When Dudes Don’t Back Off

This is the outfit I was wearing, but just imagine a large, colorful bruise on one of my knees, since I was still healing up from a couple of things at the time.

Since I was so ridiculously busy before and after CONvergence, I didn’t have the chance to write about these creepers until now. On Thursday, the convention’s first official day, I attended one panel before taking public transit home. That day, it took 2 buses and the train to get there, and the same number back.

As I was waiting downtown for the second bus home, a middle aged man with a cane approached me as I was looking at the posted schedules.

“Excuse me, miss. What are your plans for the 4th of July?”

When someone’s being pleasant, I don’t like to be rude, so I replied, “Oh, I’m attending a Science-Fiction/fantasy convention.”

“That sounds fun,” he replied. “Is it free?”

I stepped back when he tipped the conversation into harassment territory by trying to get within touching distance. “Nope. You can get tickets at the door, though.”

“Oh,” he continued without missing a beat, ”Can I be your guest?”

“Sorry, we can’t have guests.” Not exactly the truth, but why would I want to spend anymore time with a stranger whose only interest is ‘romance’ than I have to?

“Oh. Well, enjoy your convention and have a blessed 4th.”

“Thanks, have a nice 4th,” I said as I turned away, knowing as soon as I saw him eying me up and down that he wasn’t done. (Yes, guys. We see you doing that, no matter how sly you try to be.)

Sure enough, a few minutes later, he was back, asking if I was waiting for the same bus he was (even if I was, I’d change my route, ’cause come ON) , and what I was doing after my event.

As soon as I said I’d be spending time with my husband, he tried making me feel guilty by saying he was going to ask me out to a nice post-4th dinner. The words alone weren’t bad, but the overly hurt expression told me all I needed to know.

Dude. I don’t owe you my company or lies to help you feel better about yourself. Thankfully, that ended his interest in me. I have no doubt that he could be a very nice guy in some circumstances, but hitting on girls at a bus stop isn’t charming.

Once I was on the bus, though, someone creepier, and drunker, decided to bother me.

I don’t usually mention race in these stories, because it usually doesn’t matter. I’ve been harassed to varying degrees by men of all races, and it’s disgusting regardless of their ancestry.

In this case, however it plays a role. This next guy was black, and most people consider me white.

He started by poking my back, just under my arm, and saying, “‘Scuse me, but I think I got on the wrong bus. Most buses I get on don’t have white girls on them.”

“Uh,” I gave him an odd look,’ cause…what? “…sorry?”

After a couple of minutes, I think he realized he didn’t say what he’d intended, because he amended, “BEAUTIFUL white girls.”

OK, whatever. I thanked him for the complement, and tried ending the conversation.

It didn’t work.

He rambled about how I must have been a beautiful little girl, which is creepy on SO many levels. At one point, he leaned in close, and whispered in my ear before I could pull away, ”I don’t even care that you’re married. What your husband doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”

I replied that I would care, and that I’m loyal to my husband. It’s worth noting that I get that line a lot, and it never works. It often makes things worse. One guy even pulled over every time he saw me to try getting me to have an affair for several months.

But anyway. This particular guy wasn’t quite that persistent.

That sent him on a diatribe about how a perfect woman needed 3 things: beauty, loyalty and something he couldn’t remember.

I don’t care! Leave me alone! At that point, my head was starting to hurt and I was questioning the wisdom of even going to con that day. Oyyy.

Now, this was on a crowded bus, and I had nowhere to go. I was starting to worry that he’d try following me off the bus, which has happened before.

Fortunately, his stop was well before mine.

Still, I showered as soon as I got home, because I felt so grimy after those interactions.

Ugh.

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