Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yes, I'm Cute; Now Shut UP

So, new job. Creepy guy. And of course, my "creep magnet" is always on, so the creepy guy is not only the person who trains me but also takes a big liking to me -even though I made sure I gave him the death glare and allowed him to catch a glance the book I was reading (that being "The Beauty Myth") as I blocked myself from his view with it. One would think that would have been enough to get him to back the hell off. But no. Like most creeps, a violation of personal space was a must -as was this: he called me "cute". After staring at me long enough to make my skin crawl. So, here's the deal. I understand we live in a culture that bases women first and foremost (and sometimes solely) on their looks. I understand that a lot of men feel free to comment on strange women's looks. But get this: don't. Seriously. There are very few times in my life when I want a strange guy walking up to me and telling me that I'm cute. Because almost from right there, I know that you're not really a guy I want to know. One, you've decided to talk to me based solely on physical appearance and then told me that straight out. I understand we decide who to talk to a lot of the time on proximity and appearance -and we choose to talk to people we are in some way (though not always sexually) attracted to. You know what works better than "you're cute" though? Almost anything else. What can a person really say to "you're cute"? "You can thank the randomness of my genetic code"? "Talk to my parents"? "Fuck off, you asswipe"? Two, a guy who feels "confident" enough to pass judgement out loud about a woman's physical appearance is almost always a guy who seems to feel like he deserves some kind of physical reciprocation for the compliment. Which, no.

So, some ground rules. Talking to someone you find vaguely (or really) attractive about something else -the clothing, the book, the weather, the traffic, dogs, cats, balloons, music, etc- will probably elicit a much more productive response -and as an added benefit, it doesn't make you look like a giant asshole. Also, quick glances are a fine thing, but long stare-downs are the opposite of good. Those looks are rude, intimidating, and have more to do with the "right" to stare at a woman than any compliment. And if the woman in question doesn't seem interested in talking to you, acknowledge her right to be left alone.

Because I don't want to be judged based primarily on my cuteness, partially because that will some day fade and I would rather be judged for something more substantial than fleeting access to attention and praise. But also because I don't care if some random guy finds me attractive. I'm not on this earth to be eye-candy to some jackass, and neither are any other women walking the street. And I should have the right to exist in a space -in a work space, on a street, in a subway, in a restaurant, in a store- without being harassed. Because that is what the "you're cute" is. It is harassment, because I didn't invite the comment, and those comments are made out of the mistaken belief that I should grant my time to any guy who comes my way and deigns to offer his opinion of my physical appearance. So for all the guys out there who think you're delivering compliments to the random girls you find cute? Most likely, you're not. And I'm tired of coming home and feeling beaten up and bloody because I have to fend off men who believe they are entitled to my time, my attention, and my gratitude. So the next time a guy I don't know "compliments" me by telling me that I'm cute, I'm sexy, I'm hot, I'm good enough to take home, whatever it is that day, he is getting my knee to his groin. Because I have had it up to my eyeballs with the kind of "compliment" that makes me feel like I'm just some sort of blow up doll and not a real person. So, yes. I'm cute. I had the wonderful fortune of having good genes in terms of getting a physical appearance that is now culturally acceptable. Now, shut up and leave me alone until you have something of substance to discuss.

9 comments:

MediaMaven said...

Saying "you're cute" in a work setting is definitely setting up the wrong vibes. He should know better than that.

John said...

Here's an important fact: Glares, no matter how deathly, usually go unnoticed by the people you would want to give them to. You have to be completely and utterly unequivocal when you tell him that his words and actions make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe (even if it's an exaggeration.)

If you're not at work, a swift kick to the crotch definitely gets that message across. Please use that technique sparingly, though. Another important fact: Every guy everywhere cringes when any guy gets hit in the crotch. It is a great disturbance in the guy-force: as if millions of voices cried out at once, then were suddenly silenced.

jjfs85 said...

John's completely right. I think I'd even hesitate if I had the opportunity to kick Hitler in the crotch. But then I would kick him cause he's frikkin' Hitler.

crispybenfranklin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crankosaur said...

Many guys just don't seem to care enough to pay attention to social cues that get in the way of their hittin' on the ladiez.

mikhailbakunin said...

So, how's the job going, by the way?

I can see how the whole sexual harassment thing might be a problem, but other than that . . .?

petpluto said...

Well, it very much sucks. I have an hour and a half drive home every night, after I spend every day having a significant number of people hang up on me. I call residences and day cares and banks and other financial lending companies because automatic dialers are the devil. I also come in about two seconds after the person on the other side has started talking, so I oftentimes don't know if I'm talking to the right person or the right place. And then there are the people. Also, I'm not very good at it.

Thanks for asking though!

mikhailbakunin said...

Yikes. Sorry.

petpluto said...

Hey, no problem. It was an experience. And I've learned that I probably can't sell things; and that my moral code is firmer than I realized. Which was a good thing to learn. And it hasn't all been bad. I met a very nice woman who made me a key chain, and I talked to a man who is apparently richer than God and who offered me a job in his lobster and steak restaurant chain.