Last time I went clubbing I had a great time… although a lot of that time was spent fending off the dicks on the dance floor. Now, I don’t mind guys coming up to dance with me, as long as dancing is what they’re doing. But if they’re only using dancing as an excuse to crowd my personal space or try to hump me, it stops being fun. You see, I go to the clubs to dance. I love it, and though I say so myself, I’m good at it. Unfortunately, there are always men who can’t take a subtle hint and just leave me be. Don’t get me wrong, if I find the man attractive, I don’t mind him coming into my personal space. But if that’s the case, I’d be looking at him and smiling, not trying to get away from him. You’d think men would notice the difference! Not all of them do, apparently.
There was this guy who made a beeline for me as soon as he saw me and my friends on the dance floor. He came right up to me, shoved past a friend of mine to get close to me, and tried to make an eye contact. I avoided looking at him. That should have been his clue number one, letting him know that I wasn’t interested. He ignored it and huddled even closer, as close as he could get without actually touching me, doing a very good imitation of humping me. That was really creepy, considering it was early in the night and the dance floor wasn’t crowded, so he had no excuse to invade my personal space after I had given him a clear signal that I wasn’t interested.
I thought about telling him to back off. To do that, I would have had to look at him and lean towards him so he could hear me. But he was giving off such a creepy vibe that I really didn’t want to talk to him. I realise he was probably just some poor sod with no clue on how to approach women but I didn’t feel like it was my duty to educate him on the subject. Thinking back, it sounds reasonable that I should have simply told him to back off since he didn’t understand from my body language that his attention was unwelcome. But when I was in that situation, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to him. I wanted nothing to do with him. I just wanted to get away from him, asap.
So I took a step away from him, still not looking at him. He took a step towards me to close the gap. I took a couple of fast steps away from him, and he followed like he was attached to my hip with an invisible cord. We went like that around the whole dance floor. Occasionally I dodged him behind other dancers, trying to put people between us, but he wouldn’t let that discourage him. He simply shimmied around anyone that came between us and resumed mock humping me and trying to make an eye contact.
By the time we had gone a full circle around the dance floor, me trying to get away from him and him chasing me, we were back with my friends and I was sure he must have understood I didn’t want to dance with him. But he seemed oblivious, as if he hadn’t noticed he had just chased me around the floor. As if he thought we were dancing together by mutual agreement. Doesn’t his behaviour remind you of those rape apologists who insist that it’s really hard to tell when the woman consents?
I hadn’t had a very good time while trying to get rid of that moron. Dodging a creep doesn’t count as partying. I couldn’t enjoy the music or the company of my friends while I was fending off that idiot, and I couldn’t move freely because he was crowding my space. I still didn’t want to talk to him but I considered shoving him off. It felt like a justified response in that situation but it’s also a good way to start a brawl. Besides, I didn’t want to ruin my own mood by getting aggressive, so I decided to leave the dance floor for a while. That didn’t seem fair. The DJ was playing my favourite songs and I wanted to dance, but I couldn’t, because of this idiot who was bothering me. But I thought that surely my walking off without so much as a glimpse towards him would let him know that I really wanted him to sod off?
I hid in the ladies’ room for a while but I couldn’t stay away from the dance floor when the DJ put on another favourite song of mine. But sure enough, the creep was right there waiting for me. He resumed his mock humping without actually touching me – if he had touched me, I would have shoved him so hard – but this time my friends were up to the situation and they pulled me away from him, closing the circle around me, and they wouldn’t let the idiot get through, though he tried.
He got the hint then! He vanished and my good mood returned. Later I saw him harassing another woman. She was doing the same thing I had been doing – avoided looking at him, tried to get away from him, but she was doing it more subtly, like she was embarrassed to make a fuss just because the guy couldn’t take a hint. He grabbed her hands and the woman allowed that, though she still wouldn’t look at him. I thought the woman was just being spineless now – you don’t have to let someone grab your hands if you don’t want them to! But she still appeared to think that if she didn’t respond at all, he would go away.
I thought about interfering. I felt like the woman needed someone to defend her because she was apparently too timid to defend herself, but in the end, I decided against it. It was none of my business, and who knows what would have happened if I had gone and shoved the guy off some other woman. I’m quite small so I can’t trust to come out on top of it if I start a bar brawl.
I didn’t see the pair in a while because the dance floor was quite crowded now, but the next time I saw them, the man was holding the woman in a kind of ballroom dance hold, with one hand around her back and the other hand holding hers. She had put her hand on his shoulder but she was still looking away from him and her whole body was awkwardly twisted away from him. I can’t see how the guy could have possibly got the idea she wanted to dance with him, and I also don’t understand why she didn’t get away from him. When he was bothering me, I hadn’t wanted to talk to him or even make an eye contact with him, so I knew how she felt but if that guy had touched me, I would have made it very clear to him that I didn’t allow it.
After a while the two left the dance floor together and I was sorry I hadn’t interfered after all. What if she never found the nerve to tell him to fuck off, and the guy followed her home like a leech? Since he was so blind to other people’s body language, there’s no knowing what he could have done. I was relieved to see him come back alone after a few minutes, and I didn’t see the woman again, so I assumed she had left without him. He tried to approach me again but this time I gave him a little shove as soon as he got near, and my friends blocked him again, so he gave up.
There was also one guy who said into my ear, “Lovely bum!” I pretended not to hear him. I don’t know why men think women are pleased to hear comments about their body. Of course I don’t mind if people appreciate my body. But I take an issue if they think they’re entitled to tell me what they think about it. If someone tells me they like the way I dance, I take it a bit more kindly, I may even acknowledge it with a thanks… but I still wonder why a random stranger would think they have the right to vocalise any evaluation of me.
If you want to approach a stranger on the dance floor, try making an eye contact first. If you succeed in that, you can move closer and dance with that person – but try not to get in their way! Assume they came to the club to dance, not to be humped or groped by strangers. If you continue to get positive signals – eye contact, smiles – you can take that as a go-ahead to come closer still and touch them. If that doesn’t make them take a step back, then you’re probably okay. That’s how I would approach someone on the dance floor, and it has never failed me yet. But I don’t expect a guy to feel flattered if I told him I like his shoulders. I would expect him to be weirded out. Complimenting strangers on their appearance implies you think you are in a position to assess them.
I encountered a few more dicks that night. A couple of guys came late to the club and they were pretty drunk. The dance floor was crowded but that didn’t stop them from dancing like they were the only ones there, jumping and flailing their arms around in wide arcs. They didn’t care if they hit other people, making them spill their drinks or drop them to shatter on the floor. (You’re not supposed to bring drinks to the dance floor but no one cares.)
I moved away from those guys but it’s a small club and they dominated the dance floor. There wasn’t a corner where you were safe from being hit by one of them, or by someone who staggered into you after being hit by one of the inconsiderate assholes. When the DJ put Smells Like Teen Spirit on, they went completely nuts. Suddenly the biggest one rammed into me. He was taller than me by a head and shoulders and he probably weighed twice as much as I, so I lost my balance and nearly fell from the impact. Also, it hurt and it took me by surprise, so I cried out.
When I regained my balance and looked up, there was a guy looking at me and he made a zipper motion across his mouth… as if I shouldn’t have yelled when that huge jerk rammed into me?! What the hell? I had no time to wonder, though, because the bouncing idiot was coming my way again. I moved out of his way just before he hit me, thinking he would hit someone else instead or eventually, the wall… but no! He fell over and crashed on his back, flailing like a toppled beetle, having apparently intended to ram into me with his whole body weight. He gave me a sort of astonished, disbelieving look as he lay there on the floor amid the broken glass. I raised my eyebrows at him. Bitchy, maybe, but that’s what you get for being a dick. If he thought I would just let him use me as a bouncy, he had another think coming.
All this makes it sound like the evening was a total disaster but actually my friends and I had a fantastic night out. That was just the normal quota of jerks we have to deal with, even on a good night. This time none of us got groped, and that’s saying something. And there were plenty of well-behaved guys who danced with us to have fun with us, not to harass us.
But what I was trying to say here is that even though the vast majority of men are decent, there are still quite a few dicks out there. When women go out, they can’t just expect to have a good time without being harassed or even assaulted. They have to be prepared to deal with these idiots. I’m sure there are women who behave badly, too, stumbling around drunk as skunks and forcing their attentions on men who are not interested… but I’ve never seen a man back away from an overly amorous woman and make a full circle around the dance floor in an attempt to avoid her.
For a small woman, these situations are always a bit worrying because I know for a fact that if it comes to wrestling, I won’t stand a chance. If I shove a guy off and he backs off, it’s because he has finally taken the hint, not because I could physically overpower him. It’s not that I’m afraid of being assaulted at a club. But there’s always the risk that some idiot with no social skills takes a shine on me, won’t take no for an answer and follows me after I leave the club.
A male friend of mine once complained to me how difficult it is to approach women on the dance floor because they are always so unfriendly, though he never forces his company on someone who clearly doesn’t want it. Even the decent guys suffer from the hostility that the dance floor jerks inspire in women. After fending off a couple of dicks, a woman’s temper is starting to fray and she’s not likely to form a positive first impression of someone who tries to get her attention. So I feel your pain, all you well-behaved men out there! You probably don’t deserve to be rejected right off the bat.
Then again, women are under no obligation to welcome a guy into their company just because he might be okay. Sometimes a girl just wants to dance. I’ll be polite about it – if you haven’t done anything to warrant a less than polite response – but if you don’t get positive signals, don’t keep trying. No man is entitled to a woman’s attention. She’ll pay you attention if she’s interested.