Random Relationship Derailment Thread

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
7Wannabe5
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:25 am

@Jean:

Bingo! A good example might be the behavior of the Donna Pescow character in "Saturday Night Fever." Another somewhat dysfunctional behavior women sometimes display is aggressively providing unsolicited caretaking behavior. I call this "casserole toting" in reference to the stereotype of all the single church-ladies bringing casseroles to the attractive recently widowered older gentleman. I think men are generally too oblivious to this kind of behavior to regard it as "creepy", but it's still dysfunctional, because it does not "work."

prognastat
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by prognastat » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:41 am

I'm honestly having trouble determining what would make a woman "creepy" to men outside of going straight into crazy territory. This might be due to women instinctively perceive men as a possible threat and men don't instinctively perceive women as such. Testosterone probably also plays a role in this by making you feel less concerned/threatened. Not that women can't be just as much of a threat as men given that we have invented weapons, even ones as effective as guns.

So I think creepy might largely be a gendered insult at least from the perceiving side. Do women regularly feel other women are creepy?

7Wannabe5
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:17 am

prognastat wrote:Do women regularly feel other women are creepy?
Yes, when they exhibit any sort of extremely needy, non-self-aware, stalker type behavior, which needn't be sexual, but still searching for unwanted intimacy. I have been directly and assertively hit on by other women for sex on occasion. One memorable incident involved a female body-builder co-worker inviting me to her gym, forcing me to do sit-ups on sloped board while holding my ankles down, and then inquiring if I would like to take a shower with her. That did not creep me out, because she was confident and friendly and readily took "No" for an answer. OTOH, on one occasion when I was an at-home mother, another female who was the wife of a former male co-worker, really, really wanted me to be her new BFF. She was lonely and desperate for company, although otherwise a reasonably attractive and functional individual, but what really put me off and gave me creepy feeling was when she told me she no longer had any sort of relationship with her own sister, because her sister was a bitch.

However, it is true that when a man is creepy, it is also more naturally scary, because of inherent differences in physiology and perhaps tendencies towards hormonal influenced aggression. I mean, I am usually something around 5'9" 169 lbs. and even a small man can take me down very easily.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:37 am

I actually think we have now come pretty close to defining it.

Creepy = Needy + Aggressive

It's a quite primitive emotion. Imagine being approached by a stranger who appears to be desperate or diseased who simultaneously signals ability or willingness to use force or emotional manipulation to extract something of value from you.

Unfortunately, depending greatly upon factors of experience, personality type, and physiology, there do exist a minority of humans who will view almost every aspect of sexual desire, or even desire for intimacy, as "needy" or "sick" and there are other humans who will view almost any display of power, even as unconscious as spreading of legs to take up more space if a man, or simple gesture towards initiation of sex or playing at a bit of a tease if a female*, as signal of aggression. So, there are also a very few humans who will greatly over-react to both.

*Two of the most frightening interactions I have had with men have been on occasions when I was just being a bit playful, doing a mild in-my-mind and quite obvious adult version of "Nah-nah-a-boo-boo. You can't catch me!" , and then clearly having my saucy signal misread as aggressive, insulting challenge to masculine ego. It can sometimes be difficult to know when you are interacting with somebody who possesses a deep streak of this flavor of insecurity, so I have perhaps become a bit over-sensitized to any whiff of it. So, this one-or-two-bad-apples behavior combined with conventional wisdom have greatly reduced the likelihood that I will initiate sex, even though my innate personality type and drive naturally give me a tendency towards that behavior.

P_K
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by P_K » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:58 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:37 am
Creepy = Needy + Aggressive
This definition jives pretty well with my understanding. To return to the elevator example @slsdy made earlier, the situation reads very different depending on how executed.

Exchange 1
A man standing on opposite side of elevator of a woman calmly states "*Phew* looks like I just missed getting poured on." His selected tone indicates a touch of relief at actually having avoided getting rained on but mostly is one of detachment to indicate that this is a Small Talk exchange and that he understands that any response is not an indication of attraction nor is he even trying to do anything beyond eliminate the sometimes-awkward-elevator-silence by letting the two passengers have a single exchange and then letting silence take them the rest of the way of their journey. He looks straight ahead when he speaks and continues looking straight ahead after finishing speaking so as to not appear to be forcing some kind of response nor possible unwanted eye contact.

The woman, understanding this is just a Small Talk exchange and not really in the mood to invite further conversation, also keeps her gaze forward and says "Yeah you certainly lucked out."

END SCENE

Nothing in the above exchange would read as creepy to me, but a slight change in tone and body language can dramatically alter the interaction.

Exchange 2
A man, standing a bit closer than the opposite side of the elevator of a woman states somewhat calmly but with a touch too much enthusiasm "*PHEW* Looks like I just missed getting poured on." His selected tone indicates a touch of relief at actually having avoided getting rained on but also contains enough energy to indicate he wants an exchange to happen. He further intensifies this want by looking down at the woman while he speaks and then his gaze lingers a touch too long after. The act of looking down on the woman is a small but significant display of power when trapped in a small space with potentially hostile unknown person; so this, combined with the tone, creep the woman out and she is now afraid of responding because that would invite further conversation from a person who obviously wants a conversation which itself speaks to a want of connection, a connection that she has no desire to be forced to give to a stranger in an elevator. But, she is also afraid of not responding because not responding might be seen as a rude gesture which might cause the man to take offense or worse injure his pride and since he has signaled he wants a response he is probably more likely to be aggrieved than not. So the woman, in the hope of not inviting further conversation but pressed to reply anyway keeps her gaze forward, uncomfortably shifts her bag, and says "Yeah you certainly lucked out."

END SCENE

Arguably that was a bit more than slight change in tone and body language but I'd argue that a non-negligible number of people, in the moment of interaction, would not pick up on these things. Human interaction and social cues are complicated business.

And I'd admit that some persons would probably be creeped out by Exchange 1 above and maybe some not creeped out by Exchange 2. Vastly differing temperaments and experiences in life and with the opposite gender will influence a person's every interaction and you cannot plan on that in advance; but, I'd still suggest that you can dramatically improve your odds at not being considered a creep by understanding some of the nuances of social cues and adjust your signaling accordingly. It seems to me that this is something people struggle with insofar as they don't know it's a "thing" to be practiced at and if they are aware they are not quite so practiced as some delicate situations require (e.g., alone in an elevator with a person of the opposite sex).

ETA: Also, it is important to note that the tone and body language of the man in Exchange 2 signal a want of a connection even in the absence of a want of a connection. This might explain some of the discrepancy of the recollection of the same events by different people. I.e., the man feels like it was an innocent exchange because it was to him. But the woman recalls it as aggressive because it was to her.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:29 pm

@P_K:

Excellent analysis and descriptions. If you also take into consideration the fact that "Stranger in the Elevator" is probably one of the most popular themes in literary erotica enjoyed by females, it is hard not to have sympathy for inexperienced youngsters, some of whom will not be innately gifted with sense of tone, attempting to make their way through such a chaotic maze.

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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Jason » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:52 pm

And here I was thinking the worse thing that could happen if you pushed the wrong button in an elevator is you end up on a different floor.

Augustus
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Augustus » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:03 pm

Wow you guys are making me afraid to even be in the same room with a woman. I think the Pence rule really applies well in today's climate. The only way to win may be not to play, or to at least have plausible deniability by having third party spectators who can vouch for your innocence.

Jason
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Jason » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:16 pm

P_K wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:58 pm
The act of looking down on the woman is a small but significant display of power when trapped in a small space with potentially hostile unknown person;
This is why if the elevators door open and I see a woman who happens to be a dwarf, I take the stairs.

Augustus
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Augustus » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:42 pm

Jason wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:16 pm
This is why if the elevators door open and I see a woman who happens to be a dwarf, I take the stairs.
I'm pretty sure that makes you a perv, because if you're in a stairwell behind someone or in front of someone, someones ass is in someones face.

suomalainen
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by suomalainen » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:47 pm

Thanks @jp, @7 and @pk. That actually was somewhat instructive. Some combination of needy and aggressive (power dynamics) seems to be a pretty good starting point, but I agree that human communication and interaction is complicated and there can be much misreading on both sides. For example, "persistence" can be a positive spin on both neediness and aggression.

Unlike Pence, however, I don't fear women. I do, however, "keep it professional" when it comes to women in the workplace. A bit of formality can come off as detachment so neediness is not accidentally communicated, and I've never been in a position of power (nor do I care to), so it seems to work for me. No sexual harassment complains to hr yet!

Augustus
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Augustus » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:46 pm

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:47 pm
Unlike Pence, however, I don't fear women.
I think Pence has good reason to be afraid. I honestly never could have conceived of the idea that a woman would feel threatened by a guy looking down at her, I mean, I'm tall, I look down at 95% of the population, it's not something I can help. Not in a million years would I have connected the dots on that. That probably means there are other things I would never conceive of as threatening, but that would scare the crap out of people too. There's nothing for me to gain by being alone in a room with a woman, as I'm not looking to have an affair, but apparently there is a lot to lose by inadvertently scaring the bejesus out of someone.

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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Jason » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:00 am

Augustus wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:42 pm
I'm pretty sure that makes you a perv, because if you're in a stairwell behind someone or in front of someone, someones ass is in someones face.
Hopefully I won't be unduly enticed by women wearing these.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2 ... 38aa44a8f5

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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by jennypenny » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:44 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:37 am
I actually think we have now come pretty close to defining it.

Creepy = Needy + Aggressive
That's good.

So are we closing in on a consensus that creepy is associated with inappropriate hormonal behavior? In men it would be aggressiveness and in women it would present as batshit, both with a needy sexual undertone. Interesting. It also might explain why age can be a factor. An older man who demonstrates the same behavior as a teenage boy might be labeled a 'creepy old man' even though the behavior might be viewed as normal for a teenager.


@guys -- There's no need to institute an iron-clad Pence rule around women. Use this information as a guide. If you know a woman is easily put off or upset, be more conscious of these specific behaviors around her. Also be aware of it with subordinates where there is already an imbalance of power or in situations where a woman might already feel vulnerable (like alone at night). When dating, I think it's ok to just come out and say "I was going to do X, but I didn't want to come off as creepy so I didn't even though I wanted to." That conveys that you know there's a creep line you don't want to cross, but you don't know where it is yet with that particular woman.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:41 am

@Augustus:

Now who's over-reacting? Giving off a creepy vibe is not actually a recognized offense. Also, it may very well be the case that even though you are tall you rarely come off as intimidating, because, for instance, maybe you also come off as jovial.
suo wrote:human communication and interaction is complicated and there can be much misreading on both sides. For example, "persistence" can be a positive spin on both neediness and aggression.
True, but "persistence" can also come off as confidence or sincere interest. Also, although "alone in an elevator" is never going to be a good choice for first attempting to make a lady's acquaintance, it may often be the case that a woman is just a bit surprised or bashful when approached by an attractive stranger in an unexpected setting. I have sometimes gone deer in the headlights while slow/fast processing something like "Cute guy! Oh no, what does my hair look like? Is he flirting with me or does he really just think I look like somebody who knows how to tell if a melon is ripe?" Also, I would estimate that fully 50% of the men I have agreed to meet for coffee while online dating were quite persistent and direct in their approach. Just putting out "feelers" is rarely going to work as well as "I read your profile and it made me smile. I see that we share an interest in gardening. Are you available this Saturday afternoon to meet at the museum for coffee?" followed by "Would Sunday work better? I have been wanting to see the new exhibit." etc., until he wears down my resistance which might be based on something as trivial as the way he parted his hair in his photo.

Of course, the older I get, the more often I assume that most initiated conversations are just small talk and most minor gallant gestures are simply boy scout code behavior (sigh.)

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:09 am

Jason wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:00 am
Hopefully I won't be unduly enticed by women wearing these.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2 ... 38aa44a8f5
That lady is almost completely correct, but I would still prefer she pipe down.

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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:12 am

Jason wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:52 pm
And here I was thinking the worse thing that could happen if you pushed the wrong button in an elevator is you end up on a different floor.
I wonder if that happened more often in the days of 'ladies lingerie' floors.

Jason
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Jason » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:29 am

My luck, I'll walk into a yoga studio catering to dwarf women.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:44 am

Well now, we've got ourselves the start of a chart-topping erotica novel here...

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Re: Random Relationship Derailment Thread

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:05 am

Augustus wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:46 pm
I honestly never could have conceived of the idea that a woman would feel threatened by a guy looking down at her, I mean, I'm tall, I look down at 95% of the population, it's not something I can help. Not in a million years would I have connected the dots on that.
Females also express a near-universal sexual preference for males who are taller than them. Erotica (hat tip to whoever said males should read some) is filled with quasi-raep and aggressive flirting.
That probably means there are other things I would never conceive of as threatening, but that would scare the crap out of people too.
Yes. It certainly seems that pretty much every aspect of their environment is threatening to some women. Going back to my first sentence, women almost universally preferring taller men; they also (universally) prefer confident men. Being confident also feels good, so that's obviously the better way to go. The way I see it, you just can't live a healthy life if you're constantly trying to be non-threatening to women.

Looking at P_K's example from a different perspective, what are the odds that Scenario 1's non-threatening guy, presenting as un-confident, possibly autistic, by staring straight ahead as he talks to you and studiously avoiding eye contact, gets laid?

Scenario 2 is more how you would act if you wanted to get laid at some point. If the female was attracted to him, it would not be "creepy" to hit on her, and if she wasn't, then it would be. Since in this example she isn't attracted to him, it's creepy for her. As a practical point, I think she should stick to short responses like "yup" or "mmhmm" instead of throwing him a bone with a whole sentence.

I get what P_K is saying, but if a male wants to get laid, he's going to have to create some sexual tension to see if she is willing to go. If she isn't, she'll have to let him know. Where P_K says some women would reverse the "creep out" scenarios, I'm obviously agreeing. So females will either be indifferent or creeped out by a Scenario 1-type male. A Scenario 2-type male will either creep them out, or have a chance at a "how did you two meet?" story. You can't even say that at least the Scenario 1 guy is more likely to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit because of all the other things women could find creepy about him.



Like Schrodinger's cat, you'll only be sure if females can be attracted to you or creeped out by you if you talk to them.
jennypenny wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:44 am
So are we closing in on a consensus that creepy is associated with inappropriate hormonal behavior? In men it would be aggressiveness and in women it would present as batshit, both with a needy sexual undertone.
I don't think these are reciprocal versions of creepiness. I think "creepiness" is the word reserved for sexual undesirable/repulsive people. No man would categorize a batshit crazy, sexually-needy woman as "creepy" if she was hot, but if an obese woman with a mullet and a mustache was pawing you and aggressively trying to bang you I think every man would acknowledge it as being in the same category as "creepy" if you asked them. I'd suggest that more men would use the word "gross" instead of "creepy." Creepy is like "beautiful." You almost never hear a man being described as beautiful, and you'd almost never hear a female being described as creepy.
Last edited by Kriegsspiel on Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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