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:Offerings to the Adventure Gods
I used to talk to strangers more until I had too many run-ins with men who ended up being attracted to me and got creepy about it. Thoughts/recommendations?
I’m not sure I have any suggestions, since I haven’t really encountered this problem. Either guys rarely hit on me in a creepy manner, or I have a high tolerance for guys hitting on me, so it doesn’t usually come across as creepy.
To give a better sense of my creepiness-tolerance: a few weeks ago, I was walking through Baltimore, near Johns Hopkins, and a (black) man complimented me on my appearance. I forget exactly what he said, but it was something in the same range as “you have beautiful legs”. I smiled, said “thank you!”, and kept walking without slowing down. He said “you have a nice day, now!” and didn’t bother me after that.
During this incident, I was aware of a few things: (1) this is the sort of creepy “catcalling” that people are always complaining about on Tumblr; (2) normally, this wouldn’t bother me in the slightest; but (3) because the riots were going on, I found myself a little bit nervous.
But it was broad daylight, and there were people everywhere, so for the most part, I wasn’t scared. In general, I’m not afraid of random guys hitting on me when (1) it’s light out and (2) we’re in a public place. Based on things I’ve read on Tumblr, though, a lot of people do get creeped out in these situations.
Last week, a guy actually did make me nervous. I was walking on the river path, and a guy rode past me on his bike. He said hi, I said hi, we talked for a couple minutes as he rode, and then he got off his bike to walk with me. As we walked the (maybe ¾ mile?) path back to town, it became increasingly clear that he was hitting on me, in a way that seemed predatory and not merely “I appreciate your appearance and personality, and I’d love to get coffee with you sometime, but if you don’t want to, I totally respect that”. He seemed to view me more a target or a potential conquest or something. (I couldn’t tell his race just from looking at him, but he spoke with a little bit of AAVE grammar, and I recognized this style of hitting-on-girls from back when I lived in a poor neighborhood in Rochester, NY; it seems to be part of black culture but not part of white culture.)
Anyway, he asked me a lot of personal questions, e.g. where I live. He asked “do you live in Harpers Ferry, or Maryland?” which seemed like a reasonable question, and I answered “Harpers Ferry”. But then he kept asking me things like “do you live alone?”, to which I made the mistake of answering “yes”, since I have trouble lying to people. But then I started answering more noncommitally. “Where do you live in Harpers Ferry?” “Oh, you know, just… in town.” “Do you live in a house or an apartment?” “Yeah.”
Right as we were approaching the bridge (and at this point I was really wishing he’d go away), he picked me a branch of honeysuckle and tried to give it to me, complimenting my beauty. I absolutely refused, and chastised him for hurting the plant. He tried to give it to me again, and I threw it away. He kept asking why I didn’t want it, and trying to get me to take it, and I kept flatly refusing. (All the while, though, I was smiling politely at him and generally being polite and patient.)
Just as I was leaving the bike path, in order to climb the stairs to the bridge, he asked if I wanted to go for a ride with him sometime. I said no. He asked a couple more times, but I kept saying “no” very firmly while also still smiling and being polite. Then I climbed up the stairs, very relieved to get away from him.
Is that the sort of thing you encounter, when you try to seek adventures?
Honestly, if that kind of thing happened to me all the time, I’d probably stop taking walks along the river path. Already, I’m wary of encountering this guy again, since he said he rides there frequently. But we’ll see what happens.
(I haven’t had much of a problem with creepy guys. I’ve had much bigger problems with shy nerdy guys who develop huge crushes on me and then end up heartbroken when I’m not interested. And it’s that which makes me a more closed-off person, and has made me wary of becoming close friends with single nerdy guys.)