“Happy Thanksgiving!” said the only guy at the bar who didn’t harass me over the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend.
And “Fuck you too!” said another guy this past weekend when I told him “I’m not your honey,” in response to a comment he made.
Yes, two weekends that a friend of mine and I decided to go dancing were two weekends we were both harassed.
(Not to mention being catcalled on the way to a school a few days before, too, as I discussed earlier.)
The Thanksgiving weekend outing was to a bar along the busiest street for nightlife. No, it’s not the best place to go, but that’s besides the point. The two of us spent the majority of the night getting away from guys who felt obligated to shove themselves in our faces. One after another, they came up to us as we chatted over drinks at a table, asking us to dance and not really taking no for an answer. From the start they would give a weird smile, too, the kind that wasn’t genuine and just made us, or at least me, uncomfortable. But at least there was the one guy who asked my friend to dance and when she declined politely, he said, “I respect that,” and moved along.
The one guy.
Every other guy who talked to us would eye us, come up and ask us to dance — so far, doing okay — and then when we declined, of course they would either try to convince us otherwise, or act like we should pity them. C would have to tell some of them, “I don’t think her boyfriend would be very happy,” or something along those lines — entirely untrue, as G doesn’t mind at all if I dance with people, but this is naturally the only way to get a guy to accept our “no, thank you.”
One guy asked me to dance and I said that I would be up there pretty soon with my friend. (I mean we were there to dance, we just didn’t want to dance with every guy that came up to us.) He nodded and left, and when we went up to dance I didn’t see him. I didn’t really want to dance with the guy, but if he wasn’t going to be sleazy, then sure. Didn’t see him though. Then afterward, my friend and I were taking a break, and he walked up to me and said, “I thought you said you were going to dance with me!”
When I told him I was just up there, he pretty much ignored me, and acted like I was trying to avoid him on purpose. Honestly, had I been avoiding him on purpose, he should have gotten the bloody message anyway! And no, I didn’t directly say yes or no, but honestly, if I straight up say no, they don’t listen anyway, as evidenced the entire freaking night! So don’t try and tell me I shouldn’t have “led him on.” It doesn’t make a difference how I say no. In fact, some guys straight up just get aggressive when women say no, so our safety, sometimes women do need to be especially careful of how they say no — whether that’s standing our ground even more or trying to be vague and then getting out as fast as possible.
Then, of course there were the creeps who just grabbed us, always from behind. Or the creeps who started dancing with us from behind. Or the ones who try to grab our hands from behind.
What’s wrong with you people? You really think randomly grabbing me is going to work? You haven’t even seen what I look like. Clearly it’s just my ass that matters to you. I haven’t seen what you look like, but I don’t give a single shit what you look like when you’ve just acted like you can do whatever the hell you want.
In all cases of this type of creeping, either C or I would pull whoever was being harassed away. At least since we were facing each other we could see behind one another.
That happened for the entire night.
Eventually, we had enough. I saw someone creeping up to C from behind her again, pulled her away from him, again, and we stormed the hell out of there.
Why can’t they just take no for an answer?
There were guys who asked immediately if I have a boyfriend, because apparently if I don’t I’m an easier target. What the actual fuck? First of all, I love to dance with people, even if I have a boyfriend. It’s dancing. And seriously, the moment you ask if I have a boyfriend, I am wary of you, because it tells me that if I am single, you’re not asking me if I’m interested. You think I’m automatically interested because I am single. Come on. Just ask me to dance and don’t be greasy about it. I can tell if you really just want to dance. And honestly, if you want more than a dance, you don’t need to be disgusting about it. We’ve all played the stupid dating game before. You need to get to know me. In this case, I’m not going to go beyond getting to know you, but if you actually want a girl to be interested, don’t treat her like you’ve been treating me. Treat her like a HUMAN.
I mean if Happy Thanksgiving Guy had asked me to dance, I would have! He was happy, having a good time, and clearly not creeping. He friggin wished me a happy holiday.
This past weekend when C and I went out again, we had a better time because guys were not so friggin gross. There was one guy who was just hilarious — he would dance like nobody was watching him and just goof off with whoever was around. There was another guy who smiled at me sincerely, touched my hand, eye contact was made (whoaaaa!) so that we both were on the same page, and then we danced and had a fantastic time. In the corner of my eye, I saw C surrounded by three guys, and she didn’t look happy. And what did the guy I was dancing with do?
He stopped, looked me, and told me I should go help my friend.
And so I thanked him, to which he said, “You’re welcome,” and I proceeded to whisk C away from those men.
You know what makes that guy even better?
He had encouraged his friend to go talk to C, just as we were beginning to dance. I saw him gesture with his eyes to C to encourage him. And he still told me I should go stop what was happening.
That guy is my bloody hero.
And that is sad. He shouldn’t be a hero. He did exactly what he should have. He saw that C was uncomfortable, and even though his friend was one of the three men talking to her, he wanted to stop it.
I didn’t pay any attention to him after, so I’m not sure if he went to get his friend at the same time I went for C. But he hadn’t clung to me like any of the other creepers from Thanksgiving weekend would have. And — here’s the shocker — if I had run into him again that night, I would have danced with him again.
Of course, as per usual, that night had to be ruined the moment we stepped outside to wait for our ride. Some idiot walked by, said, “Hey, honey,” to me. I told him, “Don’t call me honey,” and he mumbled something, probably that I was a bitch, and then I said, as he walked past, “I’m not your honey.”
He said, “Fuck you too!”
Like I give a fuck. I laughed at that one, and then he mimicked my laugh loudly to his friends. What a hero; that’s his insult for me, hey?
No, calling me honey was not a compliment. It was a comment, yet again, and unwelcome one.
And even worse, throughout the whole night there was a bartender that made both C and I very uncomfortable. First of all, he just kind of took tips for himself without really asking. He’d give change and then just kinda keep the toonie or something, which would be a crazy good tip. He raised his eyebrows at me once to check, and I was fine, but mostly because I wanted to get away.
But he touched C’s face when she asked him for something. He touched her face. And then he caressed her hair.
I have to say, in all my experience of customer service since being thirteen years old, I have never seen something as creepy as that happening from the employee’s side. It’s always been the customer. The employees in the service industry are definitely supposed to be respectful and neutral, even if trying to flirt for tips.
This guy made us feel unsafe and creeped us right the hell out.
So here’s my tip for you, if you’re a creeping-on-women sort of guy, or if you’ve just realized you’re a creeping-on-women sort of guy.
Treat women like humans. Maybe then we’ll actually like you. And if we don’t, then move the hell on. I mean, don’t you want someone who actually shows interest, even if it’s just for a one-night stand?
What have your experiences been like when you’ve gone out dancing or to the bar? Have you experienced sexual harassment? Please share in the comments below!