Thursday, 10 May 2012

Say What?

Reading the responses to yesterday's post left me awfully gloomy. Another generation of nice girls being scared out of their wits by thoughtless, presumptuous and sometimes even drunken and/or violent men. And this not including the girls who were beaten and raped. Argh!

This is the part where I remind myself and you that most men are not like that and most men are horrified by such behaviour. There have always been men who have said things like, "Pardon me, Miss, but is this man bothering you?" and sent said man packing. When I was younger, and my brother N.S. was still in the Armed Forces, he used to say things like, "Hey, you. That's my sister." It always made me laugh, but I appreciated it anyway. For one thing, it came completely free of controlling-brother behaviour.

Beyond the bad behaviour of the strange men in yesterday's testimonies, what really struck me was that the commentators shook for a week afterwards. This is not surprising. I would shake, too. But my great wish is that we would not be so taken unawares of bad male behaviour, but somehow take it in our stride. How do we maintain an optimistic attitude about men and yet at the same time be prepared to deal decisively with bad male behaviour and go on our way rejoicing?

As usual, I think we do that by remaining rooted in reality.

We acknowledge that most men are good, but most men are also conventional and won't make a fuss on behalf of a complete stranger unless she looks directly at one of them and says "Please help me."

We also acknowledge, however, that we have male friends who might know even better than we do what protection we might need from other men and are willing to provide it.

We acknowledge also that some men are racist sexists (or snobs) and will treat women of another race (or social class) badly if they can get away with it.

We also acknowledge the role of alcohol in bad male behaviour. (Alcohol, by the way, is a factor in most violent crimes in Scotland, and if I can at all help it, I never go into a pub alone. I avoid being around drunk strangers ANYWHERE alone.)

We differentiate between what is merely annoying, what is merely scary, and what is really worth being seriously angered and disturbed about. I wouldn't stay bothered about some moronic comments, but being touched against my will is indeed a big deal and I hope I would scream the place down. My knee-jerk reaction to men behaving badly, however, is to give them a dirty look and leave. It's been some time since some moron laid a hand on me, possibly because the second I get mad or nervous, I'm gone. I don't care what anyone thinks. I'm outta there. TAX-I!

But the fact that I wish to stress again is that there are men who would say absolutely anything, including "I bet you're much too snobby/racist/stuck-up/prissy to talk with me," to bamboozle you into having sex, wanted or not, with them. There are men who would tell any lie.

I think this is very important because the next time any of you are sitting in a railway station or pub or sitting-room and some guy starts confusing you, I don't want you to smile weakly and feel stupid and that there's something you're not getting and it's all your fault. It's not your fault. You feel confused either because the guy is either deliberately trying to confuse you or because he has no idea how to behave. And if you can't think of anything else to do, hand him your drink, say "Hold this for me" and leave. That should confuse HIM. Find a stationmaster or a taxi or your hostess.

But now I think I should lighten things up by thinking of things men say to get women to whom they aren't married into bed. I can only think of a few because, lucky me, I haven't been that hit-on-able. I have always looked a tad intimidating, what with the crazy hair and all.

You can add to the hilarity by adding things you have heard in the combox. Then we can all have a good laugh, and if some guy says one of these things to you, you can shoot him down or simply go away and then have another good laugh.

1. "You can't get pregnant the first time."
2. "So how Catholic are you?"
3. "If you want to get your stuff back, you'll have to come home with me."
4. "But the whole concept of virginity is nothing more than a mediaeval construct aimed at preserving property and keeping women as chattel."
5. "You should come and see my room now because I'm moving to a new one tomorrow." (This was at 1 AM.)
6. "God can just blame me. I'll willing to take all the blame."
7. "There is no God. Therefore if the only reason why you won't sleep with me is God, that's pretty stupid."
8. Any variation on "If you won't, there are other girls who will" which generally gets trotted out only by jerks one has a crush on.
9. "What? I no understand... My Eenglish, is not so good..."

Tomorrow I will write something nice about nice men, but today we dance another tarantella on the heads of bad men.


Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

Fortunately, no one's tried any such thing on me. But I think one thing a lot of people do say, whether they're aware of it being manipulative or not, is something along the lines of "If you really love me..." or "Don't you love me?" in the context of some relationship. If they're engaged, the "We're getting married anyway"/almost committed mentality happens.

Also, "Don't be such a prude." etc.

Today's Swashbuckling Protector really IS a swashbuckling protector. I was watching a special feature on the CBS website from his current show, and the producers told a story. I guess they were filming a scene, but he missed his cue to come on, and everyone was like, "Where's Jim?" Well, Jim Caviezel had heard a dispute where a guy was getting rough with his girlfriend and stepped in and stopped him. And he married a lovely NCB from a good Catholic family (she gave a talk at a women's conference I went to).

Can I suggest a future SP? Eduardo Verastegui is both very handsome and a re-vert to the faith. :-)


Larissa L. said...

"You're catholic! That's why you people have confession!"

Sarah said...

"After your classes, do you want to come over to my place? My mom won't be home." lol!

Anonymous said...

I guess I have more stories than I thought! This one, tho, is more of a good guy story:
I was at a party hosted by a friend of mine and her boyfriend at his house. It got late and we decided the best idea was for all of us to just sleep there (and avoid driving). One of the guys there, however, was quite my friend's boyfriend (a marine) took him outside and warned him that all of us girls were totally off-limits, ect. ect. Apparently he was quite convincing, because drunk guy came back loudly promising all of us that he would respect our honor, and telling us how much he admired us for making the right decision. His last line was the best tho: as us girls went upstairs to sleep, he called after us: "Don't worry, I won't even think of coming up these stairs. After all, your first time should be with some drunken stranger at a party!"
No, no it shouldn't, drunk guy. Thanks for the advice. :p

J said...

That last anonymous comment was from me. :) sorry about that!

Mustard Seed said...

Hahaha. Here are some of the bloopers I've been told:
- "The view upstairs is really great. You just have to come up and see it, just really quickly. It's an amazing view."
- "But not acting on your feelings seems... unnatural."
- "It's important to me to get to know a woman holistically."

Med School Girl said...

"But sex is so natural. It's what couples do."
Yes, sex is natural, but so is farting. It doesn't mean they're always appropriate.

Seraphic said...


Ha ha ha ha ha! <;-D Ah ha ha ha! ROFL!

Sitting Pretty said...

From some guy at a wedding: "What? You've never seen 'Footloose'? That's ridiculous! We should go back to my hotel room right now and watch it."

Same guy, later that night: "Ten years from now, we'll have wonderful memories of this night... the night we first met!"

Said to one of my college friends by a classmate, outside a lecture hall:
Guy: "I broke up with my girlfriend last week."
Friend: "Oh, I'm sorry. That's too bad."
Guy: "The worst part is, I'm feeling really sexually frustrated right now. Want to come over to my room after class and help me out with that?"

Seraphic said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! Stop it, girls. You're killing me. I have housework here. Ha ha ha ha!

(Keep 'em coming.)

MaryJane said...

My favorite happened in high school, at a ski lodge. My girlfriend and I were flirting with some boys we had just met. Without blinking, one of them turned to me and asked, "do you want to go have sex?" Stunned, I asked, "right now?" "Sure" he said, motioning towards the bathroom, "we could go right now."

(Of course I was an NCG, so there was no chance, but I was truly shocked by his frankness. I had never been propositioned before! Or ever so blatantly since.)

american in deutschland said...

This one might belong in the comments to the last post, but it struck ME as funny and at no point did I feel afraid, so I'll add it:

SCENE: I am walking down the street in Munich, on my way to my German class. It's 9 in the morning. A youngish man begins walking beside me. I wonder for a second if he's asking for money, but he's not dressed like he's homeless.

YOUNG MAN: [in German] Hi.
ME: [startled into answering] Hi.
YOUNG MAN: Do you have a boyfriend?
ME: [still brain dead] No...
YOUNG MAN: [something in German I don't understand]
ME: I don't speak German.
YOUNG MAN: [makes HAND MOTIONS miming sex]
ME: [in German, and giving him a look] NO!!
YOUNG MAN: No? Alright. [leaves]

Then I started laughing. I guess because it was broad daylight, we were surrounded by other people on the street, and it was so quick and he left so easily that I never felt scared. Also -- AFTER I told him I didn't understand enough German to even field the question, he still forged onward. Gross.

It's the only time I've ever been approached by a stranger (in a predatory way), except once on the bus when some guy asked where I was going and if I was meeting friends (creepy). I've never been legitimately hit on (am 23) -- which is ok if it means avoiding "hand motions guy."

Grad in a Big City said...

Yes, after these posts I find myself unbelievably thankful for my good friend, who is both a true southern gentleman and a physically intimidating ex-rugger. Sometimes he lets me do my independent thing and sometimes he brooks no nonsense and insists on taking me home in the evening.

Seraphic said...

Ew! Ewwwww! :-P

Define for me "legitimately hit on"!

Since I am the queen of this blog, if not the world, I shall decree that the only legitimate way to be hit on goes like this:

Guy: Tell me you know that beautiful girl.

Your Pal: Why, that's [you]. Would you like an introduction?

Guy: Yes, thank you very much.

Your Pal: [You], this is [charming interested guy]. I am sure you have something in common, so chat.

You: Um, okay. Hello!

Guy: Hello! Where did you meet [You Pal]?

Guys at the mall yelling "Lookin' FAIIIIINE" don't really count in my books. (She sniffs with hauteur.)

Jam said...

Guys shouting "Nice t**s!" "Hey mami!" "Girrrrl!" "Mmm, your body" or the equivalent = sexual harassment. Or street harassment. It's about power and maybe possibly sex, but mostly power.

A dude at a party who stands far too close, suggests going upstairs or back to his place, and eventually contrives to rest his hand on your butt is hitting on you but in a base and disgusting way, and this kind of thing falls more on the harassment end of the scale in my book.

I was in a bookstore once, travel section, and this guy sort of wandered past behind me and said in low tones, "planning to go somewhere?" I turned up the ice and ignored him. He sort of shuffled to a stop two feet past me and tried again: "traveling somewhere in particular?" I gave him a hostile glance, at which he dropped the soft voice and said "oh gosh, I'm sorry, I just saw you and I thought you were cute, and I never do this, but I just wanted to know if I could take you out for dinner." Which made me feel slightly bad for then having to tell him I was, in fact, moving abroad in two days. Anyway, that, in my mind, is a "legitimate pick up" (or an attempt at one). It's the only time it's ever happened to me, for the record.

And then, having himself introduced by some kind of mutual acquaintance and carrying on a nice conversation lands on the "heavenly" end of the scale, and perhaps someday I will achieve it.

theobromophile said...

Said by a drunk man who shoved me up against a wall and started to kiss me (yuck...):
HIM: I want to f--- you.
ME: Eeewww, get away. [struggles]
HIM: Why not?
ME: I barely know you and you're engaged.
HIM: Don't worry about my fiancee.
ME: I am worried. Get off me!
HIM: But she likes the ladies.
ME: Then why are you marrying her?
HIM, lecherously: Because she likes the ladies.

Jam said...

I think my comment got munched... which means you're all spared the long version ;)

The example I would give of "legitimately hit on": once I was in a bookstore, the travel section, and a man (roughly my age) wandered past behind me and said in a low voice, "planning a trip?" I turned up the ice and ignored him; his wandering petered out a couple of feet past me, and he tried again: "are you going somewhere in particular?" This time I gave him a little offended glare, and he dropped the soft voice and said, "Oh gosh! I'm sorry, I just saw you and I thought you were cute, and I never do this, but maybe, would you want to go to dinner with me?" Which then made me feel slightly bad for having to say that I was moving abroad in a couple of days. Anyway, it was dumb of him to go around speaking soft and low to strange women* but overall, I thought it was "legitimate" because in the end his request was for a date and not, e.g., to know what color panties I was wearing. Not to say that if I hadn't been on my way out of the country I would have said yes.

Men shouting things like "nice t**s!" or "hey mami!" or "Girrrrl that body!" - none of this comes anywhere close to "hitting on", it's harassment plain and simple. Those guys are picking on women the way bullies in school pick on quiet nerdy kids; in neither case should you think it's a sign of "interest".

* I am particularly hostile to the Sexy Voice tactic because usually when strange men lean in and say something soft enough for only you to hear it, it's not suitable to be repeated. It's just really alarming and inappropriate behavior, I think, from a stranger.

amy said...

When I was 19 and home for Christmas break visiting a cajun dance hall, an older man (50) asked me to dance - this is not uncommon and so I accepted. As we step out of the floor and in his arms he turned his beer laced words my way and said, "I've been in Alaska for the last nine years, and you are the first beautiful woman I've seen." Was I supposed to feel sorry for him? He followed his first gem up with, "I saw you shelling boiled crawfish" a notoriously difficult dish to eat gracefully "and when you wiped your mouth with your sleeve, I said, 'That's the girl for me!'" Which was the point at which I was utterly mortified and learned that when you do uncouth things in public, uncouth men may be attracted to you. I refused subsequent dances...

Ashley said...

"Adam knew Eve. And I want to get to "know" you."

"Are you serious?! You've never... Wow, I've never met anyone who never..."

"What a waste of your youth. It's positively unhealthy."

Btw, I love the newest SP! Jim is a parishioner at my church and I was thrilled to give him the "sign of peace" one Sunday. It's so beautiful to see him devoutly praying... in the front row, no less. A real SP!

Just Another Catholic Girl said...

These stories bring to mind a really cute guy that happened to be driving next to me and another girlfriend on the highway. He never said anything of course, but there was quite alot of engine revving and flashers, winks and a big smiles. LOL, we were laughing SOOO hard in the car hahaha!

Urszula said...

"I do really good foot massages. At my house."

"I'm standing at your doorstep and it's really cold outside." (text message at 11 PM from a work colleague who thought paraphrasing the famous song would work)

or the best/worst so far:
"You know, I'm a very respectful person. You could sleep in my dorm room (in a single bed) just as a friend and I promise nothing would happen. I'm Catholic too! When I was a baby, Pope John Paul II held me when he came for a pilgrimage to my country"...!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, reading these reminded me of a guy I met one summer in high school. We were facebook friends, and were chatting online. He asked me how I was doing, and I said I was fine, but a little chilly. He then says "well, maybe I can come over and warm you up." Seriously.