Changing The Creepy Guy Narrative

Today’s must-read narrative, about one too many creepy guys on a subway.

So a thing happened to me yesterday on the BART as I was coming home from work. (And no, it wasn’t a Sharknado…mores the pity.) Maybe I’m just rewriting history or trying to make a story fit in this the context of this blog…maybe, but I really, honestly think that what happened did so (at least in my case) because I am a writer.

via Writing About Writing (And Occasionally Some Writing): Changing The Creepy Guy Narrative.


  1. Terrene says

    I like that the writer fellow spoke directly to the creep, talked about him and him only, kept the focus on him and him only. The young woman wasn’t part of the exchange. She wasn’t being rescued, she wasn’t being protected, she wasn’t being dragged into the ‘story’ as had been the creep’s intention. This was all about the creep and his behaviour. One guy to another. A fine example of how this could be done, I think.

  2. hoary puccoon says

    There was an especially lonely time in my life when I thought maybe I’d meet somebody nice on Chicago Transit. But I soon found out any guy who would come on to a woman on the El or a bus was a creep. (Apparently all the nice guys had long since discovered that coming on to a woman who was just trying to get home from work would creep her out.)

    After a while, I discovered that if I got on to a half-empty bus or train that then filled up, so that I’d have to have a seat mate, I could choose who it would be. I’d watch people get on with that closed, bored expression people use in public, look for somebody I wouldn’t mind sitting with, make eye contact for a split second, and look immediately away, without changing my bored expression. My target person would almost always sit down next to me. I would have loved to ask them why they chose that seat, and whether they were consciously aware I had signaled them. But the whole point was that I looked like somebody safe who would leave them alone. So I kept my part of the bargain, and did leave them alone. I usually wouldn’t even make eye contact again.

    My first choice of target group was respectable-looking middle aged women, with a slight preference for women of color, who might be wondering which white person to sit by. (I am white.) If there weren’t any likely women, my second choice was a respectable-looking middle aged black man. A middle aged white man might think he was entitled to my time and attention, but black men always were scrupulous about respecting my space.

    Not as exciting as almost getting punched out, but that’s another glimpse into the drama of riding public transit.

  3. coffeehound says

    # 4,

    I soon found out any guy who would come on to a woman on the El or a bus was a creep.

    Agreed, in general. There is a rare exception, though.
    I have a 35 year old nephew who is mentally retarded and being being 35, fancies himself as having quite a way with the ladies. I have yet to find a woman who agrees with that self assessment, but we’ve tried talking to him about walking up to women he doesn’t know, and it’s a work in progress. He’s harmless and most of the time it’s realized he’s a special case, but it’s still stressful if you’re on the end of his monologue and of course they have no way of knowing he wouldn’t harm anyone. The cognitive challenge of getting him to retain and internalize the idea that he can be annoying and intrusive is the thing, but he’s improved.

  4. Anonymous Female says

    One day on BART, when I was in my mid-twenties, I dozed off and woke up to find a man staring at me white he masturbated. And we’re not talking pocket pool; he had his penis out of his pants and was jerking off. And staring directly at me.

    At first I was so shocked I just said “put it away.” Then I realized that if I didn’t do anything more, I would feel crappy and slimed all day. So, just before I got to my stop, I said really loudly, “I can’t believe you had your dick out jerking off on BART!”

    And I got off the train, leaving him there in a car full of people who knew what he had done.

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