One of my pet peeves in life, and a consequence of being a woman, is unwanted attention from men. Just in case that sentence becomes misconstrued, let me clarify. I do want and love attention from men. Just not all men. I want attention from men who I find attractive. Not random idiots off the street who, unfortunately, are the largest group of admirers I seem to have.
The first type of offender is the random cat-caller on the street. The construction workers, the smarmy guys driving by in their cars, and the leering strangers walking by on the street. I’m am not impressed or turned on by some leering stranger saying, “Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmmmm. Hey baby.” Last night on my way home from work, some stranger, a delivery guy, walked past me on the street and did the whole, “Hello, baby. Can I help you carry that package?” while looking me up and down. “No, you cannot help me carry this f*cking package. Leave me the f*ck alone!” In fact, on my way to and from work, there are entire blocks I will avoid if I know there is construction going on. It’s just disgusting to have to deal with that kind of verbal assault, and no matter how good looking these guys are, their approach is a deal-breaker.
The second type of offender that is even worse is “the regular.” These are the men who live or work in your neighborhood or who work in your office, or because of some situation you are forced to deal with them on a regular basis. It’s impossible to escape them and in spite of the fact that you will give them no encouragement, they will repeatedly hit on you and ask you out indirectly. A few highlights from my life:
- A guy at work who insists on hanging out around my cubicle and never directly asks me out, but hints at reasons I should go to his place, or reasons that we should get together, etc.
- A guy who lives in my neighborhood who I see walking his dog. He never directly asks me out either, but he calls me names like “cutie” and “sexy” and always wants to stop and talk and hints that we should walk our dogs together.
- My personal trainer who is always trying to conjure some reason that I should meet him outside of the gym, and especially at his apartment.
Because none of these men officially ask me out, and because I need to keep a professional tone to some of the situations, the way I handle it is to just evade the issue. I change the subject, or make a snarky remark. You’d think that they’d get the hint and lay off. But, nooooooo. First of all, I don’t date people at work. Tried it once and it blew up in my face. Second of all, I don’t date personal trainers who work at my gym whether or not they are training me. Third of all, the guy who walks his dog is physically repulsive, and I don’t date men who are physically repulsive.
While I find that ignoring the first type works well, though on occasion I let rip a string of obscenities, I find that I cannot seem to find a polite yet definitive way of dealing with the second type. Why is it that some men behave this way? Cat-calling, incessantly bothering women who show no reciprocal romantic interest? Have these men lost all pride, or are they just stupid?
I don’t have any answers today, so I’m hoping that some male readers can shed some light. Or that other women can share some techniques.
This was a guest post from New York Moments. Her blog is no open but nine years after we first met through blogging, we are still close friends and we meet up when I’m in New York or when she comes to London.