azurelunatic: funny t-shirt: "I am a bomb technician: if you see me running, try to keep up." (bomb tech)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺 ([personal profile] azurelunatic) wrote2016-07-11 12:48 am
Entry tags:

A litany of unfortunate dudes

In the past 8-ish years, there were a few Dudes Hitting On Me In Ways That I Did Not Appreciate moments.


There was the guy who seemed affable but vaguely sleazy, seemed to think that throwing money at situations was the best way to help what he wanted to happen to happen, and had a very quiet girlfriend whose round stainless steel necklace's clasp took a hex key. "I like your necklace," I said quietly, and she looked surprised and then colored.

He seemed to be flirting with me; I was flattered but sort of ignored it, since I wasn't into him that way, and he already had a partner. He pestered me for my legal name so he could add me on Facebook. I said that I didn't answer to that, really, but he persisted and I gave it to him. "Oh, you're right, you're really not a [birthname]," he said.

Later, he would contact me, calling me by my birthname, telling me that he'd broken up with his sub and he wanted me to come over, dress up in a maid costume, and help him ... move? clean? something.

I was not enthused. I believe that was around when I blocked him. There were just all these little sub-threshold things, adding up to the idea that I didn't want or need to be around him, and I owed him exactly zero.


There was the guy who came into IRC all excited about having Finally Found His Tribe, who hardcore pinged the alarms of one of the guys. He took a liking to me, and was local, and was sort of alarmingly friendly out of proportion with what *I* had put into the relationship. At the time, I was seriously struggling with my sleep schedule, and found myself awake at weird hours, trying to lull myself to sleep reading Twitter and retweeting things. He took this as a signal that I was awake and possibly available to chat, and didn't seem to Get It when I said that I was not available to chat, I was in the middle of my sleep cycle. I was apparently tweeting a lot for someone who was asleep.

I finally did go hang out in person one day when my power went out and I wanted to be where there was light and electricity. I did a shopping run, got my phone charged, and had a cup of tea. He hugged me goodbye, just a shade longer than I might have preferred, but I was okay with the awkwardness as long as it didn't become a habit.

Then I got a FEELINGSBOMB email (timed just before bedtime), and I looked at it and it was a whole bunch of questions that were reasonable if there had been a mutual decision to start on a relationship and everyone was on board with doing the emotional labor that it takes to start up a relationship, but this was a whole lot more than I had signed up for.

I had a moderate freakout, because I felt it was super unfair to get such a thing, have read it, and then be expected to either ignore it until I had time (impossible; it would burn a hole in my mind) or spend the time and attention on each concern to treat it with the amount of seriousness that I would hope someone I liked would spend on my crush, and neglect my sleep before work.

In the end, after getting moderately angry, I emailed back to say that all of this was more than I was prepared to handle thinking about. Then he defriended me. Happily, that seemed to be it; nothing else happened. I had a panic attack because I wasn't expecting the defriending, but no additional shoes dropped.



There was the Creepy Note Leaver at work. Two days in close succession, I got a post-it with the same bad handwriting left on my cube at work. My Overlady was appalled. I was appalled. My manager was appalled. I took down the schedule I was keeping for when I was expected in next, and I found a place to hide a motion-activated webcam in the forestry of office supplies near my monitor.

No third note was left.


There was the Creepy Security Guard at work. He'd drop by and say hello, and I thought he was sweet *but*. There was just this little edge that said he was interested, and it was not something that I really wanted. As long as he wasn't mentioning it, though, I was okay pretending to not notice.

One day he addressed me as "Beautiful", and I abruptly found myself on the edge of a panic attack. I found myself sticking ostentatiously to Purple's side. I talked to my manager, #cupcake. lb and phone mostly got it. Purple was trying to be supportive, but was confused why it was pinging me as dangerous.

Having learned that people who I never would have dreamed would do terrible things turn out to have done terrible things and I ignored the clear and present signs, the question changes.

The first question is: do you feel any level of threat? Not even the "this is a clear axe-murderer situation", just the "I'm not sure if I feel safe around this person..."

That tiny threshold level of unsafety switches the question from "how likely is he (usually he) to hurt me?" to "How badly could he hurt me if he wanted to?" It stops being about that individual person's odds of being the one who will pass their threshold for assault or other violence and coercion, when you're the one in their zone of opportunity.

Some people who intend great ill show this plainly to society. Others who may intend great ill may be able to conceal their intent, and only give a whisper of notice to those who are attuned. Those are the dangerous ones. Those are the ones where no-one believes us when we say that this happened, that it was not okay with us. Those are the ones where suddenly we're the ones on trial.

It's life-ruining levels of hypervigilance to be that much on guard around everyone who trips off your weird feelings, so that's where power-to-harm assessment comes in. This guy is acting sketchy, but he's not looking at me. This guy is twitching every which direction, and he might be on drugs that make him stronger than he looks. That guy just yawned and stretched, and he's got a gun shoved down the front of his pants I can see the handle, but he also isn't acting super aggro, so I can probably be OK if I just keep him in my indirect line of vision without catching his attention. (All people I've run into, though not in the same bus ride.)

Security guard means, that if he decides to harm me if he makes a second offer and I refuse him, I'm fucked. He's the immediate local authority. I would have to explain why I wanted a *different* guard to come. That means social dynamics. His supervisors are more likely to trust him than me. It's a big campus, and it would take someone else a while to get there. It's an isolated campus, and it would take the local police a while to arrive.

What are the odds of him pulling that one? Unknown. But [list of friends] did not beat the odds. What makes me think I am different or safe? What is his capacity for harm, should he decide to execute it? Substantial.

I chose to avoid being alone with him as much as possible.


There was the night janitor at work, who was very sweet and I did not feel threatened but it seemed awkward as hell.

That was shortly before my contract ended. I worked on my timing, in not being excessively available. Then I was gone.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2016-07-11 03:20 pm (UTC)(link)
>> Having learned that people who I never would have dreamed would do terrible things turn out to have done terrible things and I ignored the clear and present signs, the question changes.

The first question is: do you feel any level of threat? Not even the "this is a clear axe-murderer situation", just the "I'm not sure if I feel safe around this person..."

That tiny threshold level of unsafety switches the question from "how likely is he (usually he) to hurt me?" to "How badly could he hurt me if he wanted to?" It stops being about that individual person's odds of being the one who will pass their threshold for assault or other violence and coercion, when you're the one in their zone of opportunity. <<

YES THIS.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2016-07-11 08:15 pm (UTC)(link)
...I'm not sure if this comment is a bad thing to say. Please tell me if I've screwed up?

>> He was surprised that I felt so physically unsafe so often, and appalled to the point of near disbelief when I said that I thought I felt more safe in general than most women. <<

Yeah, that's one thing that is hard to explain. But important.

It sucks.

A lot of guys just don't get it. Maybe some queer guys. Probably most trans men. Maybe a fair number of men of color would if they took the mental side-set to analogize, but analogy isn't identity. Men with visible disabilities might well be able to analogize, again.

(On the other hand, I don't generally have to fear racist motivations for attacking me even though I have done a lot of reading and listening about the topic of racism. Privilege is a thing.)

And it's sad to see but also really really reassuring, to me anyway, when somebody does take the time to understand, at least intellectually, the physical danger and frequent safety-checking experience of being female or feminine.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2016-07-12 12:12 am (UTC)(link)
>> and watching him being eyed suspiciously and followed around <<

There is nothing like watching a loved one be treated unfairly to make people realize, oh, yeah, hey, large numbers of people in a variety of groups are being treated unfairly.

>> It had been eye-opening for him, and sobering. <<

I'll bet.

>> That chatroom has a large enough critical mass of men who do get it, that they can start educating each other. <<

Good. It shouldn't be the sole responsibility of people who have been hurt by racism, sexism, ableism, etc - or by anything - to advocate for changes in the very social patterns that hurt them.
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)

[personal profile] snippy 2016-07-11 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
All the energy that we use on these social interactions, just trying to keep ourselves safe. I already have trouble going around strangers when I'm intentionally trying to be social and make new friends; this just lessens the energy I have for what I want to do.

[personal profile] sithjawa 2016-07-11 11:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh god I remember the time of guy #2 x_____x

[personal profile] sithjawa 2016-07-11 11:49 pm (UTC)(link)
That Guy was... sure a That Guy.