Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Ok, I have been having a marvelous (at least I think so) time talking to Clarisse Thorn and her commentariat about the word Creep. And to a point, I can agree with her: We need to quit using the word Creep. Yes, it serves a purpose, but it’s too broad, nebulous and indiscriminate a term to really be useful.
What I think we need to do is give women a vocabulary to more accurately describe the various and sundry actions that make up “creepy” behavior, and empower them to use that vocabulary. I think we need to take a little advice from Jay Smooth, about talking about racism, and frame the discussion, when one is warranted, in terms of, “That thing you did right there is not ok, fucked up, wrong…” as opposed to “You’re a creep.” And I think we need to convince everyone that once someone says “No,” that’s the end of it.
Why do I say, “when one (a conversation/discussion) is warranted?” Because the majority of what makes up “Creepy” behavior is when guys won’t take “No,” for an answer, or better yet, demand a reason for your “No,” instead of just respecting your boundaries.
(It should go without saying that this behavior is not ok from any gender towards any gender, period, full stop. I’m using he and she where they appear because of the most common incidences of these behaviors.)
The crux of “Creepy” behavior is unwanted attention. There are many forms that attention can take and we’ll talk about many over the next week or so, among other things, because damn, do I have a lot to say on the topic. But the #1 unwanted attention that gets guys labelled creeps is, like I said, either not taking “No!” for an answer, or demanding an explanation for that “No,” in the hopes they can counter it and convince you to change your mind, before they’ll leave you alone.
Seriously, neither of these behaviors is ok, and if you engage in them, you are rightly labelled a creep, regardless of gender.
No one owes you their time and attention.
Once you have approached someone and they have rebuffed you, continuing to press your suit or demanding an explanation (that you can hopefully counter) is fucking rude and presumptuous. It presumes you’re entitled to more of their time than they want to give you. When someone says, “No, thank you.” They shouldn’t have to follow that up with “Please, go away,” or escalating profanity. That’s it. You are not entitled to any more of their time. Hell, you weren’t entitled to the time you took up in the first place.
There’s a saying, “Your rights end where mine begin.” This goes for women, too. Your “right” to interact, ends with my right to be left the fuck alone.* Your desire to hit on me, get to know me, talk to me because I seem like an interesting person, ends with my desire to get home from work unbothered and finish reading my book.
And I have written about this before, both here and at California NOW’s website. If someone is sitting on the bus, wearing headphones and reading a book, I do not possibly see how they could more clearly communicate the message, “I do not wish to interact with the outside world. Leave me alone.”
“But how can I convince her of my sparkling wit and honorable intentions?” I hear some of you asking.
Well, the truth of the matter is, regardless of what commercials tell you, you can’t. And she doesn’t owe you that chance to convince her. That woman owes you nothing more than the civility and politesse that grease the wheels of impersonal interactions. Just as you don’t owe her, or anyone else, a chance to convince you of her sparkling wit and honorable intentions.
No one “owes” anyone anything other than, as I said, basic civility and politeness. And expecting a woman to put up with your intrusions because you find her sexually appealing is not polite. Particularly after she rebuffs you.
Now, as I’ve written before, I’m a three strikes and you’re out sort of girl. Strike one, you hit on me and I say “No.” Strike two, you press the matter/don’t take “No” for an answer or demand an explanation, I say, “I SAID NO!” in a very firm voice. Strike three is continuing to press the issue, demand an explanation or, better yet, insult me for rebuffing you. At this point I have decided that you, perhaps, need a reason to go to therapy and the torrent of abuse and scorn I am about to rain on your head is going to be it.
Honestly, I don’t like to be rude to people, and it makes me exceptionally angry when someone makes it clear that rudeness is the only reply they’ll respect. It’s kind of like several people I’ve known throughout my life. You can talk reasonably to them until you’re blue in the face, but they won’t take you seriously unless you lose your shit at them, at which point they’ll sulk and tell you you didn’t need to yell (ARGH!). There’s this fairly widespread damage in our society that you can’t take someone seriously (especially a woman) unless she gets angry, really angry, like waving a motorcycle helmet over her head and threatening to beat you into unconsciousness with it angry (yes, that happened).
I would like to use the motorcycle helmet incident as illustrative of what I’m talking about.
I’m standing in a bar, already talking to a guy. And another guy, wearing the frat boy uniform**, walks up and interrupts my conversation to say, “Hey, can I buy you a drink?”
I respond, “No, thank you,” and return to my conversation.
He says, “Come on, it’s just a drink.”
I say, “I said, No, Thank you,” and return to my conversation.
He says, “It’s one drink, It’s not gonna hurt anything.”
To which I escalate, “What part of ‘Fuck off’ do you not get? I said no. Go away.”
He says, “What, are you a lesbian?”
At that point, I grabbed my friend’s motorcycle helmet and threatened to beat the guy into unconsciousness if he didn’t get the fucking fuck away from me.
That guy was a Grade A creep.
If he’d taken my first “No,” at face value, as he was actually cute in spite of wearing the frat boy dress code, who knows, I might have found him later and asked if that offer was still good. As it was, his refusal to accept my “No” over something as small as a drink kind of demonstrates an unwillingness to accept “No” at all, and if he’s not going to take no for the small stuff, why would I think he would take no for an answer when it came to the big stuff, like sexual contact.
And the thing is, this behavior is fairly widespread among men regardless of what social group they belong to. I’ve seen jocks, nerds, punks, goth dudes, fetish guys, men from every social strata and walk of life engage in this behavior, and it needs to stop.
Yes, if someone is out at a bar or a danceclub, possibly at a coffeeshop or other store, there is a fairly good chance that they might be looking for social interaction. You go up, you introduce yourself, you make your play. If they say no, withdraw. POLITELY. You’ve had your shot, and for whatever reason they have declined your advances. It could be your appearance (attractiveness or clothes), it could be that they just aren’t looking for company after all. It could be one of a million reasons that have fuck all to do with you. You don’t know, and they don’t owe you an explanation.
Bear in mind that the reasons someone may turn you down can be many and varied. They may not be attracted to you. They may be having a shitty day. They may be in a relationship (we’ll get back to that). They may just want to be out in public without having to deal with anyone more than necessary. They may have just lost a loved one or pet and don’t want to interact, but don’t want to be home absolutely alone either.***
The important lesson that everyone needs to take from this is that sometimes IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. AT ALL.
Another important lesson is that why they said no doesn’t matter to YOU at all. What matters to you is they said no, and if you don’t want to be labelled a creep, you’ll respect that no, regardless of why you THINK you got it.
*And, oh, we will talk about people who presume that because a woman is out in public, whatever she’s wearing, that she wants attention. Yes, we will.
**We will talk about “uniforms” and other things to do with clothing later, because that’s a big topic a lot of people ignore.
***And yes, I did once turn someone down after my grandfather had just died, and when he kept pressing the issue, he got WAY more than he bargained for in the arena of an explanation of just what kind of insensitive dickhead he was. Because I didn’t know him well enough to go into why I didn’t want to chat, but he kept pushing and pushing and pushing, and finally, well, there you go. Like I said, you just don’t know and it isn’t always all about you.