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Creepiest pickup line ever?

Seattle buses provide ample opportunity for creepy, bizarre, and/or uncomfortable situations with strangers. The one I just witnessed is the current “winner,” as the creepy older guy managed to somehow simultaneously hit on and witness to an attractive young woman sitting behind me.

Guy: You’re so beautiful, intelligent, and spiritual.. I know because I can look into your soul through your eyes, because I’m a warrior of Christ. I’d love to have a relationship with you.
Gal: Um…no thank you
Guy: Well if you change your mind my address is (address) and you can visit whenever you like…you’re so wonderful.

He then proceeded to ask her questions about her name, age, profession, and if she would go on a date with him for the next 15 minutes…which she stupidly answered, albeit in a way that screamed “please stop talking to me.” EDIT: Hopefully she was giving fake information. When she got off the bus he started chanting all these facts to himself, including the intersection she got off because he assumed that’s where she lived. He then started groaning about how hot she was and how badly he wanted her for the rest of the bus ride, until he got off at his stop.

Lesson 1: Don’t give personal information to creepy people on the bus. Eek. WTF. I hope this guy doesn’t turn out to be a stalker. Women are socialized to be polite even in situations that make them incredibly uncomfortable. We need to feel more comfortable saying “No” or “Please stop talking to me” or even moving to another part of the bus.

Lesson 2: Women have to deal with this stupid shit all the time.  I had a similar event happen about a week ago where an older man tried to convince me to get off the bus with him to go on a coffee date, and was trying to pry all sorts of personal information out of me. Even though this time the guy wasn’t talking to me, I was incredibly uncomfortable. I was worried about the young woman (who was the same age as me) and worried that he may start talking to me next. It’s worse because a bus is a situation where you feel “trapped.” You can technically get off (if it won’t make you late for something important), but there’s the chance someone will follow you, so staying trapped on the bus with that person is actually the safer situation.

I know a lot of guys don’t understand why getting hit on by strangers can make many women so uncomfortable. I hear “I’d love random women hitting on me!” all the time. But when you can’t ride the bus in peace…when you dread sitting at a bus stop with other people because they’ll do the same…when you stop wearing nice or flattering clothes because you want to decrease your odds of receiving wolf whistles and cat calls…when you have no idea if any of these people are potentially dangerous…

“Flattery” turns into “fear” very quickly.

Comments

  1. Rory says

    I don’t know how you could hear a story like this and NOT understand the downside of being constantly hit on. Boneheads.

  2. eric says

    Here’s hoping that the info she gave was fake.

    That example is extreme enough that I’m thinking the person might have needed psychological help. Its creepy to hit on a woman on a bus. But its batty to repeat the details out loud and carry on a conversation with yourself about it after she’s left.

  3. Screamer77 says

    Let’s hope she gave fake info. That’s what I do when I don’t want to sound rude, but I don’t want to give my real info either.

  4. neuroturtle says

    I have developed an entirely separate identity for these kinds of situations. I hate that I have to do it, but it feels safer to me than saying “please stop talking to me.” That alter ego has a large strapping boyfriend and breeds mastiffs. =/

    A couple of weeks ago, a man tried to follow me into my apartment. My “leave me alone” was met with protestations of promising me multiple orgasms. I am pretty sure the only reason I overpowered him to close the door was because he was on some kind of downers. …I might start breeding mastiffs for real.

  5. Sivi says

    There are actually some studies on attitudes towards casual sex among heterosexual men and women that have shown much of the difference comes from the fact that men are typically picturing a woman they find attractive and desirable, and women are picturing picturing the sort of random creepy dude who hits on them in public like this.

  6. Pramod says

    Women are socialized to be polite even in situations that make them incredibly comfortable.

    I think there’s a typo here.

  7. joviality says

    Bughhhhhh creepy!

    A question though:

    What should people witnessing this kind of situation do? Things like this are generally incredibly obvious to everyone involved – and friends are generally helpful in misdirection or in helping you out of the situation, but what–if anything–should a sympathetic stranger do? Is “Hey, maybe you should leave her alone?” ever appropriate? I’m wondering what the thoughts are of people (largely women) who have been in this situation about third-party intervention.

  8. says

    I have absolutely no idea. For a moment I thought of saying something, but I was too scared to get involved. I’d be curious what other people think.

  9. Keith says

    That makes sense. I might not mind a woman I find attractive hitting on me in a public place.

    But if she is creepy, not so much.

    I also have to keep in mind he fact that I am much larger than most women, so random (unarmed) stalkers are not intimidating to me. If some woman outweighed me me 50 lbs of muscle mass, I am sure that I would view the world very differently.

  10. says

    To the guys who respond to discussions of sexual harassment with:

    I hear “I’d love random women hitting on me!” all the time.

    Instead of random women (and by “random women,” you probably mean ones you find attractive) hitting on you, picture random men hitting on you.

    Picture men who are obviously bigger and stronger than you, looking at you like a piece of meat, showing total disregard for your boundaries, asking inappropriate questions, and not taking No for an answer the first three (or more) times.

    Think about that, and take a while to think about how you feel about being on the receiving end of THAT attention.

  11. Lxndr says

    While I *might* enjoy “random women” hitting on me (can’t say for sure without experiencing it) – something like this would completely skeeve me out.

  12. Keith says

    I think that this depends on many things. I have intervened in the past in similar situations. But, being male, large, sometimes with friends, all factor into this being a very different situation than Jen on a bus.

    Other times I have observed and stayed out of the situation, simply because it was not controllable by me.

  13. joviality says

    Yeah, I’m not blaming you by any means–that’s an incredibly awkward situation. I think if there were an easy way for me to say or do something I would, but it’s difficult. What if he reacts poorly to your interjection in an even more aggressive (to you OR her) way? I’d hate to think I made the situation worse for her by trying to help.

    Tough situation.

  14. Julia says

    I once had a guy interrupt and start talking to me as though we were old friends when some creep tried to pick me up on a bus at 1 in the morning.

    Result: Creepy dude got off the bus at the next stop. Thanked non-creepy dude profusely and made it home without being followed.

    Of course, that technique can backfire pretty badly based on the situation, but I really appreciated it.

  15. Aratina Cage says

    That is creepy! Scary creepy.

    I was just hit on creepily this weekend myself (and I’m male and de facto married [we're restricted from it due to DOAM because he is not a U.S. citizen]). A woman who I had never met before sitting next to me in a public bar-like place went from touching my shoulder to “let’s talk about Playboy girls and their breasts” while gesturing toward her own in, oh, about four sentences.

    Still, I didn’t feel unsafe about what she was doing, just uncomfortable and shocked since it was rude and intrusive and I was there with my husband and we’re gay. AFAICT, the fear in such a situation isn’t the same for me as what I’m learning it is like for women. It certainly hasn’t been as invasive with a potential-stalker quality to it like the example above.

  16. nothanksdude says

    Really similar thing happened to me this week – a neighbor told me he wanted to take me to a pool party as “eye candy” on his arm and he kept touching me awkwardly. Told me I should really “get out of my comfort zone and meet new people,” having no fucking idea that I’ve traveled the world and lived up and down the East Coast and in the Southwest.

    This is, of course, the same guy who, when he learned that I am a journalist detailed the “two stories” he wrote for his high school yearbook and said something to the effect of, “When I used to be a reporter.”

    He was a total stranger, but also lives just a few doors down from me. I couldn’t figure out how to navigate the situation without creating an unlivable situation.

  17. Katniss says

    Speaking as a woman who has been in those situations, I would love for someone to intervene, though I understand why people don’t. But this is one of the few times I’m happy to admit that a guy stepping in and saying “hey, maybe you should leave her alone” would be met with nothing but gratefulness (as long as he then didn’t act like I was obligated to be his BFF forever afterwards or something). Yeah, I can fight my own battles, but the combination of how women are socialized and how people are socialized to ignore a woman’s “no” means that me telling a creepy guy to fuck off is probably going to be less effective than a stranger intervening.

  18. Otranreg says

    ‘I know a lot of guys don’t understand why getting hit on by strangers can make many women so uncomfortable. I hear “I’d love random women hitting on me!” all the time. ‘

    Actually, if a woman came up and to (male) me and tried to hit on me, I’d hold on to my pockets and valuables and look out for her accomplice. Fantasy (and fondling your vanity) is one thing, reality is different.

    I also can’t imagine anyone talking someone up in public transport where I live. Unless that anyone being dead-drunk, perhaps. You wouldn’t talk to someone who sits next to you in a public lavatory, why would you do it in public transport?

  19. QoB says

    Most of the time, I probably wouldn’t do anything to be honest. But if I was close enough, I’d try making eye contact with the woman and then see if I could pretend to know her and stop the creepster from talking to her – as Julia describes.
    Although – I’m a woman too, and a small-ish one, so I’m not inclined to take risks that might turn physically confrontational.

  20. says

    ewwwww

    Ya know, ladies, we can “save” each other from the agony of choosing between being insincerely polite or screaming bloody murder (because we know that “Please stop talking to me I’m not interested in you” can’t work)… by talking to the *woman* in the situation to cut the guy out completely. Just talk girl talk like “Where’d you get those shoes? I was looking for something like that last weekend”

    Unless he has a shoe fetish, shoe-talk will shut him up. And unless he’s got aspergers or some other social deficit, he’ll realize suddenly that he’s not welcome in the conversation.

  21. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    You wouldn’t talk to someone who sits next to you in a public lavatory

    Do we know that for a fact?

  22. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    And unless he’s got aspergers or some other social deficit, he’ll realize suddenly that he’s not welcome in the conversation.

    ….um.

  23. robert79 says

    “Actually, if a woman came up and to (male) me and tried to hit on me, I’d hold on to my pockets and valuables and look out for her accomplice.”

    Haha, I fell for that once, when I was 19 years old and a tourist on a (very) crowded Roman bus. A very pretty girl was practically squished against me and started talking to me. I thought she wanted to practice her English or something, when she got off my wallet was gone.

  24. Catwhisperer says

    In one of the shops I once worked in (there have been many) I was on one occasion trapped behind the cigarette counter with a total weirdo going on about how I should carry his shopping home, and how much I’d like the area where he lived. I – and a string of other customers – heard all about how he was a widower, had lost his wife 6 months ago, and this was the first time he had ever been shopping on his own. He must have been in his late forties and I couldn’t help thinking that if he had not bought any food himself in the 6 months since his wife had died, he must have been living somewhere where the door got locked from the OUTSIDE at night. A lot of people looked fairly uncomfortable through all this, but it was a young woman who acted – she left the queue to find some other members of staff and tell them I needed to be rescued. I was promptly relieved and sent on a break by a large male, while everyone else found things to do at the front of the store.

    The really freaky thing was that we had never seen this guy before, but he came back same day, same time the following week. Security guard was pretty on the ball, saw him and pulled me off the checkout before Weird Guy clocked me, and we never saw him again.

    Aww. I’m actually feeling kinda warm and fuzzy about being so well looked after in that place. Even if the job was crap!

  25. ildi says

    I’ve found that responding with a vague smile to an unwanted question works most of the time.

  26. coragyps says

    “Warrior of Christ?” Holy crap…..

    I have seen this sort of thing a time or two, and sat there like a dumbass looking the other way. I’m old and gray enough now, and maybe brave enough, that “Hey, maybe you should leave her alone?” would sound like grandfatherly advice and might even work, should I find myself next to that situation again.

    Though LadyAtheist is probably on to the best creep repellent – hell, I can barely stand my wife and daughters discussing *shoes*. And I’m not even particularly creepy.

  27. Rich Wilson says

    I hope those who make up a separate identity are creative about it. Like, maybe give out the phone number of the psych ward? The police?

  28. gworroll says

    Sometimes I think I’d like random women to hit on me.

    But if it was something that was constant, that I couldn’t get away from? Yeah… not so much.

    This WoW machinima expresses this pretty well I think.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqTvdz7mv7c

    Or this Jenna Marbles video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwLMM_QBkMc

    There’s some potentially NSFW language in both, especially the second. But while I had a vague idea that being randomly hit on would eventually get old, these videos did a really good job at personalizing it, as opposed to it being some idea I happened to have.

  29. Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach says

    I have intervened in situations like this in the past, although I’m generally pretty hesitant to do it. The most recent was similar to the one you described, except she wasn’t answering his questions, she was telling him to get lost and he was ignoring her.

    I’m not a small guy, and he was pretty quick to take off once I told him to. I was worried about scaring her as well, so I made a point of moving away and going back to my book.

    I’m not sure it was right. It seemed so at the time, and she did thank me. What do you think, I would really like to know, was that the right thing to do?

  30. lorn says

    A lady friend of mine was constantly being hit on by guys. Usually she was quite polite and kind in her rejections. Sometimes even helping guys by giving them hints on how to improve. But if a repeated polite rejection wouldn’t work she was known to state, in a loud voice,:”No, I will no let you suck my toes for fifty dollars. You pervert”.

    She had several variations on the theme. Some of them were both ROTF funny and quite obscene. They always slink off red-faced.

  31. Mike says

    Impressive, but an older man with no front teeth once tried to pick me up by talking about how you could make a crackpipe out of an empty pop can.
    And that was quite possibly the least creepy thing he said in that encounter.

  32. says

    I definitely favor intervention. The times I haven’t (i.e. most times) were because I was scared to do so, not out of any noble intentions. The times I’ve been harassed in public (albeit nonsexually) I’ve always hoped someone would help. I think the key is to not act tough or dominant. Genuine help is appreciated, but if you’re just trying to play the hero to the poor damsel in distress, you risk being the next asshole she hopes will leave her alone.

  33. Ysanne says

    Creepy, definitely.

    I hear “I’d love random women hitting on me!” all the time.

    I guess there’s some truth to this — otherwise this kind of situation when a guy hits on a random women would happen way less often. :-/ Only that this isn’t really a good comparison (totally agree with Alyson’s correction in #9 here), it’s just a sign that some guys may not be especially selective in their choice of sex partner…

    What I find kind of disconcerting is that this kind of hit-spamming seems to work some of the time: E.g. for the guy I met during a two-week diving holiday who simply asked every single woman in the resort if she wanted to hook up, and managed to find one willing to spend the night with him every single day (different women, every time). And it’s not like he was above-average attractive or witty; actually one pick-up line that landed him a hook-up was “You look like an under-fucked squirrel, but I could change that if you want me to.” Yes, he did get smacked a few times. Not nearly often enough IMO.
    At least he did understand “no” (or, typically, “what? fuck off!”) right away and didn’t bother anyone longer than his one line.

  34. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Don’t intervene only on the basis of seeking appreciation or thanks.

    Even if the “appreciation or thanks” you’re resenting not getting really is “appreciation or thanks” and not “a blowjob.”

  35. DeepEddy says

    I once saw a young man tell a creepy old guy hitting on a middle aged woman to “stop hitting on my mom”. The guy immediately got off the bus & the woman promptly thanked the young man (who she didn’t know).

    I suspect a “leave my sister alone” line would also be effective if the woman were younger.

  36. carpenterman says

    Oh, Dog. Holy shitsnacks. As someone who probably looks just like this creep (at least on the surface), I just want to apologize to this poor woman. Then I want to find this jerk and smack him. I hate shit like this… it makes me feel embarrased of my entire sex.
    To all my fellow men: if you witness something like this, SPEAK UP! This is NOT ACCEPTABLE! This sort of behavior must stop, and it won’t stop untill all us decent guys stop giving the assholes our silent complicity. Don’t let anyone tell you “it’s none of your business.” Yes, it is. Civilized men do not let women be harrased and frightened right in front of them. SPEAK UP!

  37. Onamission5 says

    In situations where I am being harassed, your style of intervention would be welcome by me. Interject then back off if the situation resolves– so I know you’re not going to A) take over B) start hitting on me, too. I’ve had that happen!

    All too many time I’ve been that person whose protests were ignored and no one came to my aid, which is a pretty scary situation. Even scarier than getting persistently hit on by someone who seems unstable. I like to at least know that if I am followed and attacked upon exiting the bus, someone has been paying attention and will notice, and might call the police. When people ignore what’s happening to me right in public, I can’t trust that they won’t ignore something that may happen once I’m leaving their presence. If that makes sense. (tired)

  38. says

    I don’t care if it’s me being a “white knight” or whatever, but fuck it, if I see that happening, I’ll intervene. I’m not particularly strong, but I can call upon a reserve of adrenaline and manufactured rage when the situation arises. Then back off quickly into my book. :)

  39. Rob says

    Jen, that’s not only creepy, it’s deeply disturbing behaviour. There are all sorts of red flags waving.

    Incidentally, I don’t regard what you described as “hitting on” someone. It’s plain harassment. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I think of hitting on as being like flirting with intent – it implies a two way consensual interaction where one person is taking the lead. Maybe that’s not how it’s viewed elsewhere.

    Either way the guy was a creep and possibly dangerous in the right circumstances. I’d like to think people would get involved if they felt able…

  40. frankb says

    One time my wife, daughter, and I went to Chicago for a weekend. Our regular hotel was full so we looked around for an alternative. At one hotel a male hotel employee was showing us around one of their building because my wife wanted to judge the accommodations before committing. An incident occurred. A nearby hotel room door opened and a young woman ran out followed by a scrawny guy yelling curses. He was dressed in a shower cap and bath towel. I took a step forward and yelled “Hey!” That distracted the guy and he retreated to his room muttering. My wife was impressed but I didn’t think I was was being particularly brave in that situation.

    But the important thing is the willingness and desire to act, to not stand idlely by. A very simple act can be all that is needed.

  41. KT says

    I think that’s part of the problem though. As Jen describes, the woman, like many women would, responded politely. Because we are socialized to be polite, and instilled with e fear of being “bitches” if we are too direct, often our intent is misread. The man will proceed as if the interaction is consensual because the woman if being friendly enough in her rejection that he can convince himself she is a willing participant in the conversation.

    It definitely speaks to a need for (1) allowing women to express themselves clearly and vehemently, if need be, without being punished for it and (2) expect men to learn to listen to the words that women are saying and hear them, and also understand social cues that indicate someone is uncomfortable. We need both of these because the latter probably couldn’t be expected in extreme cases like the one described in the post.

  42. says

    Jen, and others, what would you think of this: If you were in that woman’s place, and another man offered to trade places with you on the bus (maybe throwing an obvious glance at the creep), would that be a circumspect way to defuse the situation? I’m just throwing it out there as a thought.

    Thanks.

  43. Rob says

    KT

    I agree wholeheartedly. It’s been 20 odd years since I have been in the dating scene (I’m lucky to have stumbled across someone I’m still crazy about) and I don’t miss it. I never looked for polite tolerance from a woman as acceptance or interest. Frankly it had to be more distinctly positive – I really didn’t (and still don’t) want to thought of as a creepy guy.

    I’ve never bought in to the whole “I’m socially inept” excuse/bullshit.

  44. Amavra says

    I used to take the bus/ light rail all the time when I lived in Denver and most of the time it was just fine. But there were definitely HOLY CREEPER FUCK moments. I never had anyone intervene when they happened. I often carried a knife that I would start idly playing with if someone started talking to me or staring at me and making me uncomfortable.

    I got asked my age A LOT because I looked young – mid teens to many people – in my early twenties. And I was honest about that because these people wanted me to be 16. If they asked for my phone number I said I didn’t have a phone. If they asked where I lived I said I couch surfed. I once told someone that I was a witch and lived with a coven. It depends what kind of creepy (mentally unstable types, especially with a religious flair, would not react well to that sort of thing).

    The knife thing helped most of all, and sitting next to women rather than alone.

  45. Mike de Fleuriot says

    Obliviously there where no real men on that bus. A man would have noticed straight away that there was a problem and stepped in to ward off the creep. And continued on his way, that is what a man would have done.

  46. aurophobia says

    A number of times, I’ve had guys follow me to tell me I’m so beautiful (I’m actually pretty average, at best) and to give me their contact info. (One guy went so far as to cross the street and chase after me only to pretend that he wanted to sell me home improvement services. “Are you a home owner,” was his start. “You are a very attractive women,” was his finish. He acted all put out like I was being the rude when for reacting like that was a really creepy way to hit on someone.)

    But yeah….all of my weird creepy stories are *nothing* compared to that story…Just wow.

  47. aurophobia says

    I’ve gotten better at speaking up when people are being creepy to me or others on the bus. Usually it’s enough just to speak up loudly while saying something like, “You need to stop doing X because it is making me/this person uncomfortable.” It gets the attention of other riders and if necessary, you can get the driver involved. Seattle bus drivers are good about kicking people off who are being really inappropriate.

  48. aurophobia says

    Oh, never smile at them when they get creepy! These are people who do not respect and/or understand boundaries and a smile will be seen as an invite. And it can get even creepier…

  49. aurophobia says

    Oh, there was also the time when the guy sitting next to me reached out and touched my hair and said, “Wow, your hair is so beautiful. Have you ever considered shaving your head? Shaving your head can be a very spiritual experience.” I pulled my hair out of his hand and was grateful the bus had just arrived at my stop.

  50. dysomniak says

    “Real men?” Really? This is exactly the kind of bullshit sexist white knight attitude that those of us who actually respect women are afraid of accidentally invoking if we intervene. GTFO with this macho horseshit.

  51. Svlad Cjelli says

    I wouldn’t like random women hitting on me all the time.

    I hate people, though.

  52. says

    This is probably how “pickup artistry” actually works. If someone tries it it with lots of women, they’ll eventually come across one who is amenable to random hookups. I doubt that Greek alphabet based drivel has anything to do with it.

  53. MyaR says

    I second the “tell the driver”. They don’t want creepy guys on their buses, and they do have (and will use) the power to make them get off. I had to do this once in NYC, and I’ve seen drivers do it other times there and in DC. All I had to say was that there was a creepy guy trying to get personal information from me, and I was afraid he would follow me. Once in DC, the driver pulled over between stops and made a guy get off. Generally speaking, drivers seem to take the safety of their passengers very personally, and will do something about this kind of situation.

  54. says

    I’ve actually been there. Back in the 90′s our gang of Cincinnati urban misfits would often spend an evening at the towns awesome gay dance club “The Dock”. Not only was this a more comfortable place for our gay friends, it was well known that a Rum & Coke there was guaranteed to be mostly Rum with a splash of Coke for color.

    Being a single (and lonely) guy at the time, on at least two occasions I was cornered by a pretty aggressive guy who assumed that I was there for more than just dancing. Even when it was explained that I was not interested he persisted, even when I ran into him back at our neighborhood bar. Very creepy and stalker like.

  55. MyaR says

    Huh, I’m pretty sure I didn’t intend that to go there — should’ve been down below aurophobia’s comment #6 (is there a better way to reference threaded comments?). Sorry about that.

  56. says

    Upon reflection, maybe she should’ve said, “You know, the high priestess of our coven SAID I was going to meet someone like you today…”

    But yeah, “tell the bus driver” sounds like the best option I’ve read yet.

  57. lrah says

    I tend to intervene, unless it’s *very* scary.

    Once I greeted the victim as if I knew her and invited her to come sit with me and our invented mutual friends elsewhere. Maybe not always an effective tactic for big, burly guys, but as a woman, it worked like a charm. Just starting a conversation also works.

    I’ve also told off offenders directly, with varying results from sulky silence to being yelled at and insulted (at which point others usually stepped in, too).

  58. says

    This is the reason I stopped going to dances.

    Also, this exact thing happened to me last month at the coffee shop where I like to go to write. I didn’t want to be straight-up rude and tell the guy to leave me alone, because it is a place I go frequently and is near my house. So I was worried I would run into him again and it would get worse.

    Now I wish I’d just told him that I was busy and would appreciate if he would leave me alone.

    And I stopped taking the bus for this reason too. Standing at a bus stop is like wearing a sign saying “HIT ON ME.” Luckily I have the option to not ride the bus. Many women don’t.

  59. says

    The approach is creepy but even something a bit less so over this span of time is clearly harassment.

  60. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    What should people witnessing this kind of situation do? Things like this are generally incredibly obvious to everyone involved – and friends are generally helpful in misdirection or in helping you out of the situation, but what–if anything–should a sympathetic stranger do?

    A cheery, friendly, “Hi, can I interrupt? Didn’t I meet you at ____? ” and then just keep on talking about whatever and if you can, maneuver the target out of range enough to ask them if they need rescuing. If the person is comfortable (maybe it’s a relative) they can say no.

    I, on the other hand, have no problem yelling, “Shut up and stop hitting on me / following me / whatever, you cretin!” at top volume.

    And neuroturtle … knees and crotches are always a great combo. Or pepper spray. Don’t let it get to your door.

  61. Holms says

    Is this a good time to mention what I believe to be the creepiest pick up line ever? Sure does!

    “If you were my sister, we would make incest cool.”

    Yes I am well aware that it is horrible, no I have never used it, it was something some friends and I thought up in response to a talkback radio competition, something along the lines of ‘call in with the worst pick up line ever to win mediocre prizes’. I thought it to be too stupid for words, but it appears ‘Warrior of Christ’ may find it witty.

  62. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    This is exactly the point i was going to make. Dudes who trot out the ridiculous “I’d love for random women to hit on ME!” are only ever thinking of super models they want to fuck – not just any random women who might hit on them.

    AND, they certainly aren’t thinking about being hit on by someone who is (usually) a lot physically stronger – taller, heavier (muscle-wise), etc. And not in spaces/places where they can’t easily escape. They aren’t thinking about the rejected person getting angry or violent upon being rejected.

    So, hiding behind their privilege, it sounds like a great thing. They’re morons, IOW.

  63. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    religious creepers are the worst.

    I was jogging at a local park a few months ago and this dude started showing off – badly. I assumed he was showing off for the skinny baked potato* women who were ahead of me.

    Nope. It apparently was for me because on my next lap I was walking and he sidled up next to me asking if he could run with me. I said I don’t know you, so no. He took that as an excuse to introduce himself. I said nothing else because clearly, my saying “no” wasn’t going to be respected.

    Then he said, “Are you a Christian?”

    WTF? When did it become okay to ask random strangers what religion they are? This isn’t the deep south!

    * that is, overly fake-tanned.

  64. coyotenose says

    As a guy, I do love getting hit on at random. It’s fun and flattering. I don’t even mind when other men hit on me, because it’s still a compliment. But here’s the thing: I’m six feet tall. and have huge shoulders and a build that suggests I’m much stronger than I actually am. People are surprised to find out I never played football. Even though I’m a teddy bear, I accidentally scare grown men sometimes. There is absolutely zero threat from somebody coming on to me unless they are so crazy that they’re a danger to everyone else anyway.

    But y’know what? I used to be small. I used to get beat up just because other kids couldn’t stand that I was smart and quiet. I used to come home and get slapped around and have my hair ripped out. I remember very clearly what it’s like being too small to defend myself, and as a result, I am very fucking careful to try to not make people feel helpless before me.

    People who do this thing that happened on the bus, and people who complain about Rebecca Watson, seem to lack even that much empathy. Do they really not remember being young, or are they just examples of, “If you don’t remember there being too much bullying when you were in school, it means you were the bully”?

  65. coyotenose says

    Leave expectation of reward for (some) religious people. We intervene because we’re empathetic.

    As well, keep in mind that a woman who has just been in a situation where help was wanted or needed is going to be feeling very vulnerable, even if it turned out fine. She doesn’t want another male stranger who has just done something aggressive loitering about and showing a lot of interest in her, and conversing prolongs the intervener’s presence. As well, thanking someone makes you feel more vulnerable, and when you’re in a defensive position, that doesn’t come easily.

  66. Jdg says

    My method at parties where I see this happening is to interrupt him with ‘Hey! Long time buddy!’ and start chatting him up while my wife stages a covert rescue. It’s surprisingly effective, and Lessens the possibility of the woman being suddenly confronted with two men standing infront of her, rather than just one.

  67. coyotenose says

    While we’re on the subject of creepy pickup lines:

    *look into eyes and sigh*
    “Was your daddy a thief? Because you look like you could get stuffed down someone’s pants in a Wal-Mart bathroom.”

  68. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    and also understand social cues that indicate someone is uncomfortable.

    It’s also useful to EXPLAIN these, for the minority of people who genuinely have difficulty with them but are engaging in good faith.

  69. chris says

    It has been a long time since I had any of those encounters. The scariest was when I was walking from the bus stop two blocks from my apartment at about 10pm. Some guy in a convertible car yelled at me from the street “Hey baby, what’s happening” (lame even in the mid 1970s). I just ignored him.

    Then he did a U-turn and came by again, which freaked me out because I wanted to get to my apartment but not have him know where I lived. So I raised my eyes upward, opened my fingers and repeatedly touched my hands together in a perverted “clap” and cried out “The dragonflies are out and coming to get us!”

    He left quite quickly.

    The next time I ran into a creeper was when dear hubby and I played recreational volleyball. After a game some of us went to a tavern near where the games were played. I was walking to a table and some guy tipped his chair back to block my way. I just said “Excuse me” a couple of times, and he did let me pass. What I learned later was that my 6’1″ hubby had given him a very mean glare. Someone else in our group heard the guy mutter “why do the girls with big boobs have to have such big boyfriends?”

    Now I just glare at guys who are creeps near my eighteen year old daughter.

  70. fort nerd says

    I would’ve interrupted this person with, “Excuse me, could you go be the warrior of Christ somewhere else?”

  71. John Horstman says

    You didn’t make the situation worse if it gets worse, creepy dude did by responding badly. I’m of the opinion that not calling this out when one witnesses it constitutes tacit approval, enabling the behavior to continue without the creepy dude fearing social sanction. I understand why people don’t want to call stuff out – we’re ALL socialized to avoid conflict, though women tend to be subject to more and more-problematic versions of the norms – and if one fears for one’s own safety, I think non-intervention is justifiable, but generally, when it’s REALLY clear the person being hit-upon/harassed isn’t into it? Call it out.

    “Dude, cut it out. Harassing people who have made it clear/are making it clear that they want nothing to do with you isn’t cool. Take the monosyllabic responses and lack of eye contact for a ‘no’ and knock it off.”

  72. John Horstman says

    It’s both hitting-on and harassment. They are not mutually exclusive. I’ve been told it’s possible to hit-on women without it being harassment (when it’s welcome), though I’ve never gotten a good answer about how to know if it’s welcome without first trying to start a conversation, especially when so many women, understandably, will not be assertive. (Woman 1: In bars is fine – those are spaces that are understood to be places for people looking for potential dates. Woman 2: No, I go to bars to hang out with a friend or read. In clubs is fine. Woman 3: No, I go to clubs to dance, not to get hit-on by strangers. In shared-activity groups is a good place, like the local environmental clean-up group. Woman 4: No, I go to my economic justice group to do activism, not look for dates. Et cetera.) My solution is to not hit-on women, though I also go years between dating people, a pattern to which this may contribute to some degree.

    At any rate, I think we can all agree that people should take a lack of an engaged response to an initial attempt to strike up a conversation to be a ‘no’. Polite tolerance looks very different than a welcome conversation. A welcome conversation is not going to be like pulling teeth. While the debate around contexts in which it’s acceptable to ever hit on women (or men) will likely continue indefinitely, taking “no” for an answer ought to be an uncontroversial point.

    I would also encourage women to be direct in their rejection, with the understanding that doing so may feel unsafe and also that in an ideal world women wouldn’t/shouldn’t have to do additional work to get men to not be creepy, inconsiderate pricks. This can serve as a cue to potential bystanders who might want to back you up but are unsure whether getting involved is appropriate that help is, in fact, welcome. Obviously one needs to make a call around personal safety; I’d expect a populated, public place like a bus or a bar or coffee shop to be a location in which an escalation to physical violence is unlikely (bar maybe less so?), though I think that someone who’s going to respond to a direct “no” with escalation is likely to escalate anyway, so I don’t know that being direct actually poses any additional danger in the overwhelming majority of cases. Of course, this doesn’t happen to me very much (I have long hair, so I’m occasionally taken to be a woman from behind or from a distance, and I’m occasionally hit-on by gay men), so I don’t know as well as those with more extensive personal experience, or as well as those more likely to be targeted with violence. I do know no one’s ever taken a swing at me for intervening, and I’m not exactly buff.

  73. shac says

    Something like this was happening to a beautiful girl I knew at school. She and I were not friends but I recognized her right away. I overheard sleazy guy trying to pick her up and she told him twice she was waiting for her boyfriend. It was a crowded bar and this guy was really squeezing in tight with her, so finally I said to her “hey! how are you?” and she grabbed at it and said great and then started talking about the self defense class we had taken together (which we hadn’t, but I went with it). I told her how impressed I had been when she flipped the 6’7 dude and nearly gave him a concussion. Her boyfriend finally showed up and guy moved on.

    Personally all us girls should have an agreement…if someone needs help getting out of sleezy/creepy guy’s conversation, they can turn to anyone in the area and start up a conversation about the self defence class they took. And that should be the signal– do not let me out of your site until said Creap is gone!-

  74. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    …I’m amazed that, unless I haven’t refreshed the thread recently enough, we haven’t had a bunch of dipshits defending the guy.

  75. coyotenose says

    Well, sociopathic behavior comes in degrees, right?

    The telling part is that none of them have commented to criticize him either. It means they WANT for Jen and everyone else to be wrong, but can’t actually rationalize a defense. They settle for pretending they didn’t see the post. I (and probably a lot of us) have seen that giveaway non-response many times.

  76. Dalillama says

    Speaking as a dude, I have been hit on by random women, and in several cases it was really creepy and made me quite uncomfortable. Of course, I still had the privilege of not feeling physically threatened, but the point remains that dudes who say that probably have not actually experienced the phenomenon themselves, and therefore should shut the hell up.

  77. Dalillama says

    In tandem with my reply to Illuminata above, I’ve been on the receiving end of such attention from men too, and it is actively frightening when it’s someone significantly bigger than you are (I’m a pretty small dude, so there are a whole lot of men and not a few women who are bigger/stronger than I am).

  78. christophburschka says

    “Sure I could tell you where I live, but then I’d have to kill you.” (Though I suppose that one would only work in a deadly serious tone.)

    This seems to be a great way to deter creepy pick-up attempts; openly showing a weapon might even be effective against potential attackers but that’s impossible to predict.

    (On a more off-topic and nerdy note, “HOLY CREEPER FUCK” is a frequent utterance while playing Minecraft.)

  79. Yellow Thursday says

    I think I can top the “warrior for Christ” line. But I hesitate because it happened on Second Life, where you can mute someone if you don’t want to listen to them any more.

    On my SL profile, I say that I’m agnostic and atheist. The guy used “how can you be both atheist and agnostic?” as an opening bit. So we talked about irreligion for a while. He told me he wasn’t religious, he was “spiritual.” Then he got all wooey. Something about 4 different ways of knowing things, and he could teach me the other 3. And something that sounded suspiciously like astral projection. When I voiced my skepticism, he said, “we should have sex because we’re such opposites.” It sucks that you can’t mute people in real life.

    Wait, no. That wasn’t the creepiest. The creepiest was the guy whose opening line was, “look at this youtube video and tell me if you think I’m a coward for not wanting to box a 10-year-old girl.”

  80. Kevin says

    At the risk of being called a “white knight”, I have intervened in such situations. Not quite as egregiously creepy as this one, but I have been in situations where I told a guy to “knock it off” when it was clear his advances on a woman were not being reciprocated.

    But it’s dangerous for guys to intervene, too. The creep might want to fight you, thinking that you’re claiming “his” woman. You never know what kind of weapon nut jobs might be carrying.

  81. Kevin says

    Was it in Vegas? Are you sure she wasn’t…well…working?

    I’ve been to a lot of places all over the US and the world, and have never seen something like this where there wasn’t an expectation of a cash donation at some point in the proceedings.

    And yes, I have been hit on by hookers. I just say “no thanks”. They completely get it and move on. They’re about maximizing their income, not creeping you out.

  82. Kevin says

    Tell him that you have cervical cancer.

    Or that you haven’t completed the sex-change operation.

    Or that your HIV doctor has told you that you’re shedding virus, so best not to get too close.

    Or tell him you’re having a Crohn’s disease flare-up.

    Doesn’t matter. You don’t owe the guy the truth; because he clearly can’t handle the truth. That being that you’re not interested in him.

    So, pick a lie that you think would creep him out and go with it.

  83. Madouc says

    Of of my most memorable creepy guys was when I lived in London and was enjoying a rare sunny afternoon reading in the square outside my house. Creepy guy and his wing man zeroed in on me and ignored my terse responses and negative body language, and of course being socialised to be polite I couldn’t just tell him (and his larger friend) to go away. And then he complimented me on not being like one of those “snooty bitches” that would have just him to go away, nicely reinforcing the socialisation. Ugh. Ten years on, still cringing.

    And I couldn’t just go home because then he would see where I lived.

  84. coyotenose says

    A lot of people don’t know what Crohn’s Disease is. I’d recommend saying “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” That middle word shuts conversations down pretty quickly.

  85. happyathiestmommy says

    Here’s my personal take on the “white knight” issue: it’s only a bad thing if you’re stepping in and taking over because you automatically assume that a woman can’t take care of herself and wants you to take care of her. Stepping in before she has a chance to open her mouth to defend herself would be the bad sort of white knight. If she’s obviously uncomfortable, trying to get out of the situation but unsuccessful at it, you should help out (just as you should help out someone you see struggling to open a door with an arm full of packages). I don’t see that as taking away her power- just helping a fellow human. I think the rule of thumb is to let people stand up for themselves, then help if they’re struggling (because we all struggle sometimes).

  86. happyathiestmommy says

    I love that idea!
    It is also possible to just out-creep the creepers, but you have to be really prepared to go the distance. You’ll have to be much much creepier than they are. Think lots of twitching, crazy eyes, and asking them about their bowel movements in a loud voice. I successfully managed it on a few occasions when I was younger and willing to try anything for a laugh, but it generally requires some serious commitment and no sense of shame. I doubt that someone afraid of confrontation would want to try that route.

  87. Yojimbo99 says

    I really don’t understand why guys can’t get a hint or clue. I have nothing against hitting on women, but for fuck’s sake, if can’t grasp the concept of a soft style brush off or that you have a cornered person that feels threatened you seem to be lacking some basic empathy.

    I am a big guy myself and completely get the idea that talking to women when they don’t have an easy physical out could be intimidating as hell. Guess I am just a “beta” for passing on an elevator that has just one female occupant or crossing the street to make sure the woman walking back from the grocery doesn’t think I am following her- sound advice from my grandmother. Sadly, that is just the way things are at the moment.

  88. bcskeptic says

    To intervene: probably deflecting the creep’s attention in a non-threatening way to offer the victim a way out is the safest method. You never know what mental state someone is in and/or if they are carrying a knife or gun. On the other hand, if you’re a trained military specialist…

    For the victim. I’ve never been subjected to that because I’m big so this is admittedly a suggestion from ignorance. Elaine’s “a dingo’s got your baby!” as loud as you can perhaps?

    Fucking creeps.

  89. says

    ABLEISM FUCK YEAH! BECAUSE WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT MISOGYNY & CREEPS WITHOUT SHITTING ON A WHOLE DAMN NEUROLOGICAL CATEGORY.

    Seriously, people. Neurotypicals are just assholes. Accept it. Most of these people are yours, not ours.

  90. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Yojimbo99 – see here

    it’s not that they don’t understand. It’s that they don’t like the answer.

  91. Jen says

    Perhaps offering for the woman to join you at your seat is another possible response. Strength in numbers and all that…

  92. ischemgeek says

    Scariest one I’ve ever encountered was on an inter-city bus on the way to visit my parents – this escalated way past where normal creepers leave off. Since the bus was packed that day and the driver was less-than-helpful, I was effectively trapped with the guy, since I didn’t have any way home except for the bus, no later buses would go, and I couldn’t afford to spend the night somewhere to get away from the ass.

    It began pretty much the same as what you’re describing – him asking increasingly personal questions and ignoring my message of “I don’t want to talk to you.” To the point of ignoring me flat-out telling him no in as simple and blunt terms as I could manage. He kept pushing, and ignoring the fact that I told him to stop. Then he’d push more. And he knew that since 1) the bus was packed and 2) the bus driver wasn’t willing to switch me with someone, I was trapped.

    It ended with me blowing my stack when he groped me, elbowing him a few times and screaming profanity at him at full bellow, then getting threatened with ejection from the bus for my troubles (despite having told the bus driver three times about the situation and its progressive escalation). On the upside, the bus driver finally gave me the seat change I’d been asking after for the past three and a half hours, I had several witnesses come forward in support of me, and some men expressed their discomfort with his actions and apologized that they hadn’t gotten involved before it reached that point.

    On the downside, I had to put up with whispers of “crazy bitch” for the remainder of the trip from different men, the company all-but-threatened me and the witnesses who wanted to back me up with being stranded in the layover city if I filed a police report (“these things take time, Miss, and if you miss the bus, you’ll have to find somewhere to stay for the night. You don’t look like you have $200 for a hotel, so are you sure this is what you want to do?”), and that particular bus driver gives me a lecture on appropriate language whenever I have to ride with him. Because groping a teenager on her way to visit her parents in first-year in front of witnesses who back her up? Not even worth a warning from the driver. But cursing at the asshole who just sexually assaulted you? Oooo, don’t do that! Think of the children! *eyeroll*

  93. ischemgeek says

    Oh, and for the record: I do not at all condone the actions I took there. Creeper could’ve been armed, he could’ve been a psycho, he might’ve started a fistfight with me which I was not well-trained enough to win against a bigger and stronger opponent at the time, etc. It was a very dangerous thing for me to do, and I could’ve gotten myself killed with it. I lost my temper and lost control of myself at the time. Yeah, Asshole completely deserved the elbows and dressing-down at full bellow that I gave him, but what if he decided that it was time to pull a knife? I repeat: In retrospect, what I did at the time was not smart.

    Though, given the situation and thinking back on it, I still don’t know what else I could have done, seeing that I’d gone through appropriate channels and was stonewalled three times, and since nobody intervened, I didn’t know that I had allies among the passengers. Maybe camped out in the bathroom stall for the rest of the trip.

  94. ischemgeek says

    At the living-in-history museum I used to work at, we had a code phrase to ask passing employees: “Have you seen Mr McDonald*?”

    Mr McDonald* was a former employee of the place who’d died at least ten years prior. There was no Mr McDonald among the employees. It was code for “this person is creeping me out – get management”. They would follow up with “What do you need him for?”** If you replied, “I need him to help me with something,”*** they’d make an excuse to stay put until somebody came by. If you replied, “I was wondering how his neice’s new baby is doing,”*** it was code that you didn’t feel in immediate danger but wanted management to come by because you were uncomfortable and they’d go get management and come back with them quickly. All employees learned it, and they changed the name every five years and scripted follow-up questions year-to-year. Likewise, calling the office and asking for Mr McDonald* if you were in an area with a phone meant that management should come ASAP.

    *not the actual name used there
    **not the actual follow-up question
    ***not the actual responses

  95. ischemgeek says

    ^ This. Of the 7 people with formally diagnosed ASDs I know, none of them would act in such a manner (one of them’s seven, admittedly, but he’s more likely to yell at you for bugging him than act in a way that would cause the reverse).

    I do, however, know several people who claim ASD to excuse their bad behavior. But in those cases, I’m certain they don’t have an ASD, they’re just assholes (I’m not No True Scotsmaning here: I base teh assessment on the fact that the ones who do this don’t act or speak or move in the way people like my friends and cousin with it do – if you’ve ever known someone with an ASD, you learn to tell the difference very quickly). I strongly suspect that the asshole-to-decent-person ratio in the subset of people with ASDs is no higher than in the general population. In my experience, people who genuinely have ASDs are way more often thought of as strange, standoffish, cold, odd or weird by the general population than they are thought of as creepy assholes.

  96. ischemgeek says

    The difference between White Knighting and helping is thus:

    Imagine you’re at work, and you hear a coworker mutter curses about something frustrating. They’re trying to do something you know how to do.

    Do you a) sweep in and do it for them without giving them a chance to figure it out on their own and do it themselves? or b) wait until it’s apparent they are on the wrong track and then offer help, fully prepared to accept their decision if they insist on figuring it own on their own?

    If A, you’re white knighting. If B, you’re being helpful. I give two relatively extreme examples when it’s really more of a continuum, but in short: Respect that the other person is a capable person who might not want help by offering the help instead of forcing it on them and you’ll likely avoid white knighting.

  97. says

    I’ve been on either side of this situation. A rider intervening on behalf of someone, a rider being pestered by someone without the help of someone to intervene, and a rider with the help of someone intervening.

    1) In the first situation, I said to the creep, “Hey, I’m paying attention to you. She said stop. There are cameras here, they’re taping you too. No foul if you just stop right now.” it seemed to work out. The guy got up and moved further to the back of the bus.

    2) Without intervention, “I’m not interested. I’m moving to the front. If you follow me, I’ll report you to the bus driver.” I was not followed.

    3) With intervention, “Look. People have noticed that I’m not interested and you’re bothering me.” I felt a lot better knowing that riders were paying attention, and I reported the incident to the bus driver as I exited. In that particular situation, the bus driver recognized the creepy person and told me he was watching him too. Maybe he had been a problem before?

    Personally, I wouldn’t keep to myself about a person ranting or muttering weirdness about a passenger who had exited the bus. It might not come to a head at that time, but reporting leaves a trail for law enforcement to follow something happens in the future. For example, the guy assaults someone completely unrelated, a bus driver remembers someone pointing out weird activity on a previous route. His bus had surveillance. They now have more leads than they would have had without a previous report/complaint.

    I think each person should decide for him or herself in the context of the situation if it would be wise or helpful to intervene directly. But everyone can report.

  98. CT says

    Yeah my partner thinks this is really creepy as well. He has had this happen a few times.

  99. says

    I also had a *nice* situation on the bus recently. Suffering from bad ocular migraines with aura. On my way to a diagnostic doctor appointment, I sat in the front of the bus at the first forward facing seat. A guy got on and recognized someone sitting in an aisle facing seat in front of me. The new guy grabbed the seat behind me and started up a loud conversation over the top of my head, which felt like someone screaming in my ear…

    After about 3-5 minutes, I politely turned around and mentioned my migraine, that I was enroute to an appointment and I didn’t want to vomit on anyone, then laughed. They guy’s eyebrows raised, he apologized, made a quick joke in a hushed voice. And there were about 3 other people who had heard me mention the discomfort. Individually, they wished me well or gave me a sympathetic nod. And the rest of the ride was peaceful.

  100. ttch says

    I seem to recall some recent FTB entry where a guy defused an escalating argument on a bus or subway car just by going up and standing between the would-be combatants while continuing to calmly read his book.

    However my Google-Fu was inadequate to find it.

    This might not be a possible tactic in all situations but it has the advantage of not confronting anybody.

  101. says

    Or that you haven’t completed the sex-change operation.

    Awesome, invoking transphobia to combat sexism. BTW, it’s called sex reassignment surgery now.

    Or that your HIV doctor has told you that you’re shedding virus, so best not to get too close.

    Yeah, capitalizing on stigma against people with AIDS, that’s another great weapon in the fight against oppression.

  102. David Marjanović says

    I know a lot of guys don’t understand why getting hit on by strangers can make many women so uncomfortable.

    I find it very easy to understand. It’s classical middle-school bullying – except for the added rape threat, that is.

    My solution is to not hit-on women, though I also go years between dating people, a pattern to which this may contribute to some degree.

    How about becoming friends first?

    Standing at a bus stop is like wearing a sign saying “HIT ON ME.”

    *culture shock*

    are they just examples of, “If you don’t remember there being too much bullying when you were in school, it means you were the bully”?

    Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  103. Happiestsadist says

    Yes, because trans people, people with fucking cancer (nice, slut-shaming implicit in there, BTW), and the HIV+ (Ooh! More slut-shaming!) are disgusting, creepy and deserve revulsion. Hey, it’s not like they’re regularly targets of hate crimes for those very statuses or anything!

  104. says

    I am aware this is actually boring and youre simply skipping to the next comment, but I recently wanted to throw you a big thanks! We really discovered this on yahoo, and im happy Used to do. Ill definitely be finding its way back

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