On Labeling Men “Creepy”…

This started off life as a reply to a comment in my recent column about the Manosphere and taking responsibility for your own fate, but since I’ve been received more than a few comments – including many that I’ve deleted from various kooks, chucklefucks and the occasional blatant troll – on the “laziness” of women, the unfairness of labeling men “creepy” and the myriad hurdles that women supposedly throw in men’s way over the course of a social interaction, it’s time to address it directly.  I’m going take time out of my vacation to drop some knowledge on the subject, which I’ve seen repeated during my ventures into the manosphere, Men’s Rights groups and anti-PUA forums.

Pay attention, school is now in session.

First and foremost: I’m sure there have been men out there who have been unfairly labeled as “creepy” by women who were offended by the temerity of an unattractive man who approached her.

Well, I feel bad for you son, but fact of the matter is, some people are just assholes. Shit happens, wear a hat.

The fact that some people are assholes does not invalidate what I’ve said before:  to be a woman is to live with the threat of danger in ways that men do not have to.

As much as some people would like to try to disassociate women’s experiences with the all-too-common encounters with men who see women’s bodies as public property or the ones who feel that a woman’s mere presence is incitement to harass/threaten/grope/assault with dating, seduction, or day-to-day social interaction, the cold hard truth is that it’s impossible. 78% of the victims of sexual assault or sexual violence are women. 1 in 12 women will be stalked in their lifetime. 1 out of every 6 women has been sexually assaulted or endured an attempted assault. This is the background noise of what it means to be a woman on a day to day basis.

Every woman out there – save those who have lived such sheltered lives that one wonders where the hell they’ve been hiding – lives under the potential threat of harm in ways that men simply don’t. Thus: women have to develop their Spidey-sense. Labeling someone as “creepy” isn’t about women being lazy and forcing men to jump through hoops to earn the right to get her phone number. It doesn’t mean “I’m not attracted to him” or that she’s throwing obstacles in his path. It means “This man’s behavior or attitude represents a heightened threat to my person.”

He may not mean to cause her discomfort, nor may he actually be a threat, but for whatever reason, his behavior indicates that he does not seem to be willing to acknowledge her boundaries, whether physical or psychological. Attempts to re-define creepy or to remove it from a woman’s lexicon is effectively telling her “you don’t have the right to trust your instincts when it comes to your own safety, because my desire to approach you is higher than your personal comfort.”

Part of what engenders this attitude – that somehow women are lazy and using “creepy” as a way of putting men unfairly in their place is the idea that somehow the relations between genders is confrontational and combative.

This is one of the aspects of the Pick Up community that I see frequently and it’s one of the reasons why men who try to get better at dating (the original raison d’etre of this blog, as you might recall) are often seen as socially awkward losers; it’s guilt by association. The idea that trying to approach a woman and foster a relationship, whether sexual, romantic or otherwise, is about running a gauntlet of challenges and obstacles that women deliberately put in men’s way is part of what causes women to refer to men as “creepy”.

Here’s a hint: I don’t give a shit what Pat Benatar said, love’s not a goddamned battlefield.

Coming into the interaction with the preconceived notion that you have been rejected in advance and that you have to fight your way into her good graces inevitably colors the your behavior, tone and body language; in effect, you’re sending off many, many signals that you’re already angry and resentful, which is going to put any woman on the defensive.

The memes that women are always conscious of social status and are looking for reasons to reject men who dare to approach them unless they prove that they are somehow worthy entered into the conversation – especially where dating advice is involved – because of The Game and the early pick-up community; Mystery, Style, Tyler Durden and the others started off trying to pick up the supposedly “hottest” women in the world: the ones they were seeing in dance clubs and trendy bars. Small wonder they kept running into women who were looking down their noses at them: these are locales that attract and encourage people – not women, people – with elitist “what can you do for me lately” attitudes. The whole appeal of these clubs is their exclusivity; if you can’t get past the velvet rope without waiting in line, what good are you?

Like a deep-sea fish dragged up to the surface, this approach to dating falls apart as soon as you apply it to anywhere outside of this incredibly specific arena. Trying to neg the barrista at Starbucks because you think she’s pinging your social status doesn’t show that you’re a man of high standing who doesn’t need to seek her approval, it shows you’re an asshole. Trying to prompt compliance through car-salesman tactics such as the “yes ladder” with someone you met at a bookstore is both creepy and unnecessary; you should be more concerned with showing that you’re a cool and interesting person, not whether or not you can get her to do a little spin for you.

Quit looking for shit tests, bitch shields and social status games. Sometimes a joke is a joke and not her attempt to drop your social value. Sometimes a penis is just a goddamn cigar.

Don’t want to be labeled creepy? Then start spending more time thinking about how you make women feel. Want to prove you’re not a creeper? Start examining your behavior with women and fucking change it. Trying to put the onus of proof – that you’re not creepy – on women is at best misguided and at worst insulting and potentially dangerous for them. 


Gentlemen: do you feel that there has been a time that you were unfairly or falsely labelled as creepy? Did you accidentally creep someone out without intending to? There’s a thread specifically for your stories on the Dr. NerdLove Facebook page. Your responses will help contribute to a follow-up article.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Dr. Nerdlove.

  2. THANK YOU.

  3. THIS. Thank you. :)

  4. Brilliant!

    Also, I don’t know why, as I’ve read tons of your articles, but the emphasis in this article about the combative approach to dating really set off a light bulb with me. Even though I’m a woman, I suddenly realize all the ways I am combative when interacting with guys, even my male friends. Wow, complete corner-turn realization for me. Thank you thank you!!

  5. OH HELL YEAH

  6. Once again, the behavior of a few bad eggs ruins things for everyone else.

    See also: going through security at an airport

  7. Adore this article. So necessary. As a woman, it is refreshing to read-

  8. *clap*

    *clap*

    *clap*

    On a related note, I found that, for me and many of my friends, we had much more success with women and relationships in general when we stopped looking in elitist clubs and trendy bars, and instead went places that we enjoyed. Lo and behold, females were there, also enjoying the same thing! A common interest! Oh joy and elation!

  9. It’s getting redundant at this point, but THANK YOU. This really spoke to me. I am a woman who hangs out with mostly nerdy guys; many of whom have poor and evolving social skills when it comes to dating, flirting, etc. But I find those poor skills/confidence/whatever alone in no way affect their ability to respect my wishes and boundaries as long as I am honest about them; they’re genuinely nice guys who accept ‘no’ without prejudice. Except for ‘Dave’. I am in a common-law relationship with fellow nerd ‘Mark’. Dave (a decade-long mutual acquaintance) comes to our home for a group dinner; he touches my arms and back in a very intimate way. He makes a phone call to his room mate and jokes that he is currently going down on me (as we’re eating dinner). He touches my hair and tells me it’s beautiful, soft and would look better if my shoulders were bare. My boyfriend and I are consistently asking him to back off and finally ask him to leave. Later, Mark confronts Dave and tells him his behaviour is inappropriate and he needs to respect my boundaries. Dave laughs and chides my boyfriend for being jealous and casually promises not to ‘edge in on his territory’. Dr, when you wrote “you don’t have the right to trust your instincts when it comes to your own safety, because my desire to approach you is higher than your personal comfort.” – I thought of this instantly. This dude is a bona fide creep who even saw my boyfriend’s ‘possession’ of me as even more legitimate than my discomfort. Yet I was an “icy, stuck-up bitch” for telling him that we couldn’t hang out again if he kept touching me.

    • Paul Rivers says:

      “Yet I was an “icy, stuck-up bitch” for telling him that we couldn’t hang out again if he kept touching me.”

      This is a funny thing about the way women think – as a guy, if another guy was some doing something that really ticked me off, and I told him that we weren’t going to hang out any more if he kept doing it, I would never start off viewing his angry verbal response as legitimate. I would start assuming anything he said was emotionally charged trash talk. I might momentarily consider whether it had any meaning, but – that’s about it. A half second of consideration.

      He called you an “icy, stuck-up bitch” because it seemed like the most effect insult – and for *no* other reason. Or I should say, no other *legitimate* reason at least.

      • And the fact that he thought that required an insult isn’t a legitimate reason to be wary? Being genuinely confronted on something that makes someone uncomfortable is not cause for “emotionally-charged trash talk.” As a guy, if one of my guy friends responded that aggressively to being told in earnest to stop, I probably wouldn’t hang out with him regardless of whether he stopped doing whatever it was that he did to instigate it.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Gurges, I'm kind of confused. You said the same thing I thought I was saying – that this guy's response was being a jackass…

          • Hi Paul, are you saying she shouldn’t be bothered by the insult because it came from a jerk? Because that’s not really how that works in my experience. It doesn’t matter who calls you names, it is going to hurt. Especially if that ahole just violated your personal space and then deferred to your boyfriend because you weren’t good enough to take seriously. It is almost literally adding insult to injury. And since women have been conditioned over centuries to believe that if you refuse a man’s advances you ARE an icy bitch, the insult is felt even more deeply even if the rational part of yourself knows it isn’t true.

      • I think what bothered her is that when her boyfriend called 'Dave' on his behavior, he did not get called names – he got told his territory would be respected, even if it is along with some teasing. However, when she herself requests that 'Dave' respect her personal boundaries, she gets called an “icy, stuck-up bitch” – both responses are jerktastic, but one is a jerk response to someone you consider an equal (the boyfriend, Mark, whose 'ownership' of the Kristi Dave apparently acknowledges), and the other is a jerk response to someone you don't think has the 'right' to tell you to back off, even though Kristi is obviously the one whose authority should trump Mark's.

        Thought I would clarify that as I do think you may have misunderstood – she's not mad he said stupid stuff as he clearly is stupid, she's mad he's treating the person who is not her as the person who has ownership of her.

  10. Paul Rivers says:

    “Then start spending more time thinking about how you make women feel.”

    See, the thing is – this is *exactly* where my non-creepy and genuinely nice “nice guy” friends got tripped up at.

    What is the most common emotion that women give off when a guy they like talks to them? We’d all like to think it’s “happiness and excitement”. :-) We guys *love* that emotion from a girl. :-)

    What they often give off – is nervousness and apprehension. Yes – nervousness and apprehension. Yes – I’ve had 2 girls directly tell me that this is their emotional reaction when they really, really like a guy, and watched it happen again and again and again.

    How does a girl who’s creeped out act towards you?
    1. Nervous
    2. Apprehensive

    How does a girl who really really likes you act towards you?
    1. Nervous
    2. Apprehensive

    This nervousness and apprehension usually goes away after one of two things happen:
    1. You make it clear you like her back
    2. She stops finding you attractive

    From my perspective, this is why you get the following situation…

    Nice guys react to this by trying to make the girl stop feeling nervous. What’s one way to make sure you don’t make her nervous? Well – be less attractive. Be far more passive, less assertive, communicate it in your body language and clothing, in your ideas – etc etc. Be more pleasing.

    And sometimes they think that they’ve succeeded – because woman stop being nervous around them! I say this because this is *exactly* what happened to me. At some point I realized I was very good at making women feel comfortable, have fun, and feel good – and not want to date me. They *loved* me as a friend, as a “I’m totally sure there’s a guy out there for you to date!…I mean, I think you’re attractive, but *I* won’t date you, but I mean I know there’s *someone* out there for you…a girl would be lucky to date a guy like you…”.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    On the other side of the coin is the guy who’s creeping girls out. Now yeah, in this group, there are some guys who one should genuinely be creeped out by. But there’s a group of these guys – let’s call them “the socially awkward” – who resist changing their behavior because – on some level – they realize that *some* women who react nervously to them do it because they like them.

    Assuming for a moment that all women think Ryan Gosling was hot, let’s say that Ryan Gosling unexpectedly into a room filled with early teenage girls who think he’s sooooooooo dreamy. What would the reaction be? Half of them would mob him – the other half would freak out and run off to the other side of the room and try to hide. “Oh my gooooooooooood! It’s Ryan Gooooooosling! I’m so nervous – I don’t even know what to say to him! OMG OMG OMG – is he COMING OVER HERE????”.

    Think of the amount of nervous energy that would be generated in the room!…

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    This is one genuine dilemma socially awkward guys face – how do they differentiate between their behavior causing a nervous positive reaction, or a nervous negative reaction?

    • Paul Rivers says:

      My main point being – unfortunately, when the only thing you think about is “how you make women feel”, you usually don’t end up dating her either.

      Though I would note that although this is how the old me would have interpreted this (wrongly), it is not actually what is written:

      “Then start spending **more** time thinking about how you make women feel.”

      This advice is aimed at guys who seem to not care how a girl feels when they freak her out. It’s not aimed at guys who are already bending over backwards to figure out. (Other parts of advice could be aimed at them, but not the part about needing to worry about it *more*).

    • “Ryan Gosling unexpectedly into a room”

      Some people might snarkedly point out your typo; I think you just invented my new favorite phrase.

      “So we were all hanging out, having a good time, when suddenly Ryan Gosling unexpectedly into a room!”

    • "Think of the amount of nervous energy that would be generated in the room!…"

      That made me lol! And it's true!

      However, there's a way to make a woman who's nervous and apprehensive less so without removing yourself as dating potential. Being outgoing, opening up a bit in casual convo, giving her clear signals that you like her without putting her on the spot (unless you're talking one on one), etc– that makes them more comfortable with you as a person, but it might just make them even more nervous about trying to impress you.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        Yuki – lol. :-)

        Totally agree with what you're saying.

        • Anthony says:

          It's not always possible, but one can learn the difference between scared nervous and excited nervous. I wouldn't say I'm the best myself, but I think the smile is usually most telling. A scared nervous smile is going to be very different than an excited nervous smile.

    • I think “nervous apprehension” comes in two different forms.

      When I’m creeped out I tend to physically distance myself as much as possible while still being subtle, responding only minimally, and if I smile it’s extremely politely and reluctantly. When I really like someone I’m still nervous but I just generally smile like a dumbass.

      In both case I’m nervous, but in the former I’m clearly uncomfortable. Of course, I don’t claim to speak for all women =P

      • Paul Rivers says:

        Good news is, “so nervous I can’t even talk to him” is something I see a lot in single girls, seems like “nervous and causes me to smile and laugh a lot” is something I see a lot more in girls who don’t have nearly as much trouble dating. :-)

  11. thank you, doc. whit all those new laws and bills degrading women, that happen recently, it’s so comforting to see an understanding place on the internet. i’ve seen too much hateful content today. this article makes me feel a lot better. thank you

  12. Firecat says:

    Sorry…posted early. But if you don't realize that YES, in those situations, those women are, at some level, thinking about their safety, YOU HAVE NO CLUE what it is like to be a woman.

    Seriously, you have NO idea. Just for a moment, think about what it is like to need to, at some level, be concerned for your safety every minute of every day. Because if something happens, people will not blame the person who hurt you, they will blame YOU.

    How many times have you heard or read variations on: She shouldn't have been there/done that/had that drink/gone out with him/worn that? However many times you've heard or read it, the average woman has heard it more. And trust me, we know that people will be just as quick to latch onto something we supposedly did "wrong," should someone rape us.

    Look up some statistics on how many women are assaulted, raped, and/or killed by men they know, particularly men with whom they are or were involved. And think about what that means.

    • but you know there are people who love or adore a girl badly that they do silly mistakes out of crazyness.. and can still be called creepy

      • So, then you respond by backing off and leaving that woman alone, and learning how not to make silly mistakes out of craziness the next time you're very interested in a woman.

  13. I'm aware of rape statistics, but why would women be concerned with their safety in situations where it's not even relevant? Why would she worry when all indicators point to there being no danger?

    It's like I asked earlier, why aren't everyone going around worrying about everything at all times? We are reminded of terrible and valid things to be afraid of on an almost daily basis, just like you are suggesting women learn of other women being subjected to the violence of men. Why are none of the other things relevant? Why isn't every ethnic group that is overrepresented in crime statistics also in the back of womens heads? Why not other forms of terror? Why only men?

    • StoneGirl says:

      Why? Because it's always relevant. Our safety is *always* relevant.

      Rape isn't just some guy jumping out of the bushes or pulling you into an alley. Want to know why it's always relevant, check out http://jezebel.com/5929544/rapists-explain-themse
      and http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/x6yef/

      Terrifying shit.

    • @Ancom – because it's not always obvious what situations are "not even relevant". I don't know what you're trying to imply here, because you clearly don't understand sexual harassment and sexual assault. Anywhere where there are people is somewhere where sexual assault can happen. It can happen in a close group of friends, school, work, and even for some people, within the family. "Why would she worry when all indicators point to there being no danger?" Obviously, because we live in a culture where sexual harassment and assault happens anywhere all the time and idk… maybe because she just doesn't feel safe. You don't experience those situations in the way women do. What you experience as "no danger" could be to her"this guy's friend who was brought to this party keeps tugging on my shorts and grabbing my ass. Everyone sees it and thinks it's harmless. fml". And your claim about minorities…

      this doesn't even make fucking sense. The reason women are overwhelmingly afraid of men when it comes to violent or sexual crimes is because most of the time, THAT"S WHO FUCKING DOES IT. THe ethnicity isn't important because it could be anyone. But on that note, we do, of course, live in a racist world too. So, people do sometimes feel the need to claim that minority men are more likely to commit violent crimes. No matter what though it's men that do those things. OF COURSE WOMEN ARE FUCKING GOING TO BE AFRAID.

    • It has happened to me before where I was friendly to a boy on one occasion, despite him coming off as "creepy," and he then proceeded to stalk me for the next two years. I was never nice to boys that I was uncomfortable with again, the risk isn't worth the reward.

    • S.E. Dufresne says:

      Sometimes, even though all indicators point to there being no danger, you still get the feeling that something is not right. And its better to play it safe. I'm not saying you should run away screaming or call the cops, but definitely get out of that situation. Sometimes that feeling is all a woman has. And gut feelings are often right, There are very few situations where safety is not relevant. Rapists and serial killers go everywhere that we do. You never know where they are going to see the next person they are going to fixate on.

    • ilovetherain says:

      Seriously? Think about it. Most men are stronger than women. Even when we aren't actively worrying about our safety, we keep tabs on who comes across as "creepy". And what makes you think other factors aren't relevant? But this article is ONLY addressing one part of a factor. Just saying.

    • Safety is always relevant. In every situation. Unless you are alone behind locked doors, it is a danger to be aware of. You wouldn't think walking to your car in a busy parking lot was dangerous, but for women it is. Men don't have to think about why that guy is just sitting in his car alone. He could be waiting for his wife to come back or he could be waiting for a woman to get into one of the cars parked nearby to get into her car alone.

      It is not only men that are a danger in the back of women's minds. Men are just the most common danger to women. You, from your perspective, assume that there is no reason to be alert to it. But you aren't thinking about it from the perspective of the one at risk. From a woman's perspective there is a potential for rape in each of these situations:

      In your dorm room asleep.
      Alone with a trusted guy friend
      In a parking lot
      Alone with a male relative
      Walking/jogging by yourself down a street
      Behind closed doors or in an infrequently used room at work
      In the women's bathroom

      Mass shootings and robberies could occur in each of those situations, but they aren't nearly as likely. That spidey sense of "creepy" can be a very valuable thing.

      • If you don't want to be labeled creepy, try to pay more attention to your own actions, the environment around you, and how they can be perceived by the person you are approaching in combination.

        Approaching a woman in the parking lot at night is highly creepy. Could be that you just got off work too and couldn't catch up before she left the building, but the woman you approached doesn't always know that. She knows that she is alone, its dark, there is a man coming towards her, and that many women have been abducted and raped in that same situation.

    • Women's safety is always going to be relevant to women. At all times. You probably don't wait until you see a car coming at you to put on your seatbelt, do you? Women are always on guard, because if they get raped or harrassed society will tell them it was their fault.
      It's not just 'something to be afraid of', also. We're not talking about sharks or lightning strikes. Physically, men pose a very real danger to women and when women are surrounded by potential dangers at all times, they are going to be concerned with their safety at all times. It's not just mindless "worrying about everything". Women are taught from an early age that men just can't control themselves and that they will be expected to protect themselves or deal with it. Not worrying is what society says will gets women raped/killed, and 99.9% just aren't willing to take the risk.
      Also, men are not an ethnic group.

  14. Anthony says:

    In reply to Ancom (because this nesting frustrates me sometimes):

    I really shouldn't answer this, not being a woman, but – I don't think it's a constant fear for one's life, but a constant awareness of threat. I live my life every day aware of the threats around me, and do my best to curtail anything that could happen. When I'm biking down the road, it is very possible that a car is going to swerve and kill me. So I wear my helmet and I pay attention. But far, far less bikers are hit by cars than women that are sexually assaulted. So, no, a female CFO doing daily reports isn't going to feel threatened because no one is there with her. But the clerk at the store is definitely going to be watching for danger (and she also has the threat of robbery to worry about, but that's not relevant right now). And depending on how the guy acts, she may ask him to leave or get someone else to escort him out or call the cops. You keep going back to the way the guy feels – he thinks he's timid, nice, and respectful. That is not necessarily in line with what his outward actions are portraying. If he is quiet, constantly fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, and wearing an overcoat, what will people think of him? Is he timid and reserved, or is he nervous because he is working up the courage to pull out his gun and rob the place?

    There is the idea of Umwelt that our world is defined by our senses and how we perceive it, so our reality is different than that of, say, a cat or a rabbit. Well, the same is true for people. My reality is different than yours because I will react to things differently. We all have our own realities. So part of this problem is that the reality that women are living in does not match up with what men are trying to portray. That dude with the overcoat is cold and shy, not crazy and desperate. But the idea that he's crazy and desperate probably seems so far-fetched to him that it isn't even on his radar. So if he reaches in to his pocket suddenly and someone gasps, he's completely taken aback and possibly offended. It would seem that people are naturally fearful, and women far more so than men. Frankly, that's evolution. The scared survive. So the original scared humans are the ones who passed their genes on, and we've got those scared genes living inside us now. Because of the world we live in, there are different things that we're programmed to be scared of. Women have the very real possibility of being assaulted, so they are very understandably scared of it. You're attempting to belittle their fear by saying it's their job to make people who make them uncomfortable feel better. It's not. It's also not the timid dude's job to worry about how the woman feels. It's totally his prerogative to act as he wants, and forget anyone who thinks he's creepy. But if he's going to come back and say, "But I'm not creepy! Love me!" things change. Now he has to understand that if he wants something from someone else, he's going to have to earn it. And part of earning something from anyone is by deserving it in their mind. Doesn't matter if he feels he deserves it, he has to earn it from them.

    As for your final point – it would be very nice if society changed so that everyone felt love and affection all the time. But are your basic expectations different from that person who grew up without loving parents? Personally, I might give them a little wiggle room, but I expect everyone to respect me, so that goes for the people who had less than ideal childhoods as well. A shockingly large number of people grew up in situations that are less than ideal and didn't get the support that they have throughout their lives. I am all for helping them in any way I can, but they have to help themselves first. A person that grew up with shitty parents can't blame the world for their problems, and they need to prove that they deserve sensitivity before they are just given it. I'm going to treat them with respect, but if they do something to lose my respect, I won't care how they grew up. Now the onus falls upon them to earn it back.

    I'm not saying to disregard this issue, but I do think you're not trying to solve it in the most constructive way possible. Men can't force women to start showing their 'appreciation' for us. It feels like that is along the lines of what you're proposing. Instead, we need to empower men so that they can earn the appreciation. Women need not be involved in the empowering part. It certainly wouldn't hurt, but men need to be able to earn that right before it's actually granted.

    • *applause*

      Mainly, thank you for making such an effort (and successfully, I think) to understand where we as women are coming from. And for making the distinction that people can do whatever they want until they want to interact in a certain way with others. Then it's their responsibility to figure out how.

    • I wrote a reply to ARC below which explains why I reacted to this article, and it probably answers most questions you might have regarding my comments.

      In short I have a problem with how condescending and unsympathetic articles like these are of the male view when it comes to approaching women. It’s an indirect “man up” to a group of people that are effectively taught from childhood that they aren’t worthy of attention from the opposite sex while perpetually having to prove that they are, in combination with an indirect shaming of the whole male gender for “possibly being creepy” or “possibly being abusive.”

      As I explain in my reply to ARC I think womens’ reluctance to approach men have everything to do with being too comfortable with social traditional norms, and nothing to do with rape culture or slut-shaming.

      This is not to say that mens’ issues should overshadow womens’ issues and I’m also not expecting either of them to change overnight from whining a little on a dating blog, but I think it’s getting kind of annoying to see these articles being so unsympathetic of guys who are already struggling in the dating world to get the attention of a gender that is largely ignoring them while already feeling shitty about themselves, and acknowledging that there’s a human side to male behavior in articles that are also shaming them I think would be a good first step in changing things for the better.

      • Anthony says:

        I don’t know if you read my last paragraph, but I agree with the fact that there are inequalities in the dating world right now. But you are kinda simplifying a very complex issue. Yes, women are the ‘attention receivers’ and men are the ‘attention seekers.’ Those two roles aren’t the only ones that are present, and neither of them is simply positive or negative. There are significant downsides to women being the ‘passive’ members of the dating scene, and downsides that would be far more present in men if they were all of a sudden the ones being approached. The problem that you’re specifically focusing on is the fact that most men don’t feel desired. I don’t know how good of a definition ‘most’ is, but I agree that this happens. Your assumption is that most women are desired, and I think this is false. No, not as many women have issues with being desired as men do. But I think a pretty big part of the population at large does. Maybe not women who go to bars or clubs often, because they are getting constant reinforcement of the fact that yes, they do have boobs and a vagina. Which is also a very big problem – women aren’t desired for anything else aside from the fact that they are women. That’s not a positive thing. It’s not individual or personal, and it causes lots and lots of psychological issues for men and women.

        I see your point that things could be worded differently in articles like this. But articles like this also aren’t approaching the issue from the same angle that you are. They are approaching the very real issue of danger for women. No matter how you feel about society and the dating scene, how you approach a woman is important. It’s not an excuse to say that guys are lacking love, and that’s why they fuck things up and come off as creepy. Every individual has control over their own actions. Men can take steps to not act creepy. Could it be put in a gentler way? Yes, probably. Does it need to be? It’s one of the hardest things in the world to take a critical look at oneself. I don’t know that being gentle helps. I don’t know that being harsh helps, either. I do know that honesty helps, and honesty does usually come across as harsh. It’s incredibly good advice to say that one should examine their own behavior.

        I think this is a point where we will differ, though. The individual is responsible for his or her own behavior. Yes, we can help them, and we can be understanding. And I will always try and help people and understand where they are coming from. But, ultimately, they need to make improvements. It’s no one else’s responsibility to make sure that you feel loved. As nice as it is, you still have to be open to that love before you can receive it, and I think a lot of people are not. And the attitude that you deserve it? That’s definitely not one that makes people want to love you.

  15. Look, I'm a woman, and just about the only time I'm not actively thinking about my safety is when I'm in my own home with the door locked. Even then, I sometimes get spooked out. Basically, if I'm totally solitary in a place where there's no chance at all another person could enter.

    A woman who's completely solitary and feeling safe (including a CFO alone in her office) isn't really relevant to a discussion about a woman being approached by a strange man. I have NEVER been approached by a man I didn't know, or even one I knew but not well, without thinking about my physical and/or emotional safety.

  16. I'm sorry, Paul… This reply confused me.

    Are you saying it's kinda "Eye-for-an-eye" or just that he had no idea why he was being attacked so rebuffed with something similarly hurtful but not meant because he didn't think she meant what she said…?

    • James (Thortok2000) says:

      The point is, the guy has already lost respect because he's doing something creepy. Why respect his opinion at that point? Why should anything he does or says bother you in the slightest?

      • Because calling her an icy Bitch ups his threat level even further. That's why she cares. That guy would scare the crap out of me.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        James had it right with what I was saying – I'm not sure how this goes around and around.

        Maybe I'm misreading what she meant in writing it? Maybe she's saying 'this guy is such a jackass, this is what he said" – if that's what it is, then I agree with her.

        I sounded to me like she was halfway going "omg, am I really a 'icy, stuck up bitch'?" to which my feeling was "why are you taking this guys insult seriously?". But – maybe I misread what was meant when she said that?

        • Paul – it's possible she did indeed wonder "omg, am I really an "icy, stuck-up bitch?" That's because she's been trained since she was old enough to wear a pink ribbon put in her hair by a loving mommy that "Girls are NICE." Even those of us who fight against stereotyping have internalized that nonsense to some extent. And plenty of women/girls who actually ARE nice get shocked the first … few times they're called "bitch" by some guy who didn't get what he wanted from them – sex, a sandwich, a smile in passing, whatever it was he felt entitled to. And because many women HAVE internalized that bullshit assertion that it's up to women to make the people who harass them feel more comfortable.

  17. Thanks, Doc, for this article. I know it's been said, but I wanted to chime in.

  18. Paul Rivers says:

    “First and foremost: I’m sure there have been men out there who have been unfairly labeled as “creepy” by women who were offended by the temerity of an unattractive man who approached her.”

    Well that’s the question, right? What’s the ratio?

    I agree that completely dismissing the idea of creepy is invalid.

    But the problem nowadays, is that the term “creepy” is bandied around like girls bandy around the word “slut”. When I was in high school, if a girl called a guy creepy – you could almost always see what she meant. It was a word they didn’t use lightly.

    “slut”, however, was a word so commonly used for anything, that to anyone who paid any attention, all it meant was that the girl who used it had some sort of beef against the girl she was using it against. Girls would occasionally call other girls “sluts” over stuff like – that the other girl said she wasn’t going to study more for a test, but did anyways.

    One or two years ago, I was called “creeper”…twice? 3 times? maybe 4 times – by 2 specific girls. Now, these were girls in my social dance scene who would come up to me and ask me to dance – clearly, someone who actually finds me creepy does not continue to seek me out to dance with.

    But when I ran into one of them at a very public dance thing with music that I went to but decided not to dance at (so I sat at the back so people wouldn’t ask me to dance) – creeper! Same thing happened at another, different event. When I slowed down my car to say something to one of the girls while I was leaving the dance – creeper! To them, it was like a fun, play word, that they were so excited to get to use they used on any vaguely-applicable situation.

    I don’t disagree with the concept, but nowadays it’s bandied about like it’s nothing to call someone that. I have no doubt girls are calling guys “creepy” for the slightest social faux pau, including “daring” to try to flirt with a girl who thinks she’s to good for you.

    • “Creeper” is specific to certain behaviors, I believe (I’m a little too old to use it personally, but it’s what I’ve noticed from my college-age brother’s friends), and it’s not necessarily an indictment on one’s character the way “creepy” is.

    • Paul Rivers says:

      Just posted on my facebook feed:

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Bored? Want to creep on one of my finals?

      And done before dinner. BOOM. haha

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      • Paul Rivers says:

        Oops, looks like the commenting system dropped any less than sign stuff. Meant to post:

        xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        Bored? Want to creep on one of my finals?

        (link to final)

        And done before dinner. BOOM. haha

        xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Anthony says:

      The two situations that you described were actually incredibly instructional instances. They were women that already knew you, so they knew what you were already like. They were pointing out behaviors that, if they didn’t know you, would cause them to label you as a creeper. Not to mention, the instances that you were being called a creeper were not you being turned down for a date. And, depending on how you were acting, it may have not been vaguely-applicable. I’m not saying they did feel threatened, but rather you were doing something that could have. Now, there is a slight difference between creeper and creepy, aside from one being a known and the other being an adjective. I think creeper is the term that is tossed around lightly. That is how it has been among my friends. We’ll call each other out on being creepers, usually in jest and often for behavior that is maybe outside societal norms, but totally acceptable in context (just a random example: quietly waling up behind a friend and breathing on their neck [two guy friends, just screwing around with each other]). But we don’t often call each other creepy unless the person is actually being creepy in the sense that they are setting off some kind of alarm in our head. In the social circle that I’m talking about there aren’t as many female members, and they don’t appear at events as frequently, so I’m working mostly on male experiences. But, this is how I’ve experienced the difference, and I think that might be where a lot of the disconnect is.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        Another – excellent followup – however. Try to reconcile what I wrote:

        “But when I ran into one of them at a very public dance thing with music that I went to but decided not to dance at (so I sat at the back so people wouldn’t ask me to dance) – creeper! (I wanted to add that this was a public concert, not a dance-specific thing – 90% of the crowd was not dancing, so I wasn’t even being odd by not dancing.) Same thing happened at another, different event (again, a not-dance-specific thing). When I slowed down my car to say something to one of the girls while I was leaving the dance – creeper!

        And what you wrote “I think creeper is the term that is tossed around lightly.”

        With what the article said:

        “Don’t want to be labeled creepy? Then start spending more time thinking about how you make women feel. Want to prove you’re not a creeper? Start examining your behavior with women and fucking change it. Trying to put the onus of proof – that you’re not creepy – on women is at best misguided and at worst insulting and potentially dangerous for them.”

        You’ll notice that the article uses the word “creeper”, not “creepy”.

        Should I have “fucking changed” (the exact words from the end of the article, that’s why I’m using them) my attitude that if I didn’t feel like dancing at an outdoor concert, I could listen to the concert and not dance with every girl there? (Had I gone up and said hi to the group, they would have acted as if I was being rude to not dance with every girl in the group.)

        Should I have “fucking changed” my attitude that I could say hi to a few of my friends at another public concert without needing to dance with every single girl who showed up?

        Should I have “fucking changed” my attitude that I could slow down in my car, roll my window down, and say goodnight to a girl I’ve known for a while? I was *in my car* – was a giant pair of hands going to grow out of the side of my car, pick her up, and throw her in my trunk???

        • Anthony says:

          No, you didn’t need to change that behavior. Unless someone actually said you to that they felt threatened, no, don’t worry about it. But I want to return to the thing that I pointed out – these aren’t situations where you’re looking to attract a female, presumably. Definitely not the car one, and I think if you were looking for find a lady-friend for the night of the dance, you would have been dancing and looking to interact. And I also want to return to the point that these are women that you know. This whole creeper/creepy thing has been brought up because of approaching strange women with the intention of looking for a date, drink, casual sex, long term relationship, or marriage. Not what you were doing.

          If someone else was in those situation and was actively looking to meet a woman, he could be labeled as creepy or as a creeper, and I don’t really see a problem with that. It can be super threatening for a woman to have some random dude slow down his car and roll his window down to talk to her (very uncomfortable side note: I slowed my car down to ask someone who looked just like my roommate walking towards our house if she needed a ride – when I realized afterwards it was not her, I felt incredibly uncomfortable with myself – I really hope I didn’t scare her). I don’t see any reason why a woman shouldn’t be on her guard in that situation, and I do think it is fair to call a stranger, no matter their intentions, who does that a creeper. I was an unintentional creeper for that moment, and it’s one I won’t soon forget. I’m not sure if you think that shouldn’t be a threatening situation for a woman because of your response, but it would seem that you do. If so, you are wrong. I imagine you could ask that question of any woman and probably more than 90% would say it’s threatening and scary. And if you’re getting women to admit the opposite, honestly I’d believe they were lying to you before I’d believe that that situation isn’t scary. Hell, it can be scary as a dude if a car rolls up on you and you’re all alone.

          Also, the article used the word creeper once. It used creepy every other time. So, overall, it is addressing creepy and not creeper. I can’t guess why creeper was inserted once at the end; that’s a question for the writer.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Anthony – but that's what I'm saying. I didn't say creeper is never valid, I said that –

            "I don’t disagree with the concept, but nowadays it’s bandied about like it’s nothing to call someone that. I have no doubt girls are calling guys “creepy” for the slightest social faux paus".

            I actually don't remember if they called me "creepy" or "creeper", it was one of the two. But if they called me creepy in a "could have been creepy but clearly wasn't" situation, then clearly they're just bandying about the term without much thought about whether it should really apply or not.

          • Anthony says:

            Pulling up along side anyone in your car, especially at night, is creepy behavior. Even if the woman knew it was you the entire time, it's creepy behavior. It doesn't matter how well you know her, you could turn out to be a sociopath ready to prey on his next victim. How in the world is she going to know that? You are grossly underestimating this scenario if you think it's the 'slightest social faux pas.' That's on top of the fact that you don't get to decide what is creepy for other people.

            I want to repeat two points – these aren't situations where you're looking to attract women, and these are women that know you. That seriously changes how you should act in the situations. Behavior that might be considered creepy for a stranger might be okay for you, because you know her. And if you were looking to pick one of them up, you were not doing it the right way. These are scenarios where a stranger could very well have set off their 'creep-o-meters.' You're trying to say that they called you creepy or a creeper and it didn't mean anything. How do you know that? You stopped, right there, and asked, "So, what do you mean? Do you feel threatened? If someone you didn't know was acting like this, would you feel threatened?" I highly doubt you did that, so you have no way of knowing whether or not they are just throwing words around without any meaning to them.

            Among friends, it usually is nothing to call someone a creeper. However, it's usually used in scenarios where it DOES FIT if it was a stranger. No, maybe they don't actually think you're creepy. But they are giving you a heads up that someone who is acting like you that they don't know would be very creepy and threatening. Especially the car thing. I still stand by what I said that creepy and creeper usually have different meanings, depending on the social circle, with creeper being the one that is less serious. But that doesn't mean that either word loses any meaning when dealing with strangers. That's the part where we are having a big disconnect. You're trying to tell me that your friends say creeper all the time when they don't mean it. However, you don't know that they don't mean it. And there are so many different things going on among friends that you simply can not apply the same rules.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            “You’re trying to say that they called you creepy or a creeper and it didn’t mean anything. How do you know that?…I highly doubt you did that, so you have no way of knowing whether or not they are just throwing words around without any meaning to them.”

            There’s a point where you’ve spent enough time around women, and especially *specific* women that you can to tell the difference. I have other stories – but in these other stories, I didn’t post because I’m not as 100% sure it was not about the supposed threat level at all.

            One of them (where I was just sitting there enjoying the music) said it under her breath as she walked away, in that “just loud enough that I know you’ll hear” way. But what was I going to do to talk about creepiness – jump up and run after her and raise theoretical creepy level?…lol

            I understand where you’re coming from, and honestly – if it had just been one time, I might have given it the benefit of the doubt. But 3 times, and I was there, and I knew these girls – this wasn’t about threat level. If circumstances weren’t different, could it have been? Sure.

            It doesn’t escape my attention that under a different set of circumstances, with different people – these situations could have been creepy. But I posted them exactly because, being there, and knowing the girls, I am confident that they weren’t in these specific cases.

            I’ve run across other situations where my behavior could have possibly been called creepy – a couple of weeks ago I ran out to my car to get something, on my way back I ran into this cute girl walking out to her car. Unlike the previously mentioned situation, we weren’t practically in front of the place. There weren’t a bunch of other people around. In this case, we were alone on the street, I didn’t know her well, I had to walk right next to her, and there was no obvious reason for me to be out there – a completely potentially creepy situation. And did she call me creepy? No…I don’t know if she thought it was creepy or not, but frankly, this one was definitely a situation that I could have seen someone thinking “creepy!”.

            But this is my point – I’m not saying women should ignore their *feelings* of a guy being creepy, but in my experience, a girl most often *calls* a guy creepy when she feels that he’s not a real threat to her. When she really feels like he’s a threat, in my experience she usually doesn’t say he’s creepy – sometimes she leaves, or insist on leaving – she’ll take action, but bizarrely, she won’t call him creepy…usually.

            The article insists that if a girl calls you creepy, you should “fucking change”. It insists that you should “Pay attention, school is now in session.” But not only – in my experience – do women call men “creepy” when they know they aren’t a threat, but later in this post I’ll get to why eliminating “potentially creepy” behavior from the way you do things doesn’t work either…

            “But I want to return to the thing that I pointed out – these aren’t situations where you’re looking to attract a female, presumably. Definitely not the car one”

            Actually…I kind of was trying to flirt with her. And here’s what’s funny, is that within the next 2 weeks she followed me out to *my* car. (It’s a long story unrelated to the other events, but by that time I had decided I didn’t want to date her).

            “and I think if you were looking for find a lady-friend for the night of the dance, you would have been dancing and looking to interact…And if you were looking to pick one of them up, you were not doing it the right way.”

            LOL!

            Let me describe 2 situations that come immediately to mind:

            1. A guy, at a public event, runs into a girl who stood him up for a date through the personals 6 months ago. He talks to her, acts nice, and at the end of the evening follows her out to here car and tries to kiss her.

            “creepy”, right? Potential stalker/killer/rapist??? – actually, they’ve been dating now for 3 years.

            What if he hadn’t gone with her out to her car? She had already flaked on him at that date before. It’s seems *extremely* unlikely she would have shown up again.

            2. A guy meets a girl at a party. He’s never met her before. After some conversation, he suggests they go back to his tent and have some drinks. They make out heavily.

            “Potentially” creepy situation? For sure. In fact, this is the kind of thing that’s actually led to girls I’ve known being raped.

            However, this is the story that led to a male friend of mine who had previously had somewhat terrible luck with women dating the girl, getting married to the girl, and now they’re having a (planned) baby. They say their marriage is great, and it seems great.

            What if he hadn’t successfully made *some* sort of move on her? I have little doubt that it would have been the same story I’ve gone through a bazillion times – they would have exchanged numbers or info, he would have tried to contact her, she may or may not have written back, several parties later she would have shown up with her new boyfriend and been super excited to talk to and hang out with the previous guy!…now that he no longer had a shot with her.

            I have a few other stories, but basically – up to and including my freshman year of college, I knew people who hooked up in “safe” situations, but since then, I don’t know anyone who crossed that line from friends to dating (sometimes crossing the line was just a kiss) in a situation that *couldn’t* be described as “potentially creepy”. No, wait, I take that back, I think I know *1* couple who has.

            In other words – eliminate all *potentially* creepy behavior from your personality – and you *also* eliminate the behavior that usually crosses the line from light flirting to actually dating.

            *This* is the kind of stuff that turns guys into “nice guy”‘s that women like as like as they’re not dating them. They try really, really, really hard to eliminate everything from their behavior that women complain about – and unknowingly also eliminate the things that they need in order to date. And that’s not a “diss” – most of the “nice guy”‘s I know are genuinely well meaning people (apparently there’s other groups out there that behave the same way but have different motivations – I don’t know).

            It’s funny, I *have* seen the other side of this a few weeks ago. This guy was bugging this girl I’m friends with and was sitting next to – he’s being aggressive, assertive – but he’s just not quite doing it right. It’s just coming off as to pushy, and really really annoying. I can totally see this guy being called creepy, and someone wanting to say “Start examining your behavior with women and fucking change it.”

            But that doesn’t change that I’ve seen women bandy about the word “creepy” for situations where – similar to what you said – the girl didn’t feel any real threat at all, but had the situation been totally and completely different, then under completely different circumstances it *could* have been a creepy situation. But if these girls said something to me – who they knew and clearly felt comfortable with the rest of the time – I can only imagine how much they must be using it for guys they don’t know well and it just means “I want you to go away, maybe because you’re unattractive, maybe because I’m just in a bad mood, maybe because I find you actually threatening”.

          • Anthony says:

            I agree absolutely that women aren’t going to call someone they find a threat creepy to that person’s face. That doesn’t mean the person that they do call creepy isn’t actually creepy. I posted farther down, and I’m not sure if you’ve read that one, yet. But I’m not going to repeat myself just because there is so little space here for a response.

            Every single situation involving a man and a woman has potential to be creepy. There are no ‘safe’ situations. If your friend who followed the woman to her car was acting in a way that she didn’t feel comfortable with, then she could have done something about it. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. That interaction probably didn’t look creepy at all. I doubt many people who didn’t know either of the two of them would observe that night and say, “Wow, he’s being creepy.” The alcohol and dating thing was covered a lot in that other article, but essentially: mixing lots of alcohol and attraction is potentially catastrophically bad behavior. If they were both only a little buzzed and she felt really good with the guy, then, no, it’s not creepy.

            When I said that the women would feel threatened in a different situation with a different guy, it’s because we have very definite facts of how the situations went. Without knowing the actual facts and individual details of the interactions that your friends had, it’s impossible to say that they are or are not creepy. Every interaction has the possibility for being creepy, and it’s all about how you act. The women who called you out clearly did not like the way that you acted. Maybe they didn’t feel threatened, but they were letting you know that your behavior didn’t fly with them. Now, the motives behind that are different – the ones at the dance could have just been upset that you weren’t doing as they pleased. Until you provide damn good evidence otherwise, the one in the car was actually probably threatened.

            It seems like you are confusing creepy behavior with sexual behavior. You are saying that guys can’t cross the line with women unless they cross into the creepy zone. That’s false. They won’t cross that line unless they are willing to act sexual. You can do that without being creepy. Yes, those scenarios can be handled in a very, very creepy way. But it’s not inherent to the interactions. In fact, if you asked all of the women that you know that are in relationships, when the guy finally made his move, I guarantee that the women felt comfortable with him at that moment. There are certain creepy behaviors that one might use to further along an interaction – invading personal space being the main one. But you would only do that if you’re a huge risk taker or you know she is ready for that kind of interaction. People in relationships act all the time in ‘creepy’ ways that would be creepy if they didn’t know each other or feel comfortable.

            I get that 3 times you were called out as being creepy or a creeper and you are certain that there was no threat involved. Well, the car thing there was (until you prove otherwise), so we’re left with 2 situations. But I did write a lot about that in the other comment that I left that is at the bottom of this comment section.

          • Anthony says:

            Just to clarify my last point – this article is addressed at guys who open up with the creepy behavior. The guys who invade personal space before they’ve gotten the go ahead from the woman or well before she could ever feel comfortable with it. The men who do that after it is okay are not creepy. They are making their move. It is the ones who do it before that are creepy. I can’t think of any other behavior that can be called creepy that one would use to possibly make a move, but the same rules apply.

            The situations where you were called creepy have to be defined differently because you already knew the women. I think I might change what I said before. Women aren’t going to call a strange man creepy. Not to his face. They will call someone they are familiar with, who they are reasonably sure isn’t actually a threat, creepy when he’s acting in a way that they aren’t okay with. That could be (and, I think, usually is) when they feel threatened. You are proposing the opposite, and, again, my other post at the bottom went into more detail about that.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            “You are saying that guys can’t cross the line with women unless they cross into the creepy zone.”

            No, I said that it’s difficult for guys to cross the line with women unless they cross in to the *POTENTIALLY* creepy zone. A zone where *they* aren’t being creepy, but under different circumstances, with different people, what they’re doing *COULD* be interpreted as creepy.

            “They won’t cross that line unless they are willing to act sexual.”

            Yes. But where can you act sexual with a girl? It’s highly taboo to do so in almost all public situations. You need to be alone with her, and most “it’s just a girl and a girl alone” situations can be described as “potentially creepy”.

            “In fact, if you asked all of the women that you know that are in relationships, when the guy finally made his move, I guarantee that the women felt comfortable with him at that moment.”

            LOL! If I knew you in person, I would seriously bet you $1,000 that this is not the case.

            I started asking. At first I got a lot of stories about how “wonderful and magical” their first kiss was, how romantic it was when they first met, etc etc etc.

            But then I started:
            1. Watching what actually happened – well, as best I could
            2. Asking the *guys* how they first met
            3. Befriending girls and – once they started seeing me as a frustrated nice guy (and I mean that in the sense that I was genuinely trying to treat women like they thought they wanted to be treated)

            I started getting very different stories. “comfortable” was almost NEVER the emotion. “nervous” was the emotion. I don’t have time to write them all out, but again, and again, and again women described how nervous they were when they felt attraction to their future husband, but didn’t know if he liked her back or not. Or, often, they just felt nervousness and couldn’t put their finger on why exactly, they just knew they liking a guy made them very nervous around him. I’ve actually watched it happen now – female friends tell me this, they go from being comfortable around me, he comes over and talks to them – and they turn into a nervous wreck.

            “You can do that without being creepy.”

            I just want to be very, very clear that I never said you should “be” creepy. I said you have to do things that could be redescribed as “potentially creepy under certain circumstances” – but the girl doesn’t actually think you’re being creepy when you do them.

            “Yes, those scenarios can be handled in a very, very creepy way. But it’s not inherent to the interactions.”

            Then we agree. :-)

            “There are certain creepy behaviors that one might use to further along an interaction – invading personal space being the main one.”

            Actually, this is my point again – you usually need to do “potentially creepy” behaviors to further along the interaction. If she’s genuinely creeped out by them, then – you’ve almost certainly done them wrong.

            “But you would only do that if you’re a huge risk taker or you know she is ready for that kind of interaction.”

            Again with the “potentially creepy” thing, lol…

            “People in relationships act all the time in ‘creepy’ ways that would be creepy if they didn’t know each other or feel comfortable.”

            Exactly! :-)

            “But I did write a lot about that in the other comment that I left that is at the bottom of this comment section.”

            It takes time to write these responses, I just started with the one at the top, lol.

            “The guys who invade personal space before they’ve gotten the go ahead from the woman or well before she could ever feel comfortable with it. The men who do that after it is okay are not creepy.”

            As I said, I’ve struggled for years to figure out why my feelings of wanting her to be comfortable before I make a move on her has consistently resulted in absolutely *no* positive results. The key in your phrasing is “ever feel comfortable with it”. I’ve finally figured out and watched it happen enough to see – when a girl likes you she’s rarely comfortable around you until she knows that you like her back (and even then sometimes she isn’t). I don’t know why this is, I’m sure there’s rare exceptions, but waiting for a girl to be completely comfortable around you to make the first move is a surefire way to make sure you’re waiting until you’re not interested in her and you’ll get rejected.

            I’m not kidding. I came to this conclusion from listening to other people, but then I looked back on my own experience – in the women I’ve dated, only 1 was even remotely “comfortable” when I made a move on her. In fact, with the last girl I dated I had started to track this. One day when I was driving her back home, for the first time, things were really comfortable and enjoyable. They were really great. I really felt like “wow, this is how dating should be”.

            Then I realized – this means that she’s decided she doesn’t want to date any more. Sure enough, I dropped her off and she gives me the “I don’t think we should see each other any more, but we should still hang out” bit. It was like clockwork.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had *girlfriends* be completely comfortable with me. But that was *after* they knew that I liked them, we had gotten physcial, and they had decided I ranked into “boyfriend material” for them.

            “The guys who invade personal space before they’ve gotten the go ahead from the woman or well before she could ever feel comfortable with it. The men who do that after it is okay are not creepy.”

            It’s the same quote, but I just reread it and it’s possible I agree in general – you specifically said one or the other here – either gotten the go ahead, or before she could ever feel comfortable with it.

            I agree. However, waiting for *both* at the same time is also often a recipe for disaster. Getting a go-ahead from a woman who you have not actually got physical with before (even if it’s just kissing) is…relatively rare, and even when they think they gave you the go ahead, a lot of times it’s impossible to see it until *after* you’ve seen it a few times because the signals are so small and obscured. This video that someone else posted in another thread is a pretty good description of that particular thing:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I_Vaw9MbOI&t=1m30s

            “I think I might change what I said before. Women aren’t going to call a strange man creepy. Not to his face. They will call someone they are familiar with, who they are reasonably sure isn’t actually a threat, creepy when he’s acting in a way that they aren’t okay with. That could be (and, I think, usually is) when they feel threatened. You are proposing the opposite, and, again, my other post at the bottom went into more detail about that.”

            I’m glad to see we’re having a discussion, so people can restate what they’re saying, or change their mind. :-)

            I’m a little confused about what you mean here, though –
            “They will call someone they are familiar with, who they are reasonably sure isn’t actually a threat, creepy…That could be (and, I think, usually is) when they feel threatened.”

            Are you saying they’ll tell the non-threatening about the potentially threatening person being creepy?

          • Anthony says:

            So, I’m going to just write out what I understand from what you’re saying:
            Man meets woman and the initial interaction ins’t one of rejection. Things progress, and now the man has to make decisions. When and where does he make his move? What kind of move does he make? Your dilemma is that he can’t make a move without being it being potentially creepy. Which, I agree is 100% true. I don’t agree that it has to be alone with the woman. There are things that you can do just after meeting someone: a hug or touching her arm, in the wrong context, are incredibly creepy. But used in the right way are perfectly acceptable moves that ‘up the ante,’ so to speak. The line between creepy and assertive is razor thin, at best. I’m certainly not the best at telling the difference, and really the only thing that can help is just practice. That video that you linked is funny, and true (and true for everyone in all scenarios – guys might show their emotions more in a situation where they like a woman, but we all do this, and it’s kinda funny in a frustrating way). But there are still cues that can be picked up on. Everyone will use different cues, of course, and, again, it’s just practice.

            As for the comfortable thing – we’re using two different definitions of the word. I was saying comfortable in the safety sense – the “Well, I don’t know for sure, but I think he’s not going to harm me” way. You’re saying comfortable in the way that they don’t feel the need to impress the other one anymore. And you’re right with everything you said. It’s just not what I meant. But you are definitely right – in a funny human quirk, we seem to surround ourselves with people that we don’t need to impress, as a safety net. But those people are also not usually the ones we would pursue romantically. This is a very interesting topic, and very pertinent to dating.

            As for what you were confused about:
            “They will call someone they are familiar with, who they are reasonably sure isn’t actually a threat, creepy…That could be (and, I think, usually is) when they feel threatened.”

            They will call someone creepy to their face if they are familiar with that person, and they are reasonably sure that person won’t react in a dangerous way. If they don’t know the person, they won’t call them creepy to their face. I’m just kinda throwing this idea out there. I don’t know one way or the other, but I feel like it’s true. If only because of the fact that most people won’t say negative things to people they don’t know for fear of a bad reaction.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            “Your dilemma is that he can’t make a move without being it being potentially creepy. Which, I agree is 100% true.”

            Right, that’s what I’m saying – that eliminating all “potentially creepy” behavior from the way you act also eliminates almost all behavior that you need to go from friendly behavior to dating.

            In fact – taken to the extreme, you couldn’t even date – how creepy is it to wake up in the morning to find someone else lying next to you??? (creepy or not obviously depends on whether that’s someone you know or expected to be there, lol).

            “I don’t agree that it has to be alone with the woman. There are things that you can do just after meeting someone: a hug or touching her arm, in the wrong context, are incredibly creepy. But used in the right way are perfectly acceptable moves that ‘up the ante,’ so to speak.”

            But they don’t cross the line into dating. Girls hug me, touch me, etc right in front of their boyfriends and he doesn’t go “what are you doing???” – it happens all time. But – even she reached up and kissed on the lips – THAT would be a problem. That’s generally the line into dating – kissing someone. You’re right that you can escalate before that, but if you want to actually cross the line into dating (or sex)…you can escalate, definitely, but definitely crossing the line usually requires being somewhere alone.

            “As for the comfortable thing – we’re using two different definitions of the word. I was saying comfortable in the safety sense – the “Well, I don’t know for sure, but I think he’s not going to harm me” way. You’re saying comfortable in the way that they don’t feel the need to impress the other one anymore.”

            Oh, you’re totally right. Unfortunately, I often find it annoyingly difficult to tell the difference…

            “But you are definitely right – in a funny human quirk, we seem to surround ourselves with people that we don’t need to impress, as a safety net. But those people are also not usually the ones we would pursue romantically. This is a very interesting topic, and very pertinent to dating.”

            Yeah, it’s kind of a whole topic of it’s own…lol

            “They will call someone creepy to their face if they are familiar with that person, and they are reasonably sure that person won’t react in a dangerous way. If they don’t know the person, they won’t call them creepy to their face. I’m just kinda throwing this idea out there. I don’t know one way or the other, but I feel like it’s true. ”

            Right, that’s how it looks to me.

            What’s annoying is that you end up with this system:

            Not Called Creepy:
            – Creepy Guy who seems threatening

            Called Creepy, and Ostracized as Dangerous:
            – Socially Awkward Guy
            – Shy Guy
            – Arbitrary guy when a dramatic girl is in a bad mood
            – Socially Super Annoying Guy – the guy who at least did something to deserve it, even if it’s often (though not always) not quite the right label
            – “A very tiny bit possibly actually threatening” guys

            Anyways…I’ve written way to much on this already, lol. It’s just one of those weird social constructs – on the one hand, I wholeheartedly disagree with anyone who’s trying to claim that women should ignore creepiness, or b.s. like that. On the other hand, if you’re actually called creepy by a girl (different than her feeling like you’re creepy but her not saying anything) – odds are heavily that you aren’t actually potentially threatening at all, more in the socially awkward / shy / girl drama category, so one shouldn’t really take it *to* personally (unless several different people start calling you that, then it’s definitely a problem)…it’s just weird.

            Anyways, I’ve written way to much on this blog entry, lol. It hasn’t kept me from doing other things during the week, but time to spend my time thinking about other things. :-)

            Thanks for writing back. :-)

          • Anthony says:

            We’re at a place where we understand each other, and the things we disagree on, we will just disagree on. I still hold true that either your evidence that ‘creepy’ is being used improperly is either far too narrow to be a good judge, or you are missing what is being seen as creepy. The main thing is this – socially awkward and shy guys can do a lot of creepy behavior. So you may look at a socially awkward or shy person and see them for what you believe to be the truth, whereas a woman can look at the same scenario and see creepy behavior. The reason than they may get called creepy to their face is because it is a lot easier to get rid of a more passive-seeming person with a word like that. No one wants to anger the guy who seems like a bull ready to charge, so a woman might not use creepy every time it should be used. But, like I’ve said, I just don’t think women often use it to belittle men who they dislike.

        • Just for the record, a guy coming up to a girl very slowly in a car is a huge threat alarm. You are vulnerable to harm while he is not. He's got the balance of power in every category, the car is bigger, faster, more powerful than you, and it can trap or kill you. Girls are taught early to fear and avoid any car moving toward them slowly. It sets off our abduction alarms.

          Any guy, even a close friend approaching me slowly in a car would make me as a girl extremely uncomfortable and yes, I would let that guy know I felt it was creepy. Next time drive away normally and flash a wave.

          As for the not dancing, I don't know what was going on there, but a guy that usually acts one way suddenly being standoffish and watching silently from a corner with an intense look on his face feels like a potential stalker and also sets off alarms. Of the two, creeper behaviors under debate, this is the lesser of the two, and if they are young girls, they may be adjusting their creeper detector, but the car is a creeper move, dude, sorry.

      • Anthony,

        " I think creeper is the term that is tossed around lightly. That is how it has been among my friends. We’ll call each other out on being creepers, usually in jest and often for behavior that is maybe outside societal norms, but totally acceptable in context "

        Thank you for explaining creeper versus creepy. I think that was very much needed in these conversations, and you hit the nail on the head for the difference. I think the only thing I would add as far as men versus women is the threat level difference. What is "outside of societal norms" for the most part is seen as a threat by women. It may be ok in the context of people that are already close to eachother, but if you are just meeting someone anything in that range is cause for alarm for women. (though I have to admit if one of my friends came and breathed on my neck it would most likely creep me out for the rest of the day)

    • I have seen “creepy” mislabeled once.

      There was a guy at a convention that is usually populated by a vast majority, like over 90% women. He kept hanging out and following around a certain group of people, and yes, his looks were a little odd. He was older, and had long hair and very outlandish clothing, and he appeared to be talking to several women at one of the bars even though outwardly he didn’t seem to fit in to what the convention was about at all.

      One of my friends asked, “What is with that creepy guy hanging around the bar all the time?” Now in her defense, the fact he was in a place where it seemed he had no business, and seemed to be hovering around certain groups of women at the bar was a valid ping on her creepy detector.

      But at that point we busted up laughing in tears at her. The guy was the husband of one of the keynote speakers for the convention, and he was just being social as he trailed his wife around.

      I think guys feel like women use words to deliberately “tag” people and you can never escape your tag in women’s social circles. Frankly, that is the sign of really immature people, and if women are doing that just to put people down, then those are women you don’t want to be anywhere near anyway.

      If a girl says to another that a guy is being creepy, usually it is not to tag him with anything. In my experience it is to ask other women for validation on their feelings that something is off. Woman ask for validation of how we feel about something all the time.

      If you get pinged by one and the word goes around the group, yes, you will probably have to endure more scrutiny as the other women try to determine, threat, or not. But unless girls are really being jerks, it is not used because someone is unattractive. We have other ways of communicating that to one another.

      The girl who says, “Creepy” first is like the meerkat on the termite mound. It sees a large dark object flying in the sky and sounds the alarm. The others look and either run, because it is a hawk, or ignore the idiot because they know it is just a crow.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        Jess, really liked your post., it really seems to describe the situation as I’ve seen it as well – among the more mature and less dramatically inclined at least.

        But we feel like the articles like the above take a different viewpoint – assuming that every guy who’s ever been called creepy is automatically at fault, and it’s his and his alone responsibility to prove otherwise.

        Yours says “we ask other people if they also think someone else is creepy, and we try to figure it out”. We read the above article as saying “women don’t even need to try to figure out it – once a single women calls a guy creepy, that’s his problem, and entirely his fault, accurately describes his character, and women don’t need to waste any effort trying to figure things out further – now it’s his problem to prove that he’s not”.

        Very occasionally, I actually meet someone for whom that applies, lol, but for it to become the standard seems like it’s nuts.

        • Dr. NerdLove says:

          As a general rule of thumb: yes, a guy who has been labeled and/or perceived as “creepy” is responsible for proving otherwise. No, it may not be fair, but men represent a far greater danger to women than women do to men. Especially when the only danger is to a man’s ego.

          • Anthony says:

            I would say when a person has been labelled something, it’s almost always on them to fix it. No matter the label, and no matter how unfair it may be. Sometimes it’s not worth changing a person’s mind, but it’ll never work to just simply say “But I’m not creepy/mean/rude/whatever!” We are all in control of how we look at things, but we can never control how others do.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            That makes a certain amount of sense if “creepy” is largely being used to because of the danger factor.

            Women could be attacked! -> (Validly) Woman oversensitive to potentially dangerous men

            However, the argument being made is that majority of the time, the word creepy isn’t used against potentially dangerous men. That the vast majority of the time, it’s used against unattractive men who women do not find dangerous – if a women’s “unattractive” and awkward” radar goes off, she calls him creepy. But if her “potential threat” radar goes off, she doesn’t call him creepy – she leaves, or tries to avoid him, but doesn’t say he’s creepy. I’ve noticed a strong tendency myself that the less of a potential threat a guy is, the more likely a woman is to tell everyone that he’s creepy. If you believe that the real motivation is that he’s unattractive, then the logic is that:

            Women could be attacked! -> Right to humiliate, ridicule, and debase non-dangerous but unattractive men – after all, as if unattractive people don’t have it hard enough, what’s the harm is fucking them over even harder?

            *If* and it is a big if – it isn’t about danger, then if you reversed the genders, it would now be ok for men to not only ignore unattractive women – but to constantly make fun of them in public. “Hey, you big fat smelly cow! Get your stupid butt out of here you hefer!” – and then have the socially acceptable response of everyone around him go “Yeah! You tell her! Stupid ugly bitch!”.

            Unattractive women sometimes have to go through this bullshit, but the general social response is “That guy/girl saying that bullshit to begin with is a giant asshole”. Imagine the same social situation, only everyone claps him on the back and say “Yeah! We’re so happy you stood up to that dangerous predator!”.

            That’s the kind of thing that would happen is society decides to resolve women of *all* responsibility when calling someone creepy – if creepy is really meaning “unnattractive, but probably not dangerous”.

            “Especially when the only danger is to a man’s ego.”
            That’s a bit like saying “Firings will continue until moral improves” isn’t it – since both being an unattractive and being “shy creepy” typically involve a lack of skill and a damaged ego. Yelling at socially awkward people doesn’t make them more confident and assertive.

            I mean that’s what the argument is about – whether creepy is really being applied to “potentially dangerous”, or whether it’s being applied to “unattractive but not potentially dangerous” and *not* being applied to potentially dangerous.

            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

            In my personal opinion, I just don’t agree with either extreme – I don’t think women “shouldn’t” be able to call a guy creepy, I think that’s crap. But I also don’t think that society should jump to the conclusion that it’s *always* the guys fault when he’s called creepy either, and make anyone who’s ever been called creepy into some sort of criminal thing.

            Jess listed out in another post situations which makes sense to me to refer to a guy as creepy, creeper, etc (search for “I think we have a lot of “creep” definition issues going on”). If those were the *only* times (it’s a fairly big list), or even the majority, that I’d seen a woman call a guy a creeper/creepy, I wouldn’t be disagreeing.

  19. Anthony, that was pretty good. Thanks.

    Ancom, I am *always* scanning my surroundings for men who may mean me harm. When my husband is out of town, that means something different to me than it does to a man whose wife is on a trip. Before I get in my car, I check the back seat. The floor of the back seat. I pick running routes for safety. I chose my dog in part for size. I would not buy a ground-floor condo. I know which of my windows are open. I usually have a plan around what I will do if I have a problem. I don't think I'm unusual in this respect.

    In a dating situation, the problem isn't just one of "will this man hurt me now?" The problem is also one of "if I get close to this person, will he hurt me then?" Women work to spot current problems and predict future ones.

    It is indeed unfortunate that some people feel unnoticed and unloved. It's not the same situation as a child with unloving parents, however. It is my job to raise my son. It is not my job to randomly boost strangers' self-esteem. Did you think that I am Julie McCoy, cruise social director? Would it really make you happier to have interactions that are entirely false, if I pretended interest where I felt none? You can pay for that. It's readily available.

    Women are people, Ancom. We have positive interactions with other people when we have a reason to do so. You don't owe me dinner. I don't owe you faked attraction.

    • My point is not that you owe men attention. I've said this numerous times. You don't OWE them anything and they are not entitled to anything. What I'm talking about is simply recognizing what I'm saying as a valid problem that can actually hurt men on a deep and profound level, and as a problem that affects their lives.

      Whenever we talk about men complaining about not getting women, the response is always a cold-hearted "men always feel entitled to sex" and "men only want one thing" and "men shouldn't control women," but who says this has to be the case? Why can't this just be an issue where men are missing out on important and life-changing validation in the same sense as the aforementioned parentless child is missing out on important emotional stimulation and responses that are confidence-building and assuring?

      I can personally relate to that emotion, because (uh-oh, time to let go of more personal info) as a child I lived on the streets for two years with my dad before he got us our first home. Today I live a life that I think most (normal) men wouId envy, but despite having financial security, the fear of losing my home is deeply embedded in my personality. It's a permanent mark I can never get rid of, and I am always conscious about having someplace to live and have two backup plans in case I should lose my current home. It's not even a warranted fear, but it's still there, always, and it's something that cannot be "trained away."

      So think about how utterly nuts that is for a second, and then apply this to guys who are lacking this security except in the field of relationships.

      I'm not saying that this is a bigger problem than whatever some people here think I'm comparing it to, but I think it's a big enough problem to warrant calling it an issue, and to actively shout people down when they scorn and shame men who are upset with their situations for "thinking with their dicks," which I think is clearly not the case.

      Also, thank you for your clarification about female fear of men. The reason why I have been curious about it is because I've talked to past girlfriends and female friends about it, and they've all said that they don't really feel threatened. I explained rape theory to them, and none of them said they felt they could relate to it, and that they're quite comfortable in most situations with men, except for perhaps when walking through dark alleyways or sleeping with open windows and whatnot.

      One of them even told me not to believe everything I read!

      So while I'm getting mixed signals, I won't be as disrespectful as to dismiss that what you are saying is warranted fear, because really there's no way for me to know. I guess I'll have to concede to the fact that some women feel a constant fear of men because of rape culture, and just leave it at that.

      • Anthony says:

        So, whether I missed it before, or you did a better job just now, I think I've got a good handle on what your saying. However, I'm not entirely sure what your solution to this problem is, but I think what you've said is that women need to get out there and pursue more men along with not disregarding men that come up to them. That's not solving the problem, it's putting a band aid on it. You won't fix this society wide because you can't expect all men to deserve that validation, not all men are ready for that validation, and there will be some men that are desired by very few women. You started out by saying very the very broad statements that women get this validation from the opposite sex and very few men do. I think both of those assumptions are wrong, and this might just be something we disagree on. However, you have to admit that there are some women who don't receive this validation, and women who are turned down by men. So, you would have to expect that, even if we made it so men got validation like women did, there would be some men who still wouldn't get it like some women don't now. I do also think it would be very hard to institute the second part of this – women not disregarding men that approach them – because I don't think it happens as often as you think, and we can't ask women to put down their threat detectors.

        Society needs to change in that we need to place less emphasis on relationships as a whole. Right now, at least in America, being an adult is pretty much defined by getting a job and having relationships with whom you choose. I think both of those definitions are bogus. Both of those things create tremendous amounts of competition between everyone. I would point to the competition, right now, as the main cause of a lot of this consternation. If dating felt less like a competition and more like an adventure you share with someone, there would be a lot less people (male and female) who feel marginalized by the system. The onus to impress shouldn't be on just men or women – it needs to fall equally upon both of them. This way no one 'has an upper hand' when it comes to interactions (which is what both sides say right now).

        Along with less competition, we can also empower everyone to not seek outside validation. Part of me being a happy person was realizing that I didn't need anyone – male or female – telling me that I did a good job. It was just about being happy with myself and living with my own actions. I live my life by relatively strict standards that I set for myself, and until it's made apparent to me that my standards are bad or that I'm hurting people, that's all I'm going to need to be happy. And even then, it won't be that I'll need outside validation, but rather that I'll just need to change my standards for myself. This wasn't something that I was born with, either, but something that I came upon after already being an adult. So, while certain things may have helped me reach this point, anyone can do this as well. I think it's far easier to help people rise above outside validation than it is to make sure they always receive it.

      • In your defense, vis a vis the constant female fear, I think that is partially due to self selection and variance within a gender. They say all women feel this way because all the women with whom they speak about this issue feel this way, but I think applying their examples to all women would be an exaggeration. Although the fear is always subconsciously there, I think feminists, in particular, tend to experience it more (chicken or the egg: talk about this w/ other feminists because they feel this way, or feel this way because they talk with other feminists about it).

        For example, take the Schrödinger's rapist post. Every time she went on a date, she would leave a fair amount of information stipulating where she would be and arrange to call her friends by noon the next day, so police could find her corpse. Obviously, her fear is to be respected, as is anyones, but it is excessive: men are three times as likely to be murder victims as women. And since murder rates really are quite low, her precautions were clearly excessive. She fully expected to be murdered by a man, and held this up as an example of how afraid women are. Fear on this level is irrational, and she is using an echo chamber of similarly fearful people to support her views. Her precautions were only slightly more rational than people who stockpile firearms for self defense, because just look at the news!

        I'm not saying that rapes don't happen, because they certainly do, and with a frequency that is absolutely disgusting. People who bring up the specter of false rape accusations whenever rape is mentioned are either hideously misinformed or the lowest sort of human being.

        And yet…1 in 6 women will be raped, 1 in 6 women will die to coronary disease, and 1 in 6 women will die of cancer. Why is the former argued and obsessed over by people who never even think of aerobic exercise or carcinogens? What makes rape so special that it can consume the mind of some women? Women are 4x as likely to be raped as men…which means that 1 in 24, or roughly 4%, of men will be raped in their lives. So why are men completely unafraid of being raped? 20x as many cases of Violent assault is reported as that of violent rape. Even though rape is reported at a very low rate per incident, that still means that assault is fairly likely. 1 in 6 sounds about right, or maybe higher. So what's so special about rape, that fear of it will control the lives of many women?

        Two things, I suspect: Echo chambers, and cultural victim blaming narratives:

        1. Victim blaming: You get beat up by thugs, poor you. You get robbed, you poor thing, how can we help you. Heart Disease, everyone brings flowers. Get Raped? "What were you thinking, you stupid bitch?! Dress like that, you were asking to get raped!"

        The fear is that you get raped, and that everyone turns on you. And it's legitimate. Cops don't listen, men are afraid of false rape accusations, social groups want to let bygones be bygones– you don't want your friends to invite the guy who raped you? Stop rocking the boat, you rumormongering alarmist. It's your word against his, and he's not making a fuss! Hell, even consent-obsessed groups, arranged explicitly to prevent this shit, stick with the rapist. http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/04/scene-is-n

        So, what's a girl to do? Watch her back, because no one else will. Of course women are more fearful of rape than men are: if it happens to them, they're on their own. It's the same reason colleges often have women's resource centers: when men are the victims of violent crime, their resource center is the police. I'm not normally afraid of breaking my leg, but if I'm hiking, alone, where nobody will help me, you're damn right I'm afraid of breaking my leg, or twisting it, or bruising it, or any other relatively minor injuries. When there are people there to help you, you don't feel afraid, because your friends and the police and society have your back. When you're all alone, and you hear stories about how people turned on the rape victim, and you hear that 1 in 6 statistic, you're goddamn right you're gonna be careful. (an aside: if someone ever claims they've been raped, do be That Guy: The guy who takes someone seriously when they say they've just experienced something horrible, and puts their needs above his own.)

        2. Echo chambers and an abundance of anecdata.

        Have you ever met someone who holds opposite political views to yours? Someone you like, or with whom you get along with? You ever talk to them about politics, get in a heated discussion, and end up annoyed and thinking they are naive? This is perfectly normal.

        Now, have you ever met someone who is politically obsessed, convinced that the opposite party is scheming and plotting and completely irrational/evil? You know the type, people who believe: liberals are trying to take away your guns to usher in the nanny state, where they will prostrate america before enemies of freedom/conservatives want to make corporations people and take away the voting rights of the poor to usher in a new age of theocratic feudalism/the communist chinese are a massive homogeneous hivemind who are plotting to enslave the whole world with cheap goods and state communism and american T-bonds/all muslims are vampires. People who, it turns out, haven't really been exposed to the people they talk about–at least, not in person, and not on an intellectual level. People who've never held a serious, in depth discussion about their beliefs with someone who would seriously challenge them and anger them and frustrate them.

        You know, people caught in echo chambers.

        It's something that very few people are aware of, but it's really quite simple and pervasive. Here, I've dialed up the infallible source of all true knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_chamber_(media)

        Basically, you believe something. You talk to someone else who doesn't believe it, unpleasant conversation, never bring it up again.

        So, you believe something. You go online, find people who believe the same thing. So you all believe the same thing. Swell. Suddenly you hear about an incident by people who believe The Other Thing, or something else that corroborates your belief. It's an echo chamber, so soon everyone has perused and bookmarked this anecdote. Suddenly, another incident. Someone else found it, everyone read it. Commentary. "Society thinks this, the sheeple!" Soon these anecdotes come in faster and faster, and with each one, the beliefs of people in that group are pushed that little bit further away from center. Why? Well, people like hearing about things they already believe, and so they bring up incidents that confirm their biases and beliefs, and disregard evidence that frustrates them.

        Now, here's what you have. Everywhere you look, you see, say, rape anecdotes and rape evidence and rape rape rape. Or politics. Or america falling behind, or crime on the streets (kidnapped blonde 10 year old girl! heavens!), or whatever. Your brain judges things based on the evidence it receives, and so while anecdotes are nearly useless from a scientific perspective they work wonders on your brain. "So much rape," you think, "I must take precautions." Such things can control your mind very easily, and like-minded commenters convince you that everyone is this way, that this is normal. This is how people get in mental ruts, in self-destructive patterns (the brain is its own echo chamber, after all), and it happens very easily.

        So that's what happened to every person who obsesses over rape but not assault or mugging, who obsesses over it to the exclusion of other things, who lets it control their lives. This fear affects people less when they're not echo chambers, but its influences are pervasive on people inside them, which is why I think a lot of feminists are more afraid of rape than most women.

        Unfortunately echo chambers are dangerous, because they feel good and they're easy to fall into. This happened to Kate Harding, and to Beth, and to mmarple. And you know what else? It happened to you.

        The Post Mortem
        http://xkcd.com/1028/ (read the roll-over text)

        I knew exactly what was going on, of course. Pretty much instantly, but by the time I read "Oh my god I am literally shaking with anger right now" I knew how the rest of the thread was going to play out.

        Let's start with you, and something I mentioned in a previous comment. Oh, yes, men are harmed by women's passivity. Ah, yes, you've found a case of asymmetry between the sexes, have you now? That's an easy way to alienate half your audience. Aside from the fact that you pin the blame entirely on women and act like this doesn't harm women at all (asymmetry, again), it was a fairly cogent argument that required a lot of time and effort.

        Clearly trolling, in other words.

        Because let's face it, "Literally shaking with rage" is no way to write a clear, calm comment informing someone with whom you disagree of their various logical errors. Predictably, the two gentlewomen with whom you were intellectually opposed failed to properly convey the reasons for their displeasure.

        And then they confirmed to one another that their similar opinions were completely accurate and that they were best friends, and the argument went from salvageable to…well, it wasn't salvaged. You weren't fully on point to begin with, but it didn't go well for you, either. It turned into "who can shout past the other person louder!" You stated that women were oppressing you, some women took this to mean that you were spawned from satan's loins, and away we went.

        Basically, what you were trying to say was that women rarely flirt with, hit on, or compliment men, and that this does wonders for our self esteem. I think the infamous Hugo Schwyzer has this one covered: http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2009/05/04/of-never-f

        Looking at it from a more…bipartisan feminist perspective, some women want to hit on guys and initiate dates but are afraid of getting slut-shamed, and some guys want to be more passive but can't, because women can't hit on guys. Patriarchy helps gender normative people by telling them that theirs is the one true path; non-gender-normative people are the minority, and so aren't taken into consideration.

        Also, what they were trying to say is that women don't owe men anything, and women get screwed over by this too. Placing the onus on women is unfair, and takes away personal responsibility by transferring it to someone else.

        Wow did I really write all that? I really need to get a life.

        • @ARC

          I think you – along with a lot of feminists – tend to use “fear of breaking normative gender roles” as a way to excuse selfishly lazy behavior.

          Again I’m starting to feel like there’s a pretty big difference between the US and EU when it comes to sexism. Not that it doesn’t exist here, but there’s no stigmatization or slut-shaming attached to a woman approaching a guy where I live. Maybe it has to do with my country having been largely secular for a long time, and it being one of the least religiously influenced western nations in the world.

          Regardless of this women appear to enjoy the act of a man approaching them, and why wouldn’t they? Having someone approach you makes you feel desired, and being in demand means you can have great character flaws and still have guys throwing themselves over you. So how exactly do “women get screwed over by this too”? I mean, guys are going to be potentially dangerous or creepy regardless of who’s doing the approaching, so I’m only seeing positives for women in this case.

          I think because these traditions are so normative, it has resulted in a culture where women would rather take pleasure in their situation, treating men like disposable suitors (which they effectively are) and teasing them over not approaching them enough rather than actually doing something to better the situation, and as your link points out it’s making a *lot* of guys feel undervalued, unappreciated, self-loathing and unworthy of having women.

          So how is this form of dehumanization any different from the sexual objectification of women? Well, I read a comment on the page you linked to that summed it up pretty well:

          “Many women are led to feel like they are an unattractive instance of a body type that is attractive; men are led to feel like they are a body type that is unattractive, full stop.”

          I.e. you as a woman belong to the attractive and approachable sex, and I do not. You are hypothetically going to spend your life asking if you are worthy enough, while I as a man will have it confirmed from the get-go. BIG difference in how it’s going to make us perceive ourselves.

          I believe this to be the far biggest reason why so many men come off as desperate and creepy, clinging to every ounce of attention they receive by women until they are literally stalking them.

          So with this in mind, I do not think it’s particularly nice of Doc Nerdlove to write series of articles explaining to men why they need to stop being creeps with the female perspective in mind, while completely omitting the very human and sympathetic aspects that are making guys act creepy and clingy in the first place.

          I mean, I’m all for bringing attention to womens’ issues, but the undertone of articles ranging from Doc Nerdlove’s to Schrodinger’s Rapist are insanely condescending, and if we’re really going to change anything I think it might be good to talk about the issue from a viewpoint that is sympathetic of both views.

      • Ancom, I think part of the reason that people won't accept it as a valid issue is that women simply do not all receive this 'important and life-changing validation' you want for men. You're refusing to acknowledge that there are also huge numbers of women who go through life feeling lonely and unloved. Women also live with the worry that they cannot attract a partner and will never be able to. Women also get ignored or even ridiculed. It's simply not true that this problem affects men to the disproportionate degree you imagine.

        As for the threat factor, IRC's point that romantic situations are different to your CFO in her office is really good. We evaluate not only immediate, physical danger, but also whether the man is safe to get close to. If you're asking a woman to engage in a relationship you're asking her to be much more vulnerable to harm than a CFO in her own office building.

        • Haha, 'IRC', what kind of a typo was that? IMC, of course.

        • I feel you, but you're frequenting one of the many websites mainly aimed at helping guys getting girls, where Doc is writing articles about how to approach women, and female guest authors are writing articles for girls that culminate in – and I quote – "Eventually he generally asks for my number."

          You just cannot deny that women are the ones being approached and that men are the ones doing not just the approaching, but every little thing required for the woman's BS detector to not go off.

          Women are enjoying this, and they are obviously not going to rethink it since – as I've mentioned before – they seem to be literally complaining that more men aren't approaching them, rather than asking themselves why they aren't doing the approaching themselves.

          And no, there is absolutely no social stigma inherent in a western woman approaching a guy. She's not going to be called a slut just because she's having a quick chat with a stranger. Who's going to care? In fact, who's even going to notice?

          • James (Thortok2000) says:

            Ancom, I understand your feelings but there's so much you're blind to.

            For instance, who's going to care? Who's going to notice? Anyone who's jealous. A guy will call a girl a slut if she sleeps with lots of other men. Women will call a girl a slut for pretty much nothing.

            Does everyone do this? No. Does it happen? Yes. And it happens enough that enough women have to deal with it that it's an issue.

            If it doesn't happen to the women you know, awesome. It's a sucky thing to have happen. But your sample size is small. Believing that just because you don't know of it happening to any of the women you know means it doesn't happen very much or at all to other women is how you are blind.

            For instance, let's use the example of Sigmund Freud. He met a lot of women who had been abused as they were kids, especially by fathers and other male family members. It reached the point where there was so many of them, he didn't believe that sexual abuse of children could be happening THAT much, which caused him to conclude that these were sexual fantasies, leading him to develop an entire branch of psychology on the presumption that children have sexual fantasies.

            Somewhere you have the belief that there isn't THAT much rape, or abuse, or sexual misconduct or whatever, and that women aren't THAT much at risk. Sure, there might be some, but women play it up too much and they're exaggerating.

            Unfortunately, that belief is just plain WRONG.

            And because that belief, in itself, is INCREDIBLY SCARY that so many people have that belief, and it PERPETUATES the problem, people who know better are going to have an INTENSE reaction to you as long as you keep coming off as having that belief. Everyone who knows better wants that belief dragged into the street and shot.

            Ever heard the line "The greatest lie the devil ever told was convincing the world he didn't exist?"

            The biggest problem with the rape and abuse that women receive is that people who have beliefs like you that is not THAT big of a problem /is part of what keeps it so big of a problem./

            Now, I understand your feelings. I've been called creepy a lot. But if you care about this assessment of you, and it sounds like you do, it is your responsibility to change to fit their definitions of what's creepy and what's not. Not to attempt to change their definitions. It's their definitions, you have no right to change them.

            Also, disrespecting what someone thinks is creepy and continuing to do it anyway? <- Disrespect is a huge red flag that predatory abuse could be somewhere down the line. You're not even being just 'awkward-creepy' anymore. That's 'scary-creepy' right there.

          • Hm, did you really reply to the correct comment there James? Because I'm not talking about rape. I'm talking about women complaining that more men aren't approaching them while not doing anything thesmelves to help it.

            And the act of a woman approaching a man in a bar is NOT stigmatized. Again, who's going to notice? For all people know, he could be her friend. For alll people know, she could be asking him for the time.

            I don't know if this is a cultural difference between the US and the EU, because over here nobody will give a damn if a woman walks up to a guy, even though it rarely happens. We literally. Don't. Care. It's embedded in our collective consciousness.

          • Also I didn't mean to ignore your well-written reply. I agree with a lot of it, but I dont' think it's relevant to what I'm saying, so I have nothing to really comment on. Sorry.

          • James (Thortok2000) says:

            I do agree the gender roles are messed up. I agree that the 'end result' is guy gets girl's number, never the other way around, and I do see a lot of "why aren't more guys approaching me" instead of "how can I approach more guys." I agree with THAT 100%.

            In fact, even this website does it. Guys are instructed on how to approach, instead of tips and trick on how to get girls to approach them instead. Why? Because girls just don't approach! It's frustrating.

            And I might've replied to the wrong comment or something. This nesting gets bothersome sometimes.

            What I disagree with is the assumption that women are enjoying this, or that there's not any social stigma about it. This could be a US/EU difference, I agree. And I feel like even if there is social stigma it shouldn't be used as an excuse; after all I get social stigma as a 'creepy guy' when I trial-and-error my way through approaching women.

          • The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to think that there really is a big cultural difference between the US and EU (at least some EU countries) in terms of how women are treated.

            I've personally always found it strange how US movies tend portray sexually uninhibited women as "bad," and having mothers humorously faint when they learn their daughter *gasp* has had sex.

            I also tend to see a way more widespread use of the word "slut" on US sites or by US people, again in contexts that to me seem absolutely random.

            I always chalked it up to poor TV scripting, or in the latter case, a display of poor creativity when it comes to curse words, but now I understand that it might be more to it than that – and that there might actually be a cultural notion behind these seemingly weird and quirky behaviors.

            So yeah. I don't know what to say. I would actually love to get to the bottom of these claims and continue the discussion in a different form, but quite frankly I'm tired of this debate and I feel like we're goin in circles. Perhaps a blog is not the best place to bring these things up. :)

          • mmarple says:

            or, you're too blockheaded to get the concepts being discussed even though several people have VERY CLEARLY laid out the groundwork for the problems of your claims. mmm, reading comprehension – useful skill. yes, please, go somewhere else.

          • I'm not trying to deny that women tend not to do the approaching, I'm only denying that most women get approached regularly. I'm denying that most women are enjoying all this validating attention that you believe to be so common that it affects the behaviour of all women. We just don't, lots of us are ignored.

            As it happens, I DO approach men, precisely because I have never been approached. My friends do too. It hasn't worked yet, and there does seem to be a stigma against it. I'm not even convinced it's a US/EU divide, as I'm from the UK. Are you from mainland Europe?

            Personally I've not been a fan of the recent articles for women, precisely because the method seems so passive as to be manipulative. (Also for me it would mean acting like a whole different person, especially the techniques in part 1, which seems silly. What's going to happen when the guy eventually discovers my real personality? Do I just hope he likes it? I also hate the dance of plausible deniability it entails, surely that's just more stressful.) Although I would point out that it actually concluded by saying if he's not asking for her number, she should ask for his. It's not relying entirely on him.

            All I want to take issue with in your comments is the idea that all or most women regularly receive positive, non-threatening attention from men. It's just not true. We are in the passive role, but that doesn't mean all of us actually get approached – lots of us are passed over entirely. We do try to take matters into our own hands, but it's no easier for us than it is for you. That's all I want you to acknowledge.

          • @sarah

            “All I want to take issue with in your comments is the idea that all or most women regularly receive positive, non-threatening attention from men. It’s just not true. We are in the passive role, but that doesn’t mean all of us actually get approached – lots of us are passed over entirely. We do try to take matters into our own hands, but it’s no easier for us than it is for you. That’s all I want you to acknowledge.”

            I don’t agree, because we have a culture where men are expected to approach women. Sure, there are women that don’t get approached, but I don’t for a second believe that this is the case for the majority of women.

            I am basing this on the fact that there is an overwhelming number of pickup sites for men, that womens’ dating sections and magazines are aimed at how to attract – rather than picking up – men, seeing and hearing men complaining about having to approach as well as women complaining that they are never approached by enough men.

          • @ ancom

            “I am basing this on the fact that there is an overwhelming number of pickup sites for men, that womens’ dating sections and magazines are aimed at how to attract – rather than picking up – men, seeing and hearing men complaining about having to approach as well as women complaining that they are never approached by enough men.”

            Respectfully, I’m basing my position on a) being a woman who has never been approached, b) knowing many women who have never been approached and c) listening to the stories of women I don’t know who have never been approached. There’s a LOT of us, and one of the most frustrating things about it is that men don’t believe we exist. Even your friends seem to agree – if the men are complaining about having to approach, that means they’re probably not doing it often enough to provide this lovely validation to all women. If the women are complaining about not being approached enough, surely that’s proof that women DON’T receive the validation you suggest.

            Even if the magazine articles you mention were a true reflection of reality (rather than a reflection of cultural tropes and stereotypes), it would mean that women are NOT getting approached the way you believe we are, because if we were there’d be no need to make ourselves more attractive. Why would we all feel inadequate enough to need such advice if we’re used to all this positive attention?

            Again, I’m not denying that men have the active role and women the passive, I’m only denying that this means women are constantly validated by men. In my experience, very few women are approached often enough to feel secure in their attractiveness the way you claimed in your original comment.

            Also, to be honest, I’m still vaguely astonished that you put forward this idea when you made it clear that you don’t even have trouble getting into relationships, and even your idea of an un-validated man included ‘a few short relationships here and there’. Do you have any frame of reference for what it’s like to have never had a relationship AT ALL, and simultaneously be told by your whole culture that your only worth lies in your ability to attract men? Because that’s the situation many women find themselves in. You and your hypothetical men-lacking-validation still have a hell of a lot more of it in your lives than most of my female friends.

      • ‘Whenever we talk about men complaining about not getting women, the response is always a cold-hearted “men always feel entitled to sex” and “men only want one thing” and “men shouldn’t control women,” but who says this has to be the case? Why can’t this just be an issue where men are missing out on important and life-changing validation’

        Er. See, what you’re saying there is “men are entitled to women validating them”. And no, they’re not. I am not obligated to tell any dude who comes up to me “hey, you’re a wonderful person and anyone would be happy to date you”.

        So I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make here.

      • It is not a woman's job to make a man feel better about his relationship problems. Especially if she was just approached by him at a bar/shop/cafe and doesn't know him personally. ESPECIALLY if she feels threatened. He may feel bad or be affected emotionally (although it's unlikely, because how emotionally connected are you to that stranger you're flirting with that you may or may not have just met? chances are you aren't that connected, if you are that is legitimately creepy and she has a right to feel threatened), but for all she knows, she just made a decision that kept her from getting stabbed. You should be able to relate to this, with the personal info you shared. Her fear of getting attacked is a permanent mark and threat. The only difference is that for her, it IS a warranted fear. And really, even if she isn't worried about getting attacked by that guy, her disinterest is valid. She doesn't have to give consent if she doesn't want to. You say you understand the concept of women not owing you anything, but clearly you're still having some difficulties with the idea.

      • "Why can't this just be an issue where men are missing out on important and life-changing validation in the same sense…"

        You need to be resposible for that yourself–you cannot expect women to provide that validation, not at the expense of our safety. And it's not as though there's no remedy–if you are consistently getting called a creeper, FIGURE OUT WHY AND CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR. Then you feel better and women feel safer. Everyone's happy!

  20. Anthony, that was pretty good. Thanks.

    Ancom, I am *always* scanning my surroundings for men who may mean me harm. When my husband is out of town, that means something different to me than it does to a man whose wife is on a trip. Before I get in my car, I check the back seat. The floor of the back seat. I pick running routes for safety. I chose my dog in part for size. I would not buy a ground-floor condo. I know which of my windows are open. I usually have a plan around what I will do if I have a problem. I don't think I'm unusual in this respect.

    In a dating situation, the problem isn't just one of "will this man hurt me now?" The problem is also one of "if I get close to this person, will he hurt me then?" Women work to spot current problems and predict future ones.

    It is indeed unfortunate that some people feel unnoticed and unloved. It's not the same situation as a child with unloving parents, however. It is my job to raise my son. It is not my job to randomly boost strangers' self-esteem. Did you think that I am Julie McCoy, cruise social director? Would it really make you happier to have interactions that are entirely false, if I pretended interest where I felt none? You can pay for that. It's readily available. Visit a cash machine, choose an adult professional who genuinely wants to be in that business, and you're all set.

    Women are people, Ancom. We have positive interactions with other people when we have a reason to do so. You don't owe me dinner. I don't owe you faked attraction.

  21. Arrrgh! Sorry for the duplicate post.

  22. Doc,

    I assume you wrote this article because of the comments I made? If so, I think you’re zoning in on an overly specific aspect of the rejection men are experiencing from women that I have been discussing.

    I said it before, but I’ll say it here too. The reason why women blow men off is not at all based on the threat factor. A shy, nervous or clumsy person is no more or less dangerous than someone who is assertive, charismatic and bold. All of those behaviors can be construed as either dangerous or positive depending on how you want to look for it, so why would women collectively ignore nice guys just because they’re trying to protect themselves? I don’t see the logic.

    The problem I have repeatedly brought up regarding the way women tend to ignore men is how the majority of women passively expect to be attracted by a man. This means that the men who fail to meet the established mould of what is generally considered attractive – which unfortunately includes putting yourself in a position of great vulnerability coupled with building a lot of skills that aren’t inherently interesting or easy for a lot of men to learn – they suffer sexual and romantic ostracization at the whim of women.

    So what I’m saying is that instead of shaming men for not stepping their game up, collectively urging them not to engage in creepy behavior (which unless you’re referring to rapists, gropers, misogynists or plain old creepy comments is just them being a product of frustration due to sexual ostracization) and insinuating that they are nutcases who need to be taught a lesson when they are quite understandably reacting in frustration to the behavior of women, maybe, just maybe, women are actually doing something that is quite common for human beings to do when they have power: exploiting it.

    In closing, I do want to say that yes, rape culture is very real, but to claim that it’s the only reason why women treat men the way they do is just excusing a lot of the poor behavior women are showcasing, and the inherent laziness in passively expecting a man to come in and charm you off your feet.

    • mmarple says:

      wwwwow. And first prize for ‘MISSING THE POINT ENTIRELY AND DISMISSAL’ goes to – ANCOM!!! congrats bro – my favorite, favorite sentence ‘The reason why women blow men off is not at all based on the threat factor’
      beeecause as a woman you know this or did you just dismiss every woman’s experience with harassment because every damned one has some experience with it and oh yes, it has to do with being threatened large and small ways by men.
      please read the article again before posting epic fail comments.
      I’m a woman AND I’m LAZY, sweep me off my feet bastard, SWEEP ME!!!

      • Well, I apologize if I upset you. It’s really not my intention to come on here and make people feel like I’m trying to undermine a problem they’re suffering from, but I’d still like to express my reasoning regarding this subject.

        If I’m wrong, I’m very open to it, but right now I think a lot of illogical conclusions are being made. Feel free to point out my contradictions though.

    • Oh my god I am literally shaking with anger right now. What the fuck is wrong with you? How fucking dare you define female power by the exercising of their right to decide whether or not they care to be romantically involved with someone? Jesus Christ YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO WOMEN’S BODIES, AND YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THEIR LOVE. You clearly have no fucking idea how rape culture works and you clearly have no idea how goddamn triggering this comment is/has the potential to be to the female readers of this blog.

      Here’s how this post sounds when a woman says it: Schrodinger’s rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced

      • mmarple says:

        like I said EPIC FAIL

        • God so much fail.

          brb, i am going to go exercise the power i hold over men as a glorified vagina to deny them entry. what a mean shallow vagina i am.

          • I know you’re feeling that I’m disrespecting something right now, but you’re kind of also not understanding where men are coming from. It’s not about feeling entitled to sex and objectifying women. It’s about receiving attention and validation from the opposite sex, and the big difference this can make in how you perceive yourself as someone who can potentially get a partner. Men have it very tough in this area, and I don’t think most women understand what it’s like to feel like you’re competing with an infinite number of suitors for the attention of a gender that rarely pays you attention.

            It does a lot to a person, which kind of shows in that men are often complaining about it.

          • It’s about receiving attention and validation from the opposite sex, and the big difference this can make in how you perceive yourself as someone who can potentially get a partner. Men have it very tough in this area, and I don’t think most women understand what it’s like to feel like you’re competing with an infinite number of suitors for the attention of a gender that rarely pays you attention.

            Yes women do. In addition to feeling forced into competition with other women, we are fed daily messages telling us that we are worthless and not worthy of male attention unless we are smart, funny, witty, chill cool, and flawlessly gorgeous. Every time a woman goes out, she is battling with these factors and it is fucking debilitating.

            You don’t hear women publicly angsting about it because when we do men tell us to shut up. They tell us to “stop with the outdated feminist crap.” They roll their eyes. And they do that because women aren’t supposed to express discontent. We’re not supposed to act as though we too feel entitled to love. By complaining, and by expressing even a minute amount of hostility or frustration towards men, we are transgressing. Our frustrations are silenced, but they sure as fuck exist, and they sure as fuck mess us up.

          • Jessica says:

            “It’s about receiving attention and validation from the opposite sex, and the big difference this can make in how you perceive yourself as someone who can potentially get a partner. ”

            *headdesk*

            You know what gets you attention and validation from the opposite sex? Having characteristics that justify attention and validation.

            The gender ratio in my industry and social circles is about 12:1 men to women. Guys who are funny, guys who are kind, guys who relate to women as people rather than objects, guys who are helpful, guys who love their job and do a great job at it, guys who have really interesting hobbies (a friend of mine who does falconry never lacks for female attention), guys who are just fun to talk to, guys who have a smile for everyone they interact with, guys who organize barbecues, etc. etc. etc. don’t have any trouble getting attention and validation from us, even though there are comparatively few of us to go around.

            You know what gets you attention and validation from women? BEING REWARDING TO BE AROUND. Just like it gets you attention and validation from other men.

            People are people, whether male or female, and most people spend their time and attention on other people who have qualities that make life better when they’re around.

            We don’t owe you attention and validation. (Incidentally, we don’t get it for free either: the requirements are just different. We can add “pretty” to the list and generally subtract “friendly” or “helpful” since those are considered defaults when you’re female. Talk to an ugly girl some time. They will tell you that they rarely get much in the way of attention or validation from men.)

            Why on earth would we WANT to spend time around someone with a chip on his shoulder who thinks we *owe* him attention and validation?

      • I never claimed that women aren’t entitled to exercise their right to decide who they can or cannot be romantically involved with, but there’s nothing wrong with pointing out the inherent flaws in a dating culture where women are the only ones entitled to make explicit demands on the opposite sex, and why I think this mentality needs to change.

        • My friend,

          Be very wary when you think you have discovered an example of asymmetric in gender relations–odds are, you have been blinded by your perspective.

          Now, I'm not sure *exactly* what you mean by " 'explicit' demands," but consider this:

          You have two parties, the approacher and the approachee. The approacher choses who he/she approaches, and thus has implicit terms of rejection: an improper approachee never gets chosen to be approached. On the other hand, you have the approachee. The approachee cannot choose who approaches him/her, but has his/her own terms of rejection: don't fit them, and you can be rejected. However, because the approachee has already been approached, these terms of rejection can be made explicit. The approacher cannot make his/her terms explicit, because either the other person passes, or you're telling random strangers that you wouldn't date them.

          Now, in our world, men are expected to do the approaching and women are expected to receive it (which can, imo, leads to many women not understanding how difficult approaching is, but that's a bit irrelevant). By virtue of their positions, women are the only ones able to make explicit demands (not that this is actually common…), but both genders have implicit standards that they must fill. To insist otherwise is to be blinded by your own position in society.

          And, yes, if a woman goes up to random men who are minding their own business and tells them that they are creepy, she's an asshole. Feel free to let her know. She won't care, as she's an asshole. But this doesn't really happen.

        • there’s nothing wrong with pointing out the inherent flaws in a dating culture where women are the only ones entitled to make explicit demands on the opposite sex
          Are you fucking kidding me? Like seriously, are you for real? If you want to say something about how gender roles entrap men and women by forcing them into roles in which they feel that they must be either the approacher or the approachee for fear of being labeled as too masculine or too feminine for transgressing those roles then we can talk about that. That’s a valuable discussion to have.

          But this shit. Are you fucking kidding me?

          • Well, what do you mean is the issue with what I’m saying? It’s hard to pick up on what your point is from what you’re saying right now.

          • mmarple says:

            I think I might die laughing. This is clearly turning into What About the poor oppressed Mens because women have all the power. obviously. and nothing you can say, and all the clear evidence to the contrary (as written by the Doctor, someone whom I hold in high regard for having an excellent understanding of the sexes) will ever change this man’s mind. He is oppressed by the wimminz. End of story.

          • Fine, I will give you the benefit of a doubt. You are saying that women have power by being able to dictate the terms of what is and is not creepy. You are saying that it is unfair that social norms dictate that men have to do the approaching. You are saying that women have sexual power on their side.

            What this reads as is “I blame women for caring about their safety more than they care about my feelings. I blame women for feeling entrapped by the construction of appropriately gendered dating rituals. I blame women for the fact that I want to sleep with them.” It reads as you coming to terms with your frustrating dating life by blaming women because you, as a man (I assume) are socialized to feel that you deserve attention from women; denied this, you respond with misogyny.

          • Jessica says:

            Not that it’s an excuse, but he has been trained to hate women since he was born. ;-) http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

        • When you fear potentially being forcefully penetrated by every 'suitor' you come across in your search for a mate, then and only then will you see what it means to be on this equal standing you seem to want to change the dating world for. Be careful what you wish for.

          I am so happy for people like you who get to blissfully and completely dismiss the idea of fear in relations between men and women. You must live in a fabulous place, where absolutely NO woman lives.

    • James (Thortok2000) says:

      The problem I'm seeing is that there's too much polarization, or the appearance of it.

      While the Doc tosses in a line about "yes some women abuse the system and they're just jerks" as a token effort to acknowledge the other side, your posts have the tone of "all women abuse the system."

      Thing is, there's a lot of both.

      This is why I think there needs to be two words. "Scary-creepy" and "awkward-creepy."

      Scary-creepy is when there's a threat. Awkward-creepy is the guy who's socially awkward and turned off by, and definitely not attracted to, but you're not afraid of being raped or otherwise harmed by.

      The problem I see is that awkward-creepy is overused. Even when it's legitimately used, often the 'red flags' of 'creepy behavior' can be mixed and matched with 'scary creepy' and can cause unnecessary overlap.

      Certain lack of social skills may make someone awkward-creepy, but you might still like and wanna date an awkward-creepy guy, especially if you help him out and he learns from his mistakes, or you might even think the behavior is 'cute' or something. There are girls who like shy guys, for instance. So when 'red flags' that tell you someone is awkward creepy get confused or overlap with red flags that tell you someone's scary creepy, the guy is being pushed harder, farther away, and more often than necessary.

      That said, I agree the threat is real and women should always err on the side of caution. (Someone can be both awkward-creepy and scary-creepy, for instance, so it's not mutually exclusive and women do have to watch out.) But between treating the awkward-creepy as if they were scary-creepy, and women just calling the unattractive as 'creepy' point blank, I do think the word 'creepy' gets overused and inappropriately used way too often.

      • Squirrel says:

        And how do you suggest that women go about telling "scary-creepy" from "awkward-creepy"? From a woman's perspective, the guy who lingers around the edge of the group because he's shy looks no different from the guy who lingers around the edge of the group because he's looking for his chance to catch her alone and do something bad. Either way, it's some guy lingering on the edge of the group. The guy standing too close is creepy regardless of whether he's doing it because he has no sense of personal space or because he is doing it deliberately. The guy who touches without permission is creepy whether he's making some social faux pas or just doesn't give a fuck if she wants to be touched.

        I feel like several people in this conversation, despite repeated efforts by other people, continue to try and insist that women need to try to see things from the man's point of view. We really, really do understand that not every guy is deliberately being scary creepy. What you guys need to understand is that frequently there is no way to tell the difference between scary-creepy and awkward-creepy without entering into an encounter that has the potential to become violent. The risk/reward ratio is just not worth it to most women.

        • Exactly. You don't know. As opposed to the dude who persistently asks you to come home with him and won't take no for an answer. You know exactly what he wants. You know what kind of person doesn't give a crap whether you reject them? A psychopath. I'd call that more scary-creepy than anything an awkward-creepy guy does. Even the worst-intentioned awkward-creepy guy could only be a threat if absolutely everyone else in this social situation left. That's kind of the nature of awkwardness.

  23. Jessica says:

    THANK YOU. Love isn’t a battlefield. Why on earth would you want to be in a relationship with an enemy?

    I recently had a conversation about the Nice Guy and how the phenomenon wasn’t actually limited to men and ended up convinced that the problem on both sides is just not owning your own desire. The Nice Guy (or Girl) is defined by passivity and expects the object of their desire to psychically discern what they want and give it to them.

    Ultimately it comes down, regardless of whether you’re male or female, to:

    1) Own your own desire and be prepared to be honest about it;
    2) Learn to separate your needs, desires and issues from the object of your desire — don’t project them on to other people; and
    3) Do what it takes to learn the confidence to do #1 and #2.

    Speaking as a woman, what makes a guy register as not a creep are two things: respect and honesty. There’s nothing wrong with someone expressing interest in you, and assuming that that interest is expressed with respect for your autonomy as a person, it’s always a compliment. Some guy who tells me he’s interested but is willing to accept and respect when I tell him I’m not is not a creep. Some guy who won’t accept it, on the other hand, is.

    Similarly, lack of honesty makes you a creep. If you’re hanging around me and I’m starting to suspect that you’re interested, but you don’t say anything about it, I start to worry about the consequences of turning you down when it does come up. The more time you invest, the more I worry that the emotional charge deployed if I do say no is going to hurt you, and that the blast radius might hurt me as well.

    I usually ask, if it starts to get into that territory, but the most frustrating and frankly scary thing is when you say to a guy, “Hey, I think we should talk about what we’re each expecting from this relationship. I’m not interested in a romantic relationship. If you’re okay with our friendship not going in that direction, I’m happy to continue hanging out with you, because I enjoy your company. However, if romance is your goal, and you’re not getting anything out of friendship alone, then we should talk about whether it makes sense to continue spending time together,” and he assures you that he’s happy being your friend but acts like he’s not.

    My guy friends often scoff at the idea of that being scary, but it is. Here’s why: it means that either he doesn’t feel the need to be honest with me, or he’s not confident/comfortable with his own emotions/respectful of himself to deal with disappointment and other negative emotions well, and is denying them.

    If he doesn’t feel the need to be honest with me, obviously that’s a giant red flag, and yes, one that means maybe I have to worry about my own safety, because it boils down to him not caring about my feelings and well-being. There’s a spectrum of possible reasons for this, from just not being mature/self-aware enough to have developed his empathy and to see beyond his own needs, to his being a sociopath. Even if he’s on the mild end of that spectrum, he’s not someone I want to be around if he thinks it’s okay to lie to someone when his whole end goal is to have the sort of relationship (romance) where honesty and open communication between partners are what make it work.

    If it’s less about manipulation and more about his own fear or insecurity, well, that’s still bad for me, because people who are hurt often lash out at the people they perceive as hurting them. It indicates a lack of confidence, and to quote RuPaul, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

    In the end, it does’t matter whether he’s not being honest because he doesn’t feel he has to, or because he can’t: whether the result is an ugly scene or coming home to find a dead puppy nailed to my door, it’s not going to be good for me and my best option is to avoid the guy.

    And all of this is true whether you’re looking for marriage or a hookup. Regardless, you need to respect your prospective partner, even if they’re only your partner for a night.

    My one consolation is that it seems to get better with age. I work in the game industry, at a company with 12 men for every woman, on a team of 50 with only one other woman, and the majority of my friends are male. The subject comes up pretty often, as you can imagine. It used to be a lot worse, but the past year or so (as my peer group hits an average age of 30), things have started to become a lot more straightforward. A couple weeks ago, a longtime friend and coworker asked me, “Hey, I was wondering: you seeing anyone?”

    I smiled at him and told him, “Thanks for asking! I’m flattered, but yes, I am.”

    His response was, “Ok,” and a grin and a shrug, “Had to ask!” Acceptance, no awkwardness, good humor about the whole thing. He seemed mildly disappointed, but not like his world was ending. So, as a woman, I think: “Here’s this guy who I like and respect and admire as a friend. He clearly likes me as well, but he’s also clearly confident enough that I doubt I was his only option. I’m happy in my relationship and he’s not my type, but I should suggest to my single female friends that they come to some of the events he comes to…”

    Similar incidents with guys who expressed interest have been trending in this direction for a while now, but this one surprised me with its transparency, class and comfort level. It was like, finally, my peer group has gotten to the point where we can all just talk about what we want. And as that’s happened, less and less guys register on my creep-o-meter.

    • This comment rubs me the wrong way, and I'm not exactly sure why.

      1. For a bit up there, it sounds like honesty compels a guy who is interested in you to tell you. As in, if someone is attracted to you but too insecure to admit it, that is somehow dishonest. It's not fair of you if you get upset when guys refuse to bare their souls to you, because that puts them at risk, too. Hey, you might have the self-confidence necessary to simply tell people that you're interested in them, but most people don't, and that isn't disrespectful, even if you ask them and they lie to you. They're nervous. not cunning and scheming.

      2. ""If it’s less about manipulation and more about his own fear or insecurity, well, that’s still bad for me, because people who are hurt often lash out at the people they perceive as hurting them. It indicates a lack of confidence, and to quote RuPaul, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

      In the end, it does’t matter whether he’s not being honest because he doesn’t feel he has to, or because he can’t: whether the result is an ugly scene or coming home to find a dead puppy nailed to my door, it’s not going to be good for me and my best option is to avoid the guy.""

      I guess…how much honesty do you expect before he even asks you out? Being nervous around your secret crush means that you're probably going to commit acts of violence? I don't get it. It doesn't make sense to be that honest around most people, because it exposes yourself to risk. That's why relationships are so gradual to build, and you can't just pretend that the buildup starts at the first date. If a person isn't ready to ask you out yet, that doesn't make them disrespectful. Catching them before they're ready to do something stressful, going "Ah-ha!," and they're bad guys for this? I just don't get it.

      Look, you seem very reasonable, so I must be misinterpreting what you wrote. The way you wrote it, you make it sound like your dates have no margin of error. Any fear or rejection or insecurity and they are dishonest and a threat to your well being? Everyone is hiding a fear of rejection and personal insecurity.

      • I guess I'm trying to say, you made it sound very binary. Perfect, you pass. Imperfect, you fail, and who knows what horrible things you could do, you flawed, imperfect monster. You don't date imperfect people because they are threats? The people you do date are just better at hiding it, and your threshold is really high. You made it sound like any nervousness is a sign of deep, personal flaws, so you won't date or even remain friends with nervous people for fear of being harmed. Maybe I misread.

    • I am sooooo with you on the importance of respect and honesty. A guy could come up to me and say the exact same words, but his manner of saying them makes all the difference. Respect is really nebulous and it’s hard to describe the difference, but it’s really palpable. I can tell when a guy has an agenda and doesn’t care who I am or what I think and feel.

      Take an example: A random guy coming up to me and saying “Wow, you’re really beautiful,” is a lot less likely to get a smile from me than a guy who approaches slowly, makes eye contact to check if I’m cool that he’s interrupting whatever I’m doing, and says “Hey, I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but you’re really beautiful,” and then starts talking to me about something that’s actually important and has anything to do with my personality and interests. I’ll still be wary because he’s a stranger, but I’d blow off the first guy and actually engage with the second.

      Simple difference, but it signals a lot about whether the person is aware of my feelings about being approached and my reasonable concern that someone would intrude upon me with malicious and/or objectifying comments and actions. It also signals that they’re aware I’m a human being with thoughts and feelings and stuff and that they’re interested in more than just this vessel I walk around in. (My body, in case that wasn’t obvious.)

    • #1. I completely agree

      #2. I <3 that you quoted RuPaul, I often quote that line when speaking about romance

  24. RedFish says:

    Ancom, I’d say you made a few points there that don’t quite ring true.

    “…why would women collectively ignore nice guys just because they’re trying to protect themselves?”

    The threat can still be there, even with someone who seems “nice”. Being pushy, and not being able to understand a brush-off (or even a straight-up, spoken “no, stop doing that) is very, very worrying. What the more assertive guys have on their side attraction-wise is obvious, visible (even if fake) confidence. Which a lot of people find appealing!

    “the majority of women passively expect to be attracted by a man. This means that the men who fail to meet the established mould of what is generally considered attractive … they suffer sexual and romantic ostracization at the whim of women”

    Women who fail to meet the established mould of what is generally considered attractive have the same problem with guys! If not more so! This is more an issue with how people of both genders view beauty than a problem with women’s behaviour. (Except that for females, half of their worth as a human being seems to be judged on their looks… but that’s a classic feminist rant for another time :P)

    “maybe, just maybe, women are actually doing something that is quite common for human beings to do when they have power: exploiting it”

    Some are, yeah. But definatly not the majority. Most women who see a woman doing this would instantly label it as bitchy behaviour – and you get people of that ilk from people of both genders.

    “to claim that it’s the only reason why women treat men the way they do is just excusing a lot of the poor behavior women are showcasing, and the inherent laziness in passively expecting a man to come in and charm you off your feet.”

    I got the impression that the good Doctor was saying this is the most common reason over-friendliness and pushiness from guys is labelled as “creepy”, not excusing every single social/dating flaw that women might suffer from…

    And I don’t know about every other woman in the world, but I don’t know any females worth dating that are lolling around waiting for a man to pick them up! (Sounds pretty boring, to me…!)

    Aaaaaand that’s me done for the day. :D

  25. I agree with everything you said, except for the justification of calling guys creeps when you really know it's not at all indicative of who they truly are.

    You have absolutely no idea who the person is, and you are smart enough to realize that while the world is full of creeps, calling a stranger a creep or talking about him behind his back as if he were a creep just because he did some minor thing to set off your sensitized alarm is a totally shitty thing to do.

    Should we also tell people coming from ethnic groups that are overrepresented in crime statistics to be extremely cautious not to set off any behavioral alarms around the rest of us? You know, just because we might see them as a potential threat?

    Or would that just be utterly ridiculous and unfair to them as individuals and human beings?

    • Anthony says:

      If a guy touches her inappropriately, pressures her into a situation she doesn't want to be in, or objectifies her, do you think he's innocent? Those are the situations that she was talking about calling a guy a creep, and I'm don't think she is wrong.

      • I was referrign to the part saying "if you’re reading as creepy to a lot of women then you’re probably violating their boundaries in small ways" which is not really doing anything but doing some form of faux pas. If whe wasn't referring to that though then yeah, nevermind.

        • I was, and that guy should be informed that his behavior is creepy, especially if he ever wants, as you say, affection and validation from women. If he's doing things that make women uncomfortable, he needs to stop doing them. Doesn't mean he's a bad person, and in fact if he's not actually a creep then he won't want to do shit that makes others uncomfortable. It'd give him a chance to change the behaviors.

          However, trying to just say "Oh, these are faux pas and I just can't figure them out so you should just ignore your feelings of being creeped out" is where this conversation starts to break down and people get angry. That's what minimizes women's need for safety and the validity of their creep-o-meters. The point is that there are very good reasons for women to react to strange men the way that they do, and for the label "creepy" to exist.

          There is indeed some onus on men to figure out how to behave with women in a way that respects their humanity and boundaries. Doesn't have to be in the context of approaches, and I still think we should be helping women make those, but it's something many, many men need to work on.

    • I didn't say I reserve the right to call a guy a creep. I reserve the right to call a guy's behavior creepy. There is a difference. It's really, really important, I think to label creepy behavior what it is. Otherwise, the people who do creepy stuff without meaning to won't ever get to learn what to stop doing, and then we'll never be able to distinguish between guys who mean well but aren't aware and guys who are legitimate predators. This is another reason for guys who accidentally do creepy things to work on their shit and stop it.

      • I think the main reason why you always do the approaching, but it fails, and you never get approached is because you sound like a really, really NOT fun person to be around. Regardless of how you try and word it ("I didn't call you stupid, I said you were acting stupid!"), you are still being flat-out RUDE and OBNOXIOUS then, let alone pretty creepy yourself. Also you keep talking as if EVERY woman feels the same way as you do, and I guarantee you, that is certainly not the case. So for you to just go around telling people they need to completely change themselves just so they can keep up to YOUR expectations, when they MOST LIKELY (since no matter how high the statistics are for violent crime, you are still more likely to NOT have any problems.) will have plenty of people, like their family and friends, who like them just the way they are. There are a lot more goofy and awkward DOOFUS guys, than their are violent maniacs trying to have their way with you. Am I saying that negates the danger? Not at all. Be alert, and on guard. Vigilance is necessary of course. But you don't have to be on the offensive. You sound like you are trying to counter-attack or something. I mean if you want to tell people that they weird you out, go ahead, but try and remember that they ARE a human being with feelings too, and are much more likely to just be a well-intentioned, but ill-informed goof who probably is less capable of causing harm than you are. Just the way I imagine you sounding from the way you type makes me think you could probably kick my ass. And again, I'm not surprised why you are able to do the approaching. You could probably be a drill instructor honestly. Also, again, I'm not surprised that you don't get anybody to accept. They're probably scared stiff.

        • If you just wanted to berate another poster, perhaps you should get her email address. This just reads as one long personal attack. Hint: calling out a guy on his creepy behavior is not "going on the offensive."

    • Please tell me you did not just compare race-based profiling to women trusting their instincts on individual situations.

      And you know what? Some women DO automatically assume every man is going to be a creep because they’ve had such terrible experiences in the past. Especially if it’s a part of PTSD. And sometimes you just gotta deal with that and not whine about how she’s treating you unfairly.

    • “Should we also tell people coming from ethnic groups that are overrepresented in crime statistics to be extremely cautious not to set off any behavioral alarms around the rest of us? You know, just because we might see them as a potential threat?

      Or would that just be utterly ridiculous and unfair to them as individuals and human beings?”
      People do that, even if they don’t see themselves as racist, even if others wouldn’t see them as racist. Stereotypes exist in order for us to conserve brain power. Social Schema are around for a reason. Talk to a social psychologist about it. I can give you my former psych of prejudice prof’s email if you need it.
      I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it exists for a reason.

  26. Hang on, people. I don’t think yelling and cursing will increase understanding.

    Ancom, male shyness, clumsiness, or nervousness isn’t automatically creepy. Behavior suggesting that a woman somehow owes a man something *is* creepy. Shy, clumsy, or nervous men can also be quite cute, interesting, fun, and so forth. Men who think women as a group owe them something are often dangerous.

    Women are just as interested in connecting with men as men are in connecting with women. The difference is that we have to scan interactions for people who may mean us harm. That’s our first order of business. Whether the person is attractive or not comes second.

    It is much safer for us to err on the side of false positives. False positives mean we toss out a few men who might be harmless, but we’re less likely to miss someone who will physically hurt us. We’d rather miss a few opportunities than be raped or killed. Logical, no?

    Don’t worry about looking nervous or clumsy or shy. My husband is or has been all those things, and he’s sexy as hell and a lot of fun besides. But *do* worry about coming off as a person who thinks women owe you something, because even if you’re not dangerous, smart women will lump you in with the scary ones. And we’ll keep right on walking. If we don’t break into a run, that is.

    • Hang on, people. I don’t think yelling and cursing will increase understanding.

      I think that this was directed at my response to ancom? I agree with everything you said in this comment, and you put it very well, but when a comment on to a post like this on a blog of this nature triggers some of my (and I imagine other of the female readers of this blog’s) choice experiences with the opposite sex and makes me feel like crying or vomiting, I’m not going to be nice.

      • mmarple says:

        seconded – Ancom’s comments are inflammatory, bordering on trolling and I’m tired of playing nice and humoring people like him. Maybe our anger will tell him something though I sincerely doubt it.

      • Anthony says:

        No one said be nice. But yelling and cursing won’t increase understanding, and it doesn’t do anything to help the discussion get to a better place. Of course, this is the internet, so it doesn’t really matter. And with this particular discussion, judging by his last comment, I don’t think he’ll ever come to understand what you’re saying or why you’re reacting how you are. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have responded how you did, just saying that it’s not going to help, or hurt, the discussion. It’s a neutral comment, that is only going to leave confusion in his head. Again, not that you owe him anything, so that’s not said as though you are supposed to help him understand. Just trying to point out where IMC was coming from.

        • mmarple says:

          but it will convey that something is wrong, perhaps something might be wrong with what he is writing *gasp shock*. if you are getting that level of anger thrown at you maybe you should step back and think about what your saying. some people curse when they are pissed, welcome to grown-up land.

          'nuetral comment'?

          he's blaming an oppressed minority for a problem he is responsible for and tossing in a heaping of women-hate on as well.

          nuetral comment?

          I love it when men say, meh- it's no big deal what are you silly wimmins getting all worked up about? ah, the fine art of dismissal and derailing.

          • Anthony says:

            I had a relatively strongly worded response to you typed up, and I just deleted it. You didn't read what I wrote, or there is a huge, huge gap between what I intended to convey and what you read. Never did I say Beth was wrong. Never did I say that women are silly and getting worked up about nothing (and never have I even thought that). I said HER comment wasn't going to help (or hurt) the discussion. HER comment was a neutral comment, that was going to leave confusion in HIS head. Which, by the way, is the case. Her WELL PLACED anger and frustration did not help him understand what's going on. In fact, I actually touched on the fact that probably nothing is going to help him. And I said it's the internet, so it doesn't really matter how she responds.

            I don't think anger and frustration has any place in a discussion that is meant to be constructive. Her comment wasn't wrong, nor am I saying she shouldn't have said it. Only that it's not going to contribute to the discussion. I have responded to him at length, multiple times attempting to help him understand. I don't agree with what he's saying at all. Not that that actually has anything to do with this particular issue.

            I have a feeling that there was a big difference between what I intended and what you read. I've reread what I said a couple times, and I don't see where I'm not being clear. Honestly, I would appreciate it if you could point it out to me, because clarity is important to me, especially on the internet where inflection and tone is nearly impossible to portray.

            Whether or not I was clear, the condescension isn't necessary.

        • So it’s my responsibility to force misogynists to understand how their words and actions hurt women? I’m sorry that I’m not able to contain my anger long enough to be nice to this guy.

          I see where y’all are coming from and I really respect your ability to keep calm. I have given up and talking to that guy, because, as you said, it’s like talking to a wall. However, you might want to read this, this, and/or this or google “tone argument” to see where I’m coming from.

          • Anthony says:

            I didn't say it was your responsibility to force anyone to do anything. I also didn't say you shouldn't be angry, although I'm realizing that it may have seem like that was implied, so I should have explicitly typed it. I also didn't say you were invalid for getting worked up. I do stand by my thought that discussions driven by anger aren't as constructive as ones where a calmer tone is kept. That's been my personal experience, and I have actually worked very hard at not responding to serious things with anger, because it has never worked for me.

            In the third page you linked, the author talks about how it's not society's responsibility to teach someone what they are doing wrong. While I agree that this is true, I do think when we see injustice we need to point it out. And that involves slightly more than just saying, "You're racist/sexist/a bigot." It would be great to expect people to be introspective after something like that happens, but I think it's unlikely. Because people usually get incredibly defensive when accused of something like that, they aren't going to immediately look for fault in themselves; they will look outward first as a defense mechanism to protect themselves from embarrassment and shame. Having a short, to the point conversation can let them know what they did that was wrong, and possibly encourage some introspection. More than just one sentence would, anyway. I would really love to be at a place where I can expect others to work on improving themselves like I work on improving myself when I do something wrong. I just don't have that much faith in society as it is right now. This isn't a rebuttal to you in anyway, just a comment on this situation. I'm still not saying what you did was wrong or that you shouldn't have. And I'm still not saying it's your responsibility. But I do feel like it's my responsibility. I'll take on all the actual haters and try to show them how they are wrong. Honestly, I would do it even if I was the only one standing up to them, because I really hate it when people hate for no/misguided reason/s.

          • Anthony is a great example of someone who understands how to drive a conversation forward in a constructive manner, and I think you need to understand that anyone who drops into this discussion with the same mindset as the people you are debating against are going to follow the discussion with the same mindset you're debating against.

            If you can deconstruct your opponent's views and explain to them where they are wrong, you are not only going to help one person come to an important realization, but potentially several other people as well.

            In other words, it's not going to help to get upset. Telling your opponent he's an idiot or that you're fuming with anger isn't going to change anything, but explaining your standpoint in a clear manner will.

          • James (Thortok2000) says:

            @Ancom – There are at least three ways to write a persuasive argument.

            Argument by authority, appeal to emotion, and logical.

            Argument by authority is often neutralized on the internet unless you can prove your authority or pretend to have some. (For instance, most of us listen to the Doc even though he's not a real doctor. He's the owner of the site and that gives him 'authority.')

            Argument by emotion, however, is totally possible and shouldn't be dismissed. If a lot of people are angry at you, you've probably said or done something wrong. It doesn't help as much as knowing exactly what you've done, but it's a step up from being completely ignorant.

            I do, however, agree that logic is king on the internet. A logical argument stands on its own merits.

            But that doesn't mean there isn't a place for emotion, when used appropriately and constructively.

    • Yes, this. Especially the bit about how women are just as eager to connect with men as men are with women. I think that’s a nice reiteration of the Doc’s point that this is not a war here; it’s a collaborative effort. We all want to be loved, admired, and affirmed. We all want to be safe. That’s what it boils down to.

  27. MikanGirl says:

    Thank you for this, Doc! I feel like this should be required reading for all guys.

    I've had to develop a "cold" face to try to discourage guys from cat-calling on the street or attempting to grope me as I pass by in a club or a bar. (I was told early on in high school that I had too open and nice a face and had to develop one that would be more discouraging to guys.) And then, I often hear a "bitch" comment after I ignore them. I'm sorry, did I offend you by not leaping into your arms when you tried to grab my butt? By walking quickly past you when I'm alone at night on a street in New York? I've had a guy stick his finger *up my nose* while attempting to flirt with me. Another randomly jabbed his finger in my mouth. Not only is that highly invasive and completely disrespectful, but then as a partial germ-a-phobe, I spend the next few hours worrying about what could possibly have been on that guy's fingers.

    As a fairly small female who seems to attract guys like that at an alarming rate, I have fairly exact standards for who I will talk to for more than a minute or two. If you break any of those standards, I'm sorry, you're a potential risk. Put a hand on my shoulder when I'm not inviting it? You have broken my personal bubble already, and who knows how much farther you'll go in the next 5 minutes alone. You could be a completely nice guy, but it's just not worth it to me. That's how I live my life every single day. And I don't have a history of being harassed (outside of these "normal" interactions). I can't even imagine how much worse it is for a woman who has actually experienced the terror of a real attack.

  28. @Beth (and the others I guess?)

    To be clear, the need to protect one’s safety is of course always top priority, and I never said that women aren’t entitled to set the tolerance level for what they consider unsafe.

    However, there is obviously a clear distinction between the subject of protection and the act of attraction. Even though they may both be relevant in the instance of meeting a stranger, there’s no reason why attraction can’t be discussed as an isolated subject if there happens to be a problem with the attraction aspect itself, which is the case I’m making.

    This entire discussion started with my disagreement of the notion that *every* reaction a woman has towards a man is based on her fear gauge. This simply cannot be true, because there are obviously other grounds to evaluate him on, such as whether or not she’s attracted to him or interested in him as a person.

    Also, when I am talking about attraction I am talking about situations where it might be appropriate for a normal, sane guy to try to pick up a girl. I am not talking about people who might have a propensity toward stalking women, making sexual innuendos, groping or making otherwise inappropriate gestures. While those people exist, and while they are a cause of distress for women, I am talking about situations where women are feeling secure interacting with men, or at least where it’s expected of men to talk to them.

    *Phew*

    Okay so you keep insisting on womens’ rights to protect themselves and the lack of entitlement men have to womens’ bodies, and that’s fine, but you are completely ignoring the fact that men and women are *gasp* expected to be romantically involved.

    Given that this is actually happening, that men and women ultimately want to be together and that there’s a dating scene going on, there are also going to be trends and behaviors in these situations that one might actually want to affect for the better.

    And one of these things I’d say, is the lack of attention men are receiving from women in any given social situation – even ones where she feels secure or at home with the guys. Men aren’t entitled to attention, no, but women sure are receiving it, and it’s empowering them in the sense that it validates their sense of being able to land a mate for any purpose they wish.

    Men on the other hand are left – as I’ve previously said – without any hint that they might be able to score a partner. This starts at a *very young age* and can actually be a scary uncertainty and an actual source of emotional pain and fear.

    (And yeah, there sure is a side effect where women are receiving unwanted attention, but that utterly pales in comparison to receiving no attention at all, and I honestly don’t see how you or other women repeatedly fail to see why loneliness, uncertainty and the feeling of being unloved by the opposite sex would NOT be a very, very serious issue.)

    The cause of this I’d say is the gender role stating that men are supposed to impress women, to “pick them up” or to approach them, and from what I can see women seem to really support this idea. If you don’t believe me, just check the movement that’s grown quite big where women are calling men out to “take charge again,” or even just the commenting fields of any article telling guys how to successfully approach women, where you’ll have 10 women cheering the author on and 1 woman asking BUT HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO IT??

    My point is this: until that 10-1 ration flips around, we have a problem.

    Women need to stop chickening out, stop being cowardly and passive, and start being as assertive and brave as men are when it comes to pickup. I’ve had women approach me with positive results (one ended in a 2-year long relationship), but this is nowhere NEAR as much as I have to approach women (my results with cold approaches are actually quite bad, but I get female attention from other places so I don’t mind), and I truly sympathize with the men who have never had a chance to experience love or intimacy because they just happened to be born or conditioned into personalities that are unable to play the game that women force men to play.

    And that game isn’t the game of not coming off as creepy, it’s the game of corresponding with a number of highly specific social prerequisites that actually aren’t that natural for a large group of good men to adhere to. And yes, those men aren’t entitled to anything, but is it a problem that these men are forced to choose between being comfortable with themselves and receiving attention from the opposite sex? Yes it is.

    • mmarple says:

      and you dig the hole a little deeper. let’s check the verb usage. ‘cowardly’ ‘passive’ ‘chickening out’ ‘lazy’
      and the remarkable What about MEEEE whine. yea dude, I feel for you because being violently raped and having the near-constant threat of violence aimed at me every moment I step out of my home PALES in comparison to a lonely Friday night watching tv. Me? I’ll take the loneliness over the threat of being raped, dismembered and tossed into a field.

      • You must’ve missed the part where I said I’m referring to situations where the woman feels safe.

        • mmarple says:

          and your missing the Schrodinger’s rapist post AND the part where women don’t owe you a damn thing.

      • mmarple says:

        and? ‘the game women force men to play’ ? all in your head. Why not try living for yourself, discovering yourself, becoming your own person and deciding that you can live without women for a while instead of putting all the blame on all those naughty women who won’t let you play? because seriously, if these are the thoughts running through your mind when you approach a women it’s no wonder you can’t get anywhere.

        • Don’t assume that my comments are about my personal failures just because I let a bit of personality slip into my comment. My failures are based on my being really bad at cold-talking to strangers. It’s something I’m working on, and I don’t mind being bad at it since I get attention in other ways.

          As for the rest of your comment, well, I already addressed both the threat radar and sense of entitlement. I don’t understand why you’re bringing it up again.

          • mmarple says:

            united in trying to make a world a better place from thick-headedness obtuse-ness. and misogyny. don't forget that.

          • mmarple says:

            all right, one last time. The reason why you are getting so much anger? Because you have all the power. Men have privilege, this is called Male Privilege. It means that in whatever you do you will always be ahead of women. this is not a personal attack on you, this is not to make you guilty this is the way of the world. You will always have the advantage in everything you do because you were born male and I was not. So for you to come in here and go ‘oh, women are oppressing me’ it makes said women want to bash your privileged face in because you have the power. we are not oppressing you, we are not playing games with you if you feel you are being treated unfairly in the dating world look inside yourself for an answer instead of projecting onto women. and now I am tired of your self-pitying, your ignorance and the refusal to accept responsility for your thoughts and words. I will say no more. Dr. Nerdlove – step in anytime please.

          • Well, I think all human beings are allowed to expressed injustices regardless of whether they belong to an oppressed or privileged group. I don’t think being a guy in the 2000s gives you any less right to bring light to a problem affecting men than being a woman.

          • omg mmarple i love you can we be e-best friends?

    • I see that you have read none of my comments. I see that you have given absolutely no thought to the complex and contradictory sets of contradictions women have hanging over their heads wherever they go. I see that you ignored everything I said about how women feel loneliness and pain and insecurity. I see that all you are interested in is hating women and casting yourself as the victim. I see that you have no interest in thinking critically about how gender and gender roles are constructed.

      Good luck forming a meaningful relationship with that attitude of yours.

      • Which points, specifically? I literally broke down my reasoning into the smallest possible components, carefully replying to every point you made. What did I ignore? Where am I wrong? How is the problem I’m putting forth not worth looking at?

        I am not being sarcastic, because I’m trying to have a constructive discussion that might eventually have a conclusion to the benefit of whoever turns out to be wrong, and whoever else might read it.

    • Anthony says:

      The point is that the situation where a woman feels 100% doesn’t exist. You’re assuming it does, but where? Where are the safe situations that you’re talking about? In every single one of them, is their still the potential for a woman to be attacked/assaulted? No matter how many people are around, can someone still attack her before someone else can stop him?

      Again I’ll say that society needs a change that reflects women being allowed to be more aggressive and honest with their feelings rather than having to let the man do it for fear of being labelled a slut or any other number of negative factors. But this isn’t just women’s fault – there are men who would abhor this idea, and call you a feminist (and mean it in a negative way) for suggesting that women get equal footing in society. So I do think you’re putting far more blame on women for that than you should be. And women don’t deserve any blame for men not receiving attention. Guys receive attention when they earn it. I have received attention and know that I can be desired. According to you, I’m either special or among a select few. I think that’s false.

      I would counter all of your arguments by saying this, though: guys can learn to not value themselves based on the attraction they receive from women. If I go for awhile without receiving any kind of attention from women, I don’t start curling into a ball and crying myself to sleep. Honestly, I don’t even notice. There is probably no way to fix this problem if guys live their lives being concerned about how women look at them. While that exists, both sides are going to say the other side has all the power. Honestly, fuck this dating system as we have it. Time to throw it out and get a new one and leave all the hard feelings behind.

      • Well, I just doubt that a woman’s brain is busy being concerned with her personal safety at any given moment at any given time. Is the female CFO thinking about her safety when she’s writing her daily reports? Is the female clerk concerned with her safety when a nice, timid and respectful young man walks in and places an order? Is the female student concerned when she’s talking to a classmate she’s known for a good while?

        I can understand it happening to certain degrees in certain situations, to great degrees in warranted situations, and maybe even to some degrees in the situations mentioned above, but I find it hard to believe that all women are at all times utterly concerned about their personal safety just because there happens to be any kind of male, familiar or not, in her vicinity.

        I mean, human beings are programmed into being worried when there is a cause, and relaxed when there isn’t, so are you seriously suggesting that all women are at all times fearful of all men in all situations regardless of context? If the answer is yes, then how come everyone aren’t walking around worrying about everything that could go wrong at all times based on whatever experiences they might’ve had?

        “So I do think you’re putting far more blame on women for that than you should be. And women don’t deserve any blame for men not receiving attention. Guys receive attention when they earn it. I have received attention and know that I can be desired. According to you, I’m either special or among a select few. I think that’s false.”
        I’m not saying you belong to a select few people, but I think few men would agree that men receive as much attention from the opposite sex as women do. Isn’t that enough to warrant calling it an issue?

        “I would counter all of your arguments by saying this, though: guys can learn to not value themselves based on the attraction they receive from women. If I go for awhile without receiving any kind of attention from women, I don’t start curling into a ball and crying myself to sleep. Honestly, I don’t even notice. There is probably no way to fix this problem if guys live their lives being concerned about how women look at them. While that exists, both sides are going to say the other side has all the power. Honestly, fuck this dating system as we have it. Time to throw it out and get a new one and leave all the hard feelings behind.”
        Well, I’m not saying guys go around validating themselves based on their female attention. I’m saying it’s going to have an effect on how guys view themselves growing up, and how they’re going to view their prospects of landing a partner for whatever purpose.

        I mean consider the differences between a child growing up without loving parents and a child that does. It’s going to have *big* effects on their personality. Why wouldn’t it? It’s very much going to shape the way they view themselves and their future.

        So why wouldn’t a lack of female attention have the same effects on men, except in different areas of life? And why wouldn’t it be an actual problem?

        • You find it hard to believe because you don’t have the experience yourself. It is nonetheless true. Most women will absolutely be sparing a thought or two to their safety any time they’re in a room with a man they don’t know well. No matter what the scenario is. End of story.

        • Firecat says:

          Here’s what you’re refusing to see, Anscom. That CFO? Yes, part of her mind is evaluating whether she’s safe being alone in her office or working late with that male co-worker.

          That clerk? Yes, part of her mind is wondering whether that “nice, timid young man” is going to take her professional friendliness as undying devotion and start stalking her.

          That college student? Yes, in the back of her mind, she is evaluating whether that classmate is going to take an acceptance of an invitation for a late-night study session as an invitation to commit acquaintance rape.

          And if you don’t understand that, you have ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING CLUE

          • Well you kind of confirmed my point? Because you’re bringing up contexts where it’s obviously okay to be worried, such as the instance with the CFO working late. I was more talking about a CFO doing reports in the comfort of her own office at a workplace where she’s been working for years, which is a situation where I’d expect a woman to be quite comfortable and not worry that much.

          • mmarple says:

            see, NOW he’s trolling.

          • James (Thortok2000) says:

            @Ancom –

            Even if you meet the guy in a 'safe' setting he could turn out to be a predator that wants to pull you out of that safe setting and then rape you. It's happened. A lot. To one in every five women I believe.

            You act as if rape only occurs in dark alleys. Again, your writing is very polarized and binary. You're seeing it as "Either you're safe, or you're not. Why do women get so threatened when in 'safe mode'?"

            THERE IS NO SAFE MODE. Sometimes you're more safe than others, but you're never 100% 'safe.' That's what it is to be a woman. It sucks, it's horrible, I wish it wasn't true, and I hate that it is that way, but that's what it is.

            What you're really arguing for is that women should feel more safe, more of the time, in X, Y, and Z environments. While I can understand the point you're trying to make, it's up to the women how safe they want to feel. If a woman wants to be terrified of men in a grocery store /because she met a guy once there and he date-raped her/ then that is totally her right. Or even if she knows another woman who that happened to. Or if the thought simply occurred to her and she wants to play it safe.

            You have no right to say how safe a woman should feel about your behavior. All you can do is try to make her feel as safe as possible (using tips like, don't directly face her or away from her, talk to her from the side of your body if possible, etc.)

            I've agreed in other comments that the word 'creepy' gets overused, but in this comment you're basically saying "c'mon, how much of a threat could there be?" And the answer is, A LOT.

          • Well the thing is, I've asked pretty much every women I know intimately how they feel about this, and they don't understand where you guys are coming from at all. One of them even told me not to "believe eveything I read" when I explained to her about rape culture.

            These are very attractive and intelligent women, by the way, who are used to getting the attention and propositions of men.

            So really. On one hand you have a people making the case that all women see all men as potential threats at all times – which I can understand if you've had negative experiences with men – and on the other hand you have a group of women who are saying that they are totally fine in the company of men despite having been groped in public once or twice in their lives, and who are at worst afraid of going through a dark area at 3am.

            I guess what I'm saying is sure, go ahead and protect yourselves from whatever you perceive as potential threats, but don't write articles collectively accusing men for being creepy when they're really just commmitting innocent and harmless faux pas.

            I'm not a rapist, nor is the majority of men, and I don't think men should have to embed behaviors based on the notion that they're rapist when there are clearly women who are quite fine in the company of men (at least based on the ones I've spoken to).

          • James (Thortok2000) says:

            @Ancom –

            Quote: "These are very attractive and intelligent women, by the way, who are used to getting the attention and propositions of men."

            And how many of them do they date? Guess what, they're pretty used to the idea of rejecting men. And I'm betting that a lot of those rejections (assuming they're single and otherwise available) are: A) The guy was creepy, B) The guy was unattractive, or C) Just not interested.

            Which are really all the same thing. Something about what the guy did or looked like made them choose to say no.

            They're not scared because they are used to a 'no' being enough, and that's a good thing. They also haven't been in, or put themselves in, situations where a 'no' isn't enough.

            What you should ask your female friends is, are there any propositions they've received that if they chose to (or had to) say 'yes' they WOULD be afraid and that's why they said no?

            If they have, then perhaps that will open your eyes. If they haven't, then again, too small of a sample size.

          • Maybe I shouldn't have said intimately. I meant that these women are close enough friends to be able to open with me.

            And yeah it's a small sample size, but no, I probed as much as I could for any sign that they may fear the opposite sex, and the response was no.

            I mentioned this in my other comment, but I'm starting to think this is a cultural difference between EU and the US.

        • I have felt threatened in the presence of my brother, my father, my uncle, and no one in my family has ever harmed me. I know that is not the case for a large number of women. Every time we go to the doctor we have to stare at a little sign that says we have the right to a chaperone. The underlying message there? Your doctor could assault you, so hey, you can here's what you can do. I had more than one teacher that thought nothing of pressing close behind young girls and rubbing their shoulders and necks.

          No, feeling 100% safe is RARE.

          You have no right to the assumption we should feel safe around you. Earn it, and quit complaining about the burden. In the big picture, it's something you can change. I don't think that sign is coming down from the doctor's office any time soon.

          • I just wanted to clarify that I've felt the threat of physical harm in the presence of male members of my family, not sexual harm, and for the record, no one in my family has ever intentionally hurt me.

            But an angry man is a very scary thing for a woman. And I'm lucky, because a lot of women aren't so lucky to actually find themselves safe in their own families.

            Just a note.

    • Jessica says:

      “And one of these things I’d say, is the lack of attention men are receiving from women in any given social situation – even ones where she feels secure or at home with the guys. ”

      What? Huh? Who on earth are you hanging out with?

      • Well, it’s just basic logic I guess? I mean human beings worry in different degrees based on the context of the situation. If something seems dangerous, we worry a lot, but if the prospect of danger is mild to none, we don’t worry as much. I figure this applies to women as it does to any human being with any type of warranted fear?

    • I agree that the ridiculously rigid gender roles that say men are supposed to approach and women are supposed to passively accept that are fucked up. It’s not really fair to anyone, and it’s a big part of the rape culture we’re all talking about. I don’t think we have to diminish the pain of loneliness in order to assert our right to label certain behavior as creepy.

      As others said, men are not the only ones who feel lonely and like they’ll never have a partner. Imagine being a woman in a world where women are supposed to be approached and it’s frowned upon to do the approaching themselves, and then you never get approached. That’s pretty shitty, too.

      Now, I’m a young and fairly attractive woman. That’s not my story. I still know, though, that if I’m interested in a particular person and want something to happen, I have to go up to them and get to know them better and flirt and see if I can push things in a romantic direction. I do this.

      I have to watch my back, though. I’m subject to near-constant approaches when I’m in public. People cat-call me on the street, grab my ass in bars and dance clubs (I rarely go to either anymore), make lewd suggestions at me on the subway, etc. These small experiences wear me down. They make me wary and every time I see a guy or group of guys lounging on the sidewalk ahead of me, I get tense. When a stranger starts talking to me in a bar, I’m nervous that he might touch me in ways that I don’t like, or pressure me to do something I don’t want, or even just pursue me in a way that makes it obvious he just wants me as a trophy or a bed notch and isn’t interested in me as a human. These are exhausting experiences, and they feel like shit.

      So yeah, I’m still going to call a guy creepy if he does any of those things. I’m going to tell my girlfriends to avoid him. The doc is right: if you’re reading as creepy to a lot of women then you’re probably violating their boundaries in small ways, even if you didn’t mean to. That’s something to work on.

      But I’m all for teaching women how to make approaches. I’m all for helping people figure out how to ask for what they want and work collaboratively with others to make it happen. I’d love to somehow teach guys not to do the fucked-up, objectifying stuff. (THANK YOU, Doc, for spending so much time doing that.) I’d rather be proactive and learn how to do better myself so I can teach others than spend too much time complaining or wishing things were different.

    • tl;dr past “expected to be romantically involved”. There are people who have no desire to get into romantic relationships, or who have no urge to get into any at the moment. There are ladies who prefer to date other ladies, and men who are going to be seeing other men. There are people who don’t even fit on the gender binary. It’s not an all-encompassing game that everyone’s forced to play.

      • Soubrette says:

        THANK YOU. The straight, cis-gendered perspective was killing me – thank you for calling him out on that.

    • Ainuvande says:

      "there sure is a side effect where women are receiving unwanted attention, but that utterly pales in comparison to receiving no attention at all, and I honestly don’t see how you or other women repeatedly fail to see why loneliness, uncertainty and the feeling of being unloved by the opposite sex would NOT be a very, very serious issue."

      Wait what? Did you say that receiving unwanted sexual attention from unknown persons who are bigger and stronger than you and might forcibly RAPE you is LESS IMPORTANT than feeling LONELY?????????

      Go get some psychiatric help and get the fuck over yourself.

      • A guy being creepy does not mean he's a rapist. It means that he's not completely socially calibrated, or that he happens to have commited a faux pas by mere chance. It doesn't mean that it's appropriate to be rude to him, nor does it mean you have the right to talk shit about him behind his back.

        If a guy is a creep however, like a construction worker cat-calling you, then yes, doing something about it is appropriate since he is offending you.

        The 1 in 6 rape statistic is not applicable to the context of meeting a complete stranger in a safe environment so it is not a trump card against discussing male suffering in the context of dating and sex, and it's not a free card for you to act rude to other people for no good reason. That just means you're an asshole.

        • "male suffering in the context of dating and sex"

          Really? Your right to chat up any woman who you think is attractive to notice trumps her right to be left alone because of "male suffering in the context of dating and sex"?

          No.

          I do not have to prove that I am a nice girl by spending my time on you. After I reject you(and judging by your attitude here, I think that might take two sentences of yours….maybe) then you can feel whatever you like.
          If your behavior after I reject you causes me to think you are unsafe, then I can be rude or leave as I choose, depending on what I think is the safest option at the time.

          Your replies on this board lead me to believe that you are a pretentious ass. My opinion, perhaps, but I have a right to it.

          If you think that I am a bitch, I really don't care, because I am safe over here and you can't loom over me or physically threaten me from there. I am safe to say what I like, which isn't always true in person.

  29. TL;DR

    Strict gender roles suck for everyone, but it’s still important to call creepy behavior what it is. Instead of complaining, we should all be trying to do better for ourselves and help others break the mold.

  30. Paul Rivers says:

    "The reason why women blow men off is not at all based on the threat factor. A shy, nervous or clumsy person is no more or less dangerous than someone who is assertive, charismatic and bold."

    Ooooh – you know, I think maybe I get what you're saying.

    If you're saying what I think you're saying, well – does this sound like what you're saying? –

    "The reason why women blow shy or socially awkward men off is not based purely on the threat factor – a shy, nervous, or clumsy person is no more or less dangerous than someone who is assertive, charismatic and bold".

    The easiest way to read your original sentence is in a way that says that women *never* blow off guys based on the threat factor, and that isn't true – I've seen girls try to get rid of assertive and bold guys before. It's far less likely for them to try to get rid of someone charismatic, though part of being charismatic is seeming awesome without seeming pushy.

    Ironically, they often seem far more willing to say things and try to shame the shy or socially awkward exactly *because* they're less of a threat factor than the muscle bound workout-shirt guy, and the shy or awkward guys are far less likely to make an emotional scene than the aggressive guy who might blow up. They're much more "in your face" to the shy or socially awkward.

    I've seen them play the "really trying to avoid them" game, or the "I'm leaving right now because I don't want to run into that guy again" game with the assertive and bold though…

    • Paul Rivers says:

      Ancom – did you see my question?

      • Sorry mate, this discussion has split into several different threads and I'm slowly zoning out of it.

        As for your comment about women getting rid of assertive and bold guys, yeah, this is what I am saying too. You can read into *any* behavior as potentially dangerous or positive depending on who you are and how you choose to perceive it. This is kind of the point I was trying to make from the begininng – that women aren't just blowing men off for being shy out of fear alone, because clearly there are other metrics in play as well.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Hey Ancom –

          "that women aren’t **just** blowing men off for being shy out of fear alone, because clearly there are other metrics in play as well."

          Yes. When you say it *never* happens that a woman does it because of fear, that's what causes the problem, because *sometimes* that's actually the case. The concept of creepy is a genuine attempt to discern potential threats. However, as you point out, it's often not it's common use.

          "creepy" is often used by girls as cover for:

          – When she just doesn't know how to react, she blames him to avoid feeling bad that she didn't know what to do

          – When someone approaches her that she thinks "shouldn't" because he's not attractive or suave enough

          – As a shaming mechanism to blame him for not doing what she wanted (I wanted him to talk to me, but he just sat over there – creepy!)

          The fear of assault or rape is a real thing. However, our culture also uses it as a boogyman / tool to tell women that sex is scary, evil, and dangerous. Much like the movies from the 70's that always depicted the couple having sex as immediately getting killed by the shark / serial killer / tragic accident, modern tv does the same thing with rapists / pedophiles / etc. You have no problem finding an episode of law and order on tv where sex always being depicted as something that rapists, pedophiles, perverts, and weirdos do, but trying to find descriptions of healthy and enjoyable sex on tv that doesn't end badly is – not completely impossible, but pretty difficult.

          Because culture mixed up genuine danger with promoting the idea that "sex is evil and dirty!", so do women. Unattractive guy makes a pass at her? Potential Rapist! Genuinely way-to-aggressive guy makes a pass at her? Potential Rapist! Guy who she really has chemistry with and she's scared she might sleep with him when she's not "supposed" to? Potential Rapist! Guy who genuinely has a creepy vibe? Potential rapist!

          The two are so tied together, the feeling is almost the same.

          But there are reasons bullies pick on the weak, and those same reasons apply for why women attack the socially awkward much more often than those who are assertive and confident.

          The Shy or Socially Awkward:

          – Much less worry the target will be able to take indirect revenge in some way – the socially skilled are much better at spreading rumors, innuendo, and convincing people that she's the jerk

          – Much less worry he'll be able to take direct social revenge in defending himself

          – Less worry that the scrawny guy is going to get mad and physical than the muscle bound confident guy

          – Much less worry that the target will turn out to be someone of higher social status so she'll end up looking like she's attacking someone above her

          – On a similar note, much less worry that later she'll find out he's someone she's interested in after all

          The Confident and Assertive:

          – More likely to be able to piss them off and end up suffering some sort of indirect retribution (even if it's as simple as when someone doesn't like you because the other person doesn't like you)

          – More worry that he'll somehow directly challenge her and make her look stupid in front of her friends

          – More worry that he'll be a genuine and immediate physical threat – the assertive muscle bound guy is more of a physical threat than the scrawny shy kid

          – More worry that it will turn out later that he has higher social standing and she'll look stupid for having attacked him

          – More worry that later she'll found out he's someone she's interested in after all – if she calls him creepy now he'll start off with a bad attitude towards her

          I've seen girls find a guy who was assertive and confident guy creepy – but they play the avoidance game to get away from him. When a girl goes on and on and calls a guy "creepy" to his face, it always seems to be against the weaker guys (socially or physically). And sometimes they're just bullying – "The popular girls complain about creepy guys hitting on them? Oh, oh, I totally do to! This guy (who has to be a little weird or it doesn't work, but doesn't have the social power to defend himself either) is *totally* being creepy! Yeah! I'm just like the popular girls!".

          I've seen girls find guys who are assertive, confident, and even charismatic creepy (and sometimes it was later proven that they were right). But they tended to only tell their close friends, never say it to his face, and mostly just play the avoidance game. Girls seem to only feel "safe" about marking a guy as "creepy" when – ironically – the guy is the least threat to her.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Like you said –

          "just maybe, women are actually doing something that is quite common for human beings to do when they have power: exploiting it."

        • Anthony says:

          I'm kinda curious how old you are, Paul. The stuff that you're talking about screams immaturity to me. I mean, I'm only 23 and if I knew someone who called a guy creepy that she didn't actually think was creepy, I would call her out on it. I don't deny that what you're talking about exists. Some people are that immature and retain (?) their lack of maturity for their entire lives. But that does not represent a majority of the population, not by a long shot. It's incredibly presumptuous of you to lay out all these reasons why a woman will call a guy creepy without actually being a woman yourself.

          You are also seriously belittling the threat of pedophilia, rape, and assault. The media does an absolutely terrible job of depicting, well, just about everything. But that doesn't change the fact that one out of every six women will be assaulted in her life. That's an astonishingly high number. I understand that people might not have the greatest view of sex in our culture. But you're suggesting that is the cause behind fear of rape? Not the actual, serious fear that 16% of all the women you know have been assaulted?

          I was having a similar conversation the other day – roughly 20 years ago there was a story on Oprah that my mom saw where an child was killed in a bathroom while the adult was standing outside waiting for him. It happened in a public place in a short time frame. My mom described this as just mind blowing to her, because she would never have thought that something like that could happen (granted, she was still young at the time). So she was incredibly careful when it came to me and my siblings and going to the bathroom. Honestly, how many times has an awful thing like this happened when a child was alone in the bathroom? Probably less than 1 in 6. However, I would say it's relatively common for parents to feel fear about their children being alone in the bathroom, so they accompany them. That greatly reduces the chances of something like this happening at all. So, the incidents that we are aware of might not actually be indicative of how often people would choose to do that.

          To tie this back – sexual assault is far more common than a child being harmed in a bathroom. Women need to be on guard for it all the time because it is always present around them. How much bigger would that 16% be if women didn't take care to protect themselves? Who is anyone to ever tell anyone else not to do what they need to do to feel safe? I honestly don't know why you presume that creepy is "often" used as a cover. Maybe in your social circle, it has been. It's possible that you've asked these girls why they used creepy to dismiss a guy, but if you haven't, you're assuming. And I think your assumptions are wrong. What you see as a shy and reserved guy could look very, very different to someone who is tuned all the time to looking out for their own safety. Fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, lingering, and a lot of other traits common between both shy members of society and incredibly dangerous members of society are what make this difficult on the shy. And I don't care if 95% of all the people who act like that are harmless. I don't care if 99% are harmless. I don't want that other 1% to ever get close enough to women I care about to hurt them. It might really suck for the 99%, but sometimes life gives you a shitty hand. Shy is not a permanent state of being. While it may be very hard to fix for some, it's doable. Sexual assault goes so far beyond the act itself. For a lot of people it can be followed by years, and maybe a lifetime, of stress, depression, even more fear, self-loathing, and a host of other incredibly damaging issues. Is it fair to ask someone to increase the risk of this kind of pain happening? I know that the shy people deal with their own personal issues as well, but why in the world would they want someone else to possibly suffer just so they could feel better?

          Most of what I said is about how women deserve to do what they need to do to feel safe. And most of what you're saying is that women aren't using creepy to feel safe, but just to get rid of guys. I said it above, and I'll say it again: either you're coming to the wrong conclusions, or you've seen a disproportionate amount of rejections that falsely used the word creepy. I would ask that you really examine those situations for actions that could have been defined as creepy before you assume that it wasn't at all threatening to the woman.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          "Sorry mate, this discussion has split into several different threads and I’m slowly zoning out of it."

          I will say though, that pretty much – you really should. Some people are actually interested in understanding the topic. Sometimes you never agree with those people, maybe because you cannot communicate both your ideas back and forth entirely, sometimes because you have different viewpoints, sometimes because you have a different set of principles or philosophy.

          But then there's the other group of people – the argu-aholics. Now I do disagree strongly – as I wrote – with the idea that "creepy" is *never* about genuine threat – it is sometimes about genuine threat. But there's a couple signs that you're dealing with an argu-aholic, and one of them is when they go all strawman argument on you – pretending you're arguing something that is superficially similar to what you wrote, but not at all the same thing.

          Where you plainly exclude physical contact:

          "So what I’m saying is that instead of shaming men for not stepping their game up, collectively urging them not to engage in creepy behavior (which unless you’re referring to rapists, gropers, misogynists or plain old creepy comments is just them being a product of frustration due to sexual ostracization"

          For someone to automatically make the huge leap to –

          "Oh my god I am literally shaking with anger right now. What the fuck is wrong with you? How fucking dare you define female power by the exercising of their right to decide whether or not they care to be romantically involved with someone? Jesus Christ YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO WOMEN’S BODIES, AND YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THEIR LOVE. You clearly have no fucking idea how rape culture works and you clearly have no idea how goddamn triggering this comment is/has the potential to be to the female readers of this blog."

          Sometimes I misread something, or read it the wrong way, and accidentally do something like this – but all you can do is write back, quickly point out that you didn't say what they say you're saying – and if they continue on their insistence on recasting that you said something you didn't – point it out and don't respond further.

          This kind of talk comes from someone who's a major part of the culture of victimhood that we have here in the US (do you have it in Europe to?). Like sainthood, to them the most exalted person is the biggest victim, so their language always tries to cast themselves or their group as being victimized. First she claims that after you specifically said it didn't apply to people touching women, she goes on about "YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO WOMEN’S BODIES". Then she claims that by disagreeing with her, you are victimizing – not even just her – but *potential* readers of this blog! That's right, according to her simply writing a different opinion is *victimizing* women everywhere!

          Many other people disagreed with you, and did so without resorting to hysterics, just saying that they didn't think you understand what women go through. Whether you're right, they're right, etc – they made a reasonable argument. They may have even gotten upset at your opinion.

          When someone stops reading what you actually wrote to pretend you wrote something completely different – you're not going to make progress on the issue in continued argument. They'll keep doing it, misappropriating what you're saying, so they can keep being emotionally outraged about their favorite topic to get really upset about. There are other people – the majority of commenters here – where their disagreement will provide insight into the topic. But not the arguaholic crowd.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Anthony, I'm 32.

          "The stuff that you’re talking about screams immaturity to me"

          What they're doing is immature. They still do it. And you'll find that the power structure that leads to these things goes well into adulthood and corporate life.

          Yeah, I've seen guys call out girls on calling guys creepy.

          "It’s incredibly presumptuous of you to lay out all these reasons why a woman will call a guy creepy without actually being a woman yourself."

          I wasn't trying to say that these are the *only* reasons why women do this stuff. I've seen women call guys creepy that were genuinely creepy as well.

          I am *really* not saying that a woman should ignore her own instincts about a guy being creepy.

          But no, I don't think that we have to live in a world where we can't try to dig into other people's motivations – particurly when they're telling us to "fucking change (our behavior)". It only makes sense to try to figure out the motivations of people who are insisting that *you* are the problem, and *you* need to change.

          "You are also seriously belittling the threat of pedophilia, rape, and assault."

          Well…I don't think that I am. I specifically said that in popular culture, they've become entertwined. I specifically said "The fear of assault or rape is a real thing." I specifically provided examples that alternated between "not attractive" and "genuine threat".

          "I was having a similar conversation the other day – roughly 20 years ago there was a story on Oprah that my mom saw where an child was killed in a bathroom while the adult was standing outside waiting for him."

          On a completely different subject, have you ever noticed the tendency of "nice guy's" to have had parents that were really, really afraid their children were going to be kidnapped/killed/assaulted? My mother was always super afraid we were going to get kidnapped after the jacob wetterling thing as well. It was a never ending saga of how I could never go anywhere on my own because "I might be kidnapped". I feel like their's some sort of cause and effect there…

          "To tie this back – sexual assault is far more common than a child being harmed in a bathroom. Women need to be on guard for it all the time because it is always present around them. How much bigger would that 16% be if women didn’t take care to protect themselves?"

          I haven't said women shouldn't follow their instincts. I said the *phrase* is more often bandied around for guys who aren't a threat.

          There are 2 nearly seperate concepts here –

          1. When a girl feels creepiness in a way that suggest a potential actual threat

          2. When a girl tells everyone that a guy is creepy

          For some reason, #1 and #2 aren't strongly correlated – in my experience. #1 is more strongly correlated with a girl insisting on standing next to me and won't tell me why, or with her insisting on leaving. #2 seems to be more strongly correlated with a girl who doesn't want the guy around her, but doesn't find him a genuine threat.

          I deliberately used phrases like "strongly correlated" because these things are not exact, not to mention it's only my own personal experience.

          "I honestly don’t know why you presume that creepy is “often” used as a cover. Maybe in your social circle, it has been."

          I can see where you're coming from – my high school friends wouldn't have had it happen to them either, where a girl used "creepy" or "creeper" to refer to them. They're married now, and not part of the more active social scene.

          But as for "why" I think this? I just described this – because 2 different girls called me creepy when it was extremely clear there was no threat. Maybe if it had just been one, I might have been like "hey, maybe it was just a unexpected situation or something". But I was there, and 2 of the times I'm confident that it was far, far more about trying to shame about not doing what I was "supposed" to do – go over and dance with every member of the group – and had nothing to do with a "threat".

          "And most of what you’re saying is that women aren’t using creepy to feel safe, but just to get rid of guys."

          No, at the most extreme, I was saying that women use the *word* creepy to get rid of guys. You rephrased this as "just" get rid of guys.

          It's used for both.

          "Fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, lingering, and a lot of other traits common between both shy members of society and incredibly dangerous members of society are what make this difficult on the shy. And I don’t care if 95% of all the people who act like that are harmless. I don’t care if 99% are harmless. I don’t want that other 1% to ever get close enough to women I care about to hurt them. It might really suck for the 99%, but sometimes life gives you a shitty hand."

          Well, that's exactly what one of the other arguments is about – how from a guys perspective, it doesn't seem like "shy" is realistically any more correlated with being a threat than assertive, confident, or sometimes even charismatic. When you think of prison, do you think of a bunch of shy reserved guys? Or do you think of assertive, confident, and sometimes even charasmatic guys? I'm sure it's some of both, but there's no stereotype of prison being filled with shy reserved guys.

          What you're trying to debate about is whether a girl should listen to her instincts on whether a guy is creepy. However, that's not what I'm saying – or I think many of the other people are saying.

          Here's the 2 scenarios being argued

          Scenario A

          1. Guy behaves and acts in a way that gives off signals of being threatending

          2. Girl calls him creepy, tells everyone else that he's creepy and potentially dangerous

          3. Guy is told that he needs to "fucking change" how he acts around women.

          See – this one is understandable.

          Scenario B

          1. Guy isn't attractive

          2. Girl calls him creepy (because he's unnattractive), tells everyone else the he's creepy and potentially dangerous

          3. Guy is told that he needs to "fucking change" how he acts around women, as well as being ostrasized as a "potential threat" from people who have "heard" about him, but never even met him before.

          Scenario A is understandable. Scenario B is a girl abusing her power. Do you know what's not abusing her power? Not talking to him.

          It kind of depends on which perspective you come from as well. If you come from the perspective that women are all nice, wonderful, well meaning people, Scenario B doesn't so bad – it must happen only very occassionally, and when it does happen, she didn't mean for that to happen – it's just an innocent mistake, right?

          If you come from the perspective that women will use any social tool they have to get what they want, and not give the slightest crap if it hurts, then you would believe that women should *never* have the power to call men creepy.

          You average, real woman is in the middle – she's not psychic about the effect of her actions on others outside of what she can see, but she also would care if she could see the effects.

    • I think we have a lot of “creep” definition issues going on. I cannot speak for all women, but maybe it would help if a woman broke some of these down. It might be post fodder for something. I have personally used the terms, “creep” “creepy” “creeper” and “scary”. Though I use them very rarely. “Creep” is used the most often, I have only actively described someone as a “Creeper” once.

      Here’s what I mean by each, feel free to chime in girls if I’m on target.

      If I say “He’s such a creep.” That is akin to saying, “He’s such a jerk.” When I say “jerk” it implies a guy that cares more about himself than others and demonstrates behaviors that show that he cares little about the people around him. The guy that casually insults your best friend’s weight then takes the last doughnut at the meeting and laughs, he’s a jerk. A “creep” in my mind has the same dynamic. He also has demonstrated that he cares little about the feelings of others, but added a sexual element on top of it. Where a jerk will just call you fat, a creep will bring that conversation around to sex somehow. A good example of a “creep” is in the movie “Office Space.” The guy that makes the whole joke about the “O face” is a creep. Now, a creep is annoying but not always scary. He’s the guy that if a girl tries to brush him off in a non-sexual situation responds with “You know you want it.” If you don’t want to be a creep, tone down aggressive sex talk around your female friends. It doesn’t come off the same way as it does when you’re around the guys, and it runs you the risk of being a “Creep.”

      “Creepy” always describes a state of being. I tend to use this one as a red flag for socially uncertain behavior. Intense stares, unnatural fixed smiles, butting into conversations then saying something off topic, standing too close, weird uncomfortable compliments out of the blue, and unwanted touching can all be “creepy.” If I say to a girl friend, “That guy’s a little creepy,” or “He’s kinda giving me the creeps.” I’m telling her my spidey sense is tingling, but I’m not sure if this is a threat, or if he’s just awkward. I’m usually looking for validation that my discomfort is justified. Either I’ll get a response of, “Oh I know him, he’s just shy” and I’ll chill out a little, or I’ll hear something like, “Yeah, he hasn’t stopped staring at you. Let’s go.” Either way, if I call a guy creepy, what I’m trying to communicate to my friends is that a guy scares me or makes me uncomfortable for whatever reason. If he’s just unattractive, that doesn’t usually get hit with “creepy”. Now if he doesn’t pay attention to “cold-shoulder” cues and pushes into our space and throws a bad pick up line at us, then he might get hit with the creepy label, but that’s because he messed up on social cues and body language, and now we’re not sure if he’s just a guy who needs to work on flirting, or a potential stalker who will follow us to the parking lot.

      I have only used “Creeper” once, and I personally reserve it for guys that take creepy to a whole new level. A good example was a guy that REGISTERED for a romance writer’s networking event specifically for the purpose of hitting on ALL the women there in various Creepy ways, (see above). Now clearly everyone at a writer’s workshop is looking for cheap and sleazy sex because they happen to write love stories. That was strike number one. Getting pissed drunk each night then crying in the bar about how he needed someone to help him walk back to his room, was strike two. Hanging around the women’s bathroom and forcefully insisting on conversation as women entered and exited, was strike three, and trying to insist of walking us all out to our cars should have gotten him arrested. He was lying about being a writer to hit on us in a time and place where we were not there for flirting, he was aggressive, inappropriate, threatening, and undaunted in his quest to get SOMEONE back to his room. It was frightening, and yes, he was a Creeper. Now I don’t know if younger girls or girls in another country throw that term around lightly, but I personally don’t. If I tell another woman that a guy is a Creeper, I’m saying “Don’t even mistakenly make eye-contact with that guy or he won’t leave you alone for the rest of the week.”

      Now a guy who is “scary” is anyone whose intensity, or physical size plus aggression makes me feel like a threat is real and present and it is time to escape, NOW. I won’t bother sticking around and trying to analyze a guy that has gone to defcon scary. I grab my friends and leave as fast as possible while watching my back all the way home. Trust me guys, you can be redeemed from “creepy” it is “scary” that you don’t want to become. And please don’t be a creeper.

      I know there is a lot of conversation about how hard it is to approach women and how you want validation, and I do understand that. But also understand that if you are REALLY not attracted to a girl, you have the option of ignoring her, we don’t.

      Make an approach quickly (Doc’s three second rule is a good one) be respectful and friendly, and then if she’s not interested, move on just as quickly, and you won’t be tagged a “creep.”

  31. Are you Female?

    Are you a mind reader?

    Please don't assume that you know what dating is like from a female point of view. Guys that seem nice can stalk, beat, and rape women just as easily as anyone else. Shy guys aren't excluded from the group of people that can physically or emotionally hurt someone else. I am female, I am not a mind reader though, and since I'm not a mind reader, if someone comes off as creepy I'm backing off. If not getting assaulted is a game, I guess I'm playing a game.

  32. Aww ancom sorry that I'm too much of an over-emotional woman for you to deal with.

    I already deconstructed your comments enough. You told me I was wrong and oppressing the menz. Go troll someone else. Or hang around the askmen boards. They'll like you there.

  33. Dr Nerdlove, I think I fluv you.

  34. mmarple says:

    you know, four years of being actively involved in feminist forums and blogs I see your kind of 'argument' all the time. there are so many trolls like you parading under the guise of 'I'm willing to admit I'm wrong (no, you're not) just give me a logical argument' and when dozens of well studied and experienced people (men and women) give you the groundwork for the problem of your sexist hateful comments you do the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going 'la la la I can't hear you so I must still be right'.

    This isn't a high school debate – these are women's lives you are trying to box up and put a nice little tag on.

    You have no interest in changing your tone and no matter how many people argue with you YOU'RE RIGHT and THEY'RE WRONG because you are a troll with no interest self-introspection or widening your understanding or becoming a more well-rounded human being. let's hope with years and many other people throwing stones of logical obviousness at your obtuse head you can mature enough to say, 'well, maybe I should do some soul searching and learn other peoples perspectives, especially women'

    but somehow I doubt that and thus you will remain lonely and bitter. don't say we didn't try.

  35. Dr. NerdLove says:

    Gentlemen: if you feel that there has been a time when you have been falsely or unfairly described or labelled as "creepy", I have started a thread on the Dr. NerdLove Facebook Page specifically or you to share your stories. Your input will be helping to shape a future article on this subject.

  36. Anthony says:

    @Paul

    I’m just gonna post this down here so there is more room for discussion.

    I agree that I got off course is describing how important it is to allow women to follow their instincts. I disagree, again, that I’m a “Nice Guy.” I would appreciate it if you stopped implying that I am, because you don’t actually know me. You’re trying to apply your previous attitude and similarities between us to make the correlation. That is the way to do most things, but it’s exceptionally hard on the internet to do that well. I am not a “Nice Guy.” I am not nice because I think it will earn me something. I’m nice because I believe it’s the right way to be. I don’t use favors and presents and friendship to gain relationships. I call out people – all people, all the time – when I see them doing something I think is harmful. And I defend people whom I feel are underrepresented or unfairly portrayed. I’m not afraid to hurt people’s feelings when I feel truth needs to be said. I do make sure that I am certain of myself before, but I can do this. I don’t have any approach anxiety beyond the normal “ohmigod-will-she-like-me?pleasedon’tlaughatme….” I do respect everyone until I have good reason to no longer respect them. I don’t put women on pedestals. I don’t put anyone on a pedestal.

    Okay, back to the issue at hand. As for the immaturity part – I absolutely recognize that immaturity not only exists, but probably represents a vast majority of adults. And to an extent, we all have moments of immaturity. The only way for us to grow up as a society is to hold each other accountable. It doesn’t help to put our fingers in our ears and pretend it doesn’t exist. I think that’s maybe what you feel I am doing on this topic. I’m not. I know that some women do this for the wrong reasons. I know that some women abuse the social power that they’ve been granted. I do disagree that these women are a majority. I don’t spend much time at all in bars or clubs because it’s simply not my scene. Maybe I am wrong, I admit this.

    If that’s the case, then this is a problem that needs to be fixed. Now that I’m thinking about it in those terms, I’m trying to think of a good solution to fixing this problem. Obviously, making all guys be attractive to all women is a fantasy that should be thrown out. The same is true of magically improving the maturity level with everyone around us (although this can be fixed over time – and the fix is simple: hold everyone to higher expectations and don’t be afraid to cut those out of your life who don’t meet your standards). So, what are some possible fixes?

    We can address the other side. The men who come away from this scenario can be filled with doubt, damaged ego, and lowered self-esteem. Damaged ego and lowered self-esteem are big ones for everyone, and they have been addressed elsewhere in this blog. Doubt, however, is not something I recall being mentioned, and something that can be very important. (The article about your attitude holding you back, though, probably fits with most things that one doubts.) You have expressed before that you were afraid to approach women because you were afraid of offending them, or something along those lines. A woman calling a man creepy for some unbeknownst reason can definitely lead others to have the same fear that you did. It is a very, very dangerous fear, because it cripples you before you even get to attempt anything, right? In that vein, maybe helping these men realize that their fear of offending women by just approaching them isn’t one that should be honored. It’s not a fear that holds true for most women. One just needs to learn where, when, and how to approach women. I do believe all three of those have been talked about before in this blog, so that’s pretty good.

    That addresses the problem about having to ‘fucking change.’ It’s not perfect, because not all guys are going to have access to resources that reassure them or resources that teach them about approaching women. But, those resources are out there, albeit few and far between. So celebrating something like this blog is one good step to take (you’re welcome in advace, Doctor, haha). The issue of social ostracism is the other big one that needs to be dealt with. I’m going to take a step here and do what I asked you not to, but by your most recent comment, I feel like you might have experience with this. Not necessarily personally, but you’ve seen it happen. I have not, so it’s harder for me to get in the mindset for how to fix the problem. The only real solution that I can think of is just holding people more accountable and removing yourself from the social circle that treats people like this. Also, letting them know what you think they are doing wrong could work in some (probably very rare) instances. Maybe you could offer insight, personal experience or not, in to how to fix this situation.

    So, all of that being said, I still don’t think I’m wrong. You’ve pointed to two instances where your seemingly normal behavior was called out as being creepy (or you were called a creeper – either way, the shoe didn’t fit). In the one situation – the car one – you were being creepy. I can’t think of a situation where someone rolling up in a car isn’t creepy. Even if you know the person and the car and it’s daytime. It’s inherently dangerous. Because the car is far bigger and faster so unless a lot of distance is between you and the car, it’s dangerous. Feel free to disagree with me on this, but I know someone else agreed with my point here, and I think most people would. We could get into a very long debate over whether or not it should be considered dangerous, but if society thinks it is dangerous right now, you’re gonna have to kinda conform to that. You can educate people on why cars approaching them isn’t something to be afraid of, but until you’ve successfully done that, it’s a dangerous thing.

    The other instance, where you were at a dance and were not dancing, is more intriguing. There is a lot more going on here, I think. You say that you’re being called creepy (or a creeper) because you didn’t do what society wanted you to do, and not because of actual creepy behavior. I do want to know if it’s possible that something you were doing could be seen as creepy. Were you at the edge of the dance area/room, by yourself, not really interacting? Did you have a smile on your face? What were you wearing? How were you standing/sitting? Were you tapping your foot along with the beat? How was your posture? Was your head up and looking at the crowd? Did you make eye contact with anyone? If you did, what happened when you did? Was anyone else not dancing? Did anyone come up to you and try and get you to dance and you smiled and said not tonight, or did no one approach you?

    That last one is really important in my mind. If you were not approached, that speaks volumes about the vibe that you were giving off. How you answer any of those questions is really important to determining whether or not you were actually acting creepy. If you looked distant and uninterested, people would question why you were there in the first place. Maybe all of your answers to those questions fall in line with someone who is at an event, enjoying themselves, happy, and just choosing not to participate. There is absolutely no way for me to know. It is a little…rude…of me to suggest that maybe you were giving off a negative vibe those nights that you got called creepy. Without any other knowledge of the situation, though, I think that this is a possibility. It’s possible that you seemed creepy to others, even though the thought has never crossed your mind.

    That’s something that’s really, really important to keep in mind here, too. The reason I brought up the shy-guy’s actions in comparison to the dangerous-guy’s actions is because sometimes we all lack a great deal of self-awareness. I’m not suggesting that the people in prisons are shy, but there are behaviors that are similar. It’s not necessarily the most common behavior for those likely to commit heinous acts, but there are instances where it is true. So people, and women especially, are heightened far more to actions that we might peg as a predecessor to danger. And no one ever wants to see those actions in themselves. No one ever wants to admit mistakes. I think it’s possible that a lot of guys who get called creepy for what they feel is an unjust reason may have not actually understood that their actions were in fact creepy. Maybe that’s where part of this disconnect between us is coming from.

    As a side note – I’m very curious about the triggers that let society know about danger. If I had the time and resources, I’d love to investigate and see how many people who commit violent acts came from the fringes of society, and how many did not. What kind of behavior did they exhibit before they attacked? I do think it’s pretty widely believed that some of the shy behaviors I listed above can also apply to someone working up the courage or looking for the right moment to attack. But how true is it?

    • Paul Rivers says:

      “I disagree, again, that I’m a “Nice Guy.” I would appreciate it if you stopped implying that I am, because you don’t actually know me.”

      Sorry, I should have been more clear – I hadn’t meant that in any sort of negative way. The “nice guy”‘s I know are genuinely…nice, caring, they’re not trying to be manipulative. They aren’t trying to put women on a pedestal – they’re trying to treat women how they’ve been told that women are “supposed” to be treated (in the “you should always do x, y, and z, because women are wonderful and deserve to be treated this way) kind of way.

      *These* are the common attitudes that I see in these guys – and by “these” guys I absolutely include myself, as well as many of my friends who also have a lot of trouble with women (as in hard to get a date, girls want to be friends with them but not date them, etc). It’s part of what I’ve been trying to do – figure out which ideas of how I’m “supposed” to treat women (ideas passed to me by women who genuinely believed it, whether it was true or not) are actually sending signals to girls that say “I’m not interested in you”, even though what *I* think I’m doing is “being respectful”.

      I think in public, you’re right to be defensive about being called or implied that you’re a “nice guy”. But I’m in a conundrum – how do I point it out in a response to your post? I hadn’t meant to be all “you’re a nice guy and I’m not” – but I had meant to be kind of “last year I would have said the same thing, this year I don’t do that any more because I believe it’s a ‘nice guy’ (doormat) attitude”.

      “Okay, back to the issue at hand. As for the immaturity part – I absolutely recognize that immaturity not only exists, but probably represents a vast majority of adults..I know that some women do this for the wrong reasons.”

      That’s where the debate is – are 10% of them doing this for the wrong reasons, or 90% of them? I can’t say I speak for everyone, but like I said, it’s been my experience that women will take action based on a guy being creepy and actually feeling like he’s a threat, but they often only *call* him creepy when he’s doing something they don’t like but isn’t actually threatening…this becomes an issue when you start to tell guys it’s *their* fault that they’re being called creepy, and it has to do with women perceiving them as threatening. Not necessarily a bad thing to say if 90% of the time it’s legit, but it’s an awful thing to say if 90% of the time it’s not.

      “If that’s the case, then this is a problem that needs to be fixed…The men who come away from this scenario can be filled with doubt, damaged ego, and lowered self-esteem. Damaged ego and lowered self-esteem are big ones for everyone, and they have been addressed elsewhere in this blog.”

      You see though, this is exactly my point – that telling men who aren’t actually doing anything wrong that they need to “fucking change” is *causing* the exact doubt, damaged ego, and lowered self-esteem that’s supposedly the problem in the first place.

      “That addresses the problem about having to ‘fucking change.’”

      Ah, maybe we aren’t totally on the a different page on this then. :-)

      “So, all of that being said, I still don’t think I’m wrong. You’ve pointed to two instances where your seemingly normal behavior was called out as being creepy (or you were called a creeper – either way, the shoe didn’t fit).”

      I said this in another post, but I’ll say it again – my point was that their calling me creepy wasn’t related to me being a “possible threat”. I was not a threat whatsoever (and yes, some of this is my opinion, but as I said – I’ve only listed examples where, being there at the time, I just felt that they weren’t actually threatened by me whatsoever).

      The argument was that creepy was *always* about potential threats. I believe – knowing these girls personally and being there at the time – that calling me creepy there wasn’t about potential threat. It wasn’t even about “potentially creepy” behavior. In 2 of those times, it was about something entirely unrelated –

      At the time, there was strong social pressure that if you showed up to a dance thing, you *had* to dance with everyone who asked you. It came from a worthwhile background – the problem was that people, years before that, would show up to dance stuff and be like “oh, I’m to embarrassed to dance, I’m just going to sit over here”. It was like high school – people would go to the dance, but no one would actually dance. Or, that it was supposed to be a social experience, and people would only dance with the one person they came with. So there became a culture that you *had* to dance with anyone who asked you, unless you had a specific reason for not dancing with that person (bad previous experience with them, creepy vibe from them, etc etc). It was basically just trying to say that you couldn’t use “I’m uncomfortable dancing with someone I don’t know” as an excuse. It was a good philosophy – without it the dance scene would have stagnated and died. It was trying to counter the “I don’t want to look stupid dancing, or look stupid dancing with someone I don’t know” philosophy, because people never actually got good at dancing when they didn’t dance with people they didn’t know (and it also made a far less “cliquey” dance scene).

      However, at this point, this philosophy had reached a certain point of hysteria. It had reached this point where people had started to feel that you had to jump up and dance with anyone who asked you at the instant they asked. Several times I was in the middle of a sentence with a girl, a guy would but cut in (in the middle of my sentence) to ask her to dance, and she felt she was obligated to jump up and run off to dance with a smile on her face at that exact moment. If you didn’t do that, people acted like you were personally turning them down as a person and you were doing something “offensive”.

      2 of the times I mentioned, I believe these girls were trying to “shame” me for not following the social convention at the time. Had I gone over to the group, I would have been mobbed into dancing with someone, unable to to turn someone down without offending them, and had I not danced with someone they might have acted offended and implied that I disliked them later because I hadn’t asked them to dance.

      And I thought it had reached a point of rediculousness. As a human being, I felt I had the right to go somewhere with music and listen to the music with either dancing with everyone or offending the people I didn’t dance with. So, not really feeling like dancing with everyone (and remember that this was not a “dance event” – it was an event where some people were dancing, but most people just came to sit and listen to the music) – I felt the best approach was to sit away from the group and not have to turn people down for dancing.

      This was the same dynamic for 2 of the 3 situations – in both cases, I do not believe that I was called creepy because of “any” potential threat whatsoever. In fact, I don’t even believe I was called creepy because I was doing something that “under other circumstances could have potentially been a threat”. I believe they called me creepy because it was the easiest way for them to “shame” me for not going along with the social standard of the group at the time – coming over and dancing with every single girl there, regardless of how I felt or what I wanted to do.

      A year later, this standard has adjusted to be more reasonable – if you turn down someone to dance, they don’t act or feel all offended, though they may expect that you ask them to dance next time if you want to dance with them.

      With the girl with the car, I can only say that knowing the girl, I do not believe it had anything to do with genuine threat, or even “potentially creepy” behavior. I don’t have any more info to add, I can only say that knowing the girl, she loved drama, and I believe that it was all about being dramatic and playing around with “oooooh, this is so scary! tehe!”.

      The point I believe I was originally trying to make was that if these girls – who I saw on a regular basis and for whom being kind of a jerk to may might have consequences (me ignoring them later), I can only imagine the low standard that must be being applied to guys trying to approach a girl who they might never run into again. It’s not difficult at all for me to imagine how girls are abusing this power to get rid of any guy who they just don’t want to talk to right now.

      I understand where you’re coming from with the rest of your post about “Were you at the edge of the dance area/room, by yourself, not really interacting? Did you have a smile on your face? What were you wearing?” etc etc, but being there myself – I do not believe any of this was a problem with me genuinely being creepy. There are other circumstances that I can think of where this stuff applies, but I didn’t list those because I’m not 100% sure about those.

      “As a side note – I’m very curious about the triggers that let society know about danger. If I had the time and resources, I’d love to investigate and see how many people who commit violent acts came from the fringes of society, and how many did not. What kind of behavior did they exhibit before they attacked? I do think it’s pretty widely believed that some of the shy behaviors I listed above can also apply to someone working up the courage or looking for the right moment to attack. But how true is it?”

      That is an *excellent* question that would be *extremely* interesting to know the answer to. :-) I can’t say that *no one* who’s shy or socially awkward hasn’t done this stuff, but from my perspective it seems like being assertive and confident is any less likely to indicate a threat. But, obviously that one is just ancedotal evidence.

      • Paul, if it helps your confusion –

        In my experience, women call men creepy to their faces when they present a MILD threat. We’re still finding them scary, but if they’re also clearly shy or unconfident as well as creepy then being publicly labelled ‘creepy’ will often be enough to scare them away. This removes the threat.

        If they’re creepy and confident or assertive, however, being insulted will probably only make them angry. Calling these guys creepy to their faces will exacerbate the threat, not remove it, so we call them creepy when explaining our behaviour to third parties instead.

        Do you see how both situations still include the woman feeling threatened, and a legitimate use of the word ‘creepy’, but don’t necessarily mean the man is labelled as a creep right then and there?

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Right, no, I don’t disagree.

          I’ve never, ever said that women shouldn’t follow their instincts on creepiness.

          But what I did say is that the men who get *called* creepy to their faces – aren’t the ones presenting a likely threat. For the most part, their level of threat is “he’s threatening to ruin my night by constantly talking to me”. And don’t get me wrong, those people are super, super annoying (though as a guy I’ve never quite understood a girls hesitation in just telling him to go away…though sometimes they don’t go away…).

          Anyways, it’s just been my experience that guys who are called creepy run the gamut from “she’s just toying around with a new word”, to “he’s not attractive”, to “he’s socially awkward but a really nice guy”, to “mr super annoying – seriously, you’re really really annoying, stop being so f!@#! aggressively annoying”.

          However, the argument is that being made is that women *call* men creepy because of their physical safety. And I’m just saying, that doesn’t seem to be the case most of the time. Women will *feel* someone is creepy because of physical danger, but actually being called creepy to your face is usually (though not always) about something else.

          • Paul, I hate to use the ‘men just don’t understand’ argument, but I think you might just have to accept that women are perceiving threats that you are unable to see. When I say ‘threat’, I mean the guy comes off as being genuinely dangerous in some way. ‘Threatening to ruin my night’ doesn’t count. Just because YOU don’t see how that guy is presenting a threat, doesn’t mean he isn’t from the woman’s point of view.

            I say this because I’ve called guys creepy before, and without fail my female friends understood exactly why I found them scary, while my male friends just had to take my word for it and thought the men were just annoying or socially awkward. I still found them scary, it’s just that my male friends were unable to perceive the threat. That doesn’t mean the threat didn’t exist.

            You should also remember that we’re not just evaluating immediate, physical threat. If a shy, awkward guy throws up some red flags, women might call him a creep to get rid of him (and warn other women) not because he’s being physically dangerous right that second, but because their gut tells them he has a greater than acceptable probability of BECOMING dangerous. This is especially crucial if the guy in question is attempting to start a relationship of some kind – obviously you don’t want to get into a relationship with a guy who seems likely to become dangerous. It should go without saying that what constitutes ‘acceptable’ probability of danger varies wildly from woman to woman.

            You might also want to consider that one of the easiest ways to set of women’s alarm bells is not going away when asked. You’d probably just see that as annoying, but it’s basically the guy not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Do you see how that’s scary for women?

            I think you might just need to believe women’s accounts of things and accept that what seems like innocuous, if annoying, behaviour to men can be genuinely threatening from women’s point of view. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean she’s just trying to make an unattractive suitor go away.

          • I’ve known a few guys that have turned out to be stalkers, two arrested for it. Both those guys would not have been deemed “dangerous” by a man.

            They were small, awkward, geeky, not physically imposing, and completely insane.

            Yes, they were a threat! I don’t understand how we can continue with this idea that there is a classification of guy that is clearly “not a threat.”

            Any guy has the potential to show up in your apartment with a knife. I don’t care what he looks like, or how “non-threatening” he might seem on the outside.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            “Both those guys would not have been deemed “dangerous” by a man.”

            Were they actually not deemed dangerous by other men, or are you assuming because of their size or something?

            There have been a couple of guys that I’ve found creepy that girls didn’t. One them *definitely* turned out to be an immoral asshat later…and that’s putting it nicely.

          • They were small, thin, glasses wearing quiet guys that didn't seem to stir the pot. They came off as shy dweebs that a hamster could take out if it really wanted to lay down the small rodent hurt.

            And yet, with both of these guys, even though they were not "physically imposing" they had mental fixation issues, a sense that they could force a girl to do what they wished through manipulation, and frightening tenacity.

            Now if you just met them at a party, they would both look and act like they couldn't hurt a fly. In reality, they were SCARY.

            I'm also a bit baffled about why women would use creepy unless there was a threat factor. If we wanted to insult a guy, we have an entire plethora of terms we can use to show our distaste for someone. We don't NEED creepy to describe anything but creepy. Trust me, we've got words. I won't repeat them here, because I don't want any of you fine men here at the Dr.'s to internalize them in any way.

            I do feel like men hear that they could be "creepy." and there's a defensive blowback of "But I'm not!"

            Well, sorry, guys, you can be. The good news is, you can take simple measures to not be a scary person. Watch what jokes you are saying and comments you are making when you think girls aren't listening.

            Respect a woman's space and right to be left alone if she wants to be left alone.

            If you do approach someone or interact with a girl, make sure you're on an equal power footing with her, she has a comfortable means to back out of the situation, and your interactions are friendly.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Sarah, to be clear, I’m agreeing with what you’re saying about how it works.

  37. latebloomer says:

    ancom, I am not going to address everything you have said because I can understand why you feel the way you do to some degree or another. You’re not a woman and you will *never* understand what it is like to be a woman. It took a great deal of introspection to realize that I am always assessing the people around me as potential threats. I don’t think that is unfair considering the physical disadvantage I have to the majority of men. Me not wanting to give someone my number is not me being lazy. I am not that attractive, and even I have been stalked. It is terrifying. Thankfully I was not stalked for a very long time, but it did happen. I don’t expect you to understand that worry.

    I am sick and tired of you accusing women of being lazy cowards. You have every right to spout off with ignorance, I grant you that, but your accusation holds no merit and no water. Women are not lazy. We are cautious. We have every right to be cautious. You can say whatever you like about it in your little privileged world where outside of going to prison your likelihood of being sexually assaulted is exponentially less than a woman’s. You can say that a man is more likely to be murdered or even beaten, and you would likely be right. However, if you add rape to that list I’m fairly certain that outlook would change.

    Also, if you’re not in a gang and don’t participate in gang violence your chances of getting harmed decrease dramatically. Nothing protects woman. Not where we walk, how we dress, or how we behave.

    I know I have gone off on a tangent here, but your constant comments about women being lazy really steams me. You have no idea what it is like to be a woman. No one here (as far as I have found) has called men lazy or cowardly for not approaching women.

    As someone said above, men worry about being laughed at by women and women worried about being killed by men. If you asked me, being worried about getting laughed at is far more COWARDLY than being worried about being drugged, raped, or murdered. So before you start accusing women of being lazy or cowardly for being worried about their safety and LIFE, why don’t you view just how cowardly and lazy men are being worried that their feelings and pride will be bruised. So what if men are making themselves emotionally vulnerable? Women do that EVERYDAY when we decide that a man might not be a threat and open up to him.

    (I just want to note that I do not believe that men are cowardly or lazy. I didn’t have much courage for approaching any (group of) stranger(s) before I met my husband, so I have no room to judge any man for having a hard time approaching a woman they find attractive. I am just tired of women being called lazy and cowardly.)

  38. Another case of some motherfuckers always trying to ice skate up hill.

    @Ancom: this will be my first and last comment on the topic. I am tired of posters in the blog trying to simplify the complex world of social interactions into clean cut logic. We don’t run on C++; the reality is much, MUCH messier. I would argue (if I actually cared) that there is no distinction between safety and attraction; they(like most things) are intermingled. The desire for safety is constant; always lingering at the back of the mind. This desire does not get overruled because some random guy is SOOOOO cute.

    Second thing I’m getting tired of: OVER generalization! Are some women exploiting their power of denial? Maybe (though, I don’t find this inherently wrong). But to say that women “collectively” do this is kind of crazy. It’s like saying “All Asians can’t drive” or “black men have giant cocks”. Stereotyping large swathes of the populace undermines the logical approach you try to take.

  39. Aaaand another thing. It does matter if you approach women or she approaches you. -I REPEAT- it does NOT matter. Honestly, how many of you painfully shy keyboard warriors would clam up if a beautiful woman wanted to strike up a conversation with you? Instead of complaining how cowardly she is for making you approach her, you would probably say she is intimidating. I know my younger self would literally jump out of a window to avoid such a conversation.

    Stop making excuses.

    It’s not about her; it’s about you. Honest to goodness communication requires vulnerability and it is the fear of vulnerability that sends so many of my geeky brethren into states of debilitating shyness. It’s only going to get worse. So get out there! Fight your fears; have your heart broken and grow as a GODDAMN person.

  40. Aaaand another thing. It does not matter if you approach women or she approaches you. -I REPEAT- it does NOT matter. Honestly, how many of you painfully shy keyboard warriors would clam up if a beautiful woman wanted to strike up a conversation with you? Instead of complaining how cowardly she is for making you approach her, you would probably say she is intimidating. I know my younger self would literally jump out of a window to avoid such a conversation.

    Stop making excuses.

    It’s not about her; it’s about you. Honest to goodness communication requires vulnerability and it is the fear of vulnerability that sends so many of my geeky brethren into states of debilitating shyness. It’s only going to get worse. So get out there! Fight your fears; have your heart broken and grow as a GODDAMN person.

  41. PinkFedora says:

    Women don’t owe men dates and men don’t owe women kindness. Why are men being such babies about this that this Doc guy has to write a thousand replies to you knuckle heads? Women outnumber men. If you creeped one out, figure out what you did wrong or quite being a knob and move on to the next one. Men have advantage here so why complain? If you got a low self esteem then maybe you can work on your life a bit and get a better one.

    Do something you like, learn a new language, get some non-dating related skills and as you gain new skills your confidence will get better. If you got bad nonverbal skills then meet girls online on eHarmony and shit like that and warn them – if the girl thinks you are happening and you warn her she will dig you regardless. If you got bad nonverbal communication skills then why you meeting girls offline anyways? That is like starting a fight with a blackbelt and complaining when he stomps a new asshole into you. Shit, guys, you live in an age when you can date online – if you were in the eighties and had bad nonverbal skills you’d be up shit creek.Websites like this shouldn’t even exist with as good as we guys got it now with the Internet and such. No offense to the host, of course (I agree with you, by the way – good stuff).

    And it ain’t just a few girls that are in danger either. I once knew a girl in high school who was fat as shit and still had a guy try to pull her into a van in her sophmore year while walking home. That stuff happens to like one in six girls so try to have some empathy – it isn’t just the cute ones, rape and sex crime is about power and that white panel van can come out of nowhere. Cut the girls some slack – they gotta be careful.

    Also, when I say “cute ones” I mean according to magazines – I dig chubby girls so I am not judging, just saying.

  42. *This whole thread is potentially triggering, but even so, fair warning that someone could be upset by the material in this post.*

    Okay, a few things, in no particular order.

    I’ve tried to think of times when someone called a guy some variant of “creep” when he was essentially harmless. I can think of one occasion. I used to work at a big university, and a guy who had been doing his dissertation for ages was considered too eager to find a girlfriend, though I don’t recall if “creep” was specifically used to describe him. And what’s “too eager,” anyway? Everyone wants love and companionship and sex and so forth, and this guy was no different. He wasn’t dangerous in any way that I ever heard about. He just wore what my husband calls “the stinky t-shirt of desperation.” I believe the student finished his degree and moved somewhere else, where he got a job he loves and married to an attractive, successful woman within about a year. So sometimes a geographical change, even if it’s just hanging out with a different group of people, can be helpful.

    I can think of a few other instances, but this is the only one I recall from adult life. The others were part of the social sorting that goes on in middle school and junior high, and we all know how brutal that can be for everyone, and especially anyone the least bit different.

    Okay, next point. Someone earlier pointed out that, statistically speaking, a woman is rather unlikely to be murdered in this particular bathroom, or raped on this given Thursday afternoon, etc. Our brains don’t work on logic, at least not in this respect. They work on what scares us (or attracts us, for that matter) and what we know about that’s really hit us where we live. That’s true for all of us, I think, regardless of gender.

    When I was in college, a high school friend of mine died. A man broke into her apartment and raped and murdered her. I was beside myself with fear (and grief) for quite a while and found it very difficult to go out in a city, *even though she would probably not have been murdered that night if she had gone out.* Logic doesn’t really come into it. When you’re afraid, you’re afraid–and in this case women are afraid of something very real, as all the posters have acknowledged.

    Point three. It’s not just physical harm we’re looking to avoid. Women are also trying to avoid sticky situations with men who want something that the woman isn’t interested in giving. When I was in my twenties I went to lunch with my company’s printer. (I didn’t own the company. I just worked for them, though I had had a hand in selecting this printer.) I let him drive me to this friendly business lunch. On the way he confessed his love for me and told me that he was driving us to a hotel. (I’m pretty sure women don’t pull this crap. Please someone correct me if you have a story to the contrary.)

    For some reason, I wasn’t scared. At least, I wasn’t afraid of being unable to physically overpower him. I was pretty sure I could take him, I didn’t think he had a weapon, and I was entirely willing to jump out of the car while it was moving, make a huge fuss in a parking lot or lobby, or whatever I needed to do to get away. I was even wearing flat shoes! But oh my God, what a nightmare all the same. Now I have to explain to my boss why I’m getting rid of this guy, actually get tell him that he’s out, find a new printer, and with any luck also find a way to keep this story from sticking to me forever and ever. I talked him into having lunch, I took a cab back to the office, and a colleague did something even more embarrassing later that afternoon, so everything worked out. But Ancom, can you see why I’d be eager to read signals that might help me avoid this sort of thing in the future?

    Last point. Ancom, you seem to think that women deliberately throw up barriers that stand in the way of their default mode: paying men attention. I think you may have that backwards. Paying men attention isn’t my default mode, at least not with men I don’t know well. Obviously I default to friendliness with my husband, son, male friends, other male family, and so forth. But if I’ve just met a man, I need a reason to interact positively with him in a way that could make him think Oh! Look! An attractive woman is paying me some attention! My default is polite disengagement. I don’t need any barriers to maintain that. I need a reason to move away from that default, and ongoing reasons if I’m going to continue the interaction.

    I’m married, obviously, and I’m old–44. But I’m not dead and I am conventionally attractive. There are places where I talk to men in friendly ways, even when I may not know them well. I sometimes start conversations and I’m more receptive to people, including men, who start conversations with me at running events, dog parks, playgrounds (bring a child, please! otherwise hanging around playgrounds *is* creepy–and please check for wedding rings before getting too flirty), friends’ parties and other gatherings, church. I’m not entirely off my guard, but I am more relaxed in places where 1) women talk to women as often as women talk to men, young people talk to older–overall conversation between humans is expected; 2) people have some reason to be there apart from their desire to find luv; 3) I can easily walk away–no exchange of numbers is expected; and 4) little or no alcohol is involved.

    You can take that for whatever it’s worth.

  43. YES!!!!!! Thank you!
    Thank you for reiterating that instincts are not to be ignored!!
    I try and drill this into the heads of my friends, their dating age daughters, coworkers, whatever… Just because you can’t pinpoint what is making you uneasy, do not ignore it! Instincts are there to protect you and as the saying goes, you would rather be safe than sorry. Srsly, if I can’t even look him in the eye, there is no way I am spending alone time with him.
    And yes, some women will have a shield up. But living in a society where some (not all) guys will yell things at you in a parking lot and then verbally abuse you for not being thankful can do that to you. To the guys that are truly being mislabeled, don’t be down hearted. All women want to be shown that he is going to be good to her, and not told.

  44. I sometimes suspect the real reason men have a problem with the word ‘creepy’ is that it’s the only male insult which comes close to having the baggage of words like ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’, which allow men to insult women via cultural expectations of appropriate feminine behaviour rather than genuine personal failings. Men are used to their perspective being treated as universal, so used to it that they don’t even notice it’s happening. That is, until a woman calls them a creep – defining them entirely from a female perspective, caring nothing at all for whether they mean to be creepy or not, declaring their actions to be inappropriate on the basis of something other than whether MEN think so. Men are not used to women’s perspective being treated as more legitimate than their own, they are not used to having to moderate their behaviour to account for cultural tropes surrounding their masculinity. They’re not used to women having real power to affect how they are perceived. Women are VERY used to the opposite.

    It’s basically a taste of their own medicine, it shows them what it’s like to have the perception of ones behaviour coloured by wider social context, and defined by a perspective other then their own. A woman calling him a creep is saying ‘It doesn’t matter what YOU think of you, it matters what WE think of you’. That’s scary when it’s never happened to you before. They just don’t realise that they’ve been doing this to women all along.

    The thing that makes ‘creep’ different from ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’ of course, is that it’s used to describe behaviour that makes women feel unsafe or uncomfortable, rather than just as an insult. So unlike ‘slut’ especially, it has legitimate uses.

    • Paul Rivers says:

      To me, you have it backwards.

      A friend of mine was telling me that he read the book “the self made man”, where a gay woman actively works as passing for man for a year. The part that relates to what you wrote is where she expresses her surprised in the way that men act – she (naturally) assumed that men acted around other men like women acted around other women – constantly changing and struggle for social status, rumors, and two faced behavior that women were constantly embroiled in. The constant two-faced “politeness” that she was just used to having to see through as a woman.

      Since they appeared to act this way when trying to date women, she assumed that they were always like that.

      When she was hanging out with just men (with them believing she was another man), she was kind of shocked at how much they *weren’t* competing behind the scenes, how much camaraderie they had with one another, and how much they preferred to work together rather than constantly be competing with each other. Women were constantly in a struggle to gain or maintain their social status, using a variety of social tools – men preferred to just lock into their social status and stay there.

      At the extreme, when a woman has a disagreement with another woman, she often does not tell her to her face. She’s nice to her face, then tells everyone else what a bitch or slut that other woman is, undermines the other woman behind the scenes, etc etc. When a man has a disagreement with another man, he tends to tell him what a jackass he is to his face.

      Men don’t like being pulled into the female world of constant social struggle and behind-the-scenes-dealings. Whatever the word is, we don’t like things where someone calls us something behind our back, then weeks later we finally find out about it. We hate this “Jen called you creepy, that’s why Sara suddenly stopped talking to you and wouldn’t tell you why” crap.

      “It’s basically a taste of their own medicine”
      I think it’s the opposite – we don’t like being treated like women treat other women. Really – if someone is calling someone else a “slut” or a “bitch” – which gender is the person who’s saying it most likely to be? I could probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve heard a guy call a woman that. Whereas it’s in the hundreds or thousands that I’ve heard woman call other women that. At that’s the times I’ve heard it as a guy – I’m told it’s even more prevelant behind people’s backs.

      If you’re hanging out with guys that regularly call women sluts and bitches – I would suggest that you hang out with a different crowd.

      From my perspective, woman are constantly having to monitor their social situation for hints that someone is talking bad about them behind their back. They assume that guys have to do the same thing – but for the most part – we don’t.

      What we hate is being drawn into this social system where we’re expected to be constantly monitoring everyone’s behavior around to figure out if someone is secretly saying bad stuff about us behind our backs. Because as guys – we don’t normally do that.

      In fact, in guy world, these same words applied to a woman don’t have nearly the effect they have on women’s world. Another guy calls a girl a bitch – we want to know why, we generally don’t accept “he said it so it must be true”. In girl world, apparently that can damage how other girls treat a girl for weeks. In guy world, half the time a guy calling a girl a “slut” can gets a response like “Really? What’s her phone number? (grin)”.

      • A large part of that behavior is a result of being socialized to compete with each other for (almost invariably male) attention.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          I definitely agree. There are other factors as well, but it seems like that’s one of them.

      • I’m not a big believer of this ‘guy world’ – ‘girl world’ separation.
        None of what you’ve said here sounds familiar in that this doesn’t happen with guys at all. I don’t feel a large competition when I’m around other girls. Sure, I can be intimitated by how amazing someone can be, but I won’t be running around trying to bring this person down for the sake of my vagina. Yes, we know, there’s girls who do this. There’s also guys who do this. There’s people who have behaviour. What a shock.

        the big mistake you keep making here is trying so hard to put down who is what and what characteristics can we assign to what gender. I don’t know why you can’t walk around without acting on your own prejudice. we all judge, of course, what makes one person different from the other is not taking your own judgement as truth and consider that you may be proven wrong.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          …it’s funny how, when the poster I was responding to wrote “It’s basically a taste of their (men’s) own medicine”, you appear to not have a problem with that. But when I write back from a guys perspective, *then* it’s suddenly incredibly unfair. Implying that women making strong negative stereotypes about men is fine, but men doing the opposite is a huge problem.

          I didn’t say “this doesn’t happen with guys at all” either. I deliberately used a lot of “from my perspective”, “tend to”, “often”, etc etc etc, because there is no hard line on this generalized stuff.

          It’s hardly a guy-centric perspective to say that women tend to be much more passive-aggressive when it comes to conflict than guys do, either –
          http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com/2012/03/dishes.html

          “Groups of girls cannot confront each other honestly, especially when they’re friends and they live together, so they express emotions through passive-aggressive means.”

          I simply strongly disagree with the original posters assertion about why guys don’t like the word creepy. From my perspective, it’s because men prefer more open and direct styles of disagreement, and what we hate is being drawn into the passive-aggressive world of telling everyone except the person you’re upset with that you’re upset with them.

          Do some men do this? Yes. Go to a sales department and find the guys that work their, and they’re probably like this. Is there some guy out there who hates that creepy gives women power? Yes, I’m sure there is. I’m sure there’s a handful of guys (and frankly, quite possibly the guys who spend the most time approaching and annoying women) who doesn’t like it for no reason other than that it gives women any sort of power over him. Frankly – that guy is a jackass.

          But I strongly disagree that “men” (as in the majority of men) don’t like the creepy thing because it gives women power, most of the men I know have a deep hatred of it – when it’s used unfairly – because we don’t like to be drawn into the world of passive-aggressive, “I’m getting revenge on your by gossiping behind your back, you have to constantly monitor the social scene to figure it out” world, because it’s not a world that most men regularly live in. Yeah – *some* do.

          And that doesn’t even address the reality that women have pointed out – it’s true that they don’t exactly want to piss off the actually dangerous guys, so what are they supposed to do? It’s a very legitimate point.

          From my perspective as guy, I simply don’t agree with the proposed motivations that “guys” have about not liking being called creepy. If you’re going to disagree about the generalizations and stereotyping, fine, but it’s hardly fair or just to *only* disagree when you think the gender stereotypes are saying something negative about “women”, while seeming to feel it’s fine to do the same when talking about “men”.

          • “From my perspective, it’s because men prefer more open and direct styles of disagreement, and what we hate is being drawn into the passive-aggressive world of telling everyone except the person you’re upset with that you’re upset with them.”

            Really? Because I am most frequently called a bitch or a slut by men when I’ve openly and directly disagreed with them. They don’t seem to take kindly to it.

            Although I’m grateful that you’re acknowledging the escalating threat problem women face when deciding whether to be direct or passive.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Sarah – I can only really write from my perspective, but – weird. I want to say “hang around some better people!” but…that’s always easy to tell someone else, right?

            I would interesting (in a slightly negative, but intellectual way) to see what kind of guys openly say that at slight disagreements. With most of the guys *I* know (though I’m not claiming universal knowledge, just my own experience), saying stuff like that to women in our group would likely result in no one inviting the guy back again. Sorry to hear the guys you’re hanging out with are so wacked. :-(

          • Just to be clear Paul, these guys aren’t my friends. They’re colleagues, classmates, strangers and sometimes friends-of-friends. I’m sure you’re aware that most of us have to interact with people we wouldn’t choose to ‘hang out’ with. I’m not ‘hanging out’ with these men. They’re just seemingly normal men who I’ve disagreed with at work, school, in public etc. Obviously ‘not inviting them back’ is not an option if an invitation was not required in the first place, or it’s a one-off encounter. Since you asked, they range from men who seemed normal until they catcalled or propositioned me, and got angry at my response or lack thereof, to men who I know personally who seemed normal until we got into debates, or I objected to offensive comments, or sometimes just had my own opinions. Some of them are obviously bad news, and others are perfectly normal, nice guys. Until they’re not, that is.

            And actually, another salient point was that they haven’t always said it to my face – sometimes they said it behind my back to everyone else, something you also claim men don’t like to do.

            From your observations and mine, I’d suggest men are treating women with less respect and less honesty than they treat each other – no amount of cooperation within the all-male group is causing them to be any kinder to women. It seems from the reactions you’ve seen from men to passive aggression from women, and the ones I’ve received from directly disagreeing with men, that what men really take issue with is just women disagreeing with them. If she does it passively they’ll complain she’s being sneaky and gossipy instead of being direct, but if she IS direct, all of a sudden they don’t like it as much as they claimed they would. They pretty clearly just don’t like women failing to be compliant.

            To add insult to injury, that’s a product of living in a society that treats male perspective as the only perspective, so the guys probably don’t even realise WHY they’re so angry when women aren’t compliant. They assume it was something to do with HOW she refused or disagreed, when really it’s just the fact that she did.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            “I’m sure you’re aware that most of us have to interact with people we wouldn’t choose to ‘hang out’ with.”

            lol, yes, obviously. :-)

            “And actually, another salient point was that they haven’t always said it to my face – sometimes they said it behind my back to everyone else, something you also claim men don’t like to do.”

            Ah, well I did say they don’t “like” to do it – or “tend” to, or something like that. There’s really no absolutes.

            “From your observations and mine, I’d suggest men are treating women with less respect and less honesty than they treat each other”

            Kind of…I think what I said was that men tend tend to prefer direct confrontation over behind-the-scenes kind of stuff. (I did say “tend to”, it’s important).

            And in my opinion, that’s why men are more comfortable with being called assholes, jackasses, etc etc – it’s the direct confrontation they’re used to.

            Perhaps I should clarify – I’m saying that on the whole (with lots of exceptions), men tend to not undercut each other nearly as much as women. HOWEVER – that doesn’t mean they’re always treating each other “better”. In my experience, men tend to cooperate, cooperate – big explosive fight – cooperate, cooperate – big explosive fight, etc etc. Women spend more time backstabbing (it seems like) – BUT less time in outright direct warfare with each other as well. When someone gets permanently injured over something that doesn’t even matter a month later, mens system certainly has it’s flaws as well.

            And, don’t get me wrong, I’ve known *some* men to be total…well, total backstabbing jackasses, as well as partial backstabbing jackasses. Just seems like it’s a lot less than seems to happen with women.

            “They pretty clearly just don’t like women failing to be compliant.”

            Ok look, on this one issue, this is *NOT* a gender-specific thing. I’ve known many women who absolutely cannot stand anyone disagreeing with them on an issue, and will quickly call you names for nothing more than disagreeing with you. In the last year I’ve been trying to not be a “nice guy” (the doormat kind) and I’ve been more assertive. Some of my female friends have liked me more for it, but –

            One in particular started saying to me – well, let’s just say that “I hope you get a good therapist. Or a vasectomy. Preferably both” – isn’t even the nastiest of it. Because I wouldn’t back down and agree with her opinion (I didn’t attack her, I just refused to give in to her opinion that differed with mine). I knew her in high school, and it was pretty much what I expected – you either agreed with her, stayed silent on your disagreement, or she would attack you mercilessly, and if you didn’t give in to her – exlude you.

            And she was rarely relatively direct. I had had a bit of a falling out with her sister years before (who I had also been friends with for a long time in high school and early college) because she would constantly make plans with me and a friend of mine, then cancel them at the last minute. We started making bets about it, it happened at least 5 times in a row before I finally wrote her and said something like “You’ve cancelled on my the last 5 times, I just don’t feel like going through this process of making plans, then you cancelling at the last minute any more”. True to form, she didn’t write anything back to me, instead she told all of our friends that I had written her this terrible passive-aggressive email and what a jackass I was (since at that point the only people we had in common knew me already, it didn’t really matter).

            Look, if a guy is calling you names for disagreeing with him, he’s almost certainly just being a giant jackass. And I’m sorry to hear that – and I can only say that in my male friend groups, I don’t have friends who do that kind of crap. (We once called a girl a bitch, but she spent all day with her ex-boyfriend, told him all kinds of things about getting back together, then that night she texts his roomate about coming over and having sex – seriously, who actively courts conflict like that?).

          • “Kind of…I think what I said was that men tend tend to prefer direct confrontation over behind-the-scenes kind of stuff. (I did say “tend to”, it’s important).”

            I’m sure that’s true in many cases, but in my experience it often breaks down once it’s direct confrontation with a woman, rather than other men.

            If your theory were true, men wouldn’t have as big a problem with the word ‘creep’ or ‘creepy’ if it was used to their faces, right? (That’s ignoring the fact that if you’re being called a creep it’s usually not safe to confront you directly, but humour me.)

            I know you said ‘there’s no absolutes’, but really I’ve seen this happen often enough that I can’t get on board with your idea that men only dislike the ‘creepy’ label because they hate being pulled into the backstabby girl-world. Men seem to be perfectly happy with talking behind people’s backs and ruining someone’s reputation rather than confronting them directly, (although they often don’t seem to recognise this behaviour in themselves) especially if their target is a woman. That’s what leads me to believe that what they really have a problem with is not the method of confrontation, but not being permitted to define the terms and values being used to judge them.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            “that I can’t get on board with your idea that men only dislike the ‘creepy’ label because they hate being pulled into the backstabby girl-world”

            …I said they don’t like being drawn into that world. I didn’t say that’s the “only” reason they dislike it. No one is terribly fond of being called negative things no matter what those things are.

            “If your theory were true, men wouldn’t have as big a problem with the word ‘creep’ or ‘creepy’ if it was used to their faces, right?”

            I see it the other way – don’t remember if it’s this article or another one, but it mentions that guys don’t mind being called an asshole as much as being called creepy. It’s a more directionly confrontational word.

            “That’s what leads me to believe that what they really have a problem with is not the method of confrontation, but not being permitted to define the terms and values being used to judge them.”

            I disagree with you that’s it a “one or the other” proposition. In my opinion, guys generally hate it the most because of the method of confrontation, “shaming” use of the word, and inability to simply disprove it, but then after that of course who likes someone else defining the terms and values used to judge them? I’m sure girls hate the word “slut” for the same reason – someone else getting to decide what criteria they’re getting judged on.

            I mostly take issue with this –
            “Men are not used to women’s perspective being treated as more legitimate than their own, they are not used to having to moderate their behaviour to account for cultural tropes surrounding their masculinity. They’re not used to women having real power to affect how they are perceived. Women are VERY used to the opposite…It’s basically a taste of their own medicine”

            I disagree that men are responsible for constantly handing this stuff out. You also wrote –

            “They just don’t realise that they’ve been doing this to women all along.”

            And there I agree. And I agree that they’re not used to trying to “moderate their behavior to account for cultural tropes” and that “women are VERY used to the opposite” – but my argument is that this is because women are doing this to other women all the time, whereas men aren’t doing this to other men so they’re completely unused to it. You’re quite possibly right that men don’t realize that they’ve been doing this – because it’s so absent from “guy world” that they’re not even aware how deep it goes.

          • “You’re quite possibly right that men don’t realize that they’ve been doing this – because it’s so absent from “guy world” that they’re not even aware how deep it goes.”

            Well, there’s your answer right there, surely? Men ‘hand this stuff out’ a lot more than they think they do. Obviously I’ve never been a man in the company of men, so I’ll take your word for it that they don’t do this to each other very much, but they certainly do it to women.

            See, on a basic level the shaming you’ve seen women do to each other is just defining each other by unflattering points of view. It works by getting most of the group to see the target from the perspective the aggressor desires.

            Men to this to women ALL THE TIME. They just don’t notice because theirs is the dominant viewpoint across our entire culture. Because they’re used to seeing everything from only the male perspective, they think they’re being direct and honest. However from a female perspective it’s clear that it’s the same shaming method as women use, because we know it’s not the only viewpoint available.

            Even ‘asshole’ is a male-perspective insult. ‘Bitch’ and ‘slut’ are too, even if they’re often used by women (it’s men who benefit from the two stereotypes). Men think ‘creepy’ is an underhanded and indirect insult because it’s basically the only female-perspective insult in common usage, and they’re not used to having to consider the female point of view. To women, ‘creepy’ isn’t indirect at all, because it comes from our perspective we all know exactly what we mean by it.

            So to men, unused to being insulted or labelled from any perspective other than the male one, the point of contention seems to be that ‘creepy’ is underhanded, unclear and indirect. However to women, who are used to being insulted or labelled from other perspectives (i.e. male ones), it’s clear that what the men are REALLY unsettled by is being unable to control the terms of judgement.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Let's just assume that what you're saying is true – some of our points of view wouldn't even be incompatible. You're saying that "the point of contention seems to be that ‘creepy’ is underhanded, unclear and indirect. However to women, who are used to being insulted or labelled from other perspectives"

            You're saying that women are used to being insulted or labelled from other perspectives. I'm saying that men are not used to being insulted or labelled from other perspectives, or behind their back. This doesn't even make our disagreement incompatible, if you assume that men *aren't* doing this on a regular basis to each other. You're saying men don't like that happening, and I'm saying that no one likes it happening, but it really ticks guys off because they aren't used to being treated that way (because guys aren't treating other guys that way usually), whereas women are so used to other women treating them that way by other women that they have no comprehension of a world where this *doesn't* happen – like in your other comment –

            "See, on a basic level the shaming you’ve seen women do to each other is just defining each other by unflattering points of view. It works by getting most of the group to see the target from the perspective the aggressor desires."

            You assume that men do this to other men, so what they hate is that women have the power to do it back to them. I'm saying that because guys don't do it to other guys, the biggest thing they hate is the ability of *anyone* to do it to them. You're right, they're not used to it – but they're not used to it from either gender.

            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

            "Men to this to women ALL THE TIME. They just don’t notice because theirs is the dominant viewpoint across our entire culture."

            We're simply going to have to agree to disagree on the "all the time" claim.

            But I disagree about it being because it's supposedly that men's views are the dominant views across our entire culture (an entire topic in and of itself that I don't agree on, but don't feel like arguing either) – men don't notice because they're not used to their insults having some sort of far reaching social effect – because in guy world, they don't (there's exceptions here and there, but they're not common).

            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

            "Even ‘asshole’ is a male-perspective insult. ‘Bitch’ and ‘slut’ are too, even if they’re often used by women (it’s men who benefit from the two stereotypes)."

            I don't know about asshole or bitch (again, and entire different topic), but *slut* is *definitely* a female-world shaming word.

            "slut" says "you like sex to much" or "it's to easy to have sex with you". This meaning is *not* a negative in the male world. How often have you heard a guy complain that a woman is to easy to sleep with? Almost never? How often do women complain that another girl is to easy to sleep with? A lot, lot more.

            Want proof? Go look where men only interact with men on a sexual level – gay men. Is there a stereotype that gay men are shamed for sleeping with other men easily? – no. In guy world, that's a plus – not a negative. If men ran the show, "slut" would just be another world for "awesome".

            It's women that have decided that women who have sex "to" easily are "bad" and need to be shamed for doing it by calling them "sluts", not men. Guys that use it are just picking up on the fact that girls use it against other girls already.

          • "It’s women that have decided that women who have sex “to” easily are “bad” and need to be shamed for doing it by calling them “sluts”, not men. Guys that use it are just picking up on the fact that girls use it against other girls already."

            That assertion shows an astonishing lack of historical perspective. As does your comparison of gay male sexuality with heterosexual sexuality. It's so much more complicated and intertwined with historically accepted gender roles than you seem to understand. Men do not treat women the same way they treat other men, socially or sexually.

            Anyway, I'm not saying that men do this to other men (I said I'll take your word for it that they don't), I'm saying they do it to WOMEN. The idea is that they don't realise they're doing it because they don't stop to consider the effects of the wider social context, and women calling them creeps puts them, briefly, in the position of the person who DOES have to consider the social context.

            Unfortunately the nuance of this argument really depends on the idea that the male perspective is more culturally dominant and socially accepted than the female one (forcing women to consider the male perspective as a matter of survival, but not vice versa), which you said you're not interested in debating. So I suppose there's little point in continuing?

            It's been nice discussing this with you.

      • Bruce McGlory says:

        So . . . women are all catty bitchez and its totally more awesome being a dude. LOL @ your sexism.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, another “when we describe men doing bad things it’s empowering, when we describe women do bad things that’s not right and it’s ‘sexism'” kind of post.

    • latebloomer says:

      I think that’s a very good point, Sarah. They might not realize that it is happening like that, but most people don’t even think that calling a woman a slut or a bitch is exerting power over her. When women say it to each other, especially in play, don’t realize the harm they could be doing.

      Paul, it isn’t like women use “creep” to exert power. For most women it is a descriptor. Honestly, it isn’t one that I have used very often even when it was applicable. I have never called a man a creep to his face. There is a reason women do not speak up to people they do not trust. In fact, in order to prevent making waves, I won’t even speak my mind with friends who I know will adamantly and angrily disagree with me. You get tired of being called a bigot every time you don’t agree with someone.

      People can rag on women for bottling in their emotions and being polite to someone’s face and then complaining about it to someone in a place where they can be safe… but that’s how we were raised. Before we hit puberty arguing like a boy was all right because most female children can stand their own against a male child. Puberty changes things. We’re constantly harped on for being emotional, sensitive, and illogical (all which are ways to exert power over us) so we have to put on a passive face and let men blow up at us when we turn them down or disagree with them… yet they’re not being emotional or illogical. So we bottle it in and scream when we feel safe.

      Why? Because we lack power… and we (most women) hate hurting people’s feelings. Shame so many people don’t give a crap about ours. After all, we’re just being emotional, sensitive, and irrational. Yet, men get creepy and cry about it.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        “Paul, it isn’t like women use “creep” to exert power. ”

        I think it’s pretty clear that this is the point of disagreement. I’m not saying anything crazy like that “all” women do this, but some do.

        “People can rag on women for bottling in their emotions and being polite to someone’s face and then complaining about it to someone in a place where they can be safe…but that’s how we were raised”

        For creepiness, it’s not even how someone was raised – it’s a legitimate point that it’s not usually a good idea to be telling someone that really does seem threatening something about them being “creepy”.

        I don’t see any good “here’s what people should do” solution. But it does mean that often the people who are actually called creepy to their face are the people where it is the absolute least about being a threat, the more of a perceived possible threat the person is, the less likely they’ll find out they’re being called creepy.

        “and we (most women) hate hurting people’s feelings. Shame so many people don’t give a crap about ours.”

        That sucks that you have to deal with guys who are aggressive and don’t seem to care how you feel about it. It does.

        But let’s not pretend that this is a one-gendered thing. A male friend of mine in high school liked a girl, started hanging out with her – she tells him she’s “not ready for a relationship” because she just broke up with her boyfriend. 2 weeks later, not only is she ready for a relationship (just not with him), she asks him to call this guy (a friend of his) that she’s actually interested in – for her.

        More recently, a girl hung out with her ex-boyfriend all day being cozy with him all day. He goes home. That night she calls his roomate to come over and sleep with her.

        A couple years ago I went to a bar with some friends. On our way out, this girl in our group (it was kind of a sketchy group, to be fair) claims this other guy sitting outside said some shit to her – and getting super pissed off that our group wasn’t itching to go over and get in a fight with his group. She was screaming about how her boyfriend didn’t care about her, etc etc etc.

        There’s a point where it becomes apparent that girls often only care about your feelings if you’re right in front of them. Another friend of mine planned a camping trip with his girlfriend. Day before they’re supposed to go, she stops calling him or returning his calls. He wasted a bunch of money, time, and emotional investment for the trip – she didn’t care, she just decided she didn’t want to go, and after that why bother telling him about it and have to deal with his feelings when she could just ignore him?

        I could list about a bazillion more examples, but my point would be the same – there’s no shortage of not caring about someone’s feelings on either side of the gender fence.

    • I think you’re dead on, Sarah.

  45. What splendid and forthright creatures men are! Unless, of course, we consider the whole rape, murder, and assault thing.

    You don’t want women to talk to each other? That sounds like a rapist’s dream.

    And I can’t imagine why a woman who is concerned about her safety in the first place wouldn’t want to march right up to a man who she thinks is maybe not so safe and tell him that she thinks he’s a creep. Nope. No idea at all.

    I’m done. Dr. Nerdlove, via con Dios.

  46. Doctor,
    You write that

    Coming into the interaction with the preconceived notion that you have been rejected in advance and that you have to fight your way into her good graces inevitably colors the your behavior, tone and body language

    and then later in the article that

    Don’t want to be labeled creepy? Then start spending more time thinking about how you make women feel. Want to prove you’re not a creeper? Start examining your behavior with women and fucking change it.

    To me (and I’m aware that you probably did not mean to imply that) this reads like “Come into the interaction with the preconceived notion that anything you do will be perceived as creepy and that you have to fight your way into making her feel safe.” And of course that is going to color behavior, tone and body language in much the same way. Possibly even worse; why would anyone pay that much attention to never offend if he didn’t have something to hide? Then, trying to not be creepy can be precisely what makes you creepy.

    I agree with the other posters that it is dangerous to police what women may or may not find creepy. It’s about their personal safety, they get to decide. On the other hand, if “Every single situation involving a man and a woman has potential to be creepy” (as Anthony formulated it), then the only way to make sure that a woman does not feel threatened by you is to avoid her completely.

    For example, I started thinking that partner dancing might be something that I would enjoy years before trying it. And while it wasn’t the single cause, part of the reason for that delay was that my female dance partners might think that me dancing with them would be creepy. Even now that I’m decent at it I still struggle with it on occasion, and on some nights it’s almost impossible for me to ask anyone to dance (good thing is that as a decent leader you don’t really have to because the followers will come for you, but that’s kinda unfair because followers like to be asked too…).

    • Anthony says:

      I totally see what you’re saying. But the big thing to realize is that the interactions have /*potential*/ to be creepy. That doesn’t mean they will be creepy. It’s up to the guy to make the woman feel safe. And there is an entire article dedicated to avoid those behaviors on this site, and I’m sure other tips can be found. And just practice will probably do you better than anything else.

      There is a logical leap that you must take between “It’s possible that every interaction with women can be creepy” and “I can have interactions with women and make sure it’s not creepy.” The first attitude is very limiting, because you are a good person and you don’t want someone to feel uncomfortable. But that switch to the second one will free you up to interact with people, and just be aware of your own actions. I feel like if you have people coming up to you and asking you to dance, you can’t possibly be seen as that creepy. So you just need to change your internal attitude a little bit, and you’ll be fine. I can’t speak for women, but I do think most would agree with me that you can safely have that second thought process. As long as you are aware of your behavior, honestly, you’ll be fine.

  47. elengendros says:

    I am a woman, I was assaulted some years ago, at 7 AM going to my work. Nothing happened but I passed like 2 weeks after looking bad all the men around me, and thinking if I can overrun them or defend myself in a fight.

    After this 2 weeks I feel perfectly safe, if a stranger man approaches me I never think that he is going to attack me, even if it is late, or if we are alone. I have been drunk with male friends and it never pass my mind the thought that they could take advantage of me. I never fear my male friends, or my new coworkers, or the akward new guy in the it, or the drunk in the pub who is trying to get my number.

    I have talked about the Schrodinger rapist to my girlfriends and nobody gets it. We are all spaniard and we don't live in fear on rape. I think that the rate of rape in Spain is lower but not that lower. But it seems that the women in here are less aware or have less fear of being raped. We avoid dark alleys or lonely parks at night and that is all.

    Here the equivalence of creep is "baboso", a man that is not perceived like a threat, but a a man who will grope you if he can and will ogle you, and make you feel uncomfortable. A nuisance but not a creep.

  48. GentlemanJohnny says:

    Now perhaps I am oversimplifying just a tad but it seems like a gentleman (or woman) can both receive positive attention from the preferred sex and respect their boundaries roughly thus:

    1. Be an interesting person in the first place. Doc has plenty of articles on this elsewhere.

    2. If an approached person is creeped out for any reason, have enough self esteem to move on without being crushed. The specific reason, whether or not it was "fair" etc is no longer important to this encounter. Acknowledge that regardless of the reason for rejection, this would not have worked out as a mutually satisfying encounter/relationship.

    The next two steps are optional and need only be undertaken by people who are interested in improving their ability to converse with/relate to the opposite sex.

    3. Seriously consider whether your behavior may or may not have been the cause of rejection and what specific behaviors may have been the trigger.

    4. Make effort to adjust said behaviors in your next approach to a different person.

    5. Repeat entire process as necessary until a satisfying conversation/date/relationship ensues.

    Yes, this introspection and adjustment may be difficult or not "natural" to you. If your goal is specifically validation from the preferred sex then you have to be someone that a member of that sex values enough to validate. You can adjust your behavior or the people you approach (or both) or you can abandon your goal. Expecting a member of the preferred sex to adjust their views of what they consider valuable enough to validate is not a reasonable approach.

  49. The Truth says:

    The correct definition of a creep is a man that shows any interest in a woman when she is not interested in him.

    • Dolores Haze says:

      I have to agree that sometimes this is true (see below). Maybe only for bitches. I am one.

    • Bruciebaby says:

      I disagree with this. VERY MUCH, actually.

      As John Scalzi put it: "a “creeper” is someone whose behavior towards someone else makes that other person uncomfortable at least and may possibly make them feel unsafe".

      Part of this might be continuing to pursue someone who has made their lack of interest clear through either verbal or non-verbal cues. It's the "continuing" part that comes off as creepy as there is an unspoken threat that the creep might also ignore a more explicit "no".

      Someone who expresses interest and then backs off when it is made clear that the interest isn't returned is not a creeper. (Though there might be other aspects of their behavior/appearace/whatever that might constitute "creepiness".)

      Do women sometimes use the term creep to describe that situation? yes. Do ALL women? No. Nor is it always clear to the person being labeled a creep or another bystander if there wasn't some other aspect of the encounter that set off alarm bells/triggers for the woman.

  50. Hey Doc, just wanted to say the article is great!

  51. Attention women:

    Well if I'm so creepy, then I hope all of you will be happy to know there's one less creepy person to worry about. it's not fair that I have to deal with this stigma and the rejection of women all the time. It's your fault I've turned out this way. It's YOUR fault I'm this close to killing myself. It's YOUR fault. I hope you're happy. I hope you're glad to know there's one less creepy person out in the world. Mission accomplished, you've done it. You've driven me over the edge. And you wonder why there are mysoginists in this world. I've tried to understand, I GET male privilege, I get it, I'm a trans woman for god's sake but christ you people make it impossible for someone who's had bad experiences with women to get over them.

    So congratulations.

  52. Annie Hall says:

    What if I'm not even trying to approach women romantically? What if I'm just trying to get by? I've had a lot of negative experiences with women in the past, I have been called creepy, scary, all this stuff, that I've become extremely resentful. Women have looked at me in disgust, and flat out rejected me or said I'm disgusting. I've been put through unpleasant situations with women because of family, sexual situations with prostitutes where I was too nervous to perform and in turn was humiliated by them. It's all very hard to shake off. The fear is incredibly overwhelming.

    I acknowledge that my body language and attitude is what makes women act negatively toward me. I realize this. It just feels so hopeless and I feel so overwhelmed by my fear, and whenever I have to deal with women at say, a drive-thru, or at a bank, the fear comes back and overpowers everything. "Oh, shit, not this again…. It's going to happen again, they're going to think I'm creepy or weird and react negatively toward me."

    And, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, women do react negatively. I become more bitter day by day, and sometimes, I honestly wish I was just into men. I wish I wasn't attracted to women. I really do. It's so hard doing anything and I feel so crippled because I can't interact with ~51% of the population. It makes it hard to go anywhere where there might be women.

    And I try hard and hard not to be a full blown misogynist, I try so hard to understand, I read up on feminism, am well aware of male privilege and how men have it easier, well aware of rape culture, of how women have to be on guard. I really try to understand. But my fear is irrational. It's overwhelming. It defies logic. It is crippling in every regard and every time I have to interact with women it makes everything so much worse. Most interactions with women leave me increasingly bitter and hopeless. It makes me want to give up completely.

    And here's the kicker, the worst part of all of this, like a cruel cosmic joke played on me: I'm transgender. I am a trans woman, somehow. It's something I've known since I was little, but never did anything about until recently. I so naively thought that maybe this was why i was so afraid, maybe because I hated being seen as a guy. How foolish. No, this only makes things worse. What kind of a woman is afraid of other women? Honestly, if I wasn't trans, I would probably be one of those men's rights folks or something, but I can't. I honestly want to understand. I want to get better.

    But it feels so hopeless. I really, really hate my fear. Therapy hasn't helped, although that might be because I have a bad therapist. I try. I'm trying to clean up my act, to boost my self-esteem, but all it takes is one stare, one look of disapproval or disgust or contempt or fear from a woman, and all of it comes tumbling down. The fear, the memories, everything comes back to me. The pain I felt when this girl in high school said I was the weirdest person she's ever met. How I was really creepy. It all comes back.

    And it's too much.

    • Bruciebaby says:

      Annie Hall,
      I'm sorry you have had bad experiences in the past. I'm sorry you have to deal with an overwhelming irrational fear. Irrational fears can make the most common social situation a nightmare.

      It is good that you have tried therapy. I recommend you seek a new therapist if you feel that yours is "bad". The thing with therapy is that you really have to click with your therapist otherwise it does no good. If there is no trust, there can be no healing. Try a different therapist, maybe one who has experience or specializes in LGBTQ/trans issues. Try different kinds of therapists. If therapy really isn't for you, try talking to a doctor instead who might be able to help you find a medication that will ease your quality of life. Talk to your friends or family.

      I hope things get better for you. I'll be sending you jedi hugs and good thoughts.

      As to this: "What kind of a woman is afraid of other women?" There have been, and will be, plenty of women who I will find it uncomfortable to be around. Women can be very mean and cruel to anyone they perceive as different. But not every woman is like that. We are not a hive mentality where we must all have the same thoughts. Please don't feel ashamed of your feelings. They are yours and you can't always control them, no matter how hard you try. You are not less of a woman for having had negative experiences with other women.

      Annie Hall,
      I'm sorry you have had bad experiences in the past. I'm sorry you have to deal with an overwhelming irrational fear. Irrational fears can make the most common social situation a nightmare.

      It is good that you have tried therapy. I recommend you seek a new therapist if you feel that yours is "bad". The thing with therapy is that you really have to click with your therapist otherwise it does no good. If there is no trust, there can be no healing. Try a different therapist, maybe one who has experience or specializes in LGBTQ/trans issues. Try different kinds of therapists. If therapy really isn't for you, try talking to a doctor instead who might be able to help you find a medication that will ease your quality of life. Talk to your friends or family.

      I hope things get better for you. I'll be sending you jedi hugs and good thoughts.

      • Hang on. Did I just see someone admitting to routinely being treated poorly by women and as a result have developed a low opinion of them that (s)he's uncomfortable with, and NOT immediately be attacked and criticized by every single female who reads the post and be downvoted to -10?

        Part of me thinks the reason this particular person was met with warmth and understanding, was because she identified as female. If she identified as male, she would have fared no better than all other males in this thread.

        • No, she got warmth and understanding because she's not acting like an entitled bigot. Take your fail and go.

  53. Michael says:

    Wait… so from what i'm getting from your website, men being called creepy and women getting called crazy are both the fault of men? men are the ones that have to change their behavior in both regards?

    right, i forgot that women are perfect beings that have rationality and wisdom down to a pat.

    oh wait, no they don't, they are fucking human beings, just like men.

    both genders are to blame for both terms. men need to learn how to be less creepy, and girls need to stop emotionally crippling shy men who they find unattractive by ridiculing them.

    same goes for crazy. women need to learn to evaluate their behavior and figure out why men label them this way, and men need to stop lumping all women in this category, and actually talk to their significant other.

    however i would also like to say that there can be crazy men and creepy women, and everything i said above applies to both by switching the genders.

    TLDR: don't blame EVERYTHING on men. women are just as human and flawed. the sexes need to work together to achieve better relationships.

    • saucyluna74 says:

      "Wait… so from what I'm getting from your website, men being called creepy and women getting called crazy are both the fault of men? men are the ones that have to change their behavior in both regards?" – yes because men have no clue their behavior is creepy and don't realize how much they frighten away women. People call women crazy to make women seem irrational i.e. don't listen to them or consider their points valid. Since ya' know their women, and need to just smile, be a doormat and make me a sammich.
      nobody's SAYING women are perfect, the point of Dr. Nerdlove's website is to help socially awkward nerds to step up their game and get more dates. Why would he post things about women when his main audience is male?
      "both genders are to blame for both terms. men need to learn how to be less creepy, and girls need to stop emotionally crippling shy men who they find unattractive by ridiculing them." this comment right here, is contradictory. You are saying men need to learn to be less creepy but are telling women not to claim men are being creepy because they're "hurting his feelings" because she "doesn't like him". Not that, you know he SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF HER. (sorry caps aren't yelling but to highlight a point.) The first scenario won't happen unless men are willing to listen and consider a female's perspective. It's rare women do claim men are creepy because they flat out just don't like him. "same goes for crazy. women need to learn to evaluate their behavior and figure out why men label them this way, and men need to stop lumping all women in this category, and actually talk to their significant other."- so women are crazy because they "did something wrong"? True at times the situation is when the GF is all around psycho, but honestly men label women crazy to dismiss their feelings and reactions because she's reacting in a way that he doesn't like. Men won't stop lumping all women unless they learn to objectively value their partner's side and see them as human being with the right to react to certain situations as he does. Your "advice" is crap and honestly just continues to perpetuate negative thoughts/behaviors, not fix anything.

  54. Sometimes what constitutes a creep depends on the womans whims, rather than a particular kind of behavior on the mans part.

    "OMG ! did you see that creep ? He was like totally hitting on me"

    Technically speaking there couldn't be a bigger creep than Edward Cullen

  55. Dolores Haze says:

    I'm going to go ahead and admit something shameful and bitchy. I've called guys "creeps" (never to their faces, behind their backs to my friends) when I thought they should have known they were swinging out of their league in approaching me.

    I have overused "awkward-creepy" and have conflated revulsion with fear. I get angry when a guy to whom I'm not attracted turns to me for validation.

    "Please don't keep talking to me because you make me extremely uncomfortable and this is awkward and unpleasant and I'm uninterested" is processed as "Get away, you could be a predator."

    • Wait… what? Some honesty? Never thought I'd see that in this thread.

      You may have just publicly confessed to be a horrible human being, but at least you're honest about it.

  56. jedimastercrunk says:

    As a woman, it is SO cool to see all these guys that are so thoughtful about women's feelings. You'll make some girl very happy someday. To those who see the "creepy" instinct as an attempt to hurt your feelings, try looking at it like this:
    Not every woman thinks that every man is a rapist. We don't live in a constant state of fear and we don't hate men. We DO have an awareness of our surroundings, just like you. If someone isn't responding to your cues to back off, it's instinct to get away. That instinct is strong in women because it's drilled into our heads from birth to respect even the tiniest internal alarms. If we have to hurt your feelings, we feel bad, but our safety is more important. If she seems like she's getting defensive, she might feel that you've crossed a line. Just take a step back and see if you can figure out where you might be coming off as intrusive. Most women DO want to talk to you. A nice gesture or a compliment is always flattering, as long as it's appropriate (ex. no touching). If she's really just being mean, she's not worth your time. Find someone nice. You deserve it :)

    • "We don't live in a constant state of fear…"

      Really? Posts from other women in this thread would have made me think otherwise. It was genuinely tiring to get an insight into the circle-jerk of hysteria and fear of men certain of these women must live in.

      Must be exhausting.

      • When you've been sexually assaulted, and 25% of your friends have also been assaulted or raped, hearing an ignorant man on the internet call your caution around men a "circle-jerk of hysteria and fear" wavers between so blind it's funny and despair- or rage-inducing.

  57. saucyluna74 says:

    Dr. Nerdlove, love this post and you made me ponder something. penis-cigars. that is all. lol

  58. A little late but…

    Men are not the only problem, there's also the issue that so many women think that every man that glances at her wants to fuck her.

    It's also inaccurate to say that women stay away from men who seem dangerous, do you know how many girls are attracted to the asshole/bad boy type guys (guys who they should obviously stay away from)? Many of the guys that girls call "creepy" are harmless, so girls must be really terrible at reading people.

    Girls can be just as stalker-ish (yes, I made that word up) as guys. Guys who have been repeatedly hit on by girls they didn't like or stared at by a girl they didn't like know what I mean.

  59. Avalon Lily says:

    I enjoyed reading this and agreed with everything stated. As a woman, I instantly put a guard up and go into almost like a survival mode. I can't go for a jog around the block or shop at the grocery store without being approached. (As cocky as that sounds, its the truth) I can't exercise with headphones on anymore because, I was approached from behind by a man who pat me on the back to get my attention and almost gave me a heart attack. I especially hate, if I am walking along side the road on the footpath, when a man pulls over in his car, specifically to talk to me. It makes me feel extremely unsafe and vulnerable. I feel as if I could be dragged into his car at any moment. Sorry guys, but in this day and age, women just have to be so cautious.

  60. I’ve met too many asshole women in life. Now I don’t care anymore what they think.

  61. i find the men women call creepy are the nicest guys. while the ones they call hot or attractive are the creepiest assholes i ever met

  62. It's crazy how people jump on the dislike button if anyone even hints at the idea that women can over analyze, It's not my fault I was born male, and there are creepy men, and you some of them are rapists and womanizers, but 99% of men just appreciate beautiful women. And on a side not and i'm probably going to get flamed for this but if you don't want to be stared at stop having your breasts stick out so much, and don't wear such perfectly aesthetic make-up, guy's by nature have a hard time ignoring you, like if Brad Pitt walked in on a room full of women. If you have such a bad fear, go out in sweatpants, a sweatshirt and no make-up, I can almost guarantee no creep will make you feel scared
    .

    • lkjleksjf says:

      haha i literally did that once. I went out with a puffy jacket, no makeup and i was wearing huge baggy sweatpants with my university's mascot's name printed on the butt (which already makes me feel self aware but they were the only comfortable baggy pants that i had) and a guy driving past slowed down and leeringly said the name printed on the pants, indicating he was looking at my butt. i can tell you that creep made me feel scared. i never want to wear those pants again. clothing does not matter whatsoever when somebody gets harassed. what you are doing is victim blaming.

  63. This article is like the female equivalent of men's right's activist and pick up artist bullshit on the internet. It's almost gun advocate levels of stupidity. If anything the paradigm presented in this article encourages the paradigm that it supposedly rails against. Responsibility for dealing with the opposite gender isn't just for men, and being v afraid doesn't relieve you of responsibility for your words and actions. This way of thinking is the opposite of empowerment.

  64. I used to worry about what women think of me – I used to worry about the impression that I made but in my experience there’s really not a lot I can do once someone else’s mind is made up.
    I’m a decent sized guy at 6’1″ 220 lbs and I gotta say that when I walk down a deserted street at night, men and women have sometimes crossed to the other side when they see me. It used to insult me – I am not a creep and I am not a criminal. If my very existence makes you uncomfortable, there’s really nothing I can do about it. I know that I’m not a criminal, I know that I’m harmless and I think that’s about the best I can do.

  65. I totally respect womens rights, especially their right to feel safe, but there's one thing I feel that gets overlooked too often.

    There's nothing more central to a person's self esteem than how they appear to the opposite sex (or the same sex, for homosexuals).

    We live in a society where men do most of the approaching. Women have the right to tell a man to back off, among other things, when her safety is compromised and I support that. When you don't feel threatened, but you just don't like the guy, remember he still has a self esteem and you have a responsibility to treat him like a human being.

    Men may be the physically stronger of the two sexes, but it would be foolish to assume that this somehow means they are emotionally stronger and by extention better equipped to deal with loss or rejection.

    • "There's nothing more central to a person's self esteem than how they appear to the opposite sex (or the same sex, for homosexuals). "

      There is possibly little more damaging to the self esteem than out sourcing it so that it becomes the responsibility of others. Yes, i've based my self esteem as a man on how women see me. But the real power in my self esteem comes from how I see myself.

      "We live in a society where men do most of the approaching. Women have the right to tell a man to back off, among other things, when her safety is compromised and I support that. When you don't feel threatened, but you just don't like the guy, remember he still has a self esteem and you have a responsibility to treat him like a human being. "

      Technically speaking, no, she doesn't. She is not responsible for that man unless she has some hold over him like a gun to his head etc. His self esteem not only isn't her responsibility, it cannot be her responsibility since she has her own self esteem and issues to worry about. She's entitled not to like the guy if she so chooses. Now, does that mean treating him like a piece of shit is justified? In most cases, no. Being polite is probably best. But she doesn't have a responsibility to make sure that the self esteem of a complete stranger who she knows virtually nothing about is left intact after her rejection.

      "Men may be the physically stronger of the two sexes, but it would be foolish to assume that this somehow means they are emotionally stronger and by extention better equipped to deal with loss or rejection. "

      Nobody is assuming that. There is no responsibility to treat him like a human being. A woman may choose to take on that responsibility or it may be in her character to care like that but it's not a responsibility. I'm not responsible for your emotions. Your not responsible for mine. He's not responsible for her emotions etc.

      Unless of course the person has actually done something to provoke or intend to provoke a certain response. If you act like a dick and make her feel uncomfortable, you are responsible for making her feel uncomfortable.

      • Why do you even the most moderate of responses get thumbed down and then blasted?

        "There is no responsibility to treat him like a human being. A woman may choose to take on that responsibility or it may be in her character to care like that but it's not a responsibility."

        Right. So basically what you're saying is that when a man shows interest a woman he voids *all* his rights to be treated as a human being. That's exactly what you're saying. So the next time a woman shows clear interest in me (which happens often), I can just say "I'm not interested because you're fat". Because I'm not responsible for her emotions.

        • raindancing says:

          A polite and respectful approach should get a polite and respectful rejection. However, I find the language "treat him like a human being" problematic, because it is so often used to mean "treat him better than he deserves, and put his concerns before your own". Which, no.

        • "Right. So basically what you're saying is that when a man shows interest a woman he voids *all* his rights to be treated as a human being. That's exactly what you're saying. So the next time a woman shows clear interest in me (which happens often), I can just say "I'm not interested because you're fat". Because I'm not responsible for her emotions. "

          No, it's not what I'm saying. If you call a woman fat you've done something to provoke a response and are thus responsible for making her feel bad.

          Many people in this world are polite and respectful and the evidence shows that rejecting someone hurts like being rejected hurts. Women often don't like making men feel bad and are often polite and respectful with rejections. But you cannot demand that a complete stranger take on board responsibility to treat you in a certain way. Yes, it would be good for them to treat you like a human being but it's not a responsibility they have. It's something they will choose to do or not choose to do. They may have had an awful day and really not be emotionally capable of being responsible for the self esteem of a stranger whose randomly approached them.

          You're a stranger who approached her. Not her friend, not her family and not her lover. Why would she have a responsibility to you or your emotions?

          It's ridiculous to demand things from complete strangers you're approaching. Until you approached, she had no idea you existed. She doesn't have a responsibility to treat you in a certain way.

          • "Yes, it would be good for them to treat you like a human being but it's not a responsibility they have."
            Great. So the next time a woman approaches me, I can use the word "fat".

            Difference is where?

          • inertia19xx says:

            the difference guys tend to ignore you politely saying no…

            the guy staring at me on the bus… then started asking me for my number, I knew nothing about him. I say no…. then he starts badgering me for my number… like I owe it to him. If you are going to ignore the no and start bothering me…. I probably will start to get mean cause I want you to leavve me alone and you are not.

            Plus I am not responsible for your self esteem.

            My Self Esteem as a woman is not revolve around male oppinion.

    • "There's nothing more central to a person's self esteem than how they appear to the opposite sex (or the same sex, for homosexuals). "

      That may be true for you. It's not true for me, or a lot of other people. Central to my self-esteem is my relationship with my family, how I'm viewed by my friends, my success at my job and the respect of my coworkers, and my ability to effect positive change in the world.

      How I appear to men (and sexually interested women) is after all that other stuff.

      "When you don't feel threatened, but you just don't like the guy, remember he still has a self esteem and you have a responsibility to treat him like a human being. "

      What does this have to do with not being creepy? Not behaving creepily has nothing to do with whether the woman you're approaching is polite.

      I believe that everyone should treat everyone else like a human being, but trying to turn the conversation to women's treatment of men who approach them implies that that somehow affects whether you should respect their boundaries. It doesn't.

  66. You're right, Joe. Because black people and Arabs are totally in the same position relative to white people as men are to women. That's why the majority of political seats, CEO spots, judgeships, and other positions of power are held by blacks and Arabs, most news and popular media is produced by blacks and Arabs, everyone assumes black or Arab is the default while white is Other and less relevant, and… Wait a minute.

    Which isn't even getting into the fact that no one here has complained about or suggested men don't have a "right to be around" women. But I guess you get bonus points for managing to combine an incredible amount of racism with your sexism and exaggeration in all of two sentences. :P

  67. I hate the word "creepy." I've been called it – and unfairly, I might add. As a result, I have no interest in women. What I've changed is my interest in approaching women – that is, I no longer HAVE any interest in approaching them. I refuse to bow to this warped culture, and to societal norms that I don't agree with (e.g. modern dating culture – as well as terms like "creepy" – I will not conform to it, because I disagree with it). If this means being alone the rest of my life , so be it. If all men resolved the same , I guarantee you that the culture would change.

  68. edevochairez says:

    Well rounded, unbiased, and very useful information.

    Takk!

    It totally dispells all of that pickup artist community bullsh!t. I never had faith in any of that stuff to begin with. But I must confess I always have viewed approaching women as a battlefield. Anyway, nice to know that that too is false. That whole "battlefield" mentality with dating is a little tiring and discouraging anyway.

  69. I think one of the first approaches I ever did years ago was at a Wal-Mart. I ran up to some girl leaving the store in the parking lot and basically just complimented her. I was so nervous my head was spinning. I didn't know what the hell to say so I hesitated and then I just asked her to hang out some time. Pretty embarrassing moment. I don't remember most of my approaches since then but I definitely remember that one. I know I've had many more approaches where I hesitated, and then spit out something stupid or irrational or weird sounding and the girl got kind of a 'scared' or shocked look on her face. Now the question is did those girls go home and tell their girlfriends about what a CREEP I was? I'll never know, but the thought of groups of girls bemoaning me on facebook and bitching on #yesallwomen is disturbing to me and every other guy. It makes it even harder for us to approach women. We don't want to be associated with creepy, crawly vermin or criminals. I think that's all we're complaining about. Get it?

    • I think what you and anyone else complaining about this needs to realize is that a woman finding you "creepy" doesn't mean she thinks you're vermin or a criminal. It simply means you creeped her out. This is an emotional reaction that she has very little control over. So basically what you're saying is that it's unfair for women to have emotional reactions in ways you don't care for, or that it's unfair for them to talk about those emotional reactions with their friends.

      I would suspect that if a stranger came running up to you and "spat out" something "stupid or irrational or weird sounding", that would make you feel uneasy too. You might even mention it to your friends. Why is it so odd that a woman would have a similar reaction? Why would you expect women to psychically know that you aren't actually irrational or weird when that is all you've presented them with? You seem to think that women should be very concerned about your feelings and sympathize with your nervousness and well-meaning-ness, while at the same time you don't seem to be at all concerned about the woman's feelings or sympathizing with how the situation looks to her and how it might make her feel better if she can talk about it with her friends (in a way, you yourself admit, you'll never even know about). Why do you deserve more compassion and benefit of the doubt than women do?

      See, the thing is, if you're going to approach strangers for any reason, you don't know them or anything about them, so you can't know whether your approach will be appreciated, regardless of how you do it. This is not something limited to guys hitting on girls; it's something I, as a woman, have to consider when I'm meeting new men or women for friendship or business or whatever too. You just have to accept that sometimes your approach won't be appreciated–and that this is going to happen more frequently if you find it difficult to behave and speak normally when approaching strangers. If you can't accept that, then stick to hitting on people you've gotten to know at least a little. Pretty simple.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] respect for women tends to manifest itself in any number of ways; the man in question may refuse torespect her boundaries or dismiss or diminish her concerns as “unimportant” or “being too sensitive”. They tend [...]

  2. […] It’s a Misunderstanding: asserting that you meant no harm, ergo it should be obvious there was nothing to be scared of. The truth is: intentions are irrelevant. Even if you were misunderstood, the solution is to apologize and try again. Educate yourself. […]

  3. […] socially awkward is often held up as a defense against being labeled “creepy”; it’s another variation of “it’s only creepy if you’re ugly”, but with the vague hints […]

  4. […] the complaint goes – women have the power to not just shut down but ruin someone by unfairly labeling him “creepy” and insist that women need to be more considerate of the feelings of the men they’re […]

  5. […] so the complaint goes – women have the power to not just shut down but ruin someone by unfairly labeling him “creepy” and insist that women need to be more considerate of the feelings of the men they’re […]