Dear Creepy Guy at the Bar:
I’m thinking you might be a nice person. I’m thinking your mother loves you. Very much. But somewhere along the line she failed to teach you how to approach people. Or maybe it was an oversight on your father’s part. I speculate equitably.
Since the fine art of conversation, which is often learned through osmosis from our elders, has eluded your ken, I would like to present you with a few ideas about how not to interact with women – especially in bars. If you follow these rules, you might be able to talk to a few without them leaping off chairs or ducking under tables to get away from you.
1. Walking up to a woman only to stop a few feet away and stare is considered threatening. If you’ve worked up your nerve to come that far, introduce yourself and risk possible, but hopefully courteous, rejection.
2. Women who are interested in talking to someone, male or female, smile and make eye contact. If she refuses to make eye contact with you, she is telling you to leave her alone. The frozen deer-in-the-headlights stare does not count.
3. Just because the karaoke DJ announced a woman’s name to the entire crowd doesn’t mean you have made a proper introduction and can use that name as an opening to ask her inappropriate questions about her personal life.
4. Lurking is rude and threatening. It is exponentially creepier when you make sure she can see you coming before stopping mere inches from and directly behind her.
5. If she turns her back to you when you approach, she is giving you the opportunity to save face and walk by.
6. If you aren’t invited to move and talk comfortably among the people that are so obviously part of the woman’s social group, don’t wait until she is alone to corner her.
7. Following her from one end of the bar to the other when she is trying to get away from you is unequivocally threatening, especially if you stand between her friends and her.
8. If a gentleman in her social group makes the appearance that he is with the woman in question, assume that she is with said gentleman. It’s none of your business what the relationship happens to be.
This is not an exhaustive list. I understand that social interactions can be awkward or opaque or strange, and I am able to move beyond those moments because I too seem awkward, opaque and strange (to most). But your behavior was out of the ordinary and constituted the only fly in last night’s ointment of a very good time.
My wisdom is that the experiences we have externally are reflections of the way we experience ourselves internally. So ask yourself, Creepy Guy at the Bar, what would drive a woman to leap from her chair to escape you? What are you chasing that you can’t seem to catch?
Because I’ve asked myself why I didn’t just glare at you the first time you so rudely lurked in my specific direction. I wondered why I waited until I just couldn’t take it anymore before telling you to “go away.” I finally had to ask myself, why did I exhaust all the polite social cues before acting when my gut told me to stare you down? What creepy part of me am I too afraid to confront until I’m cornered?