Creepy Behavior and the Difference Between “Attractive” and “Attracted”

Doctor NerdLove explains that while being physically attractive may help a guy meet women, he still doesn’t get to act like a creep.

Whenever the topic of creepy behavior comes up, you can almost certainly take it for granted that somebody is inevitably going to bring up the Tom Brady Sexual Harassment sketch from Saturday Night Live as though it were some sort of drop-the-mic debate-winning argument rather than a comedy sketch that relies on exaggeration and playing with expectations and stereotypes. One is forced to presume that people who see it as a great truth and insight into the human condition also like to gift-wrap their penises on major holidays as well.

Why does it always come up? Because people see it as validation of the idea that “only ugly people are creepy.” Which isn’t true and relies on conflating “being attractive” with “being attracted”.

The latest version of this argument came up in the comments section for “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”. From the comments:

Harris I get and agree with a lot of what you say. Men do need to be more sensitive to the dangers women face. There are steps and precautions men can take to avoid behavior that might make women uncomfortable. However skits like this one from SNL, illustrate a reality that you nearly seem to be denying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBVuAGFcGKY So obviously the scenarios in the above were exaggerated, but the point they are trying to illustrate is spot on. My male friends that are considered attractive can get away with all sorts of behavior that would be labeled creepy by a less attractive man. Of course even Brad Pitt or Tom Brady can go too far, but the guys you’re responding to in the opening of this post are making a real point that you’re not giving enough credit too. I also think, you deny the large number of women who label guys creepy for trivial or absurd reasons. I remember hearing a woman in one of my classes “whisper”(not very quietly) that she found a guy who sat by himself in the back creepy because he didn’t talk to anyone. This guy didn’t look the least bit threatening, and usually had his nose buried in a book, but her friends agreed with her. You seem to write women like this off as being rare, when I see this sort of thing happen all the time, heck its happened to me. I heard you briefly acknowledge in your podcast that women like this do exist, but you almost made it sound as though they were incredibly uncommon and not worth talking about beyond a brief mention.

♦◊♦

Pay attention. Class is in session.

The first mistake with this idea is it comes from a place that assumes that attraction is binary; it’s either there or it’s not. It also comes from a place where a person’s boundaries are somehow universal, concrete things and should be exactly the same for any person regardless of circumstances.

Both are wrong. Attraction and comfort levels are elastic and mercurial. They can grow and they can shrink at almost any time.

Behavior is considered creepy when it makes people uncomfortable. Repeatedly pushing against somebody’s boundaries is creepy behavior; a person who ignores a woman’s discomfort or wishes and keeps pushing at her boundaries carries the implication that the he is either testing them (as per the crotch grabber in the story from ExplodedSoda) or ignoring them (in the case of UnWinona’s train harassment).

If a woman (or a man, for that matter) is attracted to someone, she is more likely to feel comfortable with them and more willing to accept certain behaviors… that is, her boundaries may be different for this person. This doesn’t mean that attraction is an all-encompassing passport to do whatever you want; just because somebody’s boundaries may be relaxed in certain areas doesn’t mean that they no longer exist. It’s very easy to shut down another person’s attraction to you in an instant, whether it’s by being an asshole, saying something rude or inconsiderate, or pushing at her boundaries.

Being conventionally attractive doesn’t magically inure you to being considered creepy. Don’t believe me? Ask Brett Farve how much being a good looking celebrity helped when he was sending his dick pics around. If Ryan Gosling happened to sit down next to UnWinona, draped his arms around her and started demanding to know what she was reading, she’s going to be equally annoyed as she was by the biker before he went nuts. If Adam Levine were to start talking about tits to Ky at the Minecraft party and showing off pictures he’ d secretly been taking of women’s breasts at the party, it’s stillgoing to be creepy as all fuck, regardless of how good he might look naked.

Brett Favre – AP Photo

Nobody has ever argued that being an Adonis wasn’t an advantage, but it’s also not a prerequisite. Being attractive is about more than just looks – especially since nobody can agree what’s a universal standard of physical beauty. Folks will cheerfully tell you that Kate Upton is fat. There are plenty of people who wouldn’t fuck Megan Fox with a borrowed dick while Kim Kardashian was doing the pushing. Folks may think Brad Pitt is the bee’s knees and the badger’s nadgers, but there’re just as many people who love Joseph Gordon-Levitt for his scrawny, nerdy looks. My friend Rubio – who was on the second Paging Dr. NerdLove podcast – is short and fat. And yet the man gets ass like somebody in a car chase who plows through an ass-cart and crashes through a plate-ass window… because he knows how to be attractive.

♦◊♦

If you happen to be somebody’s physical type, great, you’ve got a leg up. Maybe this means she will be more comfortable with you than she would be otherwise. This doesn’t mean that anyone else approaching her is automatically going to be creepy, it just means that she may draw the line elsewhere, which is her prerogative. A woman isn’t required to maintain just one universal standard of what she considers acceptable behavior and trying to insist that she has to treat you exactly the same as she would treat Christian Bale is—once again—telling her that your right to approach her is greater than her right to decide who she wants to talk to and when.

If that seems unfair to you… well, you should stop and think of what sort of behavior you’d be willing to accept from Gabrielle Union or Jewel Staite that you wouldn’t be willing to accept from your eighth grade history teacher.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t become more attractive to her—and thus make her more comfortable with you… but if you want to have the chance to do that, you’d better not be acting like a creep.

Those girls whispering about the quiet guy in class that the commenter brings up? They’re assholes. Women who use “creep” as a way of saying “ew, how dare you think you had a chance of talking to me?” They’re assholes.

And you know what? I have no time for assholes. And neither should you.

So no I don’t consider them worth mentioning; they’re not that common to begin with and even if they were, it doesn’t change the metrics. The fact that assholes exist doesn’t mean that people aren’t allowed to be creeped out by people.

I don’t take assholes like that into consideration when I talk about avoiding creepy behavior because assholes are going to act like assholes. They would talk shit about him even if he were the very model of etiquette and manners.

So quite frankly, fuck ‘em.

 

Image of attractive friends courtesy of Shutterstock

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for Spill.com and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.

Comments

  1. “Behavior is considered creepy when it makes people uncomfortable.” Sorry. I’m not responsible for what people think, only for who I am.

    • @PursuitAce you know, while I was replying to this I went from wanted to agree AND offer a different interpretation of the text you quoted to completely agreeing with you. By O’Malley’s logic, if I were to kiss my partner of the same sex in public, and it made homophobes “uncomfortable,” then my behavior would be defined as creepy. I don’t like that nor do I agree. It took applying his logic to a personal example for me to really see the flaw in that sentence. I commend your unapologetic response.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      You’re responsible if your behavior is intrusive of other people.

      Everyone is.

      • Not always. Kaleb already pointed out one example, of same-sex partners kissing in public and some people finding that intrusive and feeling uncomfortable at the display. Shoot, that can even be the case for people who think PDAs (public displays of affection) are inappropriate even between members of the opposite sex. To take another, some people object to breastfeeding in public on the grounds that it makes them uncomfortable or is somehow indecent. I doubt you would find fault in breastfeeding moms for causing such discomfort, but that’s what Harris’s logic and your statement about who’s responsible would lead, by automatically holding individuals responsible for any negative feeling someone else has about them. I don’t think you actually believe that, but that’s the reasoning being defended here.

        If someone feels uncomfortable or feels like they’ve been intruded on, that feeling can’t be denied because feelings are feelings, but just because someone feels those things, doesn’t mean that it’s justified and must have been someone else’s fault.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          This is very true, Marcus.

          Sure. I guess I should be more clear:

          You don’t have to care about how people receive the things you’re doing. But in dating or even in making friends, it might be good to pay attention to those things and take responsibility for how the things that you do affect others.

          • It’s good to pay attention to those things insofar as you’re actually doing things that could reasonably *and justifiably* be expected to make another person uncomfortable. For example, sitting down uninvited with someone who is sketching, using sexually loaded language in a first conversation, and touching them on the small of their back are all behaviors that could reasonably be expected to come across as “creepy” if you’re not both attracted *and* attractive, yet all of those were elements of Dr. Nerdlove’s (who didn’t go to 12 years of Internet dating school to be called Mr. Nerdlove) article demonstrating the art of successfully approaching an attractive woman.

            However, as comes up again and again in discussions about “creep” and how the label gets thrown around, a ton of what earns people (mostly men) that label are behaviors or even just *looking* a certain way that they aren’t remotely responsible for, and couldn’t be if they tried, no matter how much they care. This is not to say there’s no such thing as overt, creepy behavior that most people would agree should be avoided (e.g. Nerdlove’s approach for most people most of the time), but again, he comes off as saying anyone who’s ever been treated as a creep must be a creep. But don’t despair – the doc is in. Y’all creepy guys should just be more suave and attractive like the master of smooth moves who respects ladies so much they can’t help but fall for him, Dr. Moi. Bow chicka wah waaah! Hey, Cowgirl, did somebody order a pizza?

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Here’s the thing, Marcus. The trick is ALL in reading the woman’s response to what you’re doing. Seriously.

              I don’t know why guys don’t believe women when we say this.

              I realize that there are guys who have issues that keep them from being able to interpret this, but that number is far less than many would claim it is. Most of us in the world can interpret signals from others. You just need practice. I think the Dr. NerdLove podcast I put on the blog a few weeks ago was incredibly informative about these signals.

              I think one reason guys want to say “I have no control over this!” is because they love playing the victim and living in victim mode. Okay maybe they don’t LOVE it, but it works for them… to some degree. The same way that for me, creating and inviting chaos into my life “works”… It actually doesn’t work, but I’m good at it and have been doing it most of my life because of a very chaotic childhood.

              Also – I know you in person and you DO know how to read these signals and are very good and appropriate at all of this. I’ve never seen you pick up on women (because my time machine is broken) but I’m certain you’d know if you were scaring someone.

              Almost anyone can learn to read signals, it’s just that some don’t want to. Because they’re stuck in victim state.

              My armchair psychology for today. Yell at me if you want, I don’t care, it’s what I think is true and GET THIS! I’m a woman who lives life as a woman so I have some insight into what women think and feel.

            • ———————-
              Here’s what I hear you (and Dr. Nerdlove) saying:

              When a woman feels creeped out by a man, then he did something creepy. This is true whether the creepy feeling came from something most people would agree has a high creep-factor to it, like sitting down uninvited with a woman engaged in a quiet activity alone, or something passive an innocuous, like looking at her from across a room. If a woman feels stared at, she is being stared at, regardless of how frequent or sustained a man’s look is. If she thinks he has a crush on her, she is correct in factoring that into her judgment. Furthermore, none of these feelings that women get have anything to do with how attractive she finds a man prior to any approach he may make, because his attractiveness has nothing to do with it, only his ability to read women and know things like, “Here is a woman who will enjoy me sitting down to flirt and throw some sexual innuendo her way.”

              Also, successful men in the dating game are those who know how to read signals, which everyone can learn. The rest are creeps. Women are passive receptacles who don’t form any initial impressions of attractiveness until men approach (or enter their line of sight) and reveal themselves to be creeps or non-creeps, and *then* women realize whether they’re attracted or not.

              So, am I hearing you right?

            • That’s most certainly not what I read.

            • And yet I keep hearing it, over and over, with the only examples given being those of men engaging in high-creep behavior, as if I’m arguing that men never bear any responsibility in the creep reaction. Where are the concessions that men bear *some* responsibility in *some* cases for a woman thinking he’s a creep, and that sometimes it’s all in her head? Where are the concessions that Dr. Nerdlove engaged in *potentially creepy* behavior with Cowgirl, but was not creepy largely because she found him attractive, rather than because he was some master of reading women and tailoring his approach to fit?

              Those are the things I’m not hearing.

            • Read my longer comment. Some of the creepiest men I’ve ever met are extraordinarily good looking and charming. What can I say. When I think of “creep” I do not think of physical attractiveness attributes so much as I think of how a person behaves with others. Perhaps I am an outlier

            • @Julie, the term gets mixed up because some apply it to looks, others to behaviour. It’s annoying as hell because the first thing I think of with creep is someone being sleezy n lecherous, not just someone who has their hair strange or bad taste in clothes.

            • Good point Marcus.

            • @Marcus….

              The “all in their head?” is exactly right. Women love to PRETEND.

              If the man is attractive and attracted, he will NEVER be deemed creepy.

              It’s like the legal definition of sexual harassment. It is all based on “UNWELCOMED” conduct. So, if the behavior is “WELCOMED”, then it is NOT sexual harassment? Correct.

              It is not the act or behavior in and of itself (staring, touching, …..) that makes a man creepy. Rather, whether the woman deems it OK behavior. If she finds him attractive, it is not creepy. If he is an unattractive putz, he is a creep.

              JMO.

            • Bullshit.

            • :)

            • I’ll probably be creeped out less if i am attracted to someone touching me then someone I am not attracted to, attraction probably lowers the bar considerably. I guess that is what you guys are discussing?

            • I think there are a number of discussions going on. If this person is your friend and you are not attracted is it creepy? Is it creepy if someone ignores your cues or boundaries no matter what they look like. There appears to be a set of people who believe that pretty people can do anything and that women only call men creepy if they aren’t attracted to them.
              I and others believe that it’s much more about intent and attitude, circumstance and boundaries than looks.

              No one appears to be in agreement and lots of side arguments are breaking out.

            • My answer = 42.
              And let’s all sing around the campfire.
              Being attractive may reduce the chances of being creepy but it doesn’t make you immune.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              And that’s not what I said or meant, Marcus.

            • Are the signals the same for men and women? Could explain some confusion if they send diff signals. I notice a lot of people talk about mixed signals, I’ve heard guys get angry when they think a girl is all over them, then suddenly goes cold. If that happens, I also wonder how often the guys make a play for it and fuck it up terribly and go too far, like lean in for a kiss when she isn’t into him.

              Direct communication with words is so much easier:P

            • I don’t think the method of communication actually matters all that much. “Would you like a kiss?” is as likely to be welcomed or rejected as leaning in with a smile and a twinkle. As long as you understand both languages and are prepared to accept that “um, I’m not sure” means no, everything should be fine.

              Mixed messages are another matter. A woman apparently changing her mind is not necessarily because of anything a man’s done. Women just change their minds more than we do. Fact. There’s a phrase for it that I learned as a child, before I even knew what sex was: “the Woman’s Prerogative”. It applies to everything. Aren’t boys taught that anymore? That would explain a lot.

            • I went on a date once where I was having a really good time and really connecting with the guy, but the truth was I didn’t know him very well (we had just met the day before) and I wasn’t ready to get physical with him. We were having a good time talking and laughing and all of a sudden he tried to get physical. This made me very uncomfortable as I wasn’t ready for sex yet and really didn’t want to start anything that night. So I pulled back and things suddenly got very awkward. The date ended and we didn’t see each other again. I’ve always felt bad about that because I’m sure he felt like I “changed my mind” and maybe he thought I was leading him on by being so friendly and social and flirtatious with him on the date. I wasn’t doing anything physical or talking about sex, I hadn’t invited him back to my place or anything, but we were at a bar talking and laughing a lot. I’m sure I was sending signals that I was attracted to him because I was attracted. I really did like him but I don’t have sex with a guy I just met the day before, that’s just me. I’m sure he went away from the experience feeling confused and angry about women but I don’t know what else I could have done, except maybe I should have been more standoffish on the date, which seems dumb.

            • The answer is so obvious, you say sorry I’m not ready to go that far yet but I’m really enjoying our time together. Can we take it slower? What would make him angry, and rightly so, is just that whole ditching aspect. He’ll be beating himself up for going too fast, misreading your signs, maybe next time he will be afraid to even try get physical and his next date will be thinking “Why is he waiting so long”. Of course these are possibilities, but to me it sounds like a major lack of communication and a potentially great relationship was thrown away because of it.

              Of course I wasn’t there so I am only guessing her, he respected your boundaries once you backed off right? This is why I ask first, because I’d be shattered if I did that and she backed off, I’d know straight away I fucked up and I’d hate myself for it. But honestly, it can be very confusing to go by body language alone, if he misreads your interest and thinks you’re ok for more, tries more then if you back off it’ll be confusing. Did he fuck up bad in your eyes or was it a case of mixed signals? It doesn’t help that not every human is the same either, so you might have sent signals that his other dates did and which worked in the past.

              Many possibilities, life is complex like that…

            • Yeah, some verbal communication is important here.

            • Yeah I didn’t handle it well in retrospect. I was a lot younger then (24, I think). He respected my boundaries, it was just that everything suddenly got awkward and weird and we went our separate ways. I always felt bad about it.

            • Shoutybloke says:

              “I think one reason guys want to say “I have no control over this!” is because they love playing the victim and living in victim mode. Okay maybe they don’t LOVE it, but it works for them… to some degree. The same way that for me, creating and inviting chaos into my life “works”… It actually doesn’t work, but I’m good at it and have been doing it most of my life because of a very chaotic childhood.”

              Yeah you’re right. There’s no such thing as an Autistic spectrum disorder, that’s just something the patriachy made up to oppress you. I’ve been faking it my whole life, the flat affect, the difficulty with certain sounds, everything. Just so men I don’t know can get away with making you uncomfortable. That’s how deep this thing goes, because screwing you personally out of your goddess given birthright as the most important person in the world to always be comfortable at all times is totally worth wrecking my own life, you vile, ableist litlte narcisist.

          • “But in dating or even in making friends, it might be good to pay attention to those things and take responsibility for how the things that you do affect others.”
            You can only be responsible for the things you control, this means your feelings your thoughts, your actions and your inactions. How your actions affect someone else usually depends on factors which are beyond your control, like how this someone was socialised.
            To explain one example:
            We have boyfriend and girlfriend. They just started dating and boyfriend learns about girlfriends 10 one night stands in her pasts. He feels bad and is disgusted.
            Question: Would it be a good idea for the girlfriend to take responsibility for her boyfriends bad feelings and disgust?

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              First, why the F does the boyfriend give a crap about what the girlfriend did in her past if she’s honest with him and committed when she’s in the relationship with him?

              If he doesn’t like her past, he needs to make a choice to move on. Her having one nighters before she met him HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM.

              That’s the distinction. She didn’t do it TO HIM. She did it before they were together. It has nothing to do with him.

              As I said when I answered this nearly identical question on my blog, http://www.shesaidhesaid.me – he needs to either get a grip on her past and move forward with her – accepting she is who she is (because nothing was done TO him), or he needs to find someone new. Someone who accepts her for who she is and things she cannot change (without a time machine).

              No need to slut-shame one’s own girlfriend, after all.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              And if you find your time machine so she can go back and change who she was before she met him, let me know so I can travel back to the year 1999 to see if Marcus was a creep or not before he met his wife.

              Though I doubt he was ;)

            • I knew a girl online for about a year on a non-dating site. After a lot of posting in a group context, we had some one-on-one contact that got more personal, flirted some, etc., without starting what either one of us would consider a definite relationship. The group decided to gather for a face-to-face meeting, with people coming from many different states, including me and this girl from opposite coasts. When I greeted her at the airport, I greeted her as she entered the baggage claim area with a hug, and then a big kiss (with tongue) before we even exchanged words. I literally kissed her right out of the gate, and only after the kiss said, “Hi, I’m Marcus.”

              Creepy or not?

            • I have no idea. Since you had a previous online relationship wit lots of information exchange, comfort and mutual enjoyment of each other, were looking forward to seeing each other, probably not creepy.

              For me, I’d probably not be personally ok with a french kiss at the very first meeting and if that happened, I’d probably think that our mutual communication was off by a factor of…well I don’t know. I mean it depends. Were we emailing about how much we wanted to just kiss each other? Then no, that wouldn’t be weird. If I’d said things like, “I’m looking forward to getting to know you in person first as in I don’t kiss on the first date etc.” and then I got kissed hard, I’d think he wasn’t really listening to me. Or maybe I wasn’t listening to him. But that something was off.

              Did she think it was ok? I suppose that’s really the only thing that matters was that the mutual connection and communication between you two was on an even playing field and that you both were happy with the interaction.

              Why worry what we think.

            • I think we’re basically in agreement, Julie. The only reaction that really mattered was hers, and while I did my best to gauge her interest before plastering a kiss on her, the only way to know short of asking, “Do you mind if I tongue-kiss you now?” was to take the risk. Just like Nerdlove didn’t ask at each step before sitting down, making risque comments, or nicknaming a woman he just met after a sexual position. Like Nerdlove, my risk paid off. Not only did my gesture lead to sex later in the day, we ended up dating, living together, and eventually getting married. All after a bold move that could have backfired and gotten me slapped away as a creep.

              That’s the thing. You don’t know if a lot of things you say or do will make someone uncomfortable until after you try. It’s important to be willing to back off if you meet resistance (unlike your neighbor on the plane), but that’s saying something different from “you’re responsible for how you make others feel”, which is more of a blanket statement that ignores both the nuances of actual behavior, and the role that attraction plays in whether identical behaviors are welcome or unwelcome. It’s complicated and hard. I don’t care for analyses and advice that say otherwise.

            • @Marcus, you got courage. Holy. I’d be too worried about that slap….

            • Nick, mostly says:

              Wow, that sounds remarkably similar to how I first met my wife. Flew cross country and she met me at the gate (back when you could do that). I saw her, gave her a hug, and planted a kiss on her before words were exchanged.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              That’s very sexy of you both – but you both knew the women in question very well at that point. There was an understanding of a romantic context. We all have to make decisions based upon the context.

              And Julie’s right, there’s no way to judge it. If Marcus had met GirlX at the airport and hadn’t given any indication of intimacy or more-than-friendship his kiss may have been not so well received.

              Also if said girl was dodging his gaze not smiling, he would probably not have kissed her like that. But there was obviously that “spark” – eye contact, smile, mutual excitement, etc.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              There was an understanding of a romantic context.

              Absolutely, although there was still ever-present doubt and fear of rejection. What if she didn’t like me in person? What if she thought I was ugly? Or smelled bad? What if the physical chemistry wasn’t there? Would the intellectual chemistry be enough?

              Sometimes to quell the doubts in your mind you just need to make a move and find out, rather than letting your imagination talk you out of it. Either she kisses you back, or you change your return ticket to leave the following morning. Fortunately for me it wasn’t the latter.

            • You changed the subject, I was talking about what would be a good attitude and good behaviour of the girlfriend, while you are talking about the boyfriend. In my example your sentence:
              Joanna
              “You don’t have to care about how people receive the things you’re doing. But in dating or even in making friends, it might be good to pay attention to those things and take responsibility for how the things that you do affect others.”
              applies.
              Joanna:
              “She didn’t do it TO HIM. She did it before they were together. It has nothing to do with him. “
              In the sentence I quoted above you didn’t mention either the condition, that she has to do it TO HIM, or the condition about when the action took place.
              But even with these conditions you are wrong here, she dated him and she had sex with him (in your example from “she said…”). And if she told him of her one night stands only after they started dating and having sex, then you could argue that he might not have agreed to dating and sex if he knew about those one night stands.
              BTW I agree with you, that she should not feel any shame because of his negative reaction to her past, I just wanted to demonstrate that your sentence
              “…take responsibility for how the things that you do affect others.”
              has undesirable implications.
              As this leads away from the topic I am not gonna discuss this example any further but give you another example:
              I am at a bar and I see a woman sitting there seemingly bored. I walk towards her to approach her and she sees me and doesn’t show any signs of not wanting to engage with, she might even smile at me, well I look like a friendly fella. When I have reached her I introduce myself politely, like “Hello, I am Helmut, how are you doing?”. Unfortunately my scent (maybe my cologne), my words and my accent remind her mind her of a guy her raped her two years ago. She relives those horrible memories and shows fear and horror.
              Am I responsible for making her relive traumatic experiences?
              If you say yes and I would agree, then, as I obviously don’t want to bring horror upon people, I should change my behaviour. The innocent little things like scent, words and accent, are insofar out of my control as I can not know what triggers who. Hence rhe only reasonable conclusion would be, never to approach strange women.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              If your cologne or accent reminded her of a trauma, that would absolutely NOT be your responsibility. But it is your responsibility to, once she shows signs she is uncomfortable for ANY reason (and you may never know why, whether it was a past rape or something you did, it doesn’t matter) and doesn’t want you to hang about, leave her alone.

              It wasn’t your FAULT that she had a bad reaction to you. But it would be your fault if you didn’t respect her need for you to step away.

        • Kissing your partner in public or breastfeeding in public are not actions consciously directed at other people (usually). Although I was at a restaurant once where this man and women were pretty much groping each other at their table and then looking around to see who was watching. They were clearly exhibitionists and yes that was seriously creepy. However, that’s a fairly unusual example.

          If you are going to approach another person and interact with them, you are responsible for your behavior. Or if you are in a social group, you should be aware of how you come across. My boyfriend has a friend who is very shy and socially awkward. The guy has a crush on me, even though I’m 10 years older than him. We were at a social gathering, and every time Ilooked up, he was staring at me. It started to freak me out after awhile. I am nice to him and I try to encourage him because I know he has “issues” but being stared at and kind of followed around the party for 3 hours was too much. He scares women off because of this kind of behavior, unfortunately.

          • “If you are going to approach another person and interact with them, you are responsible for your behavior.”
            You are always responsible for your behaviour, but you are never responsible for the behaviour of another adult.

          • If you are going to approach another person and interact with them, you are responsible for your behavior.

            Behavior, yes. Their reaction, no. Creepiness is subjective and while some things are much more likely to be considered creepy than others – like starting a conversation with sexual innuendo vs. looking in your direction from a distance – it’s still the case that finding someone initially attractive lets them get away with more, and finding them unattractive lets them get away with less, even to the point of finding completely innocuous behavior “creepy” when all they really are is unattractive. That’s in stark contrast to the titular point Nerdlove attempts to make, and which the Tom Brady sketch, though an obvious exaggeration of reality, makes so well. If the exact same behavior can elicit substantially different reactions, then you can’t give all credit to the guy when he didn’t come across as creepy, and all the blame to him when he did. His behavior matters, but it’s not all that matters.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Marcus, let’s take this ad absurdum.

              So if I go up to an interracial couple and say, “Be with your own kind. Your kids will be teased and have a hard life!” (I would of course NEVER say that) I may have great intentions in trying to help their theoretical children… And I can’t be responsible for how they react, right? I mean, I’m trying to help. If they don’t like it, it’s their problem.

            • Fine, now let’s take it ad absurdum the other way.

              You’re at a park looking around at other people and couples and families, and an interracial couple thinks you’re looking at them a little too often or with some disapproval in your expression that isn’t even remotely in your mind or intention. They conclude that you’re prejudiced against interracial couples and refer to you among friends as “that bigot at the park”, because they know what prejudice and intolerance look and feel like, and something about your looks was enough to set off their warning bells.

              Is it fair? Is it your responsibility for having looked at an interracial couple? Should you have read them better (i.e. be a mindreader) to know exactly how and how much you could look at them without seeming weird? If you’re aware of their reaction and think it’s unjustified, does that mean you’re negating their experience or reasons for being sensitive to that kind of prejudice?

              Note that I haven’t argued that creepiness is all in women’s heads. I’m saying that behavior matters, but it’s not all that matters. In the context that Nerdlove is talking about, part of what matters is attractiveness, which is the opposite of what he argues. Seriously, look at his model approach with Cowgirl in the previous piece. Everything he did could have easily been the centerpiece of some woman’s blog essay about this creep who came up in a coffee shop and started hitting on her. He didn’t avoid potentially creepy moves, he just moved on someone who found him attractive enough not to be creeped out. That’s the essence of male initiative in the dating world – you make the move and hope for the best, being willing to back off if you find your advances unwelcome.

            • Here’s what I see.

              I see both of the examples actually happening in the real world. All of us do our best to approach people, live in the world, avoid conflicts and get on well. There well may be people in the world who would go to the interracial couple and tell them not to be together. And there well maybe be interracial couples who are so used to being stared at (or told terrible things) that they are hyper alert to anything that looks like judgement to them.

              And there also are people who are projecting judgement before it hits them and act like jerks.

              So all those things are true in the dating/more sexual arena.

              There are men that come on to women in odd ways or in entitled predatory ways that makes women (some at least) feel really unsafe. And there are women who have had enough experiences in the world that they are hyper alert to anything that looks like judgement to them.

              And there are also women who act really mean about men in general.

              And I’d offer that the gender combos go in all directions.

              Since we live in a world that appears to love trends of language, “creep” is a word that is in high rotation. I do think that there are people out there who behave in entitled and predatory ways. It’s very very uncomfortable to be around it and witness it. In my personal experience it’s occurred from men that are traditionally attractive.

              I do think a lot of people have very sensitive radar to things that seem “off.” And yes, sometimes people make mistakes like the couple in your example, Marcus. Sometimes that happens. All any of us can do is our best to interact with honesty and compassion and empathy for others and hope for that treatment back.

              And well, if I make a mistake in the wrong direction, hopefully I’ll realize it and apologize. But if I feel unsafe, my first action is to get to safety, reassess and then move forward. Like I said, if I need to apologize I will.

              I tend to be really friendly in public and have, thank the universe, mostly amazing and happy interactions with people. I feel pretty good about my ability to gauge when things are “off.” I usually give a pretty big benefit of doubt.

            • BINGO!!! Nerdlove is simply being disingenuous. Attraction matters and it matters a lot!!!

              Yes, most men have to roll the dice and hope for the best. Sad.

            • As do women. It’s not sad, it’s life. We all take risk every day in our interactions with others. All anyone can do is our best to meet people where they are, offer real connection and hope for that best. And sometimes get turned down. Even women!! I know that’s shocking.

              Attraction does matter, of course it does. As does behavior, as does attitude, as does intent. When all the stars align with those things, dates happen. Sometimes not even then.

            • If people would actually cut more slack about regular people missing signals (and if people wouldn’t act like assholes and use derogatory words to label people who are merely interacting) then the actual predatory behavior could be called what it is. Which it is.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              He IS saying attraction matters a LOT. He’s saying “attractiveness” matters less than attraction.

            • Have you ever been attracted (drawn to, vibed well with) to someone who wasn’t actually attractive (conventionally hot etc)? I have. I think this distinction matters.

              Also I really don’t see why it’s so hard to accept that if someone is giving off indicators that they are a happy positive person with authentic interest in you (rather than seeing you as a utility or means to an end) that people can’t pick up on that. Of course happy positive people are more interesting and exciting to be around than negative ones.

            • Joanna,
              notice that in your example you didn’t mention eitherthe couples emotions or their reaction. We all know that and why the things you said (in this hypothetical example) are rude and offensive. It is about judging the behaviour not the intentions, nor the judging the behaviour by the reaction.

              Here an example:
              I am at a party and I notice a woman staring at me. Now I might be affected very differently by this staring, depending on my personality, my attitude and my experiences. I might be glad that somebody is interested in me or be creeped out, for example. If I go to her to introduce myself and we end up dating, should she take responsibility, for me coming over to her? Of course not. I am an individuum and I have agency. It was me who has chosen to go to her and introduce myself. So what i she responsible for? Well, staring at me. And even if this was a good or a bad thing depends on me and I want part of the credit/responsibility for this interaction.

          • “My boyfriend has a friend who is very shy and socially awkward. The guy has a crush on me, even though I’m 10 years older than him. We were at a social gathering, and every time Ilooked up, he was staring at me. It started to freak me out after awhile. I am nice to him and I try to encourage him because I know he has “issues” but being stared at and kind of followed around the party for 3 hours was too much. He scares women off because of this kind of behavior, unfortunately.”

            If you can, PLEASE tell him. Don’t outright accuse him, say you notice him looking your way a lot and it can appear to be staring, it makes you feel uncomfy, but let him know as he could very well be unaware that he is staring that often. Better to learn earlier than later, as we aren’t all well educated in socializing. I probably did some of this myself in highschool and early adulthood, unaware of how much was too much. I’ve recently gotten more understanding in it all, I didn’t realize until a few years ago that it can seriously make women uncomfy although I didn’t stare at someone for like more than 3 seconds, always felt that awkwardness and looked away before too long. Eye contact is a weird thing to learn, I spent much of my life avoiding eyecontact out of fear, only ever looking at women when they weren’t looking directly at me and even then it was a quick glance I think. But they might have noticed n felt creeped out about it.

            I guess I have a soft spot for those awkwardly shy people as I can understand what it’s like, these days if I notice it with a with I’ll probably mention it to them so they don’t get mistaken for being a creep. I’m glad to say these days I also talk to people much more often, although i still have trouble with eye contact but I can at least carry a conversation.

            • I wish that there were classes taught, and I don’t mean like PUA types, but just in general for anyone who believes they don’t read cues well. I have always read them too well, been too aware (but this is a great benefit in most of my life ultimately) and for me their is a huge difference between the folks who wind up being called “creep” for basically having less sense of a sense (like some people have acute hearing and others dont) and folks who know good and well what they are doing encroaching on others boundaries.

              Oddly, and this is anecdata completely, the people I have met who are the most attractive that seem creepy are often the ones who clearly know what they are doing.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              I’ve noticed this as well. People are astonishingly bad at assessing risk, and good looking people can often get away with a lot. It’s interesting, is it not? We tell the “Nice Guys” they are complaining as if they are entitled to a relationship, but the ones who are actually behaving in an entitled manner are the good looking, socially aware types. We want to believe the bogeyman looks like Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children, but in fact he’s just as likely to look like Patrick Wilson.

              What was that link you posted a while back about how to “pull a girl?” Incredibly creepy behavior, but he’s unlikely to be labeled a creep because he’s conventionally attractive. More likely to be labeled “pushy” or “aggressive” wouldn’t you say?

            • Yeah, I suppose I get triggered by people (of any gender) exhibiting passive aggressive victimy behavior though. I think of Nice Guys as more akin in behavior and attitude to acting entitled though. I suppose I see that there is behavior that is actively aggressive and predatory, there is behavior that is passive aggressive and entitled and more manipulative in a quiet way, and then socially awkward. And of course there are people who actually really just seem to like themselves and others, have empathy and a clear sense of their own boundaries and others, and really enjoy social interactions for their own sake, not because they are a means to an end.

              All genders can fall into these groupings.

            • And the thing is somethings predators do look like that. And sometimes they look soft and helpless. And sometimes they look strong and fierce. And if you had a bad experience with someone who looked like Jackie Earle Haley in your childhood you may be predisposed to think all men who look like that are creeps. Heck, if you even see a film where they cast people to look creepy you may then be predisposed to think similar looking non actors are creeps.

              Which means when you run up against a real predator, a true sociopath, you may really not be looking or feeling for the right clues.

              My problem with the word creep (as with the word slut or any other pejorative predicated on a “look”) is that each of us have personal histories that lead us to be prone to projection, and we have cultural ideals of what “safe” and “harmful” look like which are set out in media and other narratives. So for me, I do my best to look at actual behavior; Is this person ignoring what I’m saying. Is this person pushing past limits I’ve clearly set. Is this person using manipulative verbal cues to get me to feel sorry for him or her in order to get me to do something I’ve already indicated I don’t want to do.

              In the case of young women calling men creeps that they don’t find attractive or “good enough” to date them, I have no doubt it happens. But I have no doubt that men do it in some way to women, or bosses do it in some way to applicants who clearly don’t make the cut. People can be really mean. The words change, but the behavior seems to cross gender and race and age lines.

            • My thought though is that if I were sitting on the train, with headphones on and a book, and a person of any gender butted into my space and insisted on talking to me, that they’d be displaying at the very best an extreme lack of social awareness and manners and at worse they were a threat. If I declined and they called me a bad name or pushed me to tell them why I wouldn’t talk?
              Yes, that’s quite creepy no matter who does it. It means that they think your personal time and needs aren’t as important as their desire to talk to you and aren’t willing to listen.

              I recall being on a plane trip once. And I hate talking on planes for various reasons. So I had on headphones, sunglasses and a book. And turned into the window. And a man still asked me what I was reading, listening to etc until I told him I just wanted to be alone. He wasn’t happy about it, my response, but he left me alone, though he did keep putting his elbow into my space and touching me. I found it so strange (and this was years ago) that anyone would behave that way.

              To me, that’s not social awkwardness at play. That’s someone wanting something they aren’t getting and being peeved about it. I know a lot of socially awkward people, and several Aspie folks and they don’t behave that way.

            • I hear what you’re saying about empathy and personal histories and all of that, and I agree with it. However, if you read his prior article about “how to approach women”, he did almost exactly what you just described as something that’s creepy no matter who does it. He entered the space of a woman engaged in a solitary activity – sketching – in a coffee shop. If that’s objectively creepy no matter who does it, one would think her reaction would be that of having just been engaged by a creep. And yet she didn’t react that way. She responded favorably, encouraged more interaction, and ultimately called him after he gave her his card. What was the magic ingredient that made his action not creepy, when it probably would have been creepy if you were the one sketching at the table? I don’t think it was the fact that it happened in a coffee shop instead of a train, or that he was a master of perfectly calibrated innuendo. I think it was that she found him attractive enough to *like* being approached by him, and he read the situation well enough to escalate the flirtation in a way she accepted instead of blowing it by doing something unmistakably creepy like showing her a picture of his penis.

              My gripe isn’t that Cowgirl responded favorably or even that Nerdlove was way out of line with his approach, because I don’t think he was. I presume he’s so enlightened that he would have backed off at the first sign of discomfort, but that’s not the story he told, so who knows. My gripe is that Nerdlove advises elements of an approach that many women have described as creepy – including you with the train example – and says his attractiveness had nothing to do with it, it was his skill in reading the woman and behaving appropriately that won her over. Ummm…no. It’s a direct counterexample to the “no matter who does it” theory of creepiness. It mattered who did it, and whom he did it to, and I don’t see how any of that can be explained if she’s assumed to have had zero attraction to him before the approach began. He has engaged in the same behavior he seems to deplore in others who’ve had less success with it, and it’s that hypocrisy that’s grating, not the fact that he successfully charmed one woman with behavior that would have creeped out another.

            • If you agree with me that empathy, and personal histories and timing play a role, then why does it upset you that sometimes things are creepy and sometimes things are not?

              If I”m on a train alone at night in a bad mood with histories of bad trainrides vs I’m on a train half full during the day in a great mood with no history of bad moods, the same behavior may cause different reactions no matter how “attractive” the person is.

              If I”m single and sketching and wishing I had a date this weekend vs I’ve got a boyfriend and I’m tired of being hit on.

              Or, frankly, I’m neutral at a coffee shop and someone approaches me with confidence and friendliness vs me observing them watching for an in, and yeah there is an “off” quality that I’ll have a very hard time breaking down in the actual moment but can probably deconstruct. Too long or not enough eye contact. Waiting and watching me. Hesitation in tone and words. Ignoring the words I’m saying and moving ahead.

              People are capable of taking micro cues from interactions and making very quick assumptions (which yes may indeed be wrong).

              I’ve already said I’m not a fan of the word creep and I’ve laid out my reasons. It seems that you are reacting angrily (hard to read your tone but I’m sensing some level of frustration) that “pretty” people can get away with things that not pretty people can’t.

              I don’t think it’s that simplistic, but I’ve also read the opposite argument on other threads about how pretty women get more perks in life than homely ones. Perhaps some things just aren’t fair.

              For whatever reason, Nerdlove wasn’t creepy to Cowgirl. You weren’t creepy to your partner. And sometimes people seem creepy.

              My stance is that we all have to do our best and be aware that our impact may not always match our intentions. When that happens, we have a choice to acknowledge it and learn how to make a different impact (apologize, ask for feedback, make adjustments) or make it the other person’s problem altogether. And because life is like this, both of those options are usually on the table at one point or the other.

              If people act like you (not you Marcus, the general you and I’m addressing all genders here) are creepy/phobic/racist/mean/selfish/etc a lot and all you do is say those people are full of shit/only like pretty people/don’t know what they are talking about…it’s possible that that is true. But if that’s the feedback you get from more than one person over time and it is affecting your social life, then perhaps your impact is not matching your intent. And if you want good relationships, why not look at yourself and decide if there are things that could be changed.

              And of course if your intent and impact ARE in alignment and you (the general you) enjoy alienating people and then complaining about it or using that impact to make people afraid, then there isn’t anything here on any of these threads that would convince you otherwise, right?

            • Here is where I think the problem breaks down. The person approaching doesn’t have a clear understanding of my history, the timing etc. Right? He or she approaching me doesn’t know if I’m open to conversation. I’ll put myself in the driver’s seat for a second.
              If I saw someone that I wanted to approach on a train/coffee shop etc. I’d look and try to read their situation.

              Headphones on? Sunglasses on? Looks to me like they are in deep space blocking people out.

              Looking around while drinking their coffee? Making eye contact with others? Signs are good I could say hello.

              At that point I’d make sure that what I had to say was concise and non physically invasive and honest. “Excuse me, I just wanted to say I read that book last week and it’s just so marvelous! I never see people reading it and I just wanted to tip my hat to you.” (honest meaning that I really read that book and am not using it as an “in” just to get their trust).

              Then if they responded positively with questions or “sit down” it’s a green light for developing a momentary friendship or more (but I’d let go of any outcome at this point and just try to enjoy the now so to speak).

              If they were like, “Yeah I’m really involved in it right now.” And looked down at their book? That means STOP BOTHERING ME.
              All of that may have something to do with their mood, their health, their history, my general attractiveness to them, and they way I approach. And you know what? Even if they were simply shy and turning away due to shyness? I’d still back off and not push because well, that’s that whole impact vs intent thing and its something for them to work on. I read what I read and respond accordingly.

              And their responsibility is to draw or open a boundary after I approach. And my responsibility is to read that cue and respond to it. If I push past it? Like if after the “I”m really involved in it” and looking down, I kept asking questions or sat down, or touched them? I’d be really creepy and rude. If my desire to talk to that person is overriding their cues to stop and I act on my desire while ignoring their requests, non verbal or otherwise, if i stared at them after the encounter, or followed them, it’s rude behavior. And if a person deals with this type of behavior a lot (like every week) I have no doubt they start to categorize it all under the word “creep” or whatever the phrase du jour is. And then all the categories we’ve discussed wind up under that one phrase.

              That’s not particularly fair and it shows a pattern in western language to pare down to trends instead of complex use of words to describe phenomena, but it happens.

            • If you agree with me that empathy, and personal histories and timing play a role, then why does it upset you that sometimes things are creepy and sometimes things are not?

              It doesn’t upset me. You keep saying things that I mostly agree with, but I keep arguing back because I don’t think you’re understanding the distinction I make between what you’re saying, and what Nerdlove is saying. When Nerdlove says attractiveness has nothing to do with it, and Joanna makes blanket statements about needing to take responsibility for the impact you have on others, that’s different from saying personal histories and timing play a role. In the Nerdlove theory of creepiness, the Tom Bradys and the geeky co-workers all have the same level of attractiveness to start with, so it’s all in the approach. I call bullshit on that.

              Let’s say I approach a woman (or even just get noticed from afar) and for whatever reason, make her feel uncomfortable. Call it “creeped out” if you want, or use use a less loaded term; either way, it’s a feeling I don’t like to cause. I can be, and try to be, empathetic to the array of reasons for which I may have prompted this discomfort. This includes imagining reasons completely beyond my control that may have triggered the reaction, like my resemblance to someone who harmed her in the past, or maybe she has been stalked and is ultra-sensitive to even being looked at. However, this empathy does not entail me taking responsibility for her reaction, as if nothing but what I did or said had anything to do with it. It doesn’t mean that if she’s freaked out by catching me glancing toward her, that I should feel like the cause of her discomfort and adjust my behavior by never glancing toward women I don’t know on the off chance they’ll freak out. That’s the message I receive from Nerdlove, and apparently I’m not the only one so if that’s not what he means, maybe he’s approaching us wrong.

            • I don’t disagree that in the majority of human interactions what you are saying is right on. You act, a person reacts, and you go from there. Sometimes the reaction is about them and their issues and the most you can do is say, wow…that was odd and golly I sure am regretful that person is having a bad day etc but I am confident that what I did was chill and good.

              And sometimes the person doing the acting is actually encroaching purposefully and with intent and they should indeed take responsibility for their impact because their intent is to encroach and they continually get this message and refuse to acknowledge that it’s happening and that it’s the other person’s fault. Mostly I see “but she/he should teach me!” “But I can’t tell what a woman/man wants” “But how else will I get a date” “but but but but” instead of “Wow, maybe something about my approach isn’t working. Maybe the way I’m approaching dating and mating isn’t really getting me to a good place. And believe me I’ve seen women behave in just this way as well as men.

              And as god as my witness I don’t know exactly how one tells the difference, save go with the gut, reassess later and apologize if one misjudged someone.

              What I am hearing is that so long as one is attractive, they can do anything they want and it isn’t creepy. And I don’t believe that to be true.

              I think many people do pick up on intent and minute details of body language and tone and while physical attractiveness can distract and I would never deny that on first impression physical beauty can distract from other “tells”, it doesn’t mean that creepy behavior isn’t noticed over time.

            • The only benefit I see to PUA training is the inner confidence. That whole cycle you describe is what I suppose a lot of people wind up feeling is creepy. I’m a confident person. I enjoy confident and happy and easy interactions. I’m actually really good with non-easy interactions but there are people who aren’t and get put off by other people’s fear. It triggers a fear response back I think, like…something’s off here…I should be on guard. Which then may further alienate the awkward person.

              But I’m not worried about the socially awkward. I’m worried about the people who encroach on boundaries, interrupt people reading, sit too close purposefully and so forth. Which does happen.

            • I should probably get a PUA book, but I want one with just the basics and not the additional misogynistic crap I keep hearing about. I have a few books on body language which help though. It’s also been good to interact with women who are older without that sexual attraction stuff mucking it up:P Good way to help get confidence and learn body language more.

            • Take an improv class. Learn to play, say yes, trust yourself. Much more useful and more fun too.

            • Eh, face to face contact like that is still a bit scary, I prefer to read about it first:P I don’t think there are any local ones though :S

            • I’ve read some PUA stuff and they have some good advice about reading body language and non-verbal cues, but the underlying attitude toward women is really cynical, offensive and sexist. That’s my main objection to it.

              My understanding of the history of PUA is that the early “gurus” took a lot of techniques that were originally developed in sales & marketing and applied it to picking up women. There is also a lot of overlap with the field of selp help psychology called NLP (neurolinguistic programming) — which is also very popular with people in sales because it is a way to build interpersonal confidence (I learned this from a guy I dated who was in marketing,) Much of what PUA’s teach is the same stuff you would learn if you became a car salesman and went to the car maker’s sales training programs. Car salesman lesrn techniques for reading their “target’s” cues, creating emotional connection, manipulating the target emotionally, and basically wearing the target down until they make a sale. There are many, many direct correlations with PUA techniques. For example, car salesmen will “enhance value” by pretending the car you want isn’t available and calling around, then saying they found one at another lot. This makes you feel excited and special that you are going to get that car. PUA’s also have a whole series of techniques to “enhance value”.

              My point is there is nothing magical about PUA, you can learn a lot of the same information about non verbal communication and interpersonal relationships from other sources.

            • Yeah, manipulation is a big no no for me. I want to be honest, want them to like me for me, I CBF trying to do one nighters or lead people on, I’d rather go see a sex worker if life was that bad. Hell I had a woman grow very attached to me and wanted me, but I didn’t have the same feelings for her, I couldn’t sleep for a night trying to figure out how to tell her that, I had a panic attack n felt like a monster because i didn’t reciprocate the feelings. We had a casual thing, I dunno what to call it, knew her online and met up, had sex, I freaked out n paniced, went too fast for me as I hadn’t had much physical contact before that and I was a virgin, I felt this complete overload of emotions and felt like I completely withdrew.

              When I realized my feelings weren’t the same for her, she was wayyyyy more into me than I thought, I was up all night freaking out and trying to figure out how to turn back time, or let her down softly without breaking her heart. It didn’t end well but it made me realize I am not someone that can toy with feelings and not care, I didn’t lead her on or anything, I told her multiple times we’d see how it worked out and went into it with the best of intentions but I don’t think I was really ready to go from 1 hug a year if lucky as my only physical contact to losing my virginity in one night, hell just being touched so much made me want to withdraw n get away. I don’t regret having sex or trying to find love, I do still feel like shit because I couldn’t feel what she felt and she ended up heartbroken. Luckily she found another guy a year later and has a great relationship with him afaik.

              I have no idea how people can play with others feelings though n lead them on, even if just for sex. How do they live with themselves knowingly hurting someone like that? Casual sex is one thing, but manipulating people into bed or a relationship/whatever, playing with feelings, is fucking disgusting. If I knew again someone felt more for me than I did for them I’d feel terrible again, it’s truly horrible when you hurt someone like that, and for me where I never intended harm I felt like the biggest jerk out there.

          • Yes, this is totally creepy behavior!

            I was at a bar with a bunch of my friends from HS reunion…everyone was chatting excitedly and deep into conversation about their lives, kids, careers, etc. ….there was a seat open next to me and I could feel someone staring laser-like at me from the corner about 20 feet away! It was the 8th grade creep who crushed on me long ago (and who I rejected when he asked me out)….he wasn’t talking to anyone, just staring! EEEWWWW! I think he was afraid of sitting in the chair next to me and facing the scrutiny of my very disapproving BFF…

            I guess that kind of awkward behavior is developmentally appropriate for age 12, but, hello! We’re in our 40’s now! The last get-together I alerted my friends and they did some social interception and talked him up while keeping him away from me! After 3 decades, it’s time to get a clue (socially, that is!)…!

            • So here’s the thing, Leia. Sure you felt uncomfortable not only because of the current situation, but because he had feelings for you in 8th grade that made you feel weird. Any reason you didn’t just talk to him yourself? As in, Mr. X this behavior is making me feel uncomfortable and it keeps me from wanting to hang out with you.

              Why not just talk to him? Is he an actual danger or just someone you don’t like?

              Now, there isn’t any real reason you’d have to do that, and I firmly believe that. It’s not your job to teach or fix people and that’s not what I’m recommending. I’m talking…tell him yourself that you don’t like his behavior and ask him to stop. If he didn’t stop or he got weird then the Ewwwwwww, is a tiny big more justifiable, though I don’t find it to be a very compassionate way to talk about some one.

              Telling your friends and gossiping and getting them to run interference for you instead of just confronting the problem seems like 12 year old behavior as well. We all of us have to own our reactions and act like grown ups dealing with people directly unless they are actually making us unsafe. If you did that in the past and it didn’t work, then disregard.

            • Yeah something seems off about it, I hate that deceptive bullshit. There is a chance the guy has no clue how bad his behaviour is, ignoring it for decades won’t do any good.

            • shinylavarocks says:

              Some people react very angrily and stridently when someone even suggests that they’re doing something wrong. You only have to be the recipient of one, “You stupid ugly bitch, of course I wasn’t staring at you, you whore, etc, etc, etc” to never want to see another guy set off like that in your life. (The most explosive, abusive response I ever got was from a guy I smilingly asked, “I noticed you were looking my way a lot, did you need something?”)

              Sometimes, when an unexpected situation pops up, it’s hard to know how to react. (Looking back, it’s always easy to come up with a better way. Easy, but not useful.) Guys who come across as frustrated/angry/aggressive, we learn are more likely to react with hysterics when questioned. Most women try to be peacekeepers even when things aren’t potentially so dramatic. The level of an angry outburst can be so unpredictable.

              I’m not saying playing distraction games is the right answer, there, by the way. I’m just saying that you have to take into account that people sometimes do a lot of silly things when trying to avoid a situation their experience has taught them will lead to unpleasant drama. And all people are people, and resent things that make them uncomfortable most of the time.

              I guess I’m trying to say that a lot of things that get done to head off weird situations don’t seem like such good ideas afterwards. They also shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the woman involved was being calculating and malicious, though.

            • @shinylavarocks….

              “I noticed you were looking my way a lot, did you need something?”

              One, was their something you really could have given him? Not trying to be a prick here.

              I am Black guy who was driving through an upscale community. I actually have a home that is bigger and more custom than that respective community. This white guy had the gall to ask me if there was “something I can help you with.” Like I was buying a fucking rug! Yes, I unloaded on his ass. If I was a White guy, he would not have asked me a damn thing.

              Btw, I was driving a Maserati. Well dressed in a Tommy Bahama shirt….

              So, I can understand why someone would go ape shit over that question. It is loaded with bad intentions.

              You could have easily have said, “Excuse, I noticed you were looking my way. Perhaps we have met? Do we know one another?” Much better. Right?

              You knew, 1) the guy did not need anything, and 2) you were not going to provide him with anything because of (1). So why did you ask?

            • Nick, mostly says:

              I am Black guy who was driving through an upscale community. I actually have a home that is bigger and more custom than that respective community. This white guy had the gall to ask me if there was “something I can help you with.” Like I was buying a fucking rug! Yes, I unloaded on his ass. If I was a White guy, he would not have asked me a damn thing.

              How did your behavior help to improve the world? How did it help educate the other guy? Did unloading on him make you happy? You don’t sound happy to me.

            • shinylavarocks says:

              @Jules: Yes. I was the hostess of the party.

              Oh, see, I answered that question and then assumed the rest of your post would be in good faith. Now that I’ve read it, I see I was wrong. Too bad.

              All your assumptions were wrong, and you projected a racist experience you had onto my interaction. Fail all around.

            • How can you not just love Julie? I don’t think its possible.

            • Aw!

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I agree!

            • It was all in your head, since 8th grade for heavens sake!!!!

    • @ PursuitAce

      Agree 100%

      It’s the same as the fear woman have walking down the street.
      She feels uncomfortable so i should make noise acknowledging my presence or cross the street ?

      Just because I may feel that someone is creepy, doesn’t mean that they are in fact creepy.
      The problem with the term is that we use one person’s experience with someone as a final verdict.
      A woman thinks a guy’s creepy, she tells your girlfriends about him and now in her social circle he’s known as “that creepy guy”.

      • Yes you should make some noise. Last year walking my dog at night, off leash
        – yes it’s illegal but she loves chasing rabbits- I called “come here” and scared the living day lights
        out of a teenaged girl on her porch who couldn’t see my dog getting ready to pee on her lawn, behind the hedge.
        I’ve been running the dog with a retriever bell at night ever since.
        And yet last week some young idiot in a hoody and ear buds was scared shitless by the dog & I- I was on the bike & Molly was running free when we came up behind him/her.
        I felt like lecturing this kid about getting jumped or run down with limited vision and defensive hearing but could foresee it being construed as harassment.
        Besides from a Darwinian view- maybe the species will be saved if this one doesn’t breed.

        • If walking a dog off leash is illegal in your jurisdiction, don’t do it. This post illustrates why that law is in place. Don’t blame the victim.

          • Why is the law in place? So some kid can get run over by a drunk because he/she doesn’t hear the car bearing down on him? So he’s walking in a bad neighborhood and doesn’t hear predator footsteps? Walk the subway some night with your earbuds in and your nose in your phone- you are the gimp legged gazelle at the watering hole. You ever see someone walk off the curb & get hit by a cab? I have.
            I’m a bad man, I often don’t wear my seatbelt too…..

      • wellokaythen says:

        And, once a man has been branded as “creepy”, it is virtually impossible for him to shed that label. If you heard him called a creep before you met him, that would have a huge impact on what you think of him when you finally do meet him. It’s a highly prejudicial word that sticks like glue for a very long time. (No, not speaking from experience, at least not as far as I know….)

    • You are responsible, at least to some extent, of what people think of things you do TO THEM. Someone calls you creepy for something you did that in no way interacted with them? They’re wrong. Someone calls you creepy for something you said, or did, directly to them? You ARE responsible. You did it. To them.

    • rexmundi2902 says:

      That’s a great sentence, man. So much depth and thought behind it.

    • OK, the size of this reply thread is very impressive. And, no, I didn’t read, but did search for ovulation and hormones, and found neither. While it is still perfectly fine to discuss men’s hormonal behavior, I’ll venture that it is not so for the fairer gender’s ~~ I guess I’ll expire before finding the BBC article specifying the proportion of children born to parents who had sex only once. But here’s this, to which I’ll add the question, How much higher is the creepy bar when she is ovulating? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/genetic-crossroads/201101/the-one-night-stand-gene

  2. As the judgement creepy is highly subjective and not being seen as creepy requires some mindreading, people shouldn’t try not to be creepy, but be polite. Of course it is good to be friendly and considerate of other people feelings, but you can’t rely on you knowing, how other people feel.
    “If that seems unfair to you… well, you should stop and think of what sort of behavior you’d be willing to accept from Gabrielle Union or Jewel Staite that you wouldn’t be willing to accept from your eighth grade history teacher.”
    That is an important point, we can not control other people behaviour and usage of words like creepy, but we can control what we do. From now on when I say we I mean men.
    When dealing with strangers, their attractivity shouldn’t matter, for with how much respect we treat them or what behaviour we find acceptable. Why would we want to put a plain girl down, while enabling bad and entitled behaviour in her beautiful friend?
    Here are some examples where we, as men, can make a choice to use the term “creepy” or try to be compassionate and cut friendly people some slack.
    1.A guy gets to know two girls the first attractive the second unattractive. The first offers him a hug (or a kiss on the cheek) as greeting, man accepts. The second girl gives the same offer, what should a good men do? Pull away and call her creepy or gladly accept the friendly gesture?
    2.A guy is at a party and he notices a girl standing alone in the corner and staring at him. What should a good men do? Tell his friends about the “creepy girl” in the corner or go over to her and introduce himself, because he understands that approaching somebody is hard and risky?
    3.A guy has a female friend he doesn’t find attractive. One day this female friend makes a move on the guy by trying to kiss him. What should a good man do? Pulling away with disgust or contempt on his face asking: “what do you do, you creep?”? Or going along with the kiss, appreciating the huge gift the girl offered and then trying to reject her as gently as possible?
    In my experience most guys take second option in all three cases.

  3. Honestly, I think this issue could have been addressed without the “attractive v. attracted” dichotomy. What does your appearance have to do with your being a creep? Quit creeping on people. Read body language. Get over yourself. Have a sincere conversation. Quit being so predatory.

    That’s it.

    • Absolutely. I’ve met men who would score pretty high on the traditional attractiveness meter who were quite scary on a number of levels. I’ve met some men who were not who…were not.
      I’ve been approached by strangers in many ways, male and female, and experienced creepy socially weird behavior from both genders, and also not, I found no connection to whether or not I found them sexually appealing. In fact, I can remember occurrences where the good looking person was creepy and I felt sad about it because well, he was attractive.
      It’s much more about attitude and what that attitude brings to the interaction.

  4. A male friend of mine had an experience recently where a drunk “cougarish” kind of woman (50-ish) hit on him in a bar. My friend is in his 30’s. The woman kept talking provocatively about sex, telling my friend that he was “hot”, and touching his leg. My friend described her as extremely creepy and he got away from her as quickly as possible.

    So, although I acknowledge its a word usually aimed at men, women CAN be creepy too!

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Women can TOTALLY be creepy. I see women hitting on my husband quite often, and some are SO creepy. Sometimes I watch from across a playground or something… my husband is so oblivious when women are doing this. He’s always, “She’s so friendly!” I’m like, “Yeah, did you notice she rolled her eyes and walked away and didn’t talk to you again after I walked up? Haha.

      Creep will hopefully morph into a gender-neutral word someday.

      • Nick, mostly says:

        Creep will hopefully morph into a gender-neutral word someday.

        Nicky Minaj is doing her part.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLPZmPaHme0

      • @Joanna…

        That is not being creepy. I would call it simple frustration or embarrassment. It just proves my point that creepy is what a person thinks in their head. Women seem to have the most extreme or strangest view of what it is to be creepy.

        Just look at the scenario with your husband. Another woman is carrying on a convo with him. You assume she is hitting on him. Why would you assume this? He merely thinks she is being friendly. Two different perceptions of the one event.

        When you arrive, she quickly realizes he is taken and moves on, respectfully. She might just be uncomfortable? Because she rolled her eyes, you thought she was creepy. Perhaps the manner you approached, body language, made the other woman feel you had attitude…..

        I simply cannot see how a woman rolling her eyes is creepy. Sorry.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          If a woman were having a conversation with my husband just to converse, she would hang around when I walked up. If I’m talking to a dad of a kid, when his wife walks up I make a point to look at her and smile and start talking to her and make clear that I respect their union. But that may be because I’m not looking to hook up with any dads… Either way, to be irritated with me for being married to my husband of 8 years, because she thought he was hot, is creepy. In my book.

          “Creepy” is subjective. You are right. But that’s my point in another comment. You’ve got to watch the words and body language of the woman (or anyone) you’re talking to in order to gauge if she thinks you’re being creepy. Because what a person can get away with when they have “chemistry” or are “clicking” with someone is a lot more than when they aren’t. It doesn’t mean either person is bad or even doing something wrong… But the creepiness comes from not watching or respecting the other person’s signals or words.

          I know it’s incredibly frustrating to know that a word that may hurt your feelings is so subjective. Women feel that way about sexual morality – why is it slutty for the other commenter’s girlfriend to have had 10 one-night stands? That’s totally subjective. I don’t want to imagine how many one-nighters some of my guy friends or husband’s friends have had, but I don’t think it’s sexually amoral. Some women might, though… Because it’s subjective. For me, I’m glad I wasn’t the first or fifth (or whatever) person my husband slept with, he’s seen the world and he chose me. But for another woman, that’s too sexually promiscuous of him and she wants a virgin. I respect that for her.

          Fact is, in every single social situation you’re going to be judged. It’s wrong, sure, but it’s human nature and it is what helps us navigate safe social situations. If you go to a job interview and act bizarre or you don’t watch the cues of your interviewer, you might be considered “weird” or “off”… That’s no different from women feeling the same way if you don’t respect their social cues.

          That being said AGAIN, and as Harris has said, that doesn’t give women (or anyone) the right to use the word “Creep” as a random insult to someone who is sitting quiet in the back of the room. They’re just assholes and that’s not even remotely what this conversation is about.

    • He just did not feel she was F able. If she was a “hot” 50 year old drunk woman, he would not have viewed her behavior as creepy.

      Again, it is not the conduct or behavior in and of itself. It boils down to whether or not such conduct or behavior is deemed OK by the receiving party.

      • Actually, he said she was attractive, but being significantly older than him and the sex talk and touching his leg creeped him out. She was talking about being in an open relationship and stuff like that. Plus she was sloppy drunk. I agree if she’d been a hot 22 year old he probably would have felt differently.

  5. I think Marcus and a few others mentioned some people seeing same sex couples kissing in public creepy. Well as a heterosexual male, In some classes in high school I was that guy in the back with my nose in the book. I was not being creepy at all just studying. The article intimates that some women perceive that as creepy.

    The gender gap can cause misunderstandings of what is creepy between men and women. I think some guys who are shy or introverted can come off as creepy to women . I as a man have seen “flighty”,zany women who have tried to pick me up as creepy. So yes women can appear creepy as well.
    Some women lack social skills as some men do. However since men generally pursue women in the dating game, it is easy for a shy or anxious guy to appear “creepy” to a woman. What a shame.
    I think gay people have a more mature mindset in the dating game. There is no gender gap. Men understand men and women understand women better. Geez, sometimes we straights are better off gay-it is less confusing.LOL

    • I think you’re on the right track – and I’d like to add that a person’s own personality will have a huge bearing on what they find creepy. A woman who is very extroverted might be suspicious of a quiet guy in the corner – but if the same guy, same appearance and everything, were behaving extrovertedly, she wouldn’t find him as creepy. A woman who is very introverted might be creeped out by an extroverted guy directly hitting on her, but if the same guy, same appearance and everything, took a more subtle flirting approach that honored her personal bubble of space, she wouldn’t find him as creepy.

      I say this because I’m an introverted person and can get really knocked out of my groove by what you might call “flaming extroverts” – the life of the party, center-of-attention, mile-a-minute kind of people. I don’t intrinsically understand their behavior and cannot empathize with it; it is “other” to me, and I viscerally react to that with discomfort, fear, and a general desire to put space between me and those people.

  6. Good thing there is a comfortable middle ground between “I can’t control how people feel; I am who I am” and “I’m forever walking on eggshells”.

    We typically have little problem drawing a good line in the sand – not everything is a slippery slope between the poles. Gray areas will exist, and they seem to be the price of membership.

    If I see you with your dick out in public, I’ll be ok if you’re also near a tree taking a pee. But if you’re waving it at me, then you’d better put a ring on it :)

  7. I wonder how many men are perceived to be creepy because they actively are trying to avoid making women feel uncomfortable, and their discomfort is being detected by the women and making a situation awkward?

    • Haha – not sure that we are…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIr8-f2OWhs

      The connection to polymers may be a bit of a stretch – at least in my mind!

      Great point Archy – the association between awkwardness and creepiness is not a big stretch.

    • I think there is some truth to that, unfortunately. Anxiety and awkwardness can lead to behaviors that seem “creepy” such as staring or “lurking”, e.g. the shy guy who is afraid to approach a woman in class but hangs around hoping to get up the courage. She notices it and feels creeped out. When he finally does talk to her, she freaks out. This makes it harder for him the next time, and a vicious circle begins.

      There is also just a lot of prejudice in American culture (maybe Australian culture too) against quiet, introverted people. We value extroverts and people who are social and outgoing. Shy people, especially men, are viewed with distrust. I wonder how people view “creepiness” in cultures that put more value on being thoughtful, reserved and respectful.

      • Great point Sarah on how some shy and introverted men can appear as creepy and how our American culture values extroversion and labels introversion as potentially weird.
        Although introversion is gender neutral, since men are generally the pursuers in the dating world, many introverted men suffer the fate of being wrongly perceived as creepy.
        Sadly, many of these men either become bitter at women (hence a lot of angry men at women on various Mens Rights blogs),drop out of the dating scene altogether and/or avoid women(the phenomenon known as MGTOW(Men Going Their Own Way), or turn gay( the numerous stories we hear of men all of a sudden”coming out of the closet”, or straight guys becoming bisexual).
        Perhaps we all need to reevaluate our cultures attitude towards introversion/shy people.

        • I’m unfamiliar with stories of introverted guys “turning gay”, suddenly coming out of the closet, or choosing to give bisexuality a try as a result of being wrongly perceived by women as creepy.

        • I just gave up on approaching women, I felt too scared of them, I didn’t wanna make them uncomfy so I put it all on hold. I learned how to talk to people again later on after joining a club and we have a wide variety of ages in there, it was easier to talk to the older women (10-20 years older than me) just as friends and helped to get rid of quite a lot of the social awkwardness. I’m actually quite an outgoing person in the club, very chatty and seem to make people laugh a lot, I guess deep down was an extrovert crippled with anxiety. I very much enjoy talking to people now that I know they aren’t trying to hurt me for instance.

        • Good and relevant point about the relative valuing of extroversion vs introversion in North American (and other) societies. In her recent book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan McCain traces the societal changes around personality traits over the past century and it is very interesting! I am also a introvert, in the sense that much of my energy and inspiration and processing occurs internally and I need a lot of alone time in between “social times”. Introversion is not the same as shyness, but sometimes the two overlap, and I agree with you that quiet men are sometimes considered creepy or just “the strong silent type” depending the person and the observer. My partner is an introvert as well, and doesn’t talk/interact much around large groups of people or around new people and usually gets perceived as “the strong silent type/still waters run deep.” Female introverts (like me) who display the same reticent behaviour often are perceived as “aloof or stuck up”, so I think personality and degree of extroversion/introversion does play a part in our interactions. My friend A. is an extrovert who talks to EVERYBODY wherever we go…and she’s good at it. People respond favorably to her friendliness, positivity, and conversational ability. I could NEVER do the same, and I am generally taken aback by those “talky types” until I get to know them a little bit. That being said, I like being around different kinds of people simply because they give me another window on the world and keep me on my toes :)

        • @cleopas..

          “we”? Excuse me.

          How about women? We need to go to the source of the problem. It is women who put the label on so many guys.

          • Jules wrote
            How about women? We need to go to the source of the problem. It is women who put the label on so many guys.

            What do you mean by that? When I commented that some introverted men who have given up dating entirely or try bisexuality inasmuch as they have fear approaching women to date,what do you mean by women needing to go to the source of the problem and women putting the label “creep” on so many guys?

            • @cleopas…

              It is not men who are labeling women creepy! I would venture that 90% of the time, it is women who are labeling men as creepy.

              Why look above at Joanna’s comment. She even labeled the woman talking to her husband as creepy! Joanna’s husband thought the woman was simply being friendly, while Joanna thought she was hitting on her husband. Wow! All because the woman walks away rolling her eyes, the woman is deemed a creep by Joanna and not her husband.

              So, this is why I said it is women who need to change their ways.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Jules, a woman could show him her breast and my husband would be clueless.

              He’s the sweetest, most good-natured man on the planet when it comes to women and kids and most men. He’s a fierce fighter in situations where his family is threatened, but in almost any case and any social situation, he assumes the best of everyone.

              Nice way to turn it around on women, though.

              I doubt most men use the word “creepy” about women who are weirding them out. I bet “freak” or “slut” or “weirdo” or something would come up more. It’s a gendered word as it stands, but I think that’ll change.

        • Nothing sad about MGTOW. If the shoe fits, wear it. It’s actually very peaceful and the right cup of tea for some. Just don’t be bitter. It’s a waste of life.

      • “Anxiety and awkwardness can lead to behaviors that seem “creepy” such as staring or “lurking”, e.g. the shy guy who is afraid to approach a woman in class but hangs around hoping to get up the courage. She notices it and feels creeped out. When he finally does talk to her, she freaks out. This makes it harder for him the next time, and a vicious circle begins.”

        I did this in highschool, the girls don’t realize I was more afraid of them than they were of me even though I was twice their size. Took quite a while before I actually got the courage to talk to people, and that was in adulthood! Hence why I can see that creepy behaviour isn’t always that creepy, just awkward. I actually found the girls reactions to be creepy, to call people creepy because they are shy is creepy as fuck. Save the creep label for the leches, just tell the shy guys it’s awkward to stand n not speak, hell say hello to them n start the convo off if it’s that bad. Often they’re probably not aware how long they’ve been around as they’re too caught up trying to figure out what to talk about.

        Guys like that aren’t the ones that scare me, it’s the super confident but lecherous ones, the ones I saw actually groping women with them laughing it off? The shy guy hasn’t got the balls to just molest someone, yet I saw others who were sexually harassing as far as I could tell. But hell, highschool was awkward as hell, a mix of childhood innocence with adult level emotions but not the adult level comprehension or ability to process those emotions, such a strange experience.

      • wellokaythen says:

        There’s definitely prejudice about introverted men. (Not the same thing as shy, necessarily, but there’s a lot of overlap.) The unknown subject in a murder investigation is frequently profiled as being a “loner,” even when the evidence clearly suggests otherwise. The original profile of the “DC sniper” told police to be on the lookout for a loner who may be at local bars bragging about how great a shot he is. (Umm, if he really is a loner, then why is he bragging in bars….?)

        People are so paranoid about the shy, quiet types that they fail to notice the extremely charming, dangerous extraverts right in front of them. Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy were very outgoing. Rarely if ever alone, in fact.

  8. All in all a great post that totally avoids the subject as it was laid out.

  9. Ask Brett Farve how much being a good looking celebrity helped when he was sending his dick pics around. If Ryan Gosling happened to sit down next to UnWinona, draped his arms around her and started demanding to know what she was reading, she’s going to be equally annoyed as she was by the biker before he went nuts. If Adam Levine were to start talking about tits to Ky at the Minecraft party and showing off pictures he’ d secretly been taking of women’s breasts at the party, it’s stillgoing to be creepy as all fuck, regardless of how good he might look naked.

    While starting to talk about sexual positions within the second sentence of meeting someone in a café is perfectly okay, of course…

    • FlyingKal–The difference is that Nerdlove read the cues. Do you think he would have done that had the girl closed herself off or sent out signals that she was annoyed? I don’t know what he looks like, but I doubt that Nerdlove is a conventional 10 celebrity. He opened by teasing and cute remarks and felt out the situation. I have a friend who often talks about my tits and even asks to see them. It’s ok when he does it because we have that dynamic, and he knows we have that dynamic. If Adam Levine, one of the most attractive guys in entertainment, did that–I’d be creeped the hell out. It’s all about knowing and reading the situation. If Nerdlove had talked about sexual positions on the subway to the girl while she had headphones in and was late for work, I’m sure he would have gotten a very different reaction.

      • Ok, but Nerdlove just doesn’t tell us about the times he creeped women out. Maybe he’s better than the average guy at reading cues, though I’m not convinced. Imo, it’s more likely he’s just more smug.

        The situation with your friend is different. I can make jokes about the mothers of my male friends. If I do the same to a strange guy there’s a good chance he’s going to kick my ass.

      • @Aya…

        ” If Adam Levine, one of the most attractive guys in entertainment, did that–I’d be creeped the hell out.”

        Most women would not. They would simply PRETEND. They would call all their girlfriends and tell them how Adam whatever the hell his name was, wanted to see her boobs.

        Let’s talk about what REALLY happens!

      • @Aya:
        FlyingKal–The difference is that Nerdlove read the cues.

        What cues? They had introduced themselves, and established that he didn’t like drawing drapery.
        I don’t see a lot of cues leading up to a discussion about sexual positions in the first 3 or 4 sentences that they’d exchanged so far.

  10. A few years ago, I was participating in a LinkedIn forum discussion, and one of the participants sent me a request to add him to my network. He was local and I was in network-building mode at the time so I accepted. We emailed back and forth a couple times, continuing the conversation from the original forum. No flirting or innuendos or anything, no creep flags, just friendly chat about a local newspaper article.

    Then he invited me to meet him for coffee. And I remember immediately feeling a sensation of “Uh-oh.” This guy was easily 20 years older than me – I was about 21 and I’d put him late 40s-early 50s. It’s not every day I get an invite for coffee from a man twice my age whom I barely know, so naturally I questioned his motives. Did he just want to continue our conversation offline? Did he think we had some sort of romantic connection? (Logical follow-up: Did I give him the impression I was flirting?) Could he possibly want to harm me? I told my husband about it, and he too was suspicious and warned me to be careful.

    Despite the yellow flags, and contrary to all the conditioning I’ve gotten as a woman to beware of strange men, I decided to accept the invitation. I set up a meeting at a cafe in the middle of a very large bookstore with huge glass windows on all sides, in a well-trafficked outdoor shopping center – i.e., very visible to anyone should something go wrong.

    As it turned out, he just wanted my business. He was a financial planner and came to our coffee date armed with some sales materials. I didn’t become a customer, and following the meeting our e- communication dwindled to a halt pretty quickly, supporting the theory that his approach to me was part of a very soft sell technique.

    But the point to my long story is, I did get creeped out at the invitation because I didn’t know what his motives were. Ambiguous intentions are creepy. I am pretty generous with the benefit of the doubt, but I dare suggest that most women, if in the same situation, would not have taken up the invitation. We’ve been conditioned to be suspicious of men’s intentions, which isn’t necessarily fair to men, but the alternative – to assume the best of everyone until proven otherwise – can have serious consequences.

    And I think that’s the fuel behind the whole Creep Labeling behavior. As the story goes, the sooner we (women) can suss out the creeps from the non-threatening men we encounter, the better. Does this lead to some men getting unfairly blacklisted? Sure. Are some women prone to throw around the Creep label out of a general paranoia about men? Yep. Are some women so jaded by multiple interactions with Creeps that they assume most men, or all men of a certain “type,” are creepy? Also yes. It’s not perfect. It just is what it is.

    • Doesn’t that teach women to simply avoid the situations instead of dealing with them, the fear of what they might be, they would obviously be missing out on a lot of potentially beneficiary relationships like friendships. I do the same stuff but they call it social anxiety disorder when you get to the extreme I am at, where I was avoiding people because they were ambiguous, they could be great but they could also hurt me. I suppose if you have enough male friends already it’s ok but to me it sounds very limiting, the paranoia of being hurt can really cripple your life like it did to mine, I really hope women aren’t going too far with avoiding men. To me it sounds like a recipe for an unfriendly society, but I do understand why they do it. Personally I think we should be teaching people to face more fear, quit hyping up the whole stranger danger shit so much where women are crossing the street from men who are walking, all the while tackling the issues of abuse and harassment.

      If we told men from young the dangers of men walking the streets alone, men would rightly be fucking petrified of walking the streets alone for instance seeing as they’re the majority of street violence victims, men should be more afraid than women to walk those streets, but would pushing that fear really help?

      Is there a way to get women to feel more confident? Would self-defense courses and knowing that they aren’t weaklings help? If I have a daughter I am going to teach her that she is strong, tell her about my female cousins who are strong enough to knock guys out that bother them, really try to instill a sense of strength in her and hopefully get her into some form of martial arts because I think it’s criminal that we raise women to feel so weak and afraid when really they have much more potential than they realize. Hell, a 100lb woman who knows how to fight, or even just one who hits a man in the right spot has a much greater chance of escaping than 150lb woman raised to believe she is so weak, that a man can easily overpower her, who then just gives up or feels helpless to defend herself. My cousins aren’t all that big but I wouldn’t fuck with them, I might win as I am twice their size but I’d come out sore as hell and probably with a few broken bones.

      Maybe I am naive but I just don’t think women are as weak as so many people make them out to be. Men are stronger on average but women do have enough strength to cause considerable damage. I think it’s time women learned their own strength.

      • I disagree with you Archy, most women have very little upper body strength and can be overpowered quite easily by an average man. I have learned this play wrestling and so on with boyfriends, i’m not a weakling but it is very easy for my boyfriend to pin me down even though he never works out and is not in great physical shape. Self defense classes can help, learning a few self defense techniques can help, but the number one self defense technique is to avoid dangerous situations in the first place. This has been taught in every self defense class I’ve taken. Pay attention to your environment. Trust your instincts. If you feel threatened, get to a safe place immediately. Is it paranoia? I don’t know. As Nixon said, even paranoids have enemies. Yes it’s true that statistically more men than women are victims of violence, but statistics are cold comfort if I encounter a sexual predator in the parking lot. I don’t care about statistics, I only care about my personal risk.

        • Or exercise? Why is your upper body strength so limited compared to theirs? The only major differences I see in strength tend to be when the men are in labourous jobs or who do weights, office men and office women for example shouldn’t really differ all that much. I guess I should add that women doing weights would be a great benefit to increase their strength for protection. Maybe the women I meet are just stronger? I know of weak women, but I also know guys who are weak who those women could overpower, to me logically to increase ones safety wouldn’t she want to increase her overall strength and ability to fight instead of just relying on avoiding danger constantly?

          As I said I understand risk and avoiding risk, but it’s also quite sad as we are losing out too often I think and living in this constant fear.

          • Ahhh I had a feeling my last comment wouldn’t make it past the mods. Oh well.

            In a nutshell – I get what you’re saying, Archy, and would agree in general that a woman who feels physically strong may be less afraid of the risk of physical altercation with men, but in this department, size matters.

            I am 5’5″ and 170 lbs, and moderately athletic. I do some strength-training and so I’d say I have above-average upper body strength for a woman my size, and my legs are no wet noodles either. However, when I’m play-wrestling with my husband who is 6’2″ and 280 lbs and built like a linebacker, I know I would be no match for him if he were to actually want to cause me harm. Like Sarah said, he could pretty easily pin me and be able to resist my efforts to fight back. Or, he could pick me up and carry me wherever he wanted to (or throw my body) with relative ease as well.

            Despite how strong I am and how strong I feel, I could never lift someone with his proportions off the ground. I might be able to land a punch or kick, but he is strong enough to grasp both of my wrists in one hand and hold me down, and heavy enough that I wouldn’t be able to struggle much if he were using his weight against me (to pin against a wall or on the ground). And he doesn’t even work out! Like I said, he’s built like a linebacker, he doesn’t have to work hard to be stronger than I am.

            Being on the petite side, I tend to assume that most men who are bigger than me (which is almost all men) are stronger than me. Having physical self-defense skills is good, but only helps if I’m not already outmatched in size and strength by my opponent.

            Beyond just that, women fear more than just the physical threat posed by men. In my situation with Mr. Financial Planner, my fear was that he saw romantic potential in our relationship where there could not be any. I was engaged and he was married with children. I wasn’t afraid that I’d have to defend myself physically; I was afraid that if I let him my guard down, he’d try to get closer to me and violate the boundaries of my relationship with my fiance. I was afraid that I might have done something, or could still do something, to give him the idea that I was OK with him advancing on me that way. I was more worried about whether I could fend off potential boundary-pushing of that kind, than I was about whether he could physically overpower me.

            • Good points, thank-you. I’m going to raise my kids to be strong and be able to defend themselves, even if it’s a daughter who only gets to 120lbs.

              Would it help to learn confidence in dealing with boundary pushing? These are all things men worry about too but they just don’t talk about it much I suspect, the more men opening up the less different women may feel to men.

          • Testosterone is a major muscle builder. Women have a little testosterone but most women won’t realistically be able to do enough heavy weight lifting to become a match for even an average guy. There is also the difference in height, weight and general build. I’m 5’9 and not small, but my hands are very light and slender compared to a man, my grip is pretty weak whereas most men have quite a strong grip. This is just biology.

            • But you have to consider those socialized factors:

              1) Muscles are seen as unfeminine when having visible, defined ones, especially if you hit bodybuilder range where you have more pecs than breasts.

              2) Men do more physical jobs on average, less cashier, greeter or office as a % of all workers. Construction work and furniture making are physically demanding and almost all positions filled by men, except clerical work which is maybe 60/40 in favor of women.

              3) When women exercise, the goal is almost always to lose weight or to stay “in shape”, never to gain muscle mass. They nearly do only cardio and cardio-like stuff. So convinced that being weak is feminine simply because its the antonym position of male = strong.

              4) Many men do weight lifting in order to gain muscle to be more impressive to women as mates.

              If more women exercised to gain muscle mass, the ratio wouldn’t be so disparate.

            • Exactly, many women are shooting themselves in the foot and avoiding the steps needed to increase their strength and thus be better able to protect themselves whilst men are actually expected to do so to the point they are less manly if they don’t. The strength difference has quite a lot to do with society pushing those expectations, the types of jobs, etc as you say. Funnily enough women will lose fat easier if they do weight training as more muscle uses more energy…and it takes a huge amount of protein and weight training regularly to sustain a body builder’s body so you won’t get it from your average bit of working out.

      • Archy – Good to talk to you again. :)

        You’re right, paranoia is limiting. It’s not generally a good way to go through your life – you may come out on the other side unscathed, but you’ll never know what opportunities you missed out on.

        All the behaviors, attitudes and precautions women are trained with ARE self-defense. Physical self-defense skills are useful for women to have and can be a confidence booster, but it’s really just another piece of armor against a perceived threat that will likely never materialize.

        That is, a woman who has confidence in her physical ability to defend herself will be less likely to avoid men, not because she suddenly trusts them more, but because she knows she can fight if needed. It solves the avoidance problem and allows her to have relationships with men she might have otherwise avoided, but it doesn’t help a woman trust unfamiliar men.

        What it all comes down to is RISK and the individuals’ tolerances for risk. And women have been trained to be very, very risk-averse towards men because while the probability is very low that any given man will be a threat to her, the consequences if he IS a threat are so very high. And those consequences get waved in our face all the time, through campaigns aimed at women & self-defense, through news stories about women who have been victimized by men, through movies and books with victimized female characters, through stories we share with each other about men who have creeped us out or women in our own circles who have been abused/assaulted/raped…you find the Men=Danger Thread woven into collective female community at every turn.

        And so, thanks to confirmation bias, women come to expect to find dangerous men at every turn, too. The consequences are thrown in our face, but not the probabilities.

        It’s really tricky, though, to speculate about a solution to this. On the one hand, predatory men exist and women need to know what to look out for and how to protect themselves, so teaching women to be cautious is rational. On the other hand, teaching women that the probability that any given man is threatening is still very low may be a more fair and realistic view of the world, but leaves them unequipped or unprepared to react on the off chance that they DO find themselves in danger. I personally can’t think of an ideal solution, but I think it’s important that we talk about it and expose the flaws in Men=Danger paradigm, even if we can’t fix it.

        • Nice to talk to you again too :)

          “And those consequences get waved in our face all the time, through campaigns aimed at women & self-defense, through news stories about women who have been victimized by men, through movies and books with victimized female characters, through stories we share with each other about men who have creeped us out or women in our own circles who have been abused/assaulted/raped…you find the Men=Danger Thread woven into collective female community at every turn. ”

          That’s partly why I hate gendered campaigns for anti-DV, they often show women as victims, men as perps. I truly beleive if women realized how many men are abused by women they would feel a bit more relaxed and not think of men as these beings that can always easily overpower them. Women don’t realize their strength, and men are taught to be overconfident in their strength basically. I think women increasing their overall strength + learning to fight effectively will help, granted coming up against a guy like me most women would have a tough time as I am 6’6, 300lbs+ but kick me in the nuts and give me a solid punch to the nose and all that strength of mine will probably come crashing down into the fetal position. I am not god-mode.

          I just really hate how our society teaches women to be absolutely weak physically, I see no major emphasis on gainign strength, no emphasis towards teaching courage over fear, hell it’s like women are treated like adult-sized children and I just find it pathetic. Women are much stronger than how I see them treated, or maybe I am naive and they are that weak. But when I have female cousins who can knock guys out, know of women who can belt up guys, know women I wouldn’t mess with, it makes me truly wonder how weak women really are. Men do have a strength advantage but I think women can get to a stage where they can at least put up a damn good fight, but I think many women shy away from weight-lifting or jobs that build muscle whereas men embrace it far more, that itself makes the strength disparity much greater than it would be from pure biology.

          I can’t help but feel depressed we raise women to fear their own physical strength as if they are lightweights, it’s like they give up before they try. My physiology helps a bit for my strength, testosterone helps to build muscle and my naturally large frame also helps, but a lot of it comes from me lifting shit and purposely trying to build my strength up. When I don’t exercise I am weak as fuck…

  11. Nerdlove O”Malley is kinda taking the easy way out on this one. The SNL sketch was a parody, yes, but to treat it as not raising a valid point simply by over-literalizing it–“Physical attractiveness does not excuse creepiness”–is to miss the point.

    The point of the sketch was that the exact same behavior will be interpreted two different ways depending on whether the women enjoyed it. It’s not solely about physical attractiveness, as in the sketch; it’s about whether the recipient of the behavior was attracted.

    In other words, the exact same behaviors will be called “creepy harassment” or “flirting” depending, not on how handsome the guy was, but on whether the woman enjoyed it. PART of that is determined by how handsome the guy is. Too much of it is determined by factors a guy can’t control, which is the real point. What passes as “confident” when a sexy guy does it is “arrogant jerk” when an unsexy guy does it.

    Sorry, Nerdlove, but this really IS a drop-the-mic argument-ender. Your attempt to shift it to a strawman about appearance doesn’t change the fact that it’s all in how the women perceives the behavior, not the behavior itself.

    • shinylavarocks says:

      Sorry, it really isn’t.

      If a woman comes up to you at a club and says “buy me a drink” you will react very differently if you think she’s hot and might get with you than if you think she’s not or she won’t. (I just picked a random overbearing example)

      Women have that same right. At any point when being hit on, first to last, a woman has the same right a man does: to stop being interested. To decide to leave. To decide to disengage. You are not owed anything by people you choose to hit on. (I try for civility whenever possible, myself, but even that isn’t “owed.”)

      Some things I believe are almost universally creepy (being alone in a speeding cab and your cabby starting to tell rape jokes, getting groped on the subway, etc) but beyond that a woman has a right to decide, individually, whether she likes you or your pitch, or not. If she isn’t receptive, and you don’t back off, then she’ll probably start thinking your a creep/jerk/whatever.

      THis is what seems to be the main source of resentment: You can’t control the inside of her head. You do not get syllabus, and when you pass the course, instant access. She gets to make her own decision, based on her own criteria, and you do not get any input.

      You do something she finds creepy, and she disengages. You cannot persist and force her to stop thinking you’re creepy — that only makes you seem creepier. There are eight billion people on the planet, and out of the relatively small number she is going to get to know in her lifetime, she has decided you are not one of them. She has that right, and she does not owe you an explanation. You do not have a right to get angry and aggressive.

      A woman can invite and enjoy attentions from one man, and avoid and resent those same attentions from another man. Just as a man can find one woman attractive and another not. She doesn’t owe you a reason. Assuming that because a woman accepts somethign from one man she is somehow morally obligated to accept it from you is the *essence* of being a creep. (All those nineteenth century rape defenses that started “but she wasn’t a virgin!” come to mind.) When hitting on a stranger, there is no court of appeals to their decision to refuse to engage with you in any way. If she gives you a “no” then it’s a “no,” and you do not have a right to argue.

      The same is true in reverse, and I’ve seen some particularly entitled women behave the same way, although it usually is expressed in different ways. You cannot force the person you want to want you. You do not get a jury trial where you get to make your case to the crowd. The object of attention, male or female, gets to cast the only vote that matters. And she *doesn’t need to give you a reason.*

      Seriously, it seems like so many of these come down to, “Just because I’m not hot doesn’t mean hot girls should get to ignore me!”

      “Why don’t you try hitting on women closer to your levels of personal fitness/hygeine/interests/social activity?”

      “… The hot girls shouldn’t get to ignore me just because… ” ad nauseum ad infinitum

      • Hit on hot girls/guys if you want, even if you aren’t conventionally attractive. Give it a chance, just don’t expect ANYTHING. Even hot people shouldn’t EXPECT anything.

        What are your thoughts on women who call a guy creepy based on his looks alone? Where he hasn’t actually had time to cross boundaries, and is probably doing something else?

        • “based on looks alone”=C- creature.

        • shinylavarocks says:

          I’ve honestly never thought a man was creepy just based on his looks, so I can’t speak to that one. I don’t understand it.

          And I wasn’t saying anyone shouldn’t hit on whoever they want to. I was addressing the anger that some men feel justified in when women with whom they have nothing in common (but he likes how she looks!) blow them off because that woman doesn’t think they have anything in common.

      • THis is what seems to be the main source of resentment: You can’t control the inside of her head. You do not get syllabus, and when you pass the course, instant access. She gets to make her own decision, based on her own criteria, and you do not get any input.

        You do something she finds creepy, and she disengages. You cannot persist and force her to stop thinking you’re creepy — that only makes you seem creepier. There are eight billion people on the planet, and out of the relatively small number she is going to get to know in her lifetime, she has decided you are not one of them. She has that right, and she does not owe you an explanation. You do not have a right to get angry and aggressive.

        A woman can invite and enjoy attentions from one man, and avoid and resent those same attentions from another man. Just as a man can find one woman attractive and another not. She doesn’t owe you a reason. Assuming that because a woman accepts somethign from one man she is somehow morally obligated to accept it from you is the *essence* of being a creep. (All those nineteenth century rape defenses that started “but she wasn’t a virgin!” come to mind.) When hitting on a stranger, there is no court of appeals to their decision to refuse to engage with you in any way. If she gives you a “no” then it’s a “no,” and you do not have a right to argue.

        I agree with almost everything quoted except for the first sentence: “This is what seems to be the main source of resentment.” Perhaps it is for the other men who are commenting, since I can’t speak for them, but for me the source of resentment that drew me in to this discussion is that over the last series of Dr. Nerdlove articles that have run here – which are the only ones I’ve seen, starting with “Who Has the Power in Dating?” – the author appears to be saying something very different. You (in the quote) essentially describe a reality that many men would agree exists, and men would characterize all that discretion and selectivity that should be respected as “power in dating”, because it’s a kind of control that women have that men often don’t. Nerdlove doesn’t count that in his power calculus, saying it’s all in men’s heads. In the next article, he gives “How to Approach” advice that is PUA in feminist’s clothing. Like many PUA tactics, it’s not creepy if a) the woman has some spark of attraction to you to begin with, and b) you do it well. That seemed to be the case in Nerdlove’s example, yet his tone and message suggest that part A had nothing to do with it. In this article, he outright says that A had nothing to do with it. It’s a jumble of messages and advice, but worse, it drips with condescension. Men are seeing him (Nerdlove) as a bullshit PUA pretending to be a feminist, and at least judging from comments, the women are buying it. This is the kind of thing that causes men to think, “women go for the assholes”. Nerdlove is describing a reality I’ve never lived, and then he (and supportive women) are treating any men who think he’s full of crap as misogynist horndog creeps who are just bitter for not getting the hot sex they think they’re entitled to.

        It’s all disgusting to me, not because of things like needing empathy, knowing when to back off, respecting “no”, and all that, but because Nerdlove is distorting these messages in a way that insults men and he’s getting praise and agreement for it *almost exclusively* from women. On a men’s site.

        • Whoops. I said I couldn’t speak for the other men and then sorta did, at least in my choice of prepositions and saying “men” instead of “me”. Sorry. Consider the above to be *my* opinion, but based on the comments I’ve been seeing over three articles now, I’m guessing I’m not entirely alone in those sentiments.

          • One final thing and I’ll just wait for replies. Do you believe Nerdlove is acting as a PUA because he took his interaction with Cowgirl and broke it down? Do you believe that means he was planful and aware of using techniques as he went through each one? I read it as if he was going back in time and deconstructing why it worked out well. Perhaps that is a key difference in our reading.

            I could take a number of interactions I’ve had over the years that were similar to his, with me in the Nerdlove role, and if I were to break it down I’d have done most of those actions unconsciously, from approaching from the front to asking questions about things I had in common to gauging eye contact etc. Because I’m generally pretty good socially, whether flirting or not. I could then back up through it and I’d write something similar. But that’s not because I’d be trying to sell “techniques” but because I’d be offering kind of what worked and why I think it did.

            It sounds like to me, and this is a guess, that you see his piece/deconstruction as coming from a planful strategic place where he consciously and tactically made each move based on what he knew about women, vs an organic skillful social interaction that he then deconstructed.

            I can see why you’d find it PUA oriented if you looked at it that way. I read it as if he was breaking it down after the fact because that’s something I’d do after an organic encounter.

            • It sounds like to me, and this is a guess, that you see his piece/deconstruction as coming from a planful strategic place where he consciously and tactically made each move based on what he knew about women, vs an organic skillful social interaction that he then deconstructed.

              The logical implication of what you’re saying is that Dr. Nerdlove’s interaction was not creepy because it was not strategically planned and executed – it was just his natural, appropriate way of acting that came organically, and now he’s just deconstructing it so we can glean some wisdom from it. Thus, if it was planned as a conscious series of techniques, that would be more of a creepy PUA style. Let’s stipulate, for the sake of argument, that you are correct. That makes the whole anecdote and advice surrounding it more worthless than ever, because any Joe Schmo who’s not so naturally, organically smooth could only benefit from this wisdom by trying to emulate it, which means consciously thinking about those Nerdlove tips as they approach a woman. That, by your logic, puts them already in the creepy PUA zone, because they have to think about what they’re doing – it’s not organic. The only way to successfully follow his advice, then, is to be unaware of it, but also naturally adept and confident at approaching strangers, knowing what to say, escalating appropriately, etc., all without having a “plan”. In other words: be attractive.

              It’s basically a tautology that his approach works when it works, but it’s not advice. It’s a story about what two attractive people said and did to each other. If you give Nerdlove the most generous interpretation possible, that he only approached because he detected some sign of openness, and that he would have politely ended the interaction at the slightest sign of discomfort, and so on, it’s still only a useful example to people attractive enough to get that first sign. I’m not saying the only kind of attractiveness that counts is looks (contrary to your repeated emphasis on good-looking guys), but in the coffee shop example, there’s likely not much other criteria unless he’s the house musician or something. Imagine a guy whose attractiveness from a distance is more on a par with Chris Farley (without being famous). Imbue him with all the sensitivity and signal-reading abilities of Nerdlove, not some bitter guy who stares, and I’d say he’s unlikely to get many signals to approach. Being as sensitive and respectful as Nerdlove, he therefore wouldn’t even start the approach because when women are around him, they put out those “stay away” vibes you’ve talked about – head down, earphones in, body turned away, etc. Should he approach? Well, no, probably not, but if he does and he does the appropriate thing, his successful implementation of the Nerdlove approach would probably be ended far sooner, since “successful” isn’t some PUA criteria of getting laid, but stopping if that’s what the woman wants. This is his life, abiding by the rule that Nerdlove implies but won’t say, which is, “Don’t approach if you’re not attractive.” It’s a painful, but necessary way to live for guys who aren’t or don’t feel attractive, and respect women and their boundaries.

              Nerdlove is basically explaining how to make fire to a bunch of men sitting on a beach with some damp sticks and coconut husks, by demonstrating his “matches with lighter fluid” approach. We’re huffing and puffing away trying to get an ember started by rubbing sticks together, while the women are gathering around Nerdlove’s fire to make s’mores and talk with him about what losers we are for not just making a pretty fire like his, and how creepy it is that we keep glancing at the marshmallows like we’re entitled to them.

            • Preach it, Brother Marcus!

              For years, I literally wondered if had Asperger’s Syndrome, or fell somewhere on the autistic spectrum, because I never was able to pick up on the interested/open-to-approach vibe from women. Then I realized that that was a ridiculous notion because I’m actually incredibly sensitive to body language and social cues. In fact, in one of the clubs I was a member of years ago, I detected numerous incipient couples, many even before they themselves were consciously aware of the attraction. What actually was going on was not that I was missing the interested vibe from girls and women, but as a guy on the lower end of the attractiveness scale, I never got it. Literally all of the interest I’ve had has been from women I’ve gotten to know as a friend first.

              Even the allegedly “creepy” pick-up artists emphasize the importance of reading people; they know that a pick-up has to start with some initial attraction on the woman’s part and that no technique in the world can create it. That’s what makes this Dr. Nerdlove piece decent advice for guys who are attractive on how to make an approach. For others of us, forget it, and it’s not just all in our heads…

            • Interesting…I actually feel similar. I keep hearing from people I am a great judge of character, and I can usually pick up on body language very quick of people who are scared, angry, wanting to fight, etc.

              Maybe you’re right and this advice assumes the person is attractive enough already.

            • You know Marcus? If you want to talk about this in real time on skype or something I’m more than happy to but I’m getting so triggered by you it’s not even funny.

              “he only way to successfully follow his advice, then, is to be unaware of it, but also naturally adept and confident at approaching strangers, knowing what to say, escalating appropriately, etc., all without having a “plan”. In other words: be attractive.”

              Do we even know what Nerdlove looks like? I don’t.

              This has NOTHING to do with what your face looks like. Or your body. It has to do with liking yourself and liking others and enjoying social interactions of all kinds and being truly and authentically positive with people. Everything you listed is mental and emotional, not physical. I know so many “ugly” men (ugly by traditional standards) who I’d totally flirt and sleep with (and have) because they LIKED themselves and they LIKED ME! And I’ve met some hot men that I wouldn’t get near ever in life because they treat everyone around them like tools to be utilized. And people (some people anyway) can sense and see that difference. And yeah, there are people who use those techniques in a cold and calculate way…and they are not my kind of people. And there are people who are easily “sold” mostly because either they are young and inexperienced or because they are shallow and don’t care about whether they are being sold or not only cause they got that “hot” person and again WHO WANTS TO DATE THOSE PEOPLE?

              Honestly, this seems to me to be an issue of extroverts who enjoy social interactions who actually like themselves vs people who really seem to hate social interactions which makes them feel really anxious and uncomfortable and it shows.

              Sure, learn all you want about how to make those interactions better and more easy and less anxiety producing because that may well be part of the “creep” vibe people pick up on. Not looks. But also try to actually take enjoyment in the everyday interactions with all kinds of people.

              This is honestly so frustrating to both of us. I really want to talk in person and end this here.

            • Men are seeing him (Nerdlove) as a bullshit PUA pretending to be a feminist, and at least judging from comments, the women are buying it.

              I think you have to read his articles in conjunction with ones like “It’s OK to Want Sex.” He makes it seem like sex is something that men *take* from women and women are schmucks for falling for it. Other PUAs are far more resentful and go as far as making fun of women who ‘fall’ for the things they do. They see women as the enemy–something to conquer, and at worst, barely human–just holes to win if you make the right moves. Like a game of golf or something. You get the impression from Nerdlove’s writing (whether or not it’s true) that he sees sex and flirting as a shared, hopefully fun experience. Something you can learn to get better at while still being honest and yourself. The Cowgirl. He didn’t treat her like another notch on his bedpost. He talked about her as a person. He didn’t lie to her, at least according to his story (obviously we can never really know what went down). He was genuinely interested in her sketches. She could probaby read that. He paid attention to her and approached her in a setting where she would have an out if she felt uncomfortable. It was a back and forth situation. She flirted just as hard as he did. Some PUA stuff I’ve seen traps women. Separate her from her friends, take her somewhere you’re alone. Treat her as a ‘number’–she’s a 5, 7, 9, not a real person with whom you might connect. Treat her as a conquest instead of a human being. Look down upon women who actually sleep with you or attempt to attract men (I never got this one, and it’s the main reason I haven’t been able to sleep with a guy using obvious PUA techniques in a long time, no matter how horny or attracted to him I am to him). And some of it is downright scary. It’s one thing to advise to not look at women as if they have some magical power over you; it’s another to take away their humanity altogether and forget that they have needs and wants too. Nerdlove took the time to notice things about Cowgirl and was ready to retreat if she didn’t feel it. His other articles treat women as people. He has empathy for them too. Look at “Power in Dating.” He at least understands that it’s not all rainbows and roses for women. That we have trouble navigating the dating world as well, and that we can get really hurt for us, too. It’s refreshing. You had commenters in that thread talking about access to just sex, and that moldy bread was better than no bread. Because yeah, it’s fun to waste a night on bad sex and be someone’s moldy bread while worrying that you’ll be seen as slutty or weak. He seems to get that.

            • Probably should have made that comment into paragraphs. :/

            • @Aya..

              “He seems to get that.”

              OK. Let’s give Nerdlove the benefit of the doubt and assume he “gets that.”

              However, it does NOT change the fact that the woman was attracted to him. Why can’t you women understand this? It is a critical piece of info that you women are just tossing aside.

              She called him and started dating him because she found him attractive. His advice to most men seems to be: “hey guys make yourselves attractive. And when you do, her is how you go about approaching a woman….”

              The key to his success is not his approach but his approach used by HIM.

            • I don’t think anyone is denying that she’d find something about him attractive. It could have been his look, it could have been his confidence, or a combination of both. Are you using the word “attractive” to mean only physical attributes? Or are you acknowledging that that attraction can be because of personality?

        • How should it look to you, the approach or the dating game, in order for it not to be causing anger. If PUA techniques are different than regular communication and flirting, how so?

          PUA techniques have been around and part of dating for much longer than the term, at least that’s what I believe. Flirting, banter, developing a rapport, vibing off each other, finding commonalities, looking at the cues that allow for physical touch…I’ve seen that forever.

          I’ve never had a problem with many of the actual techniques because I figure there have been many many people who did that naturally but PUA (or any kind of dating coaching) is exploiting that for financial gain and or teaching people some level (from ethical to really downright predatory) to learn those skills, primarily for sex but also for confidence. I’ve never really found the skill set problematic, only how it’s used. Just like good listening skills can be used for good or for eventual manipulation. Just like PR techniques can transmit information of good products or bad products. I have a great friend who is a feminist dating coach and she’s spent ample time with PUAs talking and listening and working with men AND women who want to date and get laid and do it without some of the framing that PUA seems to carry with it.

          None of that matters though.

          Fundamentally, what I’ve been watching through this thread and others (from the power in dating onward) is that there are two completely different brain/body experiences going on from the men who are posting and some of the women who are posting. Kind of like when a dedicated Republican tries to discuss an issue with a dedicated Democrat. You say words, I believe them, but my reference points and experience and groups of people I’ve been around are a 180 from what you say. Or what I see described by many in the threads.

          Its as if we are using the same words but they mean different things and have different frames.

          I believe you are angry and disgusted. I believe men here on these threads don’t believe they have a lot of power in dating. I get that they see it as an issue of attraction. It does not add up with the life I’ve lead though, or the people I have been around, or the groups of folks I’ve seen date and marry and so forth. Because it doesn’t add up, because it’s very hard to relate to is perhaps why you are getting these comments like the one above about resentment. Because by me or someone adding 1+2+3…I’m getting 6 but you are saying it’s Z. Perhaps if we were discussing in person and we could stop and start and ask questions I’d understand more.

          I also, for whatever it’s worth, see that there are two kinds of “creep” conversations happening simultaneously. One being mean and petty people calling people they don’t deign good enough/bothered them/made them feel weird in 8th grade using the word “creep” like someone else might use the word “retarded” or “gay.” I do not like people who treat others like this. I have no doubt, and I’ve said this before that people do this based on appearance and if they see someone awkward they act like an ass about it. It’s petty and childish and shallow. No one should want to date those people.

          And I see another conversation where women are saying that we do like being approached, and by a variety of people and that many of us also do the approaching but we have (some of us) had experiences where we have had really difficult or slightly to really frightening interactions with people who didn’t read the body cues, and didn’t like the actual No, followed us, did things that really were inappropriate and so forth. And yes, in my case one of them was really good looking. So…..

          Those are, or they seem to me, to be two different conversations.

          We are having, in a way, a meta version of the on the street interaction. Missing cues, not being able to understand what’s happening, frustration, interpretations of things that might be inaccurate.

          I personally believe that if we all had tone of voice and physical cues to add in, plus the ability to stop and ask/answer questions, we’d be doing much better. Text can only go so far.

          • shinylavarocks says:

            I second this! If you misunderstand/miscommunicate one thing in a post it can cause a misunderstanding of all of it, and subsequent conversation.

            I put my two cents in here because, like a lot of women I know, it gets really tiring to have perfect strangers showing you hostility for just trying to get through your day. What right do those guys have to be angry at us?

            None. But those guys are not these guys on this board (although a few sound similar.) It’s not their fault that some guys are nasty anymore than it’s all women’s fault that some woman was nasty to them. We need to be able to talk about these things as trends and as individual circumstances , and I’m trying to give that a shot.

        • Comment of the year!!!

        • shinylavarocks says:

          Okay, Marcus, you got some of that, but you missed the major point.

          This is true regardless of who is trying to get the attention and who is expected to give it. The one who is approached has the right to refuse to engage. Either party has the right to disengage at any point. This is not a horrible power imbalance that victimizes men, and it also does not give attractive men a “get out of creep-jail free” card.

          Men hit on conventionally attractive women much more often than more normal looking women. Do those select women have an unequal power in the dating world? You betcha. Does a man whose combination of physical appearance, mannerisms, and interaction appeals to a particular (or many) women have an advantage? You betcha.

          The biggest creep-alarm for all the women I know is the feeling that the guy is being fake. A guy who honestly sees you as a person will behave in ways that a “Okay, time to pretend women are people” PUA will not. Sometimes women, especially young women, have trouble figuring out which guys are nervous or awkward and which ones are playing them, because there are a number of both out there. Also, attraction is random. I’m usually not attracted to any guy on sight, I have to talk to them for a while before I start feeling it. It can be a turn of phrase or the way he smiles or the fact that he says, “ma’am” to the waitress, or any of a million tiny things that can make me start to take a real interest. These things can’t be predicted.

          If you are not having luck by going up to random women you find hot, then maybe taking a step back and getting to know a broader range of women better would work for you. Give yourself a chance to see if you can be attracted to women who share your interests, whether they light your pants on fire at first site or not. The more you interact with women, the better chance you have of producing/finding a spark of real interest.

          If the kind of women you want are the kind who spend six hours a day on their hair/make-up/fitness, then you will probably only have luck if you also spend that kind of time on your appearance/fitness. This doesn’t make “all women superficial.” It means that different people are attracted to different things, and you usually don’t get anywhere by consistently going after people with entirely different priorities from yours.

          • So much this.
            And this from above “treats you like an object with which to fulfil their desires, who doesn’t modify their behavior to take into account your feelings, desires and boundaries when interacting with you.”

            “with which to fulfill their desires” = the comment you made above ““Okay, time to pretend women are people” And I think a lot of women either A) pick up on that difference between the authenticity and actual liking of himself and eagerness to like her or B) have had enough of the “time to pretend you are a person” approaches that they are defensive to begin with.

            I don’t see why this dynamic we keep bringing up the “fake” dynamic is disbelieved by you, Marcus or others.

            And here’s the thing. I know people who do this non sexually. Pretend to like you to get something (out of work, or in the store, or whatever). And I think it’s creepy then too. And I assess my friendships accordingly. It’s just extra rude and weird when it’s so clearly attached to sex (that one thing that person wants from you, or appears to want from you).

            And there are obviously a lot of women who have had experiences such that they are indeed on the defense a lot.

        • @Marcus

          “Men are seeing him (Nerdlove) as a bullshit PUA pretending to be a feminist, and at least judging from comments, the women are buying it. This is the kind of thing that causes men to think, “women go for the assholes”. Nerdlove is describing a reality I’ve never lived, and then he (and supportive women) are treating any men who think he’s full of crap as misogynist horndog creeps who are just bitter for not getting the hot sex they think they’re entitled to.”

          So well said indeed.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            You know what, you’re both wrong.

            If a man says, “This is the experience of a lot of women I know” and then a whole huge group of women say, “Yes it is!” why do you guys get the right to come in and say, “No, that’s not what you women experience.”

            I realize that you guys think that there are a lot of women out there saying “creep” to you for no reason. I”m sure there are. There a lot of guys out there saying “bitch” to women for no reason too. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons why SOME or MOST men call women bitches. Usually it’s because they’re being bitches.

            And women who call men creeps for no reason are being bitches.

            OR… maybe just maybe… some of you guys are acting like creeps without knowing it and refuse to take responsibility for that. You never have to change, never have to accept maybe you’re doing something unkind, disrespectful, or threatening as long as it’s all women’s fault that you were called a creep or not “liked”.

            • Methinks part of the problem is….what’s creepy to most women, isn’t neccessarily creepy to most men. Add in the lil fact that men n women in general rely on slightly different communication methods and it equals a whole bunch of misunderstanding on each side. I have no doubt quite a few creeps aren’t actually creeps, but are misinterpreted on their behaviour and quite a few bitches aren’t really bitches but misinterpreted. Though both sides probably have quite a lot of each, and seeing as the terms are subjective the guy is still feeling bitched out, the girl feeling creeped out.

              Personally I think it’d be better for women to flat out say what the guy is doing that’s creepy for the first occurence without using the creep label, that would sort out those who wanna push boundaries and the guys that are the clueless but harmless ones who need more face to face time to learn body language. Same thing for the men to tell the women why they feel they’re a bitch, instead of just straight up say bitch. I’m glad there are articles though describing creepy behaviour as that’s one way to inform the guys (and girls).

              Seeing as the terms are subjective, doesn’t that mean the accuser is right anyway though, they feel creeped out or bitched out so the other person is a creep or bitch regardless of their intent. I agree the terms get thrown around too easily, especially for describing creeps based on their looks, or women who stand up for themselves as bitches.

              Seeing as we all seem to have differing comfort levels, cultures, raised differently, could we ALL be creepy to someone? People mistakenly overstep boundaries, for one culture it’s fine to shake hands but another might be insulted when you reach out and feel creeped out. I believe people also vary a bit in their personal space, a book I read on body language says people in the city have a smaller bubble, whilst people who live quite far away from their neighbour (such as rural areas) have a larger bubble, so standing too close will creep them out in rural areas, but city areas it won’t bother them as much.

              I feel creeped out at times by people, usually if they touch my arm it’ll raise my eyebrow, or if they get too close, even if they keep eyecontact for too long, but I save the “creep” label for those who purposely overstep boundaries, the others I might say it’s making me uncomfortable giving them the benefit of the doubt.

              One of the most creepiest behaviours I see is when some women I’ve known have thought of someone as a pedophile for being an adult male near kids. It makes me wonder wtf is in their heads to project that. That hyperfear is hella creepy to me. Another creepy move is when people stare and have that I’m ready to fight look in their eye, usually drunk males where I live, straight away my body feels creeped out and ready to defend myself. Chances are though the guy could be tired as hell, drunk to the point of not really controlling his facial expressions well and be thinking of where he left his drink vs wanting to fight. If he comes close though I will move away as I’ll feel threatened n creeped out to the max. Instincts can be interesting like that, but I guess they’re there for a reason, to protect us. And it seems like many women get these instincts and their self-preservation hits overdrive due to their socialization from childhood of men being violent + past experiences of a few men that push through boundaries.

              That creepy feeling, correct me if I am wrong Joanna, can be triggered by simply being male and staring right? I’m sure some women feel creeped out by someone looking their way multiple times, hell I myself feel creeped out at times with that, but that person looking over might not find that behaviour creepy at all so they’ll be surprised, shocked to hear the creep label thrown at them.

              I think feeling creeped out, uncomfy, is so complex that there are no guides to avoid it perfectly, but basically follow the local customs + be mindful of body language + be aware of boundaries and don’t cross them if you can.

            • “OR… maybe just maybe… some of you guys are acting like creeps without knowing it and refuse to take responsibility for that. You never have to change, never have to accept maybe you’re doing something unkind, disrespectful, or threatening as long as it’s all women’s fault that you were called a creep or not “liked”.
              Great, why not engaging in personal attacks? Why not calling people vile names?
              Really Joanna, you have absolutely no authority to speak about the life experience of commenters, you don’t know in real life. Being abusive doesn’t help you to convince people.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I don’t mean any of you specifically, and I’m sorry if it feels like I mean you’re acting like creeps HERE. I mean some of the guys in the world (on all sites, and in real life) who are mad about the word “Creep”. And you know what, you’re right, I don’t have any authority to speak about your experience, but I do have authority to speak about what women-like me and all my friends-experience. And I keep being dismissed, just as I was in the dating one. You keep dismissing MY experience and what my friends have experienced. All I keep hearing is, “You’re wrong!” And you know what? I’m not wrong about my perception of my experiences.

              You can either believe me that this is our reality, or keep denying and thinking I’m pushing an agenda. If you know me here, I don’t follow anyone’s agenda – not feminists, not MRAs, nobody. I disagree with feminists a lot. I hate how they use “mansplaining” and “creep” to dismiss and shame well-meaning guys. But that’s not what almost everyone I know experiences, in front of my own eyes.

              I think we need to agree that there is some gap happening in our experiences. I’m sorry you’re having women tell you guys (the general you, not YOU specifically Alberich) that you’re creeps. But I have to be honest, if I were being told by people repeatedly that I was a bitch, I’d take a look at myself. In fact I have had to do that in my life. Sometimes I’ve been called a bitch because I simply didn’t like a guy and didn’t flirt back or give my number. I don’t feel like I need to take responsibility for that. But there are times when I’m genuinely being a bitch – mostly by accident because I’m in a bad mood or in a rush, or stressed or something.

              My best friend said it to me the other day. I was ordering at In N Out for my kids in teh drive through. I had her on speaker and told her to hang on. My kids were fighting with one another, which they don’t do much so it is something I”m not used to and bugs me a lot, and I was irritated. My irritation came through to the guy on the mic at In N Out, and after I drove away, she goes, “Hey, umm… Harsh much to the poor guy at In N Out?” and I was like, “I’m not being harsh, it’s just the kids” and she pointed out – I should say reminded me – that the guy didn’t know that and he was just doing his job and didn’t need me snapping at him. She was TOTALLY right. I felt bad, but have made a point to be really aware in the future. (I usually am, but we all have our bad moments).

              We all need to do that sometimes. Because sometimes a criticism is justified, and sometimes it’s not. The bitch who calls you a creep because you mind your own business and are shy when called on at work or in class… That girl’s a bitch and it’s not about you. The girl that calls you a creep when you’re talking to her in a bar, well, that might need some reflection. Did you read her body language? Did you stand too close? Did you stare a lot before talking to her? Did she say something like, “Well it was nice talking to you” or “It was nice meeting you” and you still lingered? Maybe you’re being a creep.

              We’re all (well almost all) capable of changing. But sometimes it sucks. I’m not saying YOU need to change, I’m saying we all need to look at ourselves self-critically sometimes if we’re not getting what we want out of life.

            • Joanna:
              “But I have to be honest, if I were being told by people repeatedly that I was a bitch, I’d take a look at myself.”
              I strongly disagree with this attitude. Words like “creep” or “bitch” are vile dehumanising slurs, when somebody calls you (the general you) these names they are committing abuse. Victims of abuse should stand up for themselves and not engage in introspection. Of course told me something like: “Stop staring at me!”, I would think about my behavioue and adjust it.
              “And I keep being dismissed, just as I was in the dating one. You keep dismissing MY experience and what my friends have experienced.”
              I don’t know if this is really the divide…
              “The girl that calls you a creep when you’re talking to her in a bar, well, that might need some reflection. Did you read her body language? Did you stand too close? Did you stare a lot before talking to her? Did she say something like, “Well it was nice talking to you” or “It was nice meeting you” and you still lingered? Maybe you’re being a creep.”
              This right here is the problem. Those examples, you mention here, happen to girls everyday, I don’t doubt that. My problem is that I don’t see a significant harm happenning to the girls in these encounters, just common annoyance of interactions with other people in public spaces. If I put myself in the girl’s shoes, I come to very different conclusions, than the one you propose (namely, the guy I am interacting with is a creep).
              Let us assume somebody talks to me at a bar and:
              1. …doesn’t read body language. Well then should try a different language, if I want to tell somebody something it is my responsibility to try to find a language they understand.
              2. …and stands too close. This happens to me everyday, though not necessarily in a bar. I have deal with it or tell the other person to back off a little.
              3. …and has stared at me before talking to me. Staring at people is indeed rude, but I still should give them the befenit of the doubt, that they just made small mistake and are generally a well intentioned person.
              4. … and doesn’t understand “Well it was nice talking to you”, as my way of saying I would like to end the conversation. If I want to tell somebody something, it is my responsibility to be as clear as possible.
              Similarly I would expect every adult man to deal with the annoyances 1.-4. and not resort to indulge in feeling victimised and call people vile names.

            • @Joanna..

              Are you not the woman who accused another woman who was talking to your husband of being “creepy” because when you came up on the scene, she (other woman) rolled her eyes and left….? Yet, your husband said she was “just being friendly.”

              Who are you to tell your husband she was not just being friendly! Why do YOU get the right to come and say this other woman was being “creepy” and overrule your husband?

              I will not hold my breath for a reply, as usual.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Because it’s creepy to roll your eyes at a guy’s wife simply because she walked back onto the playground where your children are playing, and near her own husband.

              If she were just being friendly WHY would she roll her eyes at me? Do you REALLY not get this? Seriously?

            • I thought it would have been a single woman rolling eyes in a sense of disappointment, doh he’s married.

              Although is it possible that the way you walked up indicated any sense of you being the jealous wife? That’d be the only reason I could think of for someone married to eyeroll, otherwise yeah something sounds off. I’d eyeroll at people who just have to approach their partner when you talk to them, but they do it in a specific way where you can sense their jealousy, they usually don’t come up with smiles or start to converse with you.

          • So because Marcus hasn’t lived a particular reality it means it’s wrong, or PUA oriented? Does Marcus know Nerdlove personally and know that he is an asshole? I believe Marcus when he says this is a reality he hasn’t lived. I believe his frustration with the topic, with Nerdlove. I sense a whole lot of something there that’s big and meaningful to him and I believe him. What I don’t see (yet anyway, for he’s not decided to email me at this point) is him believing my experiences either.

            I’m not sure if he thinks that what Nerdlove is discussing is like…somehow all of high-school and college was a perfect breeze of sex and adventure without effort and only with pretty people, or what.

            I’m seeing (aside from the word “creep”) a world view difference. People who are positive and happy and like themselves (and others) are indeed more attractive than people who are bitter and passive and don’t like themselves (or others). That doesn’t always have anything to do with looks though. It can be in correlation…one might be good looking and have a better more fun life, but it doesn’t always mean that. I’ve met very pretty women who are extremely unhappy people. It showed in their language, attitude. Sure, some people wanted to sleep with them just for their looks, but they didn’t have happy relationships. I’ve met some average to homely looking women who always had crowds around them because they were so funny or charming or fun to be with.

            How do you want to be in the world, I guess is my question. How do you want to see people and be seen by people? Do you like who you are and enjoy sharing that with people regardless of outcome, or do you look past the people and focus on what you want from them only.

            • “Does Marcus know Nerdlove personally and know that he is an asshole?”
              I know enough about nerdlove, to have made up my mind about him being a jerk. Some of my reasons:
              1.He uses vile slurs like creep.
              2.He portrays himself as pushy and rude in his ” Guide to the successful approach” and seems to think he did great.
              3.citation from “who has the power in dating:
              ““MEN HAVE TO TAKE ALL THE RISKS”…..
              Let’s be honest: more often than not the men who complain most about this are the men who would prefer not to be approaching women themselves, whether due to approach anxiety, a fear of rejection or even just not being sure whether or not she’s interested.”

              He makes an ad personam attack, where it does nothing to support his position (why does it matter who makes this statement?) and tries to shame the people who make such statements.
              4.citation from “who has the power in dating”:
              ““ANY WOMAN COULD GET SEX ANY TIME SHE WANTS”…..
              Let’s be honest. This complaint really translates as “the hot woman I want to fuck but won’t give me the time of day can get sex any time she wants.””

              He engages in mind reading and assumes bad things about other people (insteaqd of listening to them.

        • As usual, Marcus nails it completely. It IS about immediate attraction, and Nerdlove is trying to claim the opposite. Is that unfair? Sure. Can it cause resentment? Yes… but more often with the dishonesty of pretending it’s NOT about instant attraction when it so clearly is. The SNL sketch made a valid point, and Nerdlove’s attempt to dismiss it rings false.

          • “It IS about immediate attraction, and Nerdlove is trying to claim the opposite”

            How do you know this? Are you inside every woman’s head? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Why are you claiming that my experiences aren’t real? Because it hasn’t always been about instant attraction with me.

          • I think it is unfair to compare oneself to @Marcus’s experience-
            With a hat like that you don’t need foreplay.

      • THis is what seems to be the main source of resentment: You can’t control the inside of her head. You do not get syllabus, and when you pass the course, instant access. “

        YES. Oftentimes (not always), men are taught to think differently than women. It seems like they want simple solutions. Answers. What do I do exactly to have women see me in a certain light (whether that’s simply as not creepy, as a potential sexual partner, or for a relationship)? But when women give them vague advice, we’re not trying to hide anything or be resentful. Women keep saying over and over to read cues, to be yourself, to not be desperate, disrespectful, or resentful. The thing is, it’s all true. We can’t really be more specific because it’s so different for every woman with every man in every situation. We can’t say, “walk up to a woman, say your name, make a joke about her clothes, and pat her on the back.” Win! It just doesn’t work like that. It’d be great if it did, sure. At best, you can learn a few skills, gain some confidence, and hope it works. Even saying “be attractive or suck it up” doesn’t work. Because it’s not like that. (Just this past week, I was completely floored by this very average looking man who made all of the right moves and perfectly read every single thing I did in an event FILLED with men–he knew when to tease, when to shut up, and when to compliment me). And keep in mind, even if you do creep her out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad person or that she’s a bad person. It was just a situation that creeped her out. You don’t know her triggers and she doesn’t know your quirks. But if you’re actively doing something TO a woman (particularly if you’re well aware of what you’re doing it), then yeah, you’re being a creep (sending pictures of your penis without having that dynamic, telling a girl half your age what you’d like to do to her without her asking, rubbing up on a stranger, etc).

        But it’s the same thing with sex and some men. A man sees a theme in porn or a woman moaning into the camera really loudly to a certain sex act. Ahh, that’s the answer to how to be good at sex! Women really like that, so I’ll do that. Doesn’t work like that. Every woman, every situation is different. Even the most open, freakiest woman might see you as a weirdo who crosses boundaries if you’re not able to communicate with her (it goes without saying that she should communicate too). It also parallels advice and venting. When a woman comes to a man with problems, often times, she only wants to vent and know that someone has her back. The man assumes she’s there for an answer (a solution), gives it to her coldly, and pisses her off. This has happened to me the other way around, where a man was expecting a solution, but got pissed off because all I did was lend a sympathetic ear (what I would have wanted in that situation).

        One final thing and I’ll just wait for replies. Do you believe Nerdlove is acting as a PUA because he took his interaction with Cowgirl and broke it down? Do you believe that means he was planful and aware of using techniques as he went through each one? I read it as if he was going back in time and deconstructing why it worked out well. Perhaps that is a key difference in our reading.

        This.

        • @Aya…

          Great and thoughtful insights!

          “Just this past week, I was completely floored by this very average looking man who made all of the right moves and perfectly read every single thing I did in an event FILLED with men–he knew when to tease, when to shut up, and when to compliment me”

          Well, unfortunately, this is the lay of the land. Just reading this reinforces just how little control we really have over dating and even holding conversations with women. It just seems as if holding a simple conversation with a woman has to involve skills.

          I am actually very very good at talking to women. Why? I use a Socratic method based on my perceived view that most women are self centered. So, I ask questions of women to get them to talk about themselves. I listen very intently to their answers. I show empathy. I allow them to hold court. I only say something about myself when they ask. I offer compliments. If she has a colorful outfit, I ask her what is her favorite color….Keep them talking. It works. Few men understand how important it is for a man to be genuinely interested in finding out who a woman really is. Women need for men to be interested in them and their lives. Not just their looks and bodies…..

          Believe it or not, I am a charming, intelligent, and likable man of average looks. (Gag!!! I am sure many women her are doing it! LOL!!!). Most women like me. Now, that does not mean they wish to have sex with me. Even the ones that did, I passed. I just do not believe in lots of sex partners. Just lots of sex.

          The reason he was successful was because the woman found him attractive. This could have been due to common interest in art, intelligence, looks, confidence, etc…..It was validated when she called him. Plain and simple. What if the woman was reading the Wall Street Journal instead? Would he have been equally successful? Don’t know. I know nothing about PUA.

          • Interacting with people and having good conversations DOES take skill. It takes a lot of skill. That’s true for women too. Why is this surprising? Haven’t you ever talked to someone who is a poor conversationalist? It’s a lot less enjoyable than talking to someone who is a good conversationalist. Asking the other person to talk about themselves is just good manners. Showing interest in what they are saying — that’s called being polite. And if you really like someone, aren’t you interested in them? Or is it always all about you?

            • Good (or even basic) human interaction does take a great deal of skill. Much of which we all take for granted. We learn all these skills as we grow through actual interactions (doing them “right” and “wrong”), through school and through culture.

            • “Good (or even basic) human interaction does take a great deal of skill.”
              I disagree. It depends on who you are interacting with. I can have a great interaction with a 4 year old or with a really awkward person as long as we are both interested and well intentioned.

            • What do you think I mean by skill? I mean that most humans (even that 4 year old) has learned and absorbed lessons in interacting. I wonder if you think I mean something different than what I mean.

            • Ok, if you think the social skills of an average 4 year are enough to have a good human interaction, then I don’t think I have a problem with you position, but I also don’t think you have set the bar very high. I just wonder about the sentence:
              “We learn all these skills as we grow through actual interactions (doing them “right” and “wrong”), through school and through culture.
              As most 4 year olds haven’t been to school and had rather little exposure to culture.

            • Well, my four year old (by the time he was four) had been hundreds if not thousands of places in our city (and beyond), had been in day care for nearly three years (around teachers and other children), had been to parties, stores, been read books about all manner of things and talked to constantly. So yeah, he had a lot of exposure to the world and people.
              And he knew how to smile and say hello, how to answer questions, and he was learning how to be ok with waiting his turn, not touching other people without asking, asking for and giving hugs, sharing and a multitude of other things. He’s 12 now and pretty socially skilled, though he’s bossy at times and we are talking about that.
              My point is that these are skills that are learned year after year, absorbed, integrated and refined as we age and learn new things.
              I think people can have good interactions with four year olds. But I do expect far more from a 24 year old. Or a 34 year old. Or a 14 year old.
              I’m not sure what your point is here. That people don’t learn skills? Or that no one uses them constantly and daily in their interactions and that for many many people it’s like the water they breathe?

            • Julie:
              “And he knew how to smile and say hello, how to answer questions, and he was learning how to be ok with waiting his turn, not touching other people without asking, asking for and giving hugs, sharing and a multitude of other things. He’s 12 now and pretty socially skilled, though he’s bossy at times and we are talking about that.”
              I would call this manners not social skills. What I mean is, that this amounts to a set of rules, if you abide those rules you are OK. On the other hand you can be socially skilled in the sense that you are smooth in interactions.
              For example who would get a really red face when talking to (some?) women, he was really awkward with women, although he was very polite and friendly.
              The opposite would be Nerdlove’s column “guide to the perfect approach”, where he asks, if he might sit down and then just sits down without listening to the response to his question. As he was welcomed his approach seemed smooth, but it was obviously impolite.

            • What is the difference between manners and social skills to you? The way you are discussing them they seem the same thing.
              Why was his approach impolite?

            • Julie:
              “What is the difference between manners and social skills to you?”
              Manners are a set of rules (depending on the culture you are in) how to interact with other people. If you want to be polite you learn those rules and act in accordnce with them. Social skills are skills that are useful when interacting with people, like being good at reading body language or portraying oneself as charming. So if you can’t read body language or if your demeanor shows your self hatred, you still can be polite. And as I have read quite many sexual predators have good social skills, obviously they are not polite.
              “Why was his approach impolite?”
              Uninvited Sitting down at somebody else’s table is rude. Ask a question like “may I sit down?” and then not wait for an answer but just assume the answer will be yes is pushy and disrespectful.
              That is the problemk with Nerdlove, he seems to lack basic respect for other human beings, also demonstrated by his usage of the slur “creep”, and hence it is very difficult for him to be polite, as respect is the root of politeness.

            • Julie Gillis @ 9:05 –

              Manners are rule-based. If I want to sit down and talk to you, it’s good manners to:
              1) ask if you mind
              2) wait for a response
              3) respect your decision

              Social skills are more situational. If I’m observant and empathic enough, I can:
              a) tell from your body language whether it’s even worth asking
              b) on that basis, show good manners and(!) confidence at the same time by doing (3) before (2).

              It’s a more advanced level of interaction. If I sit down without waiting for you to say “sure”, it means one of two things: either I can tell that you’ve already said it in your own head, or I just don’t care. If my approach is in fact welcome, I’ll get away with it either way (and be more attractive for displaying my expertise with the advanced rules! There’s a reason they call it a game!)… but according to the basic version of good manners, I’ll be at fault for acting out of turn, and that’s all someone who HASN’T read your positive body language will see.

              Cue “How does he do it?” “Because he’s an asshole and chicks dig that.” “Well, next time I’M gonna be that asshole…” “…Damn, why didn’t that work? I guess I’m just ugly.” No, he’s just not seeing all the times I spotted negative body language and swerved the approach; or all the times I THOUGHT I saw negative body language and swerved the approach leaving some woman thinking “Why didn’t he speak to me? I saw him looking – what a creep!”

            • @julie…

              Most people have this skill Julie. They really do.

              It is like saying most people do not know how to speak. The real challenge is having something to say that stimulates the other person. My approach: ask questions. She talks and you listen. However, when she ask you questions, be able to respond well.

            • Good human interaction is learned in your family. It is also learned in other spheres as you move through life.

              I love great conversation. I enjoy having an espresso an bantering with someone. Though our society is quickly becoming antisocial, I still can engage women in nice convo. Not all, but most. Many are guarded and won’t talk to “strangers”, unless it is their strange online date they have never met. Go figure.

            • Fair enough, Julie. But just as clearly, many people don’t have those skills? Are they doomed from a relationship perspective, or is there some way to develop them that won’t involve an unending stream of hurtful rejections and insults?

            • @sarah…..

              I have never met a stranger. This is how I approach life. Maybe it is my southern background. People simply do not “scare” me. I talk to a lot of different people every week. Sometimes, the folks think I am weird….What I have discovered is a lot of people are starved for conversation, especially women.

              I have a very disarming demeanor and I smile a lot. It tends to relax women. Also, I never come across like I am trying to have sex with them. Though many women appear guarded sometimes.

              I do not think having a conversation really takes much skill at all. Maybe having an “interesting” conversation does. I was once a college professor, so maybe that has something to do with it.

              All I know is that there is the lost art of conversation in America. Much of it has to do with technology. We don’t talk. We would rather text…..Those who do talk a lot usually enjoy a better life.

              JMO.

  12. Thanks KKZ for a terrific comment. I was just talking to my friend about this. He is a very serious Buddhist and is celibate. However he even mentioned to me when he has had business lunches with women or business conferences( He works in sales), he has had vibes from women that were possibly thinking he wanted to date them-very similar to your story with that older man.
    My friend and I both agreed that a lot of women even in a business setting are afraid that men are trying to date them-even if that is not the intention of the man at all.
    I guess inasmuch as I am not a women I cannot fathom how women fear that men are trying to date them but I am trying to be empathic.
    With all of this it is amazing that any romantic relationship or even friendship with a man and women can work out at all given women’s fears of men trying to date them or have sex.I guess a good relationship is a needle in a haystack.
    The negative part in all of this is instead of men and women communicating these concerns on blogs such as The Good Men Project, there is an ever increasing multitude of bitter men on Mens Rights blogs who are angry at women or have dropped out of the dating scene altogether. My Buddhist friend(who is American) did admit to me that the reason he embraced Spirituality and celibacy is his frustrations with women.He is at peace now. KKZ, we need better communication between the sexes and more empathy between men and women.

    • Thanks, Cleopas. I agree, more empathy and compassion (and forgiveness!) between genders is needed. It is sad that people drop out of the dating game altogether or lash out in bitterness because of poor inter-gender communication.

      Women need to compassionately understand that the word creep (and variations thereof) carries a heavy and hurtful meaning for many (most?) men. While it does have a useful purpose (there ARE creepy men out there and we need a word for them), it’s not a word that should be wielded carelessly or used as a weapon.
      And men need to compassionately understand that women are sensitive to perceived sexual interest and have been conditioned to be cautious and protect themselves against men. It’s more than a little unfair to the billions of non-predatory men out there, but that’s the lens many women have learned see the world through without stopping to question it.

      • I wrote a response to you KKZ, check this link out it may be sort of related to this topic.
        http://amangoinghisownway2112.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/what-women-want/

        • Your post is interesting but I don’t agree that women resent gay men for being gay. Like a lot of women, I like gay men. I think it’s kind of fun to interact with a guy who is undeniably masculine yet able to talk and relate to me like women talk and relate to each other. I enjoy having a male friend without any fear that he will develop sexual feelings for me or make things awkward by asking me out. Gay men can be attractive physically but I don’t fall for men based solely on their looks. There has to be mutual desire. Gay men have no desire for me so there is little possibility that I would want them sexually. If they are good looking, I appreciate that aesthetically, not sexually.

          I don’t know any women who use “gay” as an insult to denigrate straight men who aren’t attracted to us or whatever. Maybe there are women who do that but I just haven’t encountered it. Actually, women who are friends with gay men are probably not the sort of women who would use “gay” as an insult.

          • @sarah

            “undeniably masculine”

            I truly scoff at this notion in a gay man. How do you think a gay man is undeniably masculine?

            Please explain.

            • Most gay men who I’ve known are into being men. They love being men, even if they also happen to like fashion and Barbara Streisand. (Though of course there are also gay men who hate Barbara Streisand and who have no fashion sense at all. Stereotypes.) anyway, people who don’t actually know gay men get confused about this. They think all gay men want to be women. No, that’s being transgendered. Which is different. (Though there are some gay men who are transgendered or who are cross dressers or whatever, but not all by any means.). I’m not pretending to be an expert but I did live in San Francisco for several years so I met a lot of gay people and there is an intense masculinity about a lot of gay men. They enjoy being men even if they do not enjoy stereotypically male interests or behaviors.

            • Jules not to digress, but I think Sarah made an interesting point by alluding to gay men as “undeniably masculine” . As a het man I always had the perception that all gay men were feminine in their disposition.. However, I have since come across many gay men who were very masculine and “straight looking bodybuilder types” and some that were athletes. I believe there is an article on this very site a gay football player. Not to be tongue in cheek, but some time ago a gay disco band The Village people had 2 songs pertaining to gay masculine men”Macho man” and “YMCA”.

            • One of the Flight 93 heroes, Mark Bingham, was an athletic gay man from San Francisco. He was quite a jock from all the descriptions I’ve read of him. Very good looking, too.

      • @KKZ…

        “It is sad that people drop out of the dating game altogether or lash out in bitterness because of poor inter-gender communication.”

        It is NOT poor communication KKZ. It is women unilaterally treating a men poorly. Saying it is poor communication is like saying the reason a woman is raped is due to poor communication with her rapist. Crazy.

        These men are opting out and giving up because they see no hope. That is what a human being does when his or her perceived circumstance becomes hopeless. They surrender.

        Also, why is it only like this in America? Why are American women only like this? I have traveled to Europe, South America, and Asia. I have experienced or seen none of this. Even in countries where women are LESS safe and enjoy far fewer freedoms! Something is just wrong here.

      • @KKZ

        IT IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!!

        “And men need to compassionately understand that women are sensitive to perceived sexual interest and have been conditioned to be cautious and protect themselves against men.”

        If women do not even want to talk to “strange” men, just how is that a “perceived sexual interest”? Women do online dating. Right? All the men are strangers. Right? So, when you set up a date, you are agreeing to talk to a “strange” man. Clearly, you did not know the man.

        Maybe technology and the lost art of conversation is the big problem. People just don’t talk anymore. Maybe women now feel damn near any man who approaches, unless he is very attractive, is undesirable.

        I will stick to my friends with benefits. Just make friends wherever and however and then have sex.

    • “He is a very serious Buddhist and is celibate.”

      That would explain the seriousness.

      I’ve never understood celibate people. The voluntary types. What’s that all about?

      • Elissa he is celibate for spiritual reasons. I had asked him about it when he first told me he was voluntarily celibate and he said he wanted to take a break from sex and dating to focus on hobbies and other pursuits as well. I have met a few men who were voluntarily celibate. I sort of questioned it myself but inasmuch as many men are always looking to “get laid” or be on the prowl, its sort of refreshing to now some men are not lie that and do not always need sex or to date. Heck, maybe some women should appreciate that in a way given how some women perceive men as always thinking with their penises.Elissa, I hope this help and clarifies your inquiry.

        • Thanks cleopas – I was thinking more along the lines of a political celibacy – but maybe I’m reading too much into that link you posted. Do you believe that women are fearful of the trend of male political celibacy?

          • @elissa- pls what is political celibacy?

            • I’ll ask the questions here J.A. -:)

              Maybe something along these lines:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_lesbianism

            • Oh I thought we had kicked that one to the curb along with “gay men
              are caused by overbearing mommies”.  I do remember, fondly, gay until
              graduation feminism & that groovy kabuki makeup they wore- what a
              hoot. Or maybe not, a lot of it looked like aggressive women topping
              and turning out confused girls.
              15 years ago it was “I became vegan to get laid by sensitive chicks;
              now it’s mostly about pissing people off.” So what are we saying now-
              “celibacy is a great way to get laid”?
              And please I’m not anti- Buddhist, Thailand is full Buddhists who aren’t celibate…

          • Hi Elissa, I do not understand what you mean by “political celibacy”? I have never heard or encountered a man in my life who is “politically celibate”. I just know there a men out there who either become celibate, lets say for spiritual reasons http://www.brahmacarya.info/2010/02/retention-of-semen-2/
            Also there are some single men who for whatever reason take a break temporarily or decide not to date anymore. I know some take a break, like a friend of mine, for other pursuits such as hobbies. Some men (as well as some women) who have been hurt or “burned” in the dating scene decide to be celibate or not date anymore.They would rather remain single or unencumbered.

          • Elissa, I pondered a bit what you might have meant by men becoming “politically celibate”.
            There is an emerging movement within the greater Mens Movement called “Men Going Their Own Way” (MGTOW) http://www.mgtowforums.com/. These are men who believe in some type of Gender Separatism much like I believe there was a lesbian separatist group within feminism. The only difference is the MGTOW movement is composed predominately of straight men.
            These are men who in my opinion may have not had much success in the dating world with women and/or have been hurt badly by various women in their life, or just have had bad experiences with women in their life. The MGTOW encourages but does not mandate avoidance in dealing with women as much as possible or some type of celibacy. So yes Elissa there is a movement of men who could be considered politically celibate. As far as womens views of these men I would think it would be negative similar to how a man would feel towards a feminist separatist movement. However being a man I could be in error. How do you Elissa ( I am under the assumption you are a female) women feel about the MGTOW movement.

            • I’ve known a few guys that have done the whole MGTOW, usually it’s from being used, fucked around, or had a string of women who would be hot n cold, they’d get the guy interested then cut off the intimacy, really play around with that whole friend/lover boundary and cause major confusion with mixed signals. One had a girl messaging him the colour of her panties at midnight, yet she swears she didn’t know that was flirting….*eyeroll*. Basically they get led on, get sick of being played, usually meet women who are after attention or have “issues” and lose faith in finding a decent woman. They usually think the decent women are already taken, I think this probably happens more in areas where there are more men than women such as rural or mining areas.

              They end up just focusing on hobbies and not purposely trying to get a date, won’t approach women anymore, spend their money on their hobbies, cars, boats, bikes, and just have fun with the boys. Most I think are probably hurt, but some just feel disappointed by rejection after rejection.

              Women need to start asking guys out more. I’m sure there are women who swear off men too, confirmation bias helps play a role in both camps but as someone that has watched it happen and seen a guy go from happy, excited, to miserable as shit because a woman jerked him around time n time again, even had it myself a bit, I can see why they go their own way. I myself though am open to a relationship but I’m just cruising along till I meet someone who is single (nearly every woman I meet is married or dating already), and gets those butterflies rolling.

              I feel sorry for the guys that do the MGTOW thing out of disliking “the women today”. I know I hear many comments from some guys that Australian women are bitchy, attention seeking, users/players, selfish, yadda yadda bing bang bong, which applies for a few women but I don’t see that for all women. But these guys feel like that is the only kinda women they meet, I get the sense they realize good women exist but feel like they’re already taken/married/etc. It’s sad, but I do understand how they get there, and I have female friends who are the same thinking most guys are users, players, just want sex, yadda yadda.

              Those key influential people in a life can really fuck up someones view…I’m just glad I’ve known great women of all ages or I’d be one of those guys, we all need to have positive experiences with members of the gender we’re attracted to, so we know there exists people out there we can be attracted to and know we at least meet them. If you get player after player, user after user, it becomes very hard I think to realize there are good people out there that YOU could meet. It’s easy to say there are good people that exist but you actually have to meet them to combat the string of negative experiences otherwise it’s kinda like hearing about celebrities existing when you live way out in the boonies, you just don’t meet them ever or often. Like an elusive unicorn or something rare like that.

              These guys and girls need to meet good people of their age to know they still exist, I went through a time where the only nice women I knew were 40-50+, which does jack shit when I am in my 20’s, I didn’t have any confirmation that good women of MY age existed until i met some of my close friends I have today that changed my view on women quite a lot. Some of us get bad luck and only see negative people, I am just lucky I saw good people after that who restored my faith in young women (as in women my age, not my mothers age).

            • Good Point on women need to start asking men out. One thing that irks me about feminists is on one hand they desire equality in for women in all areas such as the business and political world. On the otherhand these same feminists still want to retain traditional gender roles in the dating world. This includes men asking the woman out and men initially risking rejection. If you want equality in the legal world you need equality in the dating world. I wish more women would ask men out. I think it is sexy and attractive when I am asked out by a woman. It shows the woman has moxie and is self confident.
              I surmise the Good Men Project is a website that is focusing on the healing between the sexes as opposed to a lot of feminist and MRA blogs which have a lot of angry men lashing out at women. The Good Men Project is about being a Good Man, striving to be a better man. Why do women come on here? Perhaps to find out what men struggle with or what issues men face. But the Good Men Project is for men.

            • I would like to know what women out there aren’t asking men out. I am not being facetious. I say this because the particular subsets of women I’ve known throughout my life have indeed asked men out. I have. I even know a woman who asked her husband to marry her.

              In fact, I had a conversation yesterday with a woman confronting her on the “I’m gonna always wait for the man to ask me out.” line. She wanted a man who was as assertive as she was. If he asked her out first then she figured he’d be that assertive. But, I said, how would he know if YOU were assertive. What if he was seeking assertiveness as well and waiting for you. It gets to be a ridiculous game. Just tell the person you like that you like them.

            • Realy Julie.
              Answer honestly, in a social setting who is approaching the most?
              Also, I love that you girls are approaching. I have seen more and more of that. But as I said on a different post. Even if the girl approach. The guy always seems to have to lead.
              A man has to:
              Lead. Even if she approached first.
              He have to make his case(who he is, what he wants, etc)
              He have to ask what her case is (who she is and what she wants)
              He has to interpret her answers.

              I think that approaching is a skill that you have to have a sertain mindset to do so that both parties feel equal. Alot of girls approach with a passive mindset forcing the guys to pick up the slack.

            • In my college community in the late 80’s (theater crowd, filled with straights but also LGBT) I saw a lot of women pursuing men and also women. In my mid-90’s community same thing. Now, this wasn’t a traditional crowd. There were artists, queer folk, feminists, outsiders in a lot of ways already willing to think and act outside the “norm”. Totally a non traditional non corporate fraternity/sorority type setting or people.

              Maybe that’s the difference. I saw a lot of women asking men out, making passes at men. I’m happy to concede it’s a subset of the population, but it exists. I do recall asking out a fraternity guy in college and he acted like I was about as weird as anything he’d seen. “Girls don’t do that.” Oh well, his loss.

              I for one asked out most of the men I’ve ever dated. I’ve most certainly hit on men. Regionally, I grew up in the south and experienced that as a place where social interactions were much more fun and flirty and easy than on the east coast. The PNW was hit or miss depending.

              I suppose if you seek a traditional person with traditional looks that strikes you how a “man” or “woman” must be perhaps those traditional roles don’t get challenged.

            • The difference is that both men and women (wrongly) feel that it is the mens resposibility to make everybody safe and comfortable.
              Take this creep discussion.
              Why arent men that are uncomfortable callen tha women for creeps?
              Because the men will blame themselves for their own feelings.
              Normally a woman hearing that a man are uncomfortable around her she womt wonder if she did something wrong. She will leave him alone because he “can’t handle her” or becuse he “needs to become more secure in himself”.
              Its great that you and other women around you are asking men out. But I don’t see men becoming better consumers as well.
              What would happen if approaching became more equal. Not just in the sense that women will ask men out more. But mens gender identity will have, just like womens, will contain the same sense of calm in the question of romance and dating. Basically what will happen if guys feel that they come from a place of abundance in dating sense. That they can choose. Notice that this has little to do with how much choice you actually have. Even girls with little choise will act like they have more choise that they have(this is the right attitude to have by the way. i’m not against it).
              if guys would have the same calm about it. i don’t think “asking” would be enough for most girls. Suddenly you have to stand out and be interesting. That is what irks me with the whole just be naturall talk alot of you girls seem to have.
              You are right of course. Be as anturall as you can. But it is a reason alot of guys have to read HOW to be like that and train to become like that. They arent uptight like that just because of some macho patriarcial macho mindset. They are like that the same reason most people wouldnt become good salespersons.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              I don’t mind approaching. I mean, at least I don’t have to spend all summer building an elaborate home, obsessively decorating it with treasures and food and then wait patiently for a female to happen by, wondering if it will meet with her approval.

            • ha ha – being a bower bird is no picnic!

            • Lol, these days since women can earn their own keep no you don’t but 50 years ago men that didn’t earn much weren’t really the pick of the litter.

            • @ Julie- Amen,I’m no catch & can report that in the 70s women on both coasts, NE, FL and the Rockies were asking men out & picking them up too.

            • I think there has been some serious culture shifts between the mid 70’s and 80’s into the 90’s. Seattle in the mid 90’s was FILLED with women (in my community at least) asking men out. Maybe between the economy, the war and the pushback of right wing politics, people are reverting to traditional roles? Or maybe it has to do with the communities in general.

            • AnonymousDog says:

              I think both population density and gender ratio make a difference in how men and women interact.
              Where I went to school as an undergraduate in the late ’70s/early ’80s, men outnumbered women by a 5-3 ratio, and the women seemed to me to be rather cool, distant and ‘guarded’. Where I went to grad school a decade later, women slightly outnumbered me, and it seemed to me women tended to be a lot more outgoing toward me.

              In general, my experience has been that I have been asked out by women who already knew me, but have almost never have been approached by unfamiliar women who wanted to get to know me. So I have to wonder if men and women have different ideas about what it means to ‘initiate’.

            • @Julie..

              I think most women do not ask men out. Yes, some of the younger/young women do. Most women simply do not do it. Sorry.

              There is a Huff Post blogger, Melanie Robinson who has been doing this one year chronology of her dating experiences in NYC. See the link below,

              http://1yearofonlinedatingat50.com/

              Actually, it is quite interesting and funny.

              She is adamant about two things: One, she does not call men, ever. Second, she does not ask men out.

              I think she is representative of most women, especially women in their 40s and 50s.

            • What I find hot and what other women find hot in another woman could be totally different. I’ve had the accusations of “Men only want hot chicks” and yet that doesn’t ring true for many I know. I see heaps of guys with women I personally don’t find attractive, and heaps with women I do find attractive. I think there is a lot of randomness in attraction…One girl I think is hot, was told by another guy she is ugly (which I hate that guy for!)

            • @Nick – if you are saying that I’ve set up a false dilemma, then you are saying that if a man is not physically attracted to me, I can change his mind somehow by my personality or whatever. That has just NEVER worked in my 45 years on this planet. I’m not saying it couldn’t work, just that it seems highly unlikely based on my experience. Men don’t get involved with women who they don’t find physically attractive. I think I am a warm, friendly, smart and engaging person but that won’t get me anywhere with a man unless he also feels a spark of attraction. Being a fairly average looking woman, and older as well, my problem is finding the small minority of men who find me attractive enough to date. Waiting for men to ask me out weeds out all the guys who don’t find me attractive (which is most men. I’m just being honest)

              Yes, rejection sucks, but that’s not the primary reason that I wait for men to,ask me out. It’s just the most effective way to sort out the men who are attracted to me from those who aren’t do that I don’t waste my time or make the men who aren’t interested in me uncomfortable.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              if you are saying that I’ve set up a false dilemma, then you are saying that if a man is not physically attracted to me, I can change his mind somehow by my personality or whatever.

              No, that’s not it at all. Let’s go back to what you wrote.

              If he’s attracted to me, he will do something. If he hasn’t done anything, he’s not attracted and there is nothing I can do to change how he feels.

              Okay, I used to teach formal logic so bear with me here a bit.
              Your first proposition is “If he is attracted to me, he will do something”
              P = “if he is attracted to me”
              Q = “he will do something”
              So your next statement is, “if he hasn’t done anything, he’s not attracted to me”
              In symbolic logic that is
              ~Q = “he hasn’t done anything”
              ~P = “he’s not attracted to me”
              This is standard modus tollens. Now we haven’t gotten to the false dilemma part yet, I just want to make sure we’ve got the construct correct.

              The false dilemma fallacy I’m referring to isn’t with your logic, it’s with your initial premise: “If he is attracted to me, he will do something” and it’s consequent. If he hasn’t done something, it does not necessarily mean it’s because he isn’t attracted to you. If could be because:
              He’s shy
              He’s unavailable
              He didn’t catch your indicators of interest
              Your “signals” are ambiguous
              He’s fearful of rejection
              Contrary to your intent, your body language says “leave me alone”
              He doesn’t have time
              He missed his opening to say something
              He got distracted
              He believes if a woman is attracted to him, she would do something
              To avoid being creepy, he overcompensates by not being forward enough
              He’s “on the spectrum”

              Okay, I have to share a little anecdote to show just how clueless some guys could be. In college (as a student, not as a teacher), some of my fellow students decided to go out and celebrate the end of a particularly difficult class. Mary, one of my group partners, asked to make sure I was going and I said, “sure.” I show up at the bar and chatted with a few people. Mary walked up to me and said, “hi.” We chatted a bit before she suggested we go outside because it was too loud.

              I should stop here and say Mary was an incredibly attractive woman. That’s not to brag about my ability to pull hotties (hah!), but rather to say she wasn’t your average looking “invisible” woman; she turned plenty of heads. With that in mind…

              I was caught completely unaware when, once outside, she pushed me against the wall and planted a kiss on me. In hindsight, all of the signals had been there and I had missed all of them. Earlier in the week she had invited me out for coffee. I told her I didn’t like coffee but loved hot chocolate; she said “me too” and suggested a place with good hot chocolate. She made a point of sitting next to me in class. She would smile shyly/coyly when I looked her way. When we would study together, she would often play with her hair or touch my arm when she laughed. And I had missed every. single. one. of her signals. I’m sure there are others I’m not remembering.

              Now maybe I’m somewhere on the spectrum (my wife asks me questions from the aspergers self-assessments and then laughs hysterically at some of the answers I give) but still, those were some pretty obvious signals. It took her planting her tongue in my mouth before I realized, “hey, this girl likes me. Oh, right! It all makes sense now.”

              Which brings me to my second point, the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If you never approach guys and assume that their not approaching you means they’re not interested, you will only confirm that no one is interested in you. Your body language will begin to reflect that and you will unnecessarily weed out guys who may be interested but need a little more encouragement than you’ve been giving. I’m not saying you should have to push him against the wall and swap saliva, but some guys may need a little more overt flirting to gin up the courage to risk rejection. No one likes going in cold.

            • @Nick, believe me – I flirt. I send out signals. I initiate conversations. I just never say “would you like to go on a date?” I stop short of that.

              The woman in your example was very attractive. Of course you will be thrilled when she made the first move. Same with Joanna’s example about asking out her future husband. Joanna is a young, attractive blond. So it works for them because guys will be happy to get the attention.

              Women like me don’t have the luxury of knowing that the majority of men we meet will think we are hot. We know that most won’t. So dating for us becomes a process of elimination, trying to identify the men who are interested from those who aren’t, knowing that most probably aren’t.

              Men can be shy or intimidated around attractive women. In my case, apparent disinterest almost always equals actual disinterest. I’ve been told I’m “beautiful” maybe twice in my life. I’ve never even been described as pretty. No one I’ve dated has ever said they were afraid to approach me initially because I was too attractive or anything like that. I’ve dated men who eventually told me that I’m NOT attractive and that’s why they were dumping me. I’m not bitter, it’s just the way it is. But asking guys out won’t help me.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              @Nick, believe me – I flirt. I send out signals. I initiate conversations. I just never say “would you like to go on a date?” I stop short of that.

              That sounds a bit less passive than in your previous response. Before it sounded like you were just sitting pretty waiting for someone to notice you and initiate a conversation.

              The woman in your example was very attractive. Of course you will be thrilled when she made the first move.

              Who says I was thrilled? I was oblivious. And I’ve never been intimidated or shy around attractive women. I realized long ago – maybe fifth or sixth grade – that people weren’t responsible for their genetics; that their faces being more symmetrical and closer to “average” was none of their doing. If I’m less likely to approach an attractive woman it’s because she’s probably been harassed all day with compliments and I want to give her some space to just be.

              I’ve dated men who eventually told me that I’m NOT attractive and that’s why they were dumping me.

              More than one? That’s horrible. It’s seems like dating one asshole should enough for a lifetime.
              Interestingly I just came across an article about the quest for beauty and money and it offers me just the glimmer of hope I need after hearing your story.

              I’m not bitter, it’s just the way it is. But asking guys out won’t help me.

              Which is more likely to help, sitting back and sending signals, or sending signals plus asking guys out? Or are they equally futile?

            • I don’t ask men out. I admit it. I never do it. If I like a guy, I try to send him signals that I’m interested but I don’t go any farther than that. I’m not a super attractive woman and I’ve learned over the years that either a man is sufficiently attracted to me to want to get to know me better, or he isn’t. If he’s attracted to me, he will do something. If he hasn’t done anything, he’s not attracted and there is nothing I can do to change how he feels. So asking him out would be a waste of time.

              When men complain that women should ask men out, they mean that the hot women they are attracted to should ask them out so that they don’t always have to take all the risks. They dont mean that in general they want all different kinds of women, including older women, uglier women, fatter women etc. to ask them out. Sorry if I sound kind of cynical but that’s been my experience, unfortunately.

            • Then you are cutting yourself off from a lot of great opportunities as perhaps some of these men are shy and wait for ladies to make the move. He (whoever he is) might be very attracted to you and waiting. But that’s simply my opinion.

            • @sarah..

              “They dont mean that in general they want all different kinds of women, including older women, uglier women, fatter women etc. to ask them out. Sorry if I sound kind of cynical but that’s been my experience, unfortunately.”

              I certainly understand how you feel. I really do not go after the “hot” women. I love the “underdog!” I see most women as attractive. Today when I went to the gym to work out, I noticed a woman glancing at me. She actually was checking me out when I came in the door. She was on the treadmill.

              She is what most men would call unattractive. However, I actually spoke to her and got her name. I think she has a great smile and engaging personality. I expressed interest in her through body language. She shared her work out days and times. I will see her again.

              So, not all of us men go after the “hotties.”

            • Nick, mostly says:

              I don’t ask men out. I admit it. I never do it. If I like a guy, I try to send him signals that I’m interested but I don’t go any farther than that.

              Likely to protect yourself from rejection. I don’t blame you, rejection sucks.

              I’m not a super attractive woman and I’ve learned over the years that either a man is sufficiently attracted to me to want to get to know me better, or he isn’t. If he’s attracted to me, he will do something. If he hasn’t done anything, he’s not attracted and there is nothing I can do to change how he feels. So asking him out would be a waste of time.

              You see the false dilemma fallacy in that, right? And also the self-fulfilling prophecy as well?

              When men complain that women should ask men out, they mean that the hot women they are attracted to should ask them out so that they don’t always have to take all the risks.

              Projecting much? But still, can you blame them if they do? I mean, after a few dozen times being shot down, sometimes a guy needs a break and an opportunity to let their egos heal a bit.

              They dont mean that in general they want all different kinds of women, including older women, uglier women, fatter women etc. to ask them out. Sorry if I sound kind of cynical but that’s been my experience, unfortunately.

              ibid.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Everyone should be asking out the people they like. It’s stupid that there are people who think men should be the only ones asking people out. I wouldn’t be married to Ivan if I never asked a man out. Ivan lurked around my store for weeks and weeks and weeks and finally I asked for his number. Same with another ex of mine that I really loved.

              And yes, I was rejected more than a few times hitting on or asking out guys. Aaron Eckhart (the actor) rejected me once. It still stings! Aaron Eckhart! Dreamy. Not so into the Joanna. Sad day.

              But you know, I got Ivan. That’s way better.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              How could you ever be into Aaron Eckhart? Did you not see In the Company of Men? How could you wake up next to him and not wonder if you were being played? Dodged a bullet, I say. :)

            • I don’t really mind women of all attraction levels (personality included) asking me out, it’s just I need to learn how to reject them nicely if it happens. I really hate hurting feelings unless the person is a real C&*% (Aussie version of word, non-gendered, an asshole). There are benefits to being approached that you don’t get as having to approach…

            • @cleopas…

              ” On the otherhand these same feminists still want to retain traditional gender roles in the dating world.”

              Yes, I have observed the same. I guess somethings just take time. It really does seem many women wish to retain the elements that give them power while demanding (rightfully so I might add) full equality other areas.

              For example, most women practice hypergamy, even when not needed. Men do not nor have they in any big way.

              When I hear educated professional women lamenting over the paucity of available men, I know it is because they are seeking a man higher in status than they.

              I was watching the Imus show last week. He has attractive blond (i love brunets) who lives in NYC and “cannot find a decent guy.” Totally laughable. Yes, I guess the pool of Harvard and Stanford MBAs is insufficient to go around. I guarantee you she is looking for a high status guy. Those guys have the pick of the liter! Take a number. Hurry up and wait, please.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              First, can either of you cite a feminist you know in REAL life who insists on retaining traditional gender roles in dating? I’m being serious. I have a degree in Women’s Studies and know a LOT of feminists, I was also raised by a feminist who was friends with a lot of feminists. And I don’t know any that wish dating could remain traditional.

              And really? Again with the hypergamy? You and I have talked about this – correlation, not causation.

              PS – Don Imus is a misogynistic slime bag pig, and well-documented. Please don’t base your ideas about women upon him and his shows and what he says about women… Though I’m starting to understand why you trash-talk feminists.

              But seriously, tell me about the real-life feminists you know who wish the dating world would remain traditional.

            • @Joanna……

              “PS – Don Imus is a misogynistic slime bag pig, and well-documented. Please don’t base your ideas about women upon him and his shows and what he says about women… Though I’m starting to understand why you trash-talk feminists.”

              You see, this is why I cannot engage in any rational discourse with you. I said zippy about Don Imus. I was referring to one of his largely female staffers Joanna. Do you know most of the people behind the scenes are women and/or minorities? He does have a wife who is Jewish. Did you know this Joanna?

              I do not watch his show for anything other than entertainment. I take nothing serious he has to say. I agree with very little of anything. He does happen to have people of different viewpoints on his show quite often.

              Here is what burn me up about women like you. Many women like you just love Elloit Spitzer but hate Don Imus. Why?

              Please take some time and re-read my comments Joanna. You simply saw the Imus name and immediately started projecting. I never said anything about feminist. I was referring to women. I think most women are feminist. I have nothing against women or feminist.

              Again, I have nothing against feminism. I happen to give my $$$ and time to a shelter for homeless and battered women. I know the challenges and frustrations of many women in America, especially poor and minority women. I have great empathy for women in America.

              Yes, there are some things that just do not sit well with me either. I, being the son of a proud Marine, am going to voice my opinions.

              Stop watching your own movie Joanna. The world is truly larger than the both of us.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              First, I don’t give two craps about Spitzer, but I don’t think he ever publicly called educated, athletic and respectable young ladies “Nappy Headed Hos” like Imus did.

              Last, you actually did say “feminists” when talking about women who want traditional dating roles. Go read your own words.

              I think it’s great you donate to a shelter. I don’t think you hate women, I think you hate feminists.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              Wait, I thought that hypergamy was found to be limited to caste societies; even though western women talk about it, on the whole they don’t marry up (or down, for that matter).

              As for traditional dating, I know a flesh-and-blood feminist who prefers traditional gender roles in dating. Yes, I’ve called her out on it. If she persists with the “guy does the asking and paying” attitude I’m going to revoke her feminist card.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              btw, I should clarify that I know a feminist like this. As in one. Singular. Make of that what you will.

            • Just a side note Joanna, do your feminist friends have blogs or use online social media, etc much? Would they be ones to comment on these types of sites? Reason I ask is curiosity on if a heap of feminists aren’t actually using online debates and so many of us might only be exposed to a tiny fraction of feminists.

            • @Joanna…

              I do not hate feminists Joanna. I do not hate women. I hate no one!

              Just because a person is critical of a thing does not mean he or she hates it!

              Feminism to me is a very good thing for women, men and our country. I have never studied feminism or read any feminists. I did real Jane Fonda’s book Prime Time. It was a great read. However, I really do not know if she is a feminist. Last year I read Arianna Huffington’s, Third World America. Great book. Great woman. I happen to agree with most of she wrote in this book. We just happen to be on opposite ends of the political divide.

              At least I am willing to read and listen to those who do not share my views (Arianna Huffington). At least I am critical of those who even share some of views (Ann Coulter). We should all try to maintain an open mind and avoid the name calling.

              Feminism to me is about human dignity. It is about humanity for women. Women have been oppressed, repressed and treated in undignified manners. The feminist movement among all the specific just demands is ultimately about restoring human dignity. How can one be oppose to that? I do not know.

              Obviously many men are opposed. I am NOT one of those men.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Some people practice self-restraint as part of their kinky side. Paradoxically, there can be something kinky about being celibate. Or if not kinky a kind of self-satisfaction in what they are not doing. Celibacy is not necessarily the absence of all traces of sexuality. Technically, it could just mean not engaging in particular physical behavior.

    • @cleopas…

      Why do you keep insisting that men need to show more empathy and sympathy? Look at your friend. What did he ever do to a woman to be driven to involuntary celibacy?

      NOTHING!

      But then you have the very same women who do not mind if some jackass whom they are attracted approach them. This is the reality of the real world.

    • Not that I agree with them fully, but there is a reason there are a lot of “bitter MRA blogs”. Not all modern women are great and it is possible to get a string of bad women in your life who are quite influential like a girlfriend, a good friend that abuses your trust, etc. You can find the same shit on the female side of the fence, I’m sure many women go through times of bad men, just as the comments on the porn thread seem to indicate about women seeing men quite negatively.

      Maybe these days people as a whole are more selfish, or maybe the good people are just rare to find, I dunno, but there is a lot of pain out there for a reason but too often people dismiss these MRA’s or feminists as just angry, bitter, and hurt without listening to their pain. If you read their stuff and everytime someone says all women do x, all men do y, if you change it in your mind to a few influential people did x/y and it hurt me a lot, it becomes far more clear as to where their pain is from.

      There are reasons there are so many guys that feel they have no power in dating for instance…maybe women need to start listening to them, just as men need to start listening to women for their concerns on men’s power with whatever.

  13. KKZ, excellent response. There really is not much to say. But I guess you make a good point that it is sort of part of a womans evolutionary dna to be cautious of men.
    I guess the only response as a man I can point out is many men get mixed messages. If a man demonstrably tries to appear to aggressive with women, I can acknowledge where he can be labeled a creep. However, if a man decides to be celibate, or not to be so passive with a woman inasmuch as their are a few men who have little interest in sex(not all men have strong sex drives), he could be labeled “weird” by a woman or pejoratively labeled “gay”. It’s like as a man “your damned if you do, your damned if you don’t. I think a lot of women enjoy “the chase” . Just my 2 cents.
    Thats why gay men are probably confusing to women. Here is a group of red blooded men who no matter how pretty or sexy a woman is -he will not chase her. Perhaps some women might secretly resent gay men or celibate men inasmuch as they may be “safe” but they have no interest.

    • Not evolutionary DNA in a literal sense – I was referring more to how we’ve been conditioned by society to be cautious. The “Never walk in a dark parking lot alone,” “If you’re meeting a guy you don’t know, do it in as public a place as you can,” “Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to atack” sort of mentality that women, at least in my generation, were raised on. (Side note: Funny that I never noticed growing up how much I was spoon-fed these messages until I came to a site like GMP and came to question those messages for the first time.)

      A celibate or sexually non-aggressive man is only perceived as “weird” by women who believe that all men are sexually aggressive. Which is A LOT of (most?) women, because that’s the popular mythology of our culture. What’s more, a woman may not even be phased by a man being non-aggressive if she’s not looking for or expecting sexual behavior. For instance, I’m a married woman and not sexually available to men other than my husband, so I’m not scanning every man I know for his sexual interest in me (unless he gives me a reason to). Whereas a single woman, someone who wants or expects sexual attention, will be scanning for that and may be confused if she doesn’t find it.

      What you’re describing with the mixed messages – the examples you use are extreme ends of a spectrum, hyper-aggressive and totally celibate. And because they are extremes, outside the average or norm, they will get labeled – aggressive men as creepy, celibate men as weird. There’s nothing wrong with celibacy, but it is unusual; I think most women aren’t prepared to encounter it, and may be distrustful, suspicious or just confused about a man who is voluntarily celibate.

      Tongue-in-cheek, I add, a heterosexual woman is only resentful of a gay dude not being into her if said gay dude is remarkably sexy, or if said het woman is particularly egotistical.

      • Good stuff again KKZ. Yes I see where I was referring to two extreme sides of the spectrum in terms of the aggressive man and the celibate man. However, as a single male I would surmise it is better to err on the side of the “celibate” or passive side. Better to be labeled sort of weird for being passive or indifferent as opposed to “creepy” or too aggressive which could cause a woman to feel she is in some type of danger. So I would say for single men in the dating world, it is better to err on the side of passiveness.
        That was a funny “tongue in cheek” remark about sexy gay men but true. I have heard women call a handsome gay dude “a waste”. So in a way since a lot people think the majority of people who are homophobic or who resent gay men are males, perhaps there are just as man females who are homophobic or resent gay men. Just some food for thought.

        • And then you get men who are passive, complaining that women just pass them over. As you said before, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. No one said dating was easy, each person must find the balance that works for them and that attracts the kind of person they want to be with.

          I still disagree that there are many het women who actively resent gay men. It gets joked about a lot, like in the “such a waste” comment, but I’ve never heard a woman earnestly express actual resentment, or that she feels threatened because there’s a whole subgroup of men she can’t attract. If anything, you might hear disappointment when she finds out that a guy she is attracted to is gay, but resentment suggests she takes it personally, and I don’t think that’s the case.

          If anything, I think it works the other way around… het men are confused by and/or resentful of gay women, because men place a lot of value on their ability to attract women – it makes them feel good, makes them feel powerful – and the notion that they don’t even have a CHANCE with a gay woman is disheartening. I have heard more than one man claim (and sound pretty convinced) that he could persuade a gay woman to go straight, because he’s just that good at sex, just that attractive, just that manly that no woman can resist, gay or not. You really don’t find a lot of women making that claim about being able to turn gay men…because they’re not interested in turning gay men straight, they already have enough straight men to contend with as it is!

          • KKZ I do not agree with you regarding gay women and men being resentful at them. In fact there is a whole genre of “lesbian porn” that is very popular amongst het men. In fact a lot of men get turned on by watching 2 women intimate and also think it’s sort of cool when they meet a lesbian. Now much like as you stated women may feel disappointed when handsome guy is gay- some men may feel disappointed as well if a women is gay. But I think most men get turned on and actually think its cool when they meet a pretty gay woman, imagining watching her be intimate with another woman. Now I am speaking of a feminine gay woman. There are many guys that have no attraction to a “butch” or masculine gay women and could not care the least if she was gay.
            Now you stated some men may think they can “turn a gay woman around”, I have heard and some gay men state they have met straight women who have wanted to “turn them around” or hit on them. My friends brother is gay and has mentioned he has had straight women do this to him.
            Generally speaking men are perceived as being more aggressive sexually than women and a lot of times thinking with their “penises” and being the pursuers after women. Hence, many women have been socially conditioned to be cautious of men (as you so aptly pointed out to me). So in my opinion a gay man especially a handsome masculine gay man is much more radical a concept as a gay women. Here is a subgroup of full blooded masculine men who no matter how sexy or pretty a woman is -he has no interest in dating or having sex with a woman. As you agreed some women may use the term”what a waste” when they see a handsome gay man and you pointed out it is just an expression of female disappointment rather than resentment. However if a woman told some gay men’ Their a waste” or they think some good looking gay men are “a waste”, this could very well offend and hurt the esteem and pride of a gay man. Gay men receive enough insults and prejudice from some straight men, that being labeled some sort of waste of a man and human being could be seen as very hateful and/or offensive.
            Finally, on the point about some passive single men complaining about being passed over by women, I still thin it is better to err on the side of the passive continuum in the dating world. Better to be a passive single man as opposed to too aggressive and appear potentially violent and dangerous to a woman. Lie you said women have been culturally conditioned to be cautious of men given there have been rapes by men to women throughout history.
            I

            I

          • Just realized how potentially misandrist that last paragraph is – it makes a lot of generalized assumptions about hetero men and how they feel about being attractive to women. Sorry if I overstepped or rubbed anyone the wrong way.

            • I liked hanging with gay women, back in the dawn of time, when I was looking to pick up women.
              1- The chances of someone on the team getting it wet were greatly increased.
              2- Het Women tended to get aggressively hetero after being hit on by a gay woman- which greatly increased my traction….
              3- You want some good sex tips; women who have the equipment, in which I was interested, and experience of giving & getting are pretty good sources.

              But that was bar culture; when cocaine wasn’t addictive.

            • I agree with KKZ that I don’t see a lot of resentment either from het women of gay men (unless you’re against homosexuality in general). Mostly disappointment, sometimes made easier with jokes (the ‘what a waste’ example). The only time I could see real resentment is if a gay man was with a woman or led her on. Sometimes, he just isn’t sure of his sexuality yet, and that’s understandable. But if he’s using her as a front, she deserves an apology.

          • Not at all, KKZ! In this week’s Savage Love column, Dan mentioned that in his younger days, during a particularly long dry-spell, out of desperation he would take young women up on their offers of blowjobs, but lay back and pretend that it was Bo Duke blowing him. Yeah, but that could just be something about Dan that made women approach him with offers of sex acts, right?

            By some quirk of the universe, I have a good friend and a lot of acquaintances who are gay men. I’ve seen it first-hand– there are lots of straight women interested in gay men and trying to turn them straight. It’s human nature, I think, because we don’t value things which we obtain too easily. The dating-advice gurus say that women like a challenge; while interest from straight men is so commonplace as to get annoying, what greater validation of a woman’s attractiveness could there be than to bed a gay man?

            (And, if I may continue to speculate, the pursuit of gay men is risk-free: If he doesn’t respond, the woman doesn’t have to feel like a failure, or unattractive. It’s because he’s gay, of course he won’t respond! I think it’s the same motivation behind people of all genders and orientations pursuing people who are unavailable. It’s low-risk emotionally with the potential for an enormous pay-off.)

            • Fair point – I guess I just haven’t encountered those kinds of women much in my own life, so it seems to me that if those women exist, they must be in the minority. I could be wrong, though!

            • Oh, I’m sure that they are a tiny minority, but there are enough that I’ve noticed them.

      • @KKZ

        “Tongue-in-cheek, I add, a heterosexual woman is only resentful of a gay dude not being into her if said gay dude is remarkably sexy, or if said het woman is particularly egotistical.”

        It always comes down to how the woman perceives the man. She thinks she is always entitled to have it her way. Regardless.

  14. “Creepy Old Guy Tricks”

    “I notice today, my ability to hear is inversely proportionate to the expanse of the cashier‘s cleavage. I guess I’m not looking at her lips. …..”

    http://standup2p.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/creepy-old-guy/

  15. wellokaythen says:

    Let’s see if maybe I can bridge some of the divide here.

    There are some behaviors that are pretty much inherently creepy in the sense of aggressively discomforting or even threatening other people. It’s hard to imagine anyone welcoming such behavior in 99% of the cases.

    There are other behaviors that are entirely situational and subjective as to whether they are “creepy.” It depends on the context, and it depends on the internal things going on in the person who may or may not feel “creeped out.” (Like the aforementioned gift-wrapping your penis for a Christmas present — not recommended for a blind date, but after a few years of marriage not inherently bad. I do recommend having a second present to offer, however, just in case….)

    As a person, I am to some degree responsible for the effects of my actions. Meanwhile, people who react to my actions are to some degree also responsible for their own reactions. A reaction can be perfectly understandable in the circumstances, or it could be totally off-base because of a runaway imagination, or partly justified and partly not. Just because someone has a reaction to me does not mean that I am wholly responsible for that reaction. Maybe so, maybe not.

    I have a lot of responsibility for contributing to the atmosphere around me, but I’m not totally responsible for ALL of the ways that someone could possibly react to my presence. To hold me totally responsible for all the ways that other people around me might feel is just another kind of boundary violation, only it’s a violation of my boundaries. Don’t push your emotional boundaries all the way into my core and make them all about me.

  16. People that I have known to use the word creep have usually been socially lacking.

    Most people do not seem to have skills per se. Skills to me means doing, creating. I think that the average person are skilled in fitting in. Which have some soical element. But social to me means creating interactions or understanding other people. i’ve seen little of that around me. There is an illusion of those things. Mostly created by everybody conforming to a set of social unsaid standards. But as soon as we go outside of that standard most people can’t seem to deal at all.
    This was something i’ve learned just recently in my life.
    Funny thing is that I actually CAN read people very well, TOO well actually (I have always been uncomfortable with others because the main feeling that I sense around me is fear). It became easier for me to relate with other people when I just igored what kind of feelings people around me sent out.

  17. My friend Rubio – who was on the second Paging Dr. NerdLove podcast – is short and fat. And yet the man gets ass like somebody in a car chase who plows through an ass-cart and crashes through a plate-ass window… because he knows how to be attractive.

    So how about an straight-forward, non-hand-waving, specific description of how to “be attractive”?

    • Also, is he well off? Middle class, upper middle? Would a low income earner have the same chance?

    • Like yourself. Authentically like others. Humor is useful. But not requires. Be interested in the world. Positivity and excitement about life is huge. Bitterness and anger at life is really it attractive. That all seems vague yes? Well I suppose it is but the people I adore all have those qualities. Frankly is getting tail is the only goal I don’t know what to tell u

      • Fhe question is, to me, are people to be used in an utilitarian way, as means to an end or are they complementary parts of your whole life, playmates and collaborators. If you agree with the former then I suppose looking for a formula to get what you want (not you in particular) makes sense.
        It’s a question of how you want to be in the world. We live in a consumptive culture that does treat people like tools. I reject that. I always have though.

  18. I always become annoyed when people say that alot of guys just can’t act natural.
    A man has to:
    Lead. Even if she approached first.
    He have to make his case(who he is, what he wants, etc)
    He have to ask what her case is (who she is and what she wants)
    He has to interpret her answers.

    All the responsibility falls on the man.
    If he wanted a ONS and wherent clear of that: his fault. She never has to ask what he whants.
    If he wanted a relationship(casual or other more serious) and changed his mind later. His fault. Doesnt matter at all that what he would know about her is based on what he have to ask of her. She have never made her case or told him who she is on the get go.

    Whit this sort of power dynamic I can really understand why women like the word “natural”.
    Just like you felt it was natural and fun to get served food by your parents. You even complained when you didn’t get EXACTLY what you wnated. It’s fun and perfectly natural to just get stuff.

  19. And, regarding “artists” and sketching in public places… :-)

    http://www.twogag.com/archives/2323

  20. I guess everyone has to find a balance between maintaining their genuine “self” and having self awareness and social respect. It’s not going to be cut and dry across the board, the human population has a vast variation of standards and preferences.

  21. Today’s takeaway: body language and communication is rocket science for many, and the incapable will often choose not to educate themselves.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] These are comments by Kaleb Blake and Julie Gillis on the post “Creepy Behavior and the Difference Between ‘Attractive’ and ‘Attracted&#821…. [...]

  2. [...] has been coming up a lot in the blogosphere lately. There were several articles at Pandagon, and a few at GMP like this one, and I’ve read through them all. I’ve felt relatively [...]

Speak Your Mind

*