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This is really an addendum to the first two posts.

Part the First, Subsection A:
Further unscientific surveying of every woman I know, regardless of age, confirms that women really hate it when they're on the bus with their headphones in and reading a book/magazine/kindle/pda/whatever, and guys interrupt them to hit on them. Regardless of what the guy looks like.

If you insist on hitting on a woman in those circumstances, unless (and sometimes even if) you're bringing something spectacular to the table, you're going down in flames.

"I spend eight hours a day on my feet, doing customer service. The last thing I want to do is deal with more people on the way home. I don't care who you are, how good-looking you are, whatever. I have my music and my book, leave me alone," a friend of mine said at a bachelorette party the other night.

Part the First, subsection B:
The proper response to, "I'm sorry, but I'm already seeing someone," is NEVER "Why don't you ditch the loser and get with me?"

I know, we keep telling you women like confident guys, but that word doesn't mean what many of you seem to think it means. You seem to be confusing "confident" with "arrogant douche," and those two terms are not interchangeable.

Seriously.

And you get no bonus points for using this "witty response" in front of said relationship. Because discounting the worth and humanity of another human being in front of someone who likes them enough to be with them is sooooooo sexy. /sarcasm

This goes double for telling a lesbian (or gay man) that you could fuck them straight.

Part the Second, subsection A:
Those clothes do not mean what you think they mean. Someone brought up in a response that one reason "normal" dudes hit on the "hawt deth chix" is that they assume, by virtue of their clothes, that they'll be sexually free and kinky.

First, having been a goth for a million years and having worked in a goth and sometimes fetish bar, I can assure you that this is not true. Gothy, subculture women have about the same odds of being sexually repressed or free as other women. I understand the impulse to believe that if someone flouts convention in one area, they must flout it in all others. But that simply isn't true. An awful lot of goth girls want the same 2.7 children and palace in the suburbs that non-goth girls want, they just want a black picket fence.

Second, while women do often dress to attract men, as I said before, they dress to attract certain men. And sometimes, they dress to please themselves rather than other people. So, the assumption that the sexy, sexy girl at the bar dressed that way solely to attract YOU is incredibly arrogant. Meaning, that even if she is dressed to attract potential relationships/sex partners/whatever, there is no guarantee that you are the relationship/sex partner/whatever that she's trying to attract. So take no for an answer and back the fuck off.
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Uniforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But sometimes it does have something to do with you, with an apparent lack of anything in common: i.e. golf shirt guy -v- goth girl. And if you don't have any readily apparent common interests, then exactly why are you hitting on her anyway?
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...his refusal to accept my "No" over something as small as a drink kind of demonstrates an unwillingness to accept "No" at all, and if he's not going to take no for the small stuff, why would I think he would take no for an answer when it came to the big stuff, like sexual contact.


Ok, I have been having a marvelous (at least I think so) time talking to Clarisse Thorn (http://clarissethorn.wordpress.com/) and her commentariat about the word Creep. And to a point, I can agree with her: We need to quit using the word Creep. Yes, it serves a purpose, but it's too broad, nebulous and indiscriminate a term to really be useful.

What I think we need to do is give women a vocabulary to more accurately describe the various and sundry actions that make up "creepy" behavior, and empower them to use that vocabulary. I think we need to take a little advice from Jay Smooth (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiXc), about talking about racism, and frame the discussion, when one is warranted, in terms of, "That thing you did right there is not ok, fucked up, wrong..." as opposed to "You're a creep." And I think we need to convince everyone that once someone says "No," that's the end of it.

Why do I say, "when one (a conversation/discussion) is warranted?" Because the majority of what makes up "Creepy" behavior is when guys won't take "No," for an answer, or better yet, demand a reason for your "No," instead of just respecting your boundaries.

(It should go without saying that this behavior is not ok from any gender towards any gender, period, full stop. I'm using he and she where they appear because of the most common incidences of these behaviors.)

The crux of "Creepy" behavior is unwanted attention. There are many forms that attention can take and we'll talk about many over the next week or so, among other things, because damn, do I have a lot to say on the topic. But the #1 unwanted attention that gets guys labelled creeps is, like I said, either not taking "No!" for an answer, or demanding an explanation for that "No," in the hopes they can counter it and convince you to change your mind, before they'll leave you alone.

Seriously, neither of these behaviors is ok, and if you engage in them, you are rightly labelled a creep, regardless of gender.

No one owes you their time and attention.

Once you have approached someone and they have rebuffed you, continuing to press your suit or demanding an explanation (that you can hopefully counter) is fucking rude and presumptuous. It presumes you're entitled to more of their time than they want to give you. When someone says, "No, thank you." They shouldn't have to follow that up with "Please, go away," or escalating profanity. That's it. You are not entitled to any more of their time. Hell, you weren't entitled to the time you took up in the first place.

There's a saying, "Your rights end where mine begin." This goes for women, too. Your "right" to interact, ends with my right to be left the fuck alone.* Your desire to hit on me, get to know me, talk to me because I seem like an interesting person, ends with my desire to get home from work unbothered and finish reading my book.

And I have written about this before, both here and at California NOW's website. If someone is sitting on the bus, wearing headphones and reading a book, I do not possibly see how they could more clearly communicate the message, "I do not wish to interact with the outside world. Leave me alone."

"But how can I convince her of my sparkling wit and honorable intentions?" I hear some of you asking.

Well, the truth of the matter is, regardless of what commercials tell you, you can't. And she doesn't owe you that chance to convince her. That woman owes you nothing more than the civility and politesse that grease the wheels of impersonal interactions. Just as you don't owe her, or anyone else, a chance to convince you of her sparkling wit and honorable intentions.

No one "owes" anyone anything other than, as I said, basic civility and politeness. And expecting a woman to put up with your intrusions because you find her sexually appealing is not polite. Particularly after she rebuffs you.

Now, as I've written before, I'm a three strikes and you're out sort of girl. Strike one, you hit on me and I say "No." Strike two, you press the matter/don't take "No" for an answer or demand an explanation, I say, "I SAID NO!" in a very firm voice. Strike three is continuing to press the issue, demand an explanation or, better yet, insult me for rebuffing you. At this point I have decided that you, perhaps, need a reason to go to therapy and the torrent of abuse and scorn I am about to rain on your head is going to be it.

Seriously.

Honestly, I don't like to be rude to people, and it makes me exceptionally angry when someone makes it clear that rudeness is the only reply they'll respect. It's kind of like several people I've known throughout my life. You can talk reasonably to them until you're blue in the face, but they won't take you seriously unless you lose your shit at them, at which point they'll sulk and tell you you didn't need to yell (ARGH!). There's this fairly widespread damage in our society that you can't take someone seriously (especially a woman) unless she gets angry, really angry, like waving a motorcycle helmet over her head and threatening to beat you into unconsciousness with it angry (yes, that happened).

I would like to use the motorcycle helmet incident as illustrative of what I'm talking about.

I'm standing in a bar, already talking to a guy. And another guy, wearing the frat boy uniform**, walks up and interrupts my conversation to say, "Hey, can I buy you a drink?"
I respond, "No, thank you," and return to my conversation.
He says, "Come on, it's just a drink."
I say, "I said, No, Thank you," and return to my conversation.
He says, "It's one drink, It's not gonna hurt anything."
To which I escalate, "What part of 'Fuck off' do you not get? I said no. Go away."
He says, "What, are you a lesbian?"

At that point, I grabbed my friend's motorcycle helmet and threatened to beat the guy into unconsciousness if he didn't get the fucking fuck away from me.

That guy was a Grade A creep.

If he'd taken my first "No," at face value, as he was actually cute in spite of wearing the frat boy dress code, who knows, I might have found him later and asked if that offer was still good. As it was, his refusal to accept my "No" over something as small as a drink kind of demonstrates an unwillingness to accept "No" at all, and if he's not going to take no for the small stuff, why would I think he would take no for an answer when it came to the big stuff, like sexual contact.

And the thing is, this behavior is fairly widespread among men regardless of what social group they belong to. I've seen jocks, nerds, punks, goth dudes, fetish guys, men from every social strata and walk of life engage in this behavior, and it needs to stop.

Yes, if someone is out at a bar or a danceclub, possibly at a coffeeshop or other store, there is a fairly good chance that they might be looking for social interaction. You go up, you introduce yourself, you make your play. If they say no, withdraw. POLITELY. You've had your shot, and for whatever reason they have declined your advances. It could be your appearance (attractiveness or clothes), it could be that they just aren't looking for company after all. It could be one of a million reasons that have fuck all to do with you. You don't know, and they don't owe you an explanation.

Bear in mind that the reasons someone may turn you down can be many and varied. They may not be attracted to you. They may be having a shitty day. They may be in a relationship (we'll get back to that). They may just want to be out in public without having to deal with anyone more than necessary. They may have just lost a loved one or pet and don't want to interact, but don't want to be home absolutely alone either.***

The important lesson that everyone needs to take from this is that sometimes IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. AT ALL.

Another important lesson is that why they said no doesn't matter to YOU at all. What matters to you is they said no, and if you don't want to be labelled a creep, you'll respect that no, regardless of why you THINK you got it.



*And, oh, we will talk about people who presume that because a woman is out in public, whatever she's wearing, that she wants attention. Yes, we will.

**We will talk about "uniforms" and other things to do with clothing later, because that's a big topic a lot of people ignore.

***And yes, I did once turn someone down after my grandfather had just died, and when he kept pressing the issue, he got WAY more than he bargained for in the arena of an explanation of just what kind of insensitive dickhead he was. Because I didn't know him well enough to go into why I didn't want to chat, but he kept pushing and pushing and pushing, and finally, well, there you go. Like I said, you just don't know and it isn't always all about you.

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