This is a difficult topic. It’s hard to explain why exactly is it that sometimes sexual attention is unwelcome, especially coming from strangers in non-sexual situations. You always face the risk of being accused of frigidity or rudeness if you’re not always in a receptive mood when someone tries to hit on you. Like if you’re a woman, you’re expected to feel flattered just because some man thinks you’re pretty enough to warrant unsolicited attention. Like you should be nice and appreciative in return, even if you don’t feel like it, because it’s meant as a compliment.
Well, this story (link below) illustrates pretty well why it gets old real fast. It’s a rather extreme example… but while many women never have it quite as bad as that, there are many others who go through even worse experiences.
I’ve never had situation escalate to that point but I’ve had enough bad experiences to immediately catch onto what unwinona is saying there. When you’re in some public space – commuting, waiting for a friend or just enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book, and suddenly some guy comes up and asks, “What are you reading?” there are no right answers. There is nothing you can do or say to get out of the situation without causing some kind of confrontation. Unless, you know, the guy is absolutely gorgeous and you happen to be free and looking for romance – and let’s face it, what are the odds?
So let’s say the guy is okay-looking, and he pulls off the question without immediately coming across as a creep. He seems rather nice. And let’s say, furthermore, that you’re in a sociable mood, you don’t mind being interrupted and you feel pretty safe because there are lots of other people around. You respond politely. The guy takes this as encouragement and you’re stuck with him for the next 10 minutes, half an hour, an hour. Inevitably, pretty soon he’s asking for your number and doesn’t seem to understand why you’re not comfortable with the situation anymore. After all, you responded positively to his approach! If you weren’t interested in him, you shouldn’t have led him on!
Dang! Being nice was the wrong response after all! Ding ding ding! Try again!
Okay, so you know being nice and polite like a normal person will only give the guy the wrong idea. You have to assume that anyone who asks about your book is only angling for an opportunity to ask for your phone number, so you think it’s best to make it clear from the start that you’re not interested. You can try to be really nice about it, or you can be matter-of-fact like unwinona, but the result is always the same. Indignation. “Why are you so rude?! I was only making small-talk! Sheeesh! What is a guy to do???”
Yeah… I really don’t have a clear-cut answer to that. If I did, I would write a book about it and make a lot of money. All I can say is, don’t butt into anyone’s company. Don’t invade their personal space. Yes, it’s really hard to meet new people these days when everyone is so suspicious but don’t blame women for being cautious. We are cautious because experience has taught us to be. Pick-up lines rarely work. Trust me, I’ve heard them all.
If you really want to connect with the cute girl on the metro, sit somewhere close to her but not too close. Don’t try to talk to her immediately but see if you can catch her eye first. If you manage to catch her eye (several times), then you can probably talk to them without being immediately shot down. Instead of asking for the cute girl’s number, give her yours. That way, she doesn’t have to take the risk of giving her contact information to a stranger. She may not call you… but then, if the attraction is mutual, she might!
But if you just barge into someone’s personal space and demandattention, your chances of getting a positive reaction are pretty slim. Of course, I can’t say it will never work. But if you’re really interested in that person rather than just looking to intimidate them, why not try an approach with better chances of success?