This past week I was hit on three different times by three different men in three very different environments. The last one I won't talk about because it was nothing special and I essentially walked away while he was trying to get me to dance with him. But the first two will get all the attention. The first was a pleasant experience and the second was terrible. Here's what happened.
I like to read at Amelie's French Bakery; it's open 24/7 and has unlimited bread. These are a few of my favorite things. Monday night I was curled up on a couch in one little section reading The Great Cosmic Mother. I had gotten a lemonade and a croissant and was comfortably in my own little world. This guy walks up to me and comments that it's rare to see a woman reading by herself. (We're gonna ignore that reading by oneself is actually a pretty common thing.) I snapped out of my world and looked up at him. He asked about my white streak in my hair and said it was sexy. I knew where this was going. He then proceeded to ask if I had a boyfriend walking around to which I responded 'no'. Apparently blown away that a woman would be out living her life without a man attached, he told me to put his contact into my phone. I asked him 'for what?' and he said because he liked me (how?) and wanted to get to know me more. I then told him that I'm gay and he responded with a 'damn it' and cheerfully wished me a goodnight as he walked away.
Here's why it was a pleasant experience (that I wouldn't mind not happening again): 1) he opened with a really great/nonsexual compliment; he mentioned my book not my boobs/butt. I love to read so when people say stuff about my reading then I'm intrigued and complimented. 2) he asked questions about something he felt made me unique (my hair) and complimented it. 3) he gave me the option of contacting him (or not) by telling me to get his contact info instead of asking for mine, so now I have more control in this exchange. 4) he stopped when it was clear that this wasn't going to go anywhere. When he walked away I didn't feel annoyed that he interrupted my reading and didn't feel that the exchange, while it didn't yield much of anything, was a complete waste of my time.
Now for the second guy...
He walked in a couple minutes before close and sauntered directly to the bar counter where I was working. I greeted him cheerfully because that's my job and asked if he'd be dining in. He asked how much a glass of red wine is and I literally had no idea so I got him a drink/dessert menu and directed him to it. He loudly announced a few times that he does drink wine and then he changed the conversation. He introduced himself as Charles, which is my dad's name so it was weird, and asked for mine. We shook hands and I again asked if he'd be joining us for a glass of wine. It was clear that he didn't want to talk about our food or the wine, because he was too busy looking down my shirt! After verifying that I wasn't too young for him (although he was about 15 years my senior), he asked about where I'm from and shared that he's from Durham, but trying to find a better job down here. I'm being super nice and pretending to be interested. He asks me if I'm active on Facebook and expressed wanting to be Facebook friends to which I responded with not really interested in making new friends, but he persisted. I finally told him that I'm gay and he seemed offended, angry, and confused. He respects my 'preference and decision' but thinks that we could still work out. He mumbled a bunch of bullshit and told me that eventually I'll end up being attracted to the opposite gender (men). He said it very authoritatively and I pretty much had full blown hate for this man at this point. I wearily nodded because I was too baffled and tired to argue with this creepy asshole and again tried to redirect to that glass of wine; then he proceeds to tell me that I'm attractive and intelligent so I'm kinda a waste since I won't be owned by a man and I loudly say that 'women think I'm attractive and intelligent too, Charles! You have a great night!' He sauntered out.
If it's not obvious, here's why that was a terrible experience: 1) he, essentially, cornered me; I was at work so I couldn't just walk out. 2) He smelled bad, if you're gonna hit on someone, you can't stink. 3) He ignored what I said, I said 'no' and he persisted (you know who else does that? rapists). 4) He disrespected my sexual orientation; he basically said that it was a phase and that I hadn't found the right dick yet. 5) He thought it was completely appropriate to hit on someone who is several years younger that himself. 6) He literally looked down my shirt more than he looked at my face. 7) He was sooo creepy.
Here's the thing: getting hit on is something that happens and I deal with it when it does, but I hate walking away from it feeling insulted and violated and unsafe. That's how I felt after the second experience with Charles. The first guy was respectful and friendly, the second was the opposite. I was repulsed.
If you glean anything from this is let it be this: be respectful and when a 'no' is given move the fuck on.