her trapped in a small space or are between her and her escape route, don’t imply, on any level, that you’d like to do things to her body.  Just don’t.

Why?  Because she doesn’t know if you’re a good guy or not and she’s trapped in a space suddenly with someone who doesn’t care about how safe she feels, and in this particular case, has already intentionally ignored her stated wishes.  Why on earth would she think you’re not going to ignore it when she says NO?  There are lots of opportunities to express interest in ways that don’t feel incredibly dangerous to a woman — if you put yourself in her shoes and think, “Would this seem safe if I was a woman who might get raped by a strange man?”  If the answer is anything but, “Yes,” DON’T DO IT.

Here is an amazing post about how not to make women feel scared shitless when you try to hit on them.  Don’t act like a threat!  Don’t ignore what people say!  Don’t ignore body language!  And don’t accuse women of complaining about meaningless crap when they’re afraid for their safety because some people have it worse!

The Polygamist Message from May, 2007

I know you all can’t get enough creepy messages, right?  So here’s the best of my collection, the greatest message I’ve ever gotten from a complete stranger.  Can you handle it?  Bolds are mine!

It’s come to my attention that people (women) often say that one of the most fundamental things they are looking for is honesty in a man but since they’ve more than likely never met an honest man they don’t know what to do when they actually confront one.

That having been said let’s see if you write me (an extremely honest man back. Now this writing back deal will require a certain amount of curiosity and gumption and no small amount of an open mind. If you wonder why no honest men it’s because the world is backwards and most of the the time people not only tell you what you want to hear but know what invariably happens when telling the truth…..let’s see:

You would never find a better more honest friend, lover, husband. How do I know that? Because I have two wives and I’m looking for a third. That’s getting the 500 pound gorilla out of the way up front and being honest isn’t it?

What do you suppose type of man I am? One you should avoid or embrace? Well I’m not a dishrag. I appreciate intelligent physically strong females because they make the best babies and I’m all about family and yes I can afford three wives.

Well you have a choice to ignore or explore. I expect everything and ask for nothing. Consequently I’m unable to place you in an akward position. You might just be curious….if so please feel free to write. I won’t bite and you can always use me for a topic of conversation. “I actually correspond with a polygamist from Florida on a regular basis!!!”

Looking forward to your reply……..C. Smith

Ashley Writes Back:

Well, huh. I mean, it’s simply too weird not to respond to, you know? I’ve got to admit, you’re definitely ballsy. Do you just send these out en masse, or did you actually choose to send it to me for some reason?

I’m not really interested, you being over twice my age, married, with kids, and, I’m guessing, religious. But, kudos for being totally straightforward. I’m sure that someone is looking for you, so good luck with that.

You don’t have to respond, but I do wonder if you’ve seen the show Big Love. And what on earth drives you to be so openly polygamist.

He writes back:

Hi Pumpkin,

Thanks for the reply.

I think on some level it is shocking to be in a position to tell the truth or put another way….in a position to tell society to kiss my ass. But I have structured my life so as not to place myself in a situation where I have to cowtow to others. As an example I can never be excomunicated from the catholic church. I’m not catholic!!! For that reason I’m not a joiner. If you join anything it usually comes with a handbook of rules outlining what they expect from you.

Today’s news is replete with a story about the ex-govenor’s wife and her feelings when he announced to the world that he was gay. (she wrote a book about it) Also there were 70 comments from people explaning their like experiences. I looked at it this way: If he hadn’t lied to her and she hadn’t married the bastard their daughter would never have been born.

I’m an intellectual…we speak five languages between us and number two is half way through her masters in accounting at JU. I wrote you because you have a brain. You’re curious enough to at least write back and you know that any system made by man is for the benefit of man. Women didn’t make the laws against polygamy (we are not religiously driven….just to make that clear, and nothing stops the members of my family from leaving if they want to).

Age means nothing to me (well young girls no – I’m not a pedophile) because if it were important I would think, chronologically, you would be a little young. Yuliya is just turned 27. But I should think it would be more important to know who was in charge of your household (who made the last word final decisions on the important things) your father or your mother. It would be neigh on to impossible no matter how old you are to get along with you if your mother raised you. See that’s more important don’t you think?

Finally to answer your question further about my openess. Nobody really gives ashit what you do unless it impacts them and what I do is a building experience….more family, more intelligent kids, better life style (everybody pools their resources) more fun, more options. Lets say you end up with “Mr. Right” who cheats on you and lies to you and saddles you with obligations that you don’t want. What say do you have because you were following the norm. girl it doesn’t work out for half the people who get married! Be realistic. So why should they care what I’m doing….they don’t. Now they care in Utah because the Mormons (a sect) kicked out the polygamists a hundred years ago in direct opposition to their founder Joseph Smith (who was killed by that time) so they could join the Union. So you could say they sold out and because of that they are so fervently against the other mormons who consider themselves the “real” mormons. I, of course, could care less as I build family.

Perhaps you will write back. Maybe you would like to see what I do in my spare time:

http://www.aerofast.com/photography/index.html

Is their one you like better than the others?

Clayton the Honest

Today in Creepy

Oh, internet, you never fail to bring me something creepy on a regular basis.  A message from a man I've never met:

Wanna go out in the boat on saturday?  really, you seem cool and itd be a great time with lots of people around so you wouldnt have to worry about being murdered.  I look good and im in great shape except for a little tummy fat i cant destroy.  [name redacted] # [non-local phone number redacted] i know this seems crazy but i have a feeling about you like to see where it could go.  no hard feelings if you think im crazy.

Well, I suppose at least there are no hard feelings.  I think I'm going to avoid getting into an inescapable small space with a guy I don't know, even if he says I'm not going to get murdered…  I will somehow survive missing the opportunity to introduce him to the apostrophe.  Maybe some day I'll find you the message from the Floridian polygamist who wanted me to be his third wife.

Eddie Kritzer: Holiday Edition, ctd

No update on the Kritz would be complete without a creepy email littered with bad grammar from the jerk himself.

Dearest Ashley, I haven’t heard from you in so long I was concerned that you lost your job editing, but then i checked IMDbPro.com http://imdb.com/name/nm1736719/ and saw you had no credits at all. Not surprising; most old ladies, with much to say, and little credits need a blog (i.e. Unpublished writer/no credits) need a place to cry. I also notice you personalize your blog. It has to be tough writing and never selling anything, you become frustrated, and decide to rag on anybody who’s handy. I have read your boring blogs (just to be informed) and all you do is cry, at least you consistent I do want to make sure your massive audience, (your mother, father one cousin & Me) would know the truth. When an uncredited writer (such as say Vance) submits, they may sign an agreement, but then after working on them placing them with Studios, production companies, etc, they may say, Eddie, thanks for all the help,, but I have decided that IM not going do this, thanks for the help. One Time I got The Tightwad Twins a publishing deal with HCI Books, Publishers of Chicken Soup for The Soul Series) I then booked them on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show they informed me and The Publisher that they don’t like to draw attention to them selves and decided not to do it. On several other occasions I got deals for writers at major publishers, and or at studios, and they decided against moving forward……. Dearest Ashley, since your such a driving force in our industry, I know you will get out the word as to whyI always require an advance against my commisions. People/ writers, dont always keep their word, so I need to know their serious, they get it back just like Dr. J.R. Bruns, and Dr. R. A/ Richards did when I sold The Tiger Woods Syndrome (HCI Books) As always wishing you a happy and succesful 2011 just like 2010 Your lover and still even though you just layed there, sort of like your writing. Eddie Kritzer eddiekritzer.com some minor detials I know it’s not much but we each do what we can

All I can really add to this is I’ve got over 60 credits on imdb, I’ve optioned a screenplay, sold several articles, and got over 10000 hits on this website alone last month.  And if I didn’t have any, it’d still mean that this ‘agent’ thought it was ok to bully young unpublished writers by making fun of their unpublished status.

And, just so everyone is clear, it is against wga policy for an agent to require an advance.  It is a disgusting attempt to bilk inexperienced writers.  He’s also just sort of disgusting.  Even if what he was doing wasn’t a scam, does anyone want someone who is this unprofessional to represent them?  Thank you, Eddie, for once again demonstrating your true character.

What’s wrong with guys?

I hate to ask that question because, generally speaking, I get along pretty well with dudes.

There isn’t a general parking lot where I work, just one for the higher ups.  Because of that, I have to park a couple blocks away wherever I can find street parking.  This is not a great situation, not because I mind the walk, but for whatever reason this particular neighborhood, which is quite nice, has some very not nice traffic in the form of guys who like to harass women.

Up to now, this has only really been a problem in the evenings, after dark, and if I leave particularly late or am parked particularly far away, I can usually get someone to walk with me.  Which I never do because that seems pathetic.  I have been followed by cars, honked at, and screamed at.  It’s usually just a brief scare and it passes.

Not that it matters, and it certainly shouldn’t matter, but I don’t dress provocatively.  80% of the time I’m wearing some variation of jeans, t-shirt, ponytail and glasses.

Anyway, the point is that the summer has been a welcome respite because it stays light longer, so I walk to my car from work in the daylight and it’s all good.  I haven’t been bothered in ages.

This morning, I parked not terribly far away, and someone in a gold forerunner not in very good shape honked at me and waved like crazy as I was walking through a crosswalk.  I looked at them, it was some guy I didn’t recognize and who, even at a distance, looked skeezy.  To be fair, honking at a girl automatically puts you in the skeez camp, even if it is 10AM.

I crossed over another street and saw that the forerunner was driving too fast up that street and quickened my pace a little to be well out of the way.  The guy had driven around like 5 blocks to get back to me.  The guy started screaming at me, but I just ignored him since he was behind me, hoping that he’d go away.

The guy swearved around traffic and pulled into someone’s driveway to cut me off.  He very nearly ran me over.

Creep: Hey, I’m the guy who honked at you.
Me: Yeah, I got that.
C: Do you have a boyfriend?
M: Yes.
(The inflection here has to imply the imaginary boyfriend is a linebacker, very violent, and the jealous type)
C: Does he make you happy?
M: Yes.
C: That’s too bad, I was hoping I could take you out some time.
M: Sorry, you can’t.
C: You could still go out though, right? I mean —
M: Really I couldn’t
C: Do you have a sister?
M: No, I have a brother, I doubt you’d be interested.

Do you have a sister? WTF SERIOUSLY?! Who goes around picking up women on the side of the road?

The Imaginary Boyfriend

The Imaginary Boyfriend

Anyway, this all reminds me of a post on Pharyngula yesterday, about why there aren’t more women who go to conventions. It’s because women deal with shit like that on a regular basis and walking into a room dominated by strange guys by yourself isn’t fun. It’s not fair to the vast majority of guys who aren’t super creepy, but it’s true. Even if only one guy in the room is super creepy, if none of the other people have your back, many girls decide that it’s not worth it.

And if one person comments that I’m lucky to have the attention, I will find you and bring a baseball bat.  I don’t own a baseball bat, but I’m seriously reconsidering my position on that.