Tuesday, June 12, 2007

approaching

When I go walking in the park, I wear dark clothes, headphones, and big, dark sunglasses. I am not there to be social, I am there to work out. I don't talk to anyone and, with the rare exception of someone asking for directions, nobody talks to me.

On Saturday, I was doing the last mile of my second lap when I noticed somebody jogging next to me. Jogging very close to me, slowly, to keep the same pace as my speed walking. I looked over at him, annoyed. Usually, people in the park follow etiquette and pass each other or allow for a certain amount of personal space. Then, clocking his interested look, I realized why he was jogging so close to me.

I stopped walking, letting him run a few paces. He stopped too, then turned around and walked back toward me.

This is when I noticed that even though it was Saturday afternoon, and even though we were on the "safer" side of the park, the stretch of track where we stood was in the shade and completely empty of people. That's when I got scared. I realized that even if I sprinted, the closest person was easily a hundred or more feet ahead of me. If he had some kind of weapon on him, I could be in trouble.

I was rooted to the spot, unable to move.

Just before he reached me I said, with great hostility, "Can you please leave me alone?"

He paused, then walked out of the park. I finished my workout, a little shaky, hating the guy for making me feel unsafe in a place I frequent, in broad daylight.

----------

That night, I went to a concert with my friend Music Mandy. The two of us got to the venue early and chose a spot where nobody was standing, to crowd watch and wait for the first opening act.

A few minutes later, I sensed a guy standing right next to me, I mean right next to me, when there was plenty of open space around us. I groaned inwardly, because the guy was hovering, and I knew he was going to try to talk to one of us soon. I faced away from him, chatting with Mandy, but a little while later I felt a tap on my shoulder.

I turned around, bracing myself. Standing next to me (too close!) was an older man with a dark pony tail.

"Can I take you out sometime?"

"Um, sorry, but I'm kind of seeing someone." I smiled awkwardly and turned back to Mandy.

*tap* *tap* *tap*

I turned back to him.

"What's your name?"

"Dolly."

"Well, can I get a number for your so that we could talk some time?"

"No, I'm sorry." I gave Mandy a Look and murmured, "Let's take a walk."

That's twice in one day. I'm sympathetic to the fact that it takes a lot of guts to make that approach, that it's not easy to put your ego on the line. However, there's a difference between casually expressing interest and making a woman feel deeply uncomfortable (or worse, actually afraid for her safety) with one's interest. Respecting personal space is key, as is noticing a woman's body language. If I'm wearing dark glasses and not looking in the guy's direction, or if I keep turning away to talk to my friend, it should be pretty obvious that I'm not interested.

After these two unpleasant incidents, I felt more guarded than usual, though I did end up enjoying the darkly experimental, noisy concert.

I ended up at a club with friends after the show, where some drinking, dancing, and socializing raised my spirits.

A group of us took over a stretch of banquettes and later in the night, this guy came over. He looked like he was trying to sit on on one of the unstable end tables, before changing his mind and sitting next to me.

"That's much better," he said.

"Yeah, I don't know why you'd sit there when there's miles of couches in here."

"Well, I wanted to sit near my friends."

"Oh, you know these people?" That's when I really looked at him, noticed he was actually pretty attractive.

"Yeah. What, you think I came over just to hit on you?" He raised his eyebrows, smiled.

I laughed. "Well it's been a strange day for it..."

23 comments:

butcher said...

so you don't give guys a chance.

Have a profitable week,
butch3r - http://butch3r.wordpress.com

Dolly said...

Correction, Butcher: I don't give CREEPY guys a chance.

Leigh (the DFMer) said...

yeah, come ON. Dolly shouldn't have to apologize for this. It almost amazes me how horrible the average guys are at approaching women. The only successful "pickups" I've ever witnessed happened when the guy first and foremost made the girl feel comfortable. (humor helps too).

As girls, we have to put up with a lot of crap. Guys staring, inappropriate comments, etc. We're naturally very weary of strange males. So if you want a shot, do NOT make us feel uncomfortable. It's like the most obvious thing in the world.

monicker said...

Oh! So creepy! I've had my share of similar scary pick-ups. I don't know how so many guys don't know this yet, but it is NOT cool to play the stalker!

Jack Roy said...

Well, as my man Dan Bern put it (in a song with some lyrics perhaps not too safe for work), "If certain girls don't look at you / It means that they like you a lot / If other girls don't look at you / It just means they're ignoring you / How can you know, how can you know?"

Which is just to highlight that you're not objecting to someone's improper motives but their lack of talent at pursuing those motives. Which you have every right to do---being a grownup means you have to meet certain baselines. But it does strike me as a somewhat complicated objection---usually we don't think it's very nice to resent people for not naturally being skillful at something. It seems almost mean.

So, you know, I'm playing the world's tiniest violin for the creepy guy in the park. (But I'm playing it exquisitely.)

meredic said...

Hmm... So if I stumble accross you by blog hopping and then leave a comment i am going to look like the guy in the park ... or the one at the table.
Oh hell.
Greetings.

Dolly said...

Leigh,
Word. If we feel unsafe or threatened, that is not our fault for being too paranoid or "not giving the guy a chance."

Monicker,
Yeah, my friend Polly has a stalker and it's baffling that he continues to contact her after she has plainly told him that she's not interested (and mentioned that his excessive calling/emailing is one reason why!).

Jack,
Trying to pick up a girl in a shady, isolated part of a park is like trying to pick up a girl in a dark alley. I honestly thought this guy might want to hurt me. So you may understand why I can't share your sympanthy. That's not lack of talent at attraction, that's oblivion to basic human behavior.

Meredic,
Haha, I'm not that paranoid! And besides, I'm not averse to all new people. I enjoyed talking to the guy at the club very much.

Jack Roy said...

Hey Dolly,

I attempted to underscore entirely how much I agree with you and don't have any actual sympathy for the guy in the park. (That attempt apparently failed. Alas.) I wouldn't like someone who acted that way and I wouldn't fault anyone who didn't like such a person. I just find it somewhat interesting and thought I'd comment as much.

Cheers,

JR

Dolly said...

JR,
In all fairness, I did feel a little bad for the second guy, the one at the concert, because I felt like he had to work up some nerve to talk to me, just to have me shoot him down. I really don't envy men and the rejection they get when approaching women. I wish I could have been a bit nicer in turning him down, but I just didn't know how, because he made me feel so uneasy.

Michael said...

Actually, I thought your rejection of the second guy wasn't so bad. Rather than just ignoring him and turning your head, you actually acknowledged that he was talking to you. We can only hope that he learns to calibrate better.

Signing Power said...

It is always baffling to me how the approach of a man who is most likely merely socially awkward and therefore harmless is considered creepy.

Yet the calculated maneuvers of the socially skilled with the possible ulterior motive of only wanting to get into your pants is considered flattering.

I remember reading that the serial killer Ted Bundy was an adept charmer of women.

Girls throw that term around, and most times I've found its because they found their would be suitor unattractive and the same actions by someone they find attractive are considered cute.

I feel the real creeps are people out to use you, not those who can't meet you in first place.

creativemindin said...

I found the pickup world about a year ago and learnt a few stuff...funny thing is they work... Only problem is I dont feel real most of the times when I am 'smooth'... and I am not real because I dont really feel anything... the less I feel the more comfortable I get and more comfortable I make the other person... because I can walk out anytime.. and I dont care

its ironic but the times when I have really felt for someone, I have messed up.. maybe because I came of as creepy... I wonder why it'snt the other way round... why cant I have someone when i am nervous and genuine and myself..

Darwin

Dolly said...

Michael,
Yeah, the second guy probably wasn't a bad guy, but just not socially savvy. However, even if he was, he still wasn't my type, so I wouldn't have been interested, regardless.

signing power,
Not all socially awkward guys are nice guys and not all charmers are creeps. There are plenty of shy guys who use "nice" behavior in a manipulative and selfish way, whether or not they realize it, and there are plenty of charmers who are genuinely cool people. So it's dangerous to generalize. But also, I don't think it's asking too much for an adult to be able to socially relate to others. I used to be incredibly shy and it took a lot of work to get over it, but others could do the same--and should, if they want to have successful relationships.

Darwin,
See, I'm actually a sucker for some social awkwardness and shyness. For me, these two guys came off as creepy because they came on too strong and invaded my personal space. The third guy was funny and friendly and put me at ease right away. In general, though, I have found that the best relationships I've had have been ones where I can be myself and not be afraid to show my dorky side (and vice versa). It has gotten to the point where if a guy is too smooth, I find it phony and annoying.

Omar said...

For anyone wondering how to approach, I recommend the following piece:

http://robertoverman.blogspot.com/2007/06/reviewing-fundamentals-opening.html

There is no excuse to say anymore that "I have approach anxiety."

And I don't mean me, I mean any of you that still use this or any excuse to stand in the corner and say that "I just want to relax. I'll open: when I'm relaxed / done with my beer / after I use the bathroom / make this last call / die."

Wayne advocates that there are two critical aspects of opening: vibe and logistics.

I agree and have chosen to add another:

There are three critical aspects of every opening:

1) Vibe
2) Logistics
3) Commitment

Vibe - MY vibe. How I am viewed as a result of my physical appearance, personality, body language, and personal details. MY vibe has to be good. It should be excellent as soon as I walk in a venue. Just like going to the gym, there are no excuses. There is no "I don't feel good tonight." I think of vibe like opening an oven door and feeling the warmth radiate out.

Logistics - HER logistics. Is she non-committal? Is she cold and distant? Is she looking all over the place or furious texting in her cell? Will she not go on an insta-date? Will she not bounce with you for late night food at your place? Will she not answer your calls or texts except for weird hours? Will she not go out on Thursdays because of Gray's Anatomy? These are all logistical issues (some could also be an issue with comfort, but that's another post) on HER part. They are likely based on problems that YOU don't know exist because YOU haven't gathered the requisite information necessary to successfully make it work out with this girl.

Always, ALWAYS, gather as much information as possible at the beginning of every interaction/date/relationship with a girl to know what you're getting yourself in to.

Commitment - MY commitment. Even with a good vibe and clear logistics we can run into trouble in the form of tests (real or imaginary) and "bad" reactions from women we approach. Dimitri would call it "expect resistance." Troy would say to increase your threshold of quitting. Same thing. It's about commitment. Be opening, I have willing committed myself to that set. And even if it doesn't go smoothly, it will go, because I know that I'm committed to it.

Jay C.M. said...

I see you link to the blog "Moxie in the City". Unless she changes someday, I would be careful about recommending that blog. Moxie can be pretty abusive of her posters and pretty judgemental and is not apologetic about that.

I am (was) Jay C.M. on Moxie's blog. I've learned you aren't allowed to disagree nor "call" Moxie on her own bad behavior when she's abusing others or being hypocritical. On Moxie's article
http://moxieblog.typepad.com/moxieblog/2007/06/titty_titty_fin.html I tried to make a post (see it below)...Moxie didn't like it, erased it, now I'm banned (no warning, no notification). I've never been profane, insulted anyone, and think I've always written reasonable things.

Apparently Moxie is allowed to be abusive towards her post-ers and violate the principles she requires of others, but you are not allowed to "call" her on that behavior.

Even though Moxie benefits from the members of her online community (since it's one of her attractions that people can write in & get advice from other singles), but she wants the freedom to attack/abuse/insult them, belittle them, silence dissenting viewpoints, silence criticism, treat them peremptorily and unfairly, and present a sanitized version of herself. Heh, and I noticed later that same day she threatened to ban Mike for disagreeing with her. Interesting little false world she's building for herself & profiting off of.

Here's the disallowed post (all in response to Moxie's repeated attacks on the poster called Cricket...and I did try to discuss this in email with Moxie but she was just condescending and hypocritical):

Wow, just read Moxie's anger and attacks.

>Oh My God. SHUT. UP.

This seems inappropriate & unfair, and sure to keep some people from ever posting. Of course, your blog, do what you like, but this won't lead to open discussions. Are post-ers allowed to act like this (tell each other to shut up, call each other slut, swear at each other, and accuse each other of blatant lying)?

You accused several of us of beating a dead horse...even if we weren't repeating arguments. Here you are beating your own dead horse, repeatedly saying the story is bullshit, accusing Cricket of an agenda, and saying she's mentally fucked-up. Is anyone else even on that horse, is anyone else saying Cricket's fucked-up & lying to further some agenda of hers?

WTF?!? And if you're tired of the discussion, why were you stirring it up?

>She wanted people on a blog (and maybe her husband who apparently might be reading) to think she was some sought after piece of ass.

I don't think so. And reading her story didn't make me think "wow, she must be hot", it made me think "here's someone giving their take on their sexual play approach".

>if she was straightforward and it was just a one time thign then... ...she'd tell them that blow jobs weren't an option.

Is a woman responsible for whatever expectations are in a guy's head and it's her job to know whatever his are and make sure she volunteers info about them in advance?

MikeNYC said...

I sympathize with dolly completely. Its actually been a while since i checked out her blog and this post caught my interest.

Dolly, I think you have ever right to shoot down any creepy guys that try to talk to you. I've had over anxious and needy girls try to talk to me in the past and each one of those experiences got me closer to knowing what it feels like for a women to be approached by a guy who's lacking any kind of social intelligence.

-Mike.

tyk3 said...

I have to say, I feel so sorry fr the first guy. I'm not syaing that Dolly was wrong to feel uncomfortable, but I'm pretty sure the guy had no idea he was creeping her out. More likely he was just trying to pluck up the courage to approach her. Given that it took him so long to do it, and that he did it so badly, approaching women is probably something he has real trouble with. I know I do, and I know that if I had been him I would have been utterly distraught by her reaction.

Dolly said further down that she felt no symapthy for the man because he tried to approach her in a shady, secluded part of the park, showing an obliviousness to basic human behaviour. In the origional story she says that she only noticed it was secluded as he was apporaching her, and that he was jogging alongside her for some time. Just to play devil advocate, perhaps the guy had not noticed it was secluded either, because he was so intent on trying to pluck up the courage to approach her.

To reiterate, I'm not syaing Dolly's reaction was wrong. At best, this guy was clumsy and thoughtless, and in being so he scared Dolly. I'm just saying I feel symapthy for him, because in all probability he had no idea he was scaring her. If, as I assume, he does have a hard time approaching women, the hostile reaction probably didn't help.

Of course, he could just be an asshole too. You never know.

If anything, I thought the second guy was the real asshole. To continue to pester some one after being actually told they aren't intersted is, in my opnion, just plain rude.

And just for the record, what seems like a clear signal to one person might not be to another. I was wearing dark glasses today, but I would have been thrilled if some strange woman approached me and tried to pick me up.

Dolly said...

Omar,
Nice way to break it down. Though in terms of commitment, it's also important to know when to move on. But it sounds like you are quite thoughtful and aware in your approaches.

Jay C.M.,
I'm going to leave your comment up, but I'd rather not get involved in the drama, since I have never had any direct conflict with Moxie myself.

MikeNYC,
Social intelligence is a great way to put it. I suppose in some ways, the PUA community tries to provide an education in social abilities (which is a major reason why I have shown support to these guys in the past).

tyk3,
I can see your point. This guy came out of nowhere and chances are, he wasn't staking out the park to find the most secluded area. At the same time, within a week, there was a news item of a sexual attack that ocurred in the park late at night, and I couldn't help thinking of this guy right away.

PJ said...

What's your greatest fear? Probably something about getting raped in the park, I guess. Mine is finally getting up the courage to talk to someone, and having them respond with great hostility, "Can you please leave me alone?"

Grace said...

i'm afraid that - although i am female - i'm 'with' most of the guys - notably jack roy, signing power, tyk3, michael, and yes, even butcher (dreadful screen-name, though!)

however, as a single female (even though i am considerably older than most of you), i am well aware of the fear factor - especially in a setting like the park one.

but, when i was reading your post, i was imagining that you were GOING to say how, when the two of you finally spoke (you and stalker-man), a wonderful spark was there - and "yadda yadda yadda"/"happily ever after" etc...

i think that, IN the situation, a lot of it comes down to INSTINCT. and instinct should be relied on - almost always. better safe than sorry, and all that.

i feel much more confident in such situations, these days, since i purchased a pepper spray - illegal, of course, at least where *I* live (and i have never used it) - but it gives me confidence in the knowledge that i am not quite as vulnerable as i might appear to be. ***** i highly recommend such a tactic. *****

changing the topic, and with due respect to dolly, i am also 'with' jay c.m. his post caught my eye because i have only JUST THIS MINUTE taken down MY blog's link to said other blog, for the very same reason.

initially i found the contents (there) amusing and forthright and sassy. THEN, i discovered the things that jay c.m. writes about... and today decided that "enough is enough".

i wouldn't want my readers to think that *I* am like that, or that i endorse or approve of the harsh self-serving high-handedness at said site. (however, jay c.m. - i don't wish to use THIS site to hold any further discussion of same, for the obvious reason that that would be an abuse of dolly's hospitality.)

dolly, i am new here, so hope that my comments don't cause offence.

theabyss said...

I love your blog!

I have rejection fear and sucks at social situation because I have focused to work and learn instead to chatting with dumb peoples. I am also very shy.

The ironic is that I am a very balanced MAN and I have always looked after a strong and horny woman, but I found out recently that I need bigger balls to overcome her strength. Why? Because I am a MAN. A BEAST who should overcome her, that's the way of our nature. In a good and safe way of course, so I need to be careful, but I am femine (loves to make fun of it! ;), so it will go well.

The funny(?) thing is that I have often creeped out several womens - mostly out of silence (I did not found more to talk about, plus forgotten to flirt and make a good mood - a cause of my social aniexy). Now I try to pick up womens and be relaxed - ALL OF THE TIME.

I often makes a bad first impression, but I am not a boring or dangerous person.
I would like to tell clearly to Dolly as it's easy for womens to judge at the first impression. Nothing wrong with that, but their feelings DOES NOT TELL THEM ANYTHING ABOUT THE REALITY!

It's HARD(!) to be a MAN because there is nobody that I could talk about how to approach and get attraction from girls when I was younger. All I saw was hornyness and desperation of the boys. I hated that because I wanted to have fun and be in relaxed mood, to build up sexual tension - on/off. Which I didn't know how to create.
All I got was hate. (I know of it now, but I need more field experience)

Today I flirted with a cute girl and I wished that I did go further, but we felt great when I left - mission accomplished! :D :D :D

Nobody have told me about how it's to be a healty MAN with healty dose of aggression to make things happen. I have been a whipped pussy for a long time. :(

Some of the reasons that mens are so insecure and whipped, is that they're afraid of rape accusation and discrimation, so they try to be nice and avoid conflict.

The girls have it much easier, as they can talk about everything and mens approach at them all the time, so they'll learn - much faster than men. Some womens have approached me, but I was in low state so they suffered too much that they gived up. To be hitted on a early morning in a train when I feel like crap is not easy for her and me. Damn, she was cute! :)

Alpha Wolf said...

Dolly, great post

Regarding the 2 guys that you blow off, was there something about their avatar (i.e. style and dress) and appearance that was off putting in addition to the "vibe"?

It seems like the last guy's looks also helped in opening you up in addition to humour?

P.S. In response to your previous post, you are aware of AdSense integration with blogger, right?

Blogger said...

Did you know you can shorten your long urls with LinkShrink and receive cash from every click on your short links.