Saturday, May 24, 2014

That "Creepy Guy"

UPDATE: I wrote this prior to gphearing about the shooting in Santa Barbara. I don't have a coherent  opinion on that incident. Surprise, sorrow, and anger are all I manage right now. My heart goes out to those with friends and family who were hurt and killed.


You know the one I'm talking about. That somewhat friendly guy at work who is ok to have a short chat with in the hall, but has a tendency to insert himself into conversations and then over stay his welcome?

Or if he sees you on the train, he will sit as close as possible and talk over or around other people in order to engage you in conversation?

The same guy has done the former to me and a friend of mine regularly, and recently escalated to the latter with my friend.

This pisses me off because it's a classic case of a WASP not taking women's socially allowed "no's" as the final answer.

She has mentioned several times that she is married, as that is generally the most accepted way to tell someone to back off. I'm taken. I have a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband. She has tried not being around him, though through sharing a workplace and a public transit method, this isn't really practical.

I'm pissed off because those approaches to 'leave me alone' rarely work. Quelle surprise, it didn't work this time.

I'm pissed off because I had to sit down with her and plan an escape route for the next time he manages to corner her on the train. She couldn't think of a way out because he gets off after her, so he knows where her stop is. Luckily(?) there is a mall only a few stops away from work and before her final stop where we've agreed she can get off if he does it again.

But this means she has to actively change her behavior due to this guys 'social awkwardness'. 

I'm pissed off because her first instinct was to give him the 'socially awkward' pass. As discussions of harassment in the atheist community have evolved over the last few years, I've found that I don't buy this as an excuse.

I am not the most socially savvy person, I have friends some male, some female, some inbetween, who are not the most savvy. We are terrified of violating boundaries the way this guy has on a regular basis. The instant we suspect we've violated a boundary, we're falling over ourselves trying to apologize and make it right.

To be fair, the guy in question has not said to us, "I'm socially awkward, therefore you have to give me a pass." Rather, I think he is either consciously or subconsciously depending on our ingrained  habit of passing off creepy behavior has simply 'socially awkward' to keep us from being able to act or react in the manner we would like, which would be telling him to fuck off.

I want to know why this is the goddamn expectation. Why am I supposed to give him an automatic pass when he's freaking one of my friends out. 

For further reading on socially awkward vs. creepy, here is a great article that is quite probably more eloquent than I.

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