This is a cross-post from a truly amazing blog. And it is vitally important for everyone to read it. It is especially important for those of us in the BDSM / Leather / Kink / AltSex communities to listen. Closely.
Advice. Staircase Wit. Faux Pas. Movies.
Posted: August 7, 2012 | Author: JenniferP | Filed under: Abuse, Feminism, Geek Social Fallacies, How Not To Be, how to say no, manipulation, Rants, Reader Questions, Social InteractionsTags:assault, assholes, creeps, rape, rape apology, rape culture,social circles |291 Comments »
Here is Letter #322. It and the other letter are below the jump because it’s fucking creepy in there.
Dear Captain Awkward,
We have a creeper in our social group. He’s about 10 years older than the rest of us on average, divorced with two kids. And I know this is going to sound like every in-denial LW who ever wrote in to an advice columnist ever, but he’s not a bad guy. He’s fun to hang out with, he’s a devoted dad, he’s a loyal friend … and he’s driving away all of his female friends with his behavior.
He’s mostly been concentrating on the other women: telling them to expose themselves, telling them their skirts weren’t flying high enough while they were dancing, hitting on them when he knows they have boyfriends. (My husband tells me Creeper has also hit on me a couple times, but I haven’t noticed it.) Most of this happens when he is drunk, but even sober he has a tendency to make sexist jokes or joke about sex and then tell us we have no sense of humor when we don’t find them funny. A couple months ago he started complaining, loudly and repeatedly, that he really wanted to get laid because he hasn’t had sex since his divorce (about 2-3 years ago). Whenever there are parties, it seems like he goes with the mindset that he will meet someone there that he might be able to have sex with, rather than to have fun with his friends. A couple months ago at one of these parties, some of us went to the park after dark to hang out; Creeper approached one of my friends, asked where her boyfriend was, and when he was told that the BF was out of town he put his hands on her shoulders and told her that BF had “forfeited” her for the evening.
I’ve talked to Creeper about this last incident and tried to explain that his behavior is making every woman in our social group very uncomfortable; that approaching a woman in the dark, putting his hands on her without permission, and implying that because her boyfriend wasn’t there that she was up for grabs was Not Fucking Cool; that when two of our friends got married, and he spent the entire reception hitting on the bride’s family members (including her 16-year-old cousin) he appeared to be more focused on getting laid than celebrating the marriage of two of his friends; that when he is sober, he is not so bad, but when he gets drunk he gets really creepy and maybe he should not be going to parties and getting drunk anymore. He seemed to listen to me at the time, but now, a month later, he is whining on Facebook that people aren’t finding his sex jokes funny and calling him a creeper. ”I know I’m not a creeper, and everyone else knows, but I guess I’ve made a few faux pas with friends-of-friends” pretty much sums it up. So clearly, nothing I said sank in.
I want to punch him. I’d dearly love to tell him that just because someone calls you a creeper, or creepy, doesn’t make you a bad person, but if every female friend you have is telling you that you make them uncomfortable then you are the fucking problem. Unfortunately, he clearly isn’t listening to what I’ve been telling him (and I’m the one who hasn’t been driven off – the rest of our female friends are flat-out avoiding him for their own safety and I can’t blame them one bit for it), and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m female or if it’s because I’m 10 years younger than he is. He also has a tendency to get defensive, and he’s starting to retreat into Nice Guy territory. I’ve considered asking one of the other men to talk to him, but again, I’m worried he’ll dismiss whoever goes to talk to him because he’s older than the rest of us.
Something needs to happen here, obviously, but I have no idea what. He invites people over for games a lot (being one of the few people who has a table big enough for gaming), and comes over a lot as well, and the guys in the group are mostly fine hanging out with him. (They all agree that something needs to be done about his behavior, but for them it’s not as urgent, I guess.) He also lives a block away from me, so I see him quite a bit. I know there’s no way out of this without drama and hurt feelings and awkwardness. I just don’t know what to do. Do I try to get the others to confront him? Arrange some sort of intervention? Tell my husband that Creeper’s not invited to our place anymore and avoid events where Creeper will be? I’d call him out myself, but (1) I can’t speak for my friends, especially when they’ve been affected more than I have, (2) he clearly won’t listen to me, and (3) I’m shit at confrontation and tend to get flustered and start crying. Any advice you have would be really helpful.
Creeper, No Creeping!