Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Unwanted Attention is the Crux of Creep – Part the Second

Midnight Fallen by RikFriday at Wikimedia Commons

This outfit sends a message

Posting over at Clarisse Thorn’s blog, I’ve had someone reply about my comments that some guys can do the exact same thing another guy has done with success, and be labelled creepy, that it depended in part on their appearance, how they dressed and other factors. They responded “Yet you also say that modes of dress, which I can’t see as boundary pushing, are potentially creepy.”

This is where I repeat something I’ve been saying for years, and yeah, I might have swiped it from someone else, but I think I came up with it: Human beings are the only species who can choose their own plumage, and do so to attract some and to exclude others.

The “uniforms” people choose are a baseline indicator of interests. Sports fans wear jerseys, or hats and shirts emblazoned with their favorite sports teams. Goths wear black and odd fabrics. Businesspeople wear suits. Music nerds wear obscure band t-shirts. What people are wearing tells you something about that person, and that includes a first glance, “Do I think that person and I have anything in common?”

Or put another way: rockabilly girls don’t look like that to attract investment bankers, they look like that to attract rockabilly boys.

So yes, if you’re wearing khakis and a pastel golf shirt and you decide to approach some girl dressed in all black fishnet and vinyl, she is probably going to decide that your attentions are unwanted from the get go, and even that you are creepy.

Why? Because your uniform expresses one baseline level of interests and hers expresses something entirely different. And a lot of women will feel that someone who appears to lack anything in common with them who approaches them regardless is creepy.

Now if a guy wearing all black and/or the same combination of fabrics approaches that girl in the same way, she’ll probably be way more receptive, because they have at least the appearance of shared interests.

Is it exclusionary? Oh hell, yes. But as I said before, no one owes you their time and attention, and the ways we dress, do our hair and make up, are a shorthand to figure out with whom we think we might be compatible.

Hair, clothes, tattoos, jewelery, all of these signify interest in and to some people, and exclude others.

Am I saying you can’t take a risk and approach someone who is wearing a different uniform? No, I’m not. But I’m also telling you, that like the person on the bus with the headphones and book, she is already signalling a lack of interest in you, so don’t be surprised if you’re rebuffed.

Also, if at any time you feel the urge to say something along the lines of “You know, you’d be so much prettier if…” Stifle it, because if you do say it you’ll be lucky if all you get is the finger and “Fuck off, creep.” Because women who spend a great deal of their time bucking conventional beauty standards are way more likely to be confrontational than women who tow the conventional beauty standard line.

And hell, even I’ve done a little of that. I, the person whose CIA kill phrase is, “You’d be so pretty if you lost some weight.” We had a group of street punks who used to hang out at the bar where I worked, and one of these girls used to cut her hair in an actual tonsure, and spike it out to the sides, had a huge gauge ring in her septum, and wore ripped up fatigues. And I remember saying something to my boss about how she’d be so pretty if she let her hair grow out, maybe had a smaller gauge ring…

The thing is, she was never hurting for companionship. She dressed and did her hair that way to attract the people she wanted to attract, which was not me. Once I realized that, I felt like a tool for ever saying anything to anyone, and also felt a little hurt about being “excluded” that way, but you know what? It wasn’t actually about me.

That girl did not go into the bathroom to shave her head thinking, “Ooooh, I know EXACTLY how to exclude Polimicks! Mwaa haa haa haaaa!” She went into the bathroom thinking, “I know how to attract people who are into the things I’m into, and if I look like this those are the people who will approach me.”

I think the hardest thing for a lot of people to recognize is that it isn’t actually ALL ABOUT YOU. It really isn’t. As I said in the last post, sometimes the reason people turn down your advances or don’t want to be advanced upon in the first place have nothing to do with you. In fact, they generally have very little to do with you, period.

But sometimes it does have something to do with you, with an apparent lack of anything in common: i.e. golf shirt guy -v- goth girl. And if you don’t have any readily apparent common interests, then exactly why are you hitting on her anyway?

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This entry was posted on October 10, 2010 by in Featured Articles, Sexism and tagged , .

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