#DudesGreetingDudes
November 8, 2014 11:03 AM   Subscribe

"Go say hi to other dudes if you need to so bad." Twitter reacts to claims that men who street harass women are "just saying hi." posted by Librarypt (119 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
 
Guys don't want to say "Hi" to rando guys. It's risky.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 AM on November 8, 2014 [66 favorites]


Yesterday a work meeting never got off the ground because one of my coworkers said, "I have something to show you." He then explained the entire Hollaback video to us and proceeded to read choice DGD tweets to us in his best East Texas bro accent. We were crying.

I have ended every other sentence since then with the explanation, '--dudes greetin' dudes'.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:18 AM on November 8, 2014 [9 favorites]


Or in other words (in response to Five Fresh Fish), "I'd totally participate in #DudesGreetingDudes if I wasn't worried about dudes beating me up for talking to them. Oh....wait. I get it." (Tweet by David Turnbull ‏@david_turnbull Nov 4)
posted by scratch at 11:20 AM on November 8, 2014 [75 favorites]


I love that one of the screenshot tweets in the article is from mefi's own middleclasstool.
posted by rtha at 11:22 AM on November 8, 2014 [12 favorites]


@elonjames is one of the best things about Twitter right now.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:32 AM on November 8, 2014 [11 favorites]


Hmmm. Not enough abuse when the Greetings are rejected. Otherwise: nice.
posted by jokeefe at 11:42 AM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh God, this one made me laugh out loud:
Elon James White @elonjames

You see a dude looking all hard & shit. Roll up on him like "Aye yo, smile, son. Damn." BRING SUNSHINE TO HIS DAY. #dudesgreetingdudes
I love it. This is an excellent addition to the "subvert the dominant discourse around harassment/assault" arsenal. (Not exactly the same thing, but it reminds me of these Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:43 AM on November 8, 2014 [49 favorites]


This is so on point, and it's exactly what I've been trying to tell guys in the wake of this video- the second you imagine men doing this to other men, it becomes so clearly absurd and invasive that it's mindboggling even to me, and I've always been mad about street harassment.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:43 AM on November 8, 2014 [88 favorites]


"The second you imagine men doing this to other men, it becomes so clearly absurd and invasive that it's mind boggling"

That can be said about so much in this world.
posted by ourt at 11:46 AM on November 8, 2014 [53 favorites]


Is it risky? Sometimes I actually do talk to randomly encountered dudes. If anyone seems disinterested or uncomfortable or the conversation otherwise ends/stalls out, I stop. I haven't gotten in a fight since 4th grade.

This isn't to mitigate anyone's nervousness at *being* greeted randomly -- at age 24, I was (mildly) assaulted by a pack of bored young men looking for trouble who decided I was their target, and started out with "hey, got a light?". And yeah, most of the time, when a stranger starts talking to me, it doesn't go toward anything like that, but there's often the tension of figuring out what this person wants from you.

But I'm having trouble recalling a conversation I've started that ended with a hostile response.
posted by weston at 11:48 AM on November 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Not too long ago someone at a bar asked me to play some specific music for his friend because it was his friend's birthday. I obliged and played it.

After we closed up I walked up to the guy and asked him if his friend liked the music. The birthday boy said, and I quote, "What? What? What? What the fuck do you want?"

So yeah. Men can be unbelievably hostile to other men for no particular reason.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:00 PM on November 8, 2014 [16 favorites]


I was walking down the street to get my mail one time and some random dude got really hostile when he decided that my grunted response was insufficient for his totally unsolicited "how's it going?". As in like, "What the fuck is the matter with you, you fucking dick? I asked you a fucking question!".

I am a guy, and that is the first and last time that I thought I would be assaulted in my own neighborhood.
posted by indubitable at 12:07 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


Most of the time when a stranger starts talking to me, they're going to ask for money or give me a religious pamphlet.

I've on rare occasions been mistaken for a woman (I think because of my fabulous hair) the most recent was two weeks ago a drunk man called me, "sugartits."
posted by RobotHero at 12:14 PM on November 8, 2014 [14 favorites]


Is it risky? Sometimes I actually do talk to randomly encountered dudes. If anyone seems disinterested or uncomfortable or the conversation otherwise ends/stalls out, I stop... But I'm having trouble recalling a conversation I've started that ended with a hostile response.

So as someone who presented as male for 30-some years, I feel like I'm qualified to speak to this difference, and HOLY FUCK there is a big difference.

Like, yes, guys do strike up conversations with other guys. But it's almost never in this intense, dogged "hey! hey! listen to me! where are you going! hey, fuck you!" sort of way. The only time men talked to me that way when I was presenting as male was (a) if they were clearly in the middle of some sort of psychiatric or pharmaceutical emergency; (b) if they were aggressive panhandlers or con artists of some sort; or (c) once, after I'd tried to intervene between an abuser and his victim, when I ran into the abuser again later that day and he wanted to intimidate me into minding my own business. With those unpleasant exceptions, when guys wanted to strike up a conversation with me, their approach was totally different — including, as you say, dropping it as soon as I hinted I wanted the conversation to end.

(And FWIW that includes when I used to get cruised by gay men — which was a thing that happened not terribly infrequently, since I came across as pretty damn queer even before I transitioned. Maybe it's different in a few single-mindedly cruisey spaces — like, I dunno, sex parties or super-pick-up-oriented bars? But my experience of getting cruised in public or in run-of-the-mill gay bars was basically like my experience having dudes strike up a conversation with me to kill time at the bus stop, with maybe a bit more friendly optimism behind it. Less like "Hey! Hey, I'm talking to you! —— Hey, fuck you bitch!" and more like "...so, uh, how's your evening going?" Which is perfectly pleasant!)

Now that I'm presenting as a woman, I still do get men (and women) striking up conversations with me in a friendly, low-pressure way. And that is not a problem. But in addition, every once in a while now I get the high-pressure approach from guys who want to demand my number, or to hassle me about how I'm dressed, or just to demand attention from me in some sort of vaguely sexualized way. THAT is the problem that these people are talking about.

"Don't greet strangers" is, okay, yeah, a bit of an oversimplification. But "Don't approach strangers demanding something from them" — whether that something is money, attention, sex, submission or whatever — is totally right. Guys rarely approach other guys like that, and when they do it often starts a fight. There are guys who regularly approach women like that.

And, as is standard in this sort of conversation, if you're not one of those guys, then you aren't the target audience for this stuff, and so it's totally fine that it doesn't speak to you.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:15 PM on November 8, 2014 [191 favorites]


Men can be unbelievably hostile to other men for no particular reason.

Male terror of being treated by other men the way men currently treat women.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:16 PM on November 8, 2014 [98 favorites]


If you say something to a stranger you would not say to an NFL linebacker at the peak of his powers you are a common coward.
posted by shothotbot at 12:23 PM on November 8, 2014 [35 favorites]


Speaking to another guy has its time and place. The time being distributed between rarely and never. The place being any neutral space with an abundance of exit points.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:24 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that's a good point too, Foci. Like, there's occasional exceptions for situations where you're going to be stuck together for a long, boring time. (Reasonable people can disagree about etiquette for talking to your seatmate on a plane.) But aside from that, yeah, guys are pretty much impeccable at not striking up conversations with each other in situations where it could be read as an unfair imposition or an implicit threat. Suggesting that when some guys don't extend that same courtesy to women, it's not an innocent mistake.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:28 PM on November 8, 2014 [14 favorites]


As an introvert and the spouse of Mrs. fireoyster, the daring mollusk who has experienced this sort of harassment, I'm OK with that world.
posted by fireoyster at 12:36 PM on November 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


DGD is fucking wonderful. And so very necessary in allowing men to try and really see/feel what women have to go through.

I wish I could participate as well, but I learned fairly quickly that greeting strange men is something you just don't do. Ever.

If you're a woman, any acknowledgement (eye contact, offering a smile, saying anything--even no) is immediately interpreted as a sign/return of (sexual/romantic) interest.

If you're a man, anything other than a curt head-nod or faint smile is immediately interpreted as you displaying sexual interest in that other man. You're a "faggot" and there's definitely a terrifying uncertainty about whether the situation will quickly escalate to physical violence.

Being trans, I've experienced both. And that's why I think DGD is great. I think most men simply do not believe or grasp how awful it truly is for a lot of women.
posted by stubbehtail at 12:37 PM on November 8, 2014 [16 favorites]


My 7 year old is like that.
Me - "If you do {this small task} we can go do [other fun thing]?
Him - "Fine, then we don't have to go!"

No one is saying you cannot interact with other people of any gender. They are saying it's more complicated than a binary choice of catcalling vs. ignoring.
posted by Seamus at 12:39 PM on November 8, 2014 [8 favorites]


I learned fairly quickly that greeting strange men is something you just don't do. Ever.

Yup! The list of those on the street I greet directly is basically:

1) People I know
2) Dogs but not their owners (I say hi to the dog and wave and if the owner looks friendly after that I will ask to pet the doggie)
3) The pro-choice clinic escorts outside the Planned Parenthood on the way to work (I mostly smile at them a lot as a demonstration of support and sometimes say "hi" if they smile back)

Unfortunately, pretty much anything else is potentially going to get me into a bad situation so yeah, for all the people being like "what, I can't greet people on the street?" please know that this is the world in which women (and a lot of men) generally live. I can't really greet people on the street either.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:42 PM on November 8, 2014 [11 favorites]


I mean actually the thing I find most fascinating about all this is how subtle and complicated social rules can be — and still be universally known and followed within a community.

Like, yeah, it's simply false to say "North American men don't address strange men in public," because there are all sorts of situations here where guys do strike up conversations. It's still false to say "North American men don't ever address strangers in an aggressive or demanding way in public," because there's still tons of exceptions. It's still false to say "North American men don't ever compliment strangers," etc etc etc etc.

And yet there's definitely a line that guys here don't cross with each other. (Or more likely, there's a whole cluster of lines, and depending on your region and race and age and subculture you've picked one of those as The Line You Don't Cross.) And when you see that line crossed you recognize it instantly.

But I think the complexity of social rules is part of what makes it so hard to discuss this stuff, and so easy for the "Oh this is too hard for me I'll just be over here in my body condom" thing to gain traction. Like, yeah, actually articulating precisely what the rule is would keep dozens of sociologists busy for their whole career. So at a certain point you do need to depend on people's ability to recognize violations when they see them. (Which is why this sort of analogy works so well, I think. If you can get someone to say "Oh! Right! Obviously if a man approached another man like that it would start a fight!" then you've shown what the problem is in a way that doesn't invite rules-lawyering or feigned confusion or whatever.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:44 PM on November 8, 2014 [31 favorites]


Yeah, you know what? I don't believe that the guys who do this shit are just innocent, nice dudes who don't realize that they're making women uncomfortable. If you routinely say things to women on the street that cause them to lock their eyes in a fixed stare in front of them, working hard not to look anywhere that could lead to eye contact with you? If they ignore you and walk faster, trying desperately to get away from you? If they answer your questions with single words in a monotone? If you approach a woman, she doesn't respond the way you want, and you then say things that are hostile, threatening, or insulting to her? Stop doing those things, because you are being an asshole and you know it.

I'm socially awkward and have social anxiety, and I have a lot of sympathy for people who mess up and are inadvertently socially inappropriate. But I don't think that's what's going on with street harassment. I think harassers know exactly what they're doing, and that's why they do it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:47 PM on November 8, 2014 [108 favorites]


Dude struck up a convo with me at the Ruby Room last night.

"Excuse me, would you mind shifting one stool to the right so my friend and I can sit together?"

"It's cool, I'm bailing."

No blows struck, not even grunts.

Though honestly, if I don't know you and I'm sipping my Monkey Shoulder all by myself, don't fucking talk to me unless it's something specific like that. I didn't come for the conversation, I came for to be alone in the crowd and the whisky.

Yeah, up upon review, I cold-shoulder random guys trying to start a conversation at the bar, and answer questions in monosyllables. What, have we been introduced by a common acquaintance or something?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:47 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


you people must live on a different planet. In Texas, you always say hello.
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:47 PM on November 8, 2014 [11 favorites]


Yes, Texas does seem like another planet sometimes.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:49 PM on November 8, 2014 [37 favorites]


I don't fear being assaulted by men or women on the street, privilege of being a big conventional looking white guy in a nice neighborhood I guess, but I do have social anxiety and absolutely no desire to talk with random strangers. I don't know why iPhone headphones in, sunglasses on, and starring downwards seems to be the most likely way to receive a half heard greeting that has to be awkwardly relied to but it does.

I understand people want a sense of community and of connection, but sharing physical space doesn't necessarily really define community for me. I prefer connections made from family or shared interest. At least with people in the neighborhood it's an understandable desire to be friendly, in a big city? It's a waste of time. You can't greet everybody, don't pretend that's what it's about. I read it as craving and demanding attention a lot of the time.

Also, I hate having to stop to give people directions. I'm terrible at it so I just look it up on my phone. Why don't you get one? They are super useful. One of my favorite features is never having to awkwardly ask someone for directions! Social anxiety.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:51 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


you people must live on a different planet. In Texas, you always say hello.

Right, but even in Texas (which is actually where I live now) a lot of the stuff getting tweeted under #DudesGreetingDudes is still clearly outside the bounds of polite interaction between two men who don't know each other. Like, yes, the specific details of the rules are different here, but there are still rules that men observe with each other — and there are still men who feel entitled to violate those rules when dealing with women.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:51 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


In Texas, you always say hello.

Perhaps, but I'll bet you don't say "Hey baby, you're rocking that Stetson, gimmy a smile, can I have your number, don't you walk away from me you rat bastard."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:52 PM on November 8, 2014 [76 favorites]


Respecting ZDOCtrine (Zero Direct Ocular Contact) is mandatory at all times.

One should only engage in pretend fighting with close friends as the aggressive nature of the activity can be mistaken for a request for actual close quarters combat.

At no point in time should a male approach another male who is eating a banana or otherwise processing a phallic object in or adjacent to the mouth region.

Smiling should only be exercised when a male cautiously acknowledges the existence of a beautiful OPSEX in close proximity by sharing the totally non homosexual experience with another male. All other activities involving the exposure of one's teeth should be avoided as they will be negatively interpreted per aggression signaling theory.

... It should be obvious that engaging in m2m communication is tedious and fraught with dangers, often with terminal consequences, which is why males resort to the occasional grunt and growl.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:53 PM on November 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I liked this article, called Why Don't Dudes Greet Other Dudes. It came across as a little more sympathetic and complex than any of the others I've read.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:57 PM on November 8, 2014 [9 favorites]


I see we've proceeded to the fraught topic of men's room etiquette
posted by indubitable at 1:03 PM on November 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ok, I'm having trouble keeping up with this "new etiquette".

I just can't believe it when men say this. They have no trouble following the basic rules with other men, but it suddenly become SO COMPLEX when it comes to interacting with women.

I know that it seems ludicrous, but we're not actually another species.
posted by winna at 1:03 PM on November 8, 2014 [104 favorites]


Ok, I'm having trouble keeping up with this "new etiquette". Let me get this clear: Men should no lnger say hello to, compliment, hit on, look at, or even acknowledge the existence of women they have not been specifically introduced to and known for an extended period of time and even then it's questionable. Everyone, especially opposite sex members, should spend their days in a bubble of non-interaction, and to even brush against someone's arm on the subway will now be prosecuted as rape thought-crime. Ok check. Now that I know how to follow these new rules, I'll be over here under my desk, wrapped in a full body condom, lest I speak out of turn.

Hey, y'know, I sympathize. I too have a lot of trouble comprehending the rules that govern human interaction, and I often want to flee to solitude to ensure that I don't accidentally violate anyone's comfort. I heard a PSA on the radio today about a "see something, say something" sort of campaign against sexual assault, and I'm totally in support of that and want to be a better ally, but in order to recognize abnormal, inappropriate behavior you have to know what constitutes normal, appropriate behavior, and a lot of the time that's really tough to do. So like I said, I sympathize.

Seems to me, though, that the difference between you and me is that I recognize that it's me who's wrong and fucked up, whereas you seem to want to blame society for its unwillingness to bend to your own shortcomings. You might want to look into that.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:06 PM on November 8, 2014 [43 favorites]


If you're so terrible at reading social cues that you can't tell whether or not you're making other people uncomfortable, how on earth do you manage to hold down a job or make friends? Could it be that you DO know how to avoid making people uncomfortable, but choose to ignore it when you want a woman to hop on your dick?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:07 PM on November 8, 2014 [65 favorites]


Is it risky? Sometimes I actually do talk to randomly encountered dudes. If anyone seems disinterested or uncomfortable or the conversation otherwise ends/stalls out, I stop. I haven't gotten in a fight since 4th grade.

Yes, it's risky. Not knowing you, how you present, what you're talking about, or your day-to-day circumstances, there's really no telling what your own experience means.

My experience as a 6', 200+ pound dude who's lived lots of places among people of all sorts of backgrounds is that:

1. Things down on the "hey, what time is it?", "do you have a light?", "damn, this bus is late" end of the spectrum are generally safe (though I've gotten crazy-eyes now and then). The thing all those things have in common is that "do you have a light" is the very closest you get to anything like their own personal space, and you're sort of banking on the comradeship of nicotine addiction and not the universal brotherhood of man at that point.

2. Things that aren't third-party observational -- things that are about what's going on inside their head, or that require them to have an opinion that puts them at social risk, or things that might cause someone on the very sensitive end of the spectrum to suspect you might be making fun of them or setting them up (which basically means you've asked them what they think about something if they can't read what you think already) -- are dangerous territory.

Pause for an army story: I was once out on the barracks picnic tables with a bunch of guys. This one dude was spun up about whether Heat was a better movie than The Godfather. Next thing we knew, one of us was in a headlock getting slammed into the picnic table. A few weekends later, this one guy told the same dude to "chill out" -- really just "chill out," not yelled or followed up with profanity or anything -- when they accidentally bumped into him, and ten minutes later they were being driven to the emergency room while the rest of us got sponges and buckets and cleaned their blood off the walls and floor, including the door frame they clung to while the dude tried to drag them into his room to continue the beating in private.

So, I've encountered men who are just unbelievably hair-triggered. I could certainly name several at every duty station I served at, and have had a few as neighbors and coworkers. They're capable of violence with very little provocation and very little indication it's coming.

I can't imagine any of those men being even slightly okay with me telling them to "smile," or me yelling "well fuck you, then!" if I told them to smile and they didn't. In fact, I'm pretty sure in my current neighborhood, and plenty of other places I've lived in the past, "smile" would earn a hard-guy stare and the followup "fuck you, then" would be an invitation to commence bumping chests and touching foreheads.

Pause for a Portland, OR story: I was once walking down the sidewalk down around Alberta and 20th, well into gentrification times, with a male friend. We passed a group of men hanging out in their front yard. I had been watching them watching us for half a block, and had decided to just walk by without making eye contact. My friend hadn't picked up on them, so as we walked by and they were eyeballing us, he said "howdy." One of them lunged out of his chair and walked alongside us down the length of his yard saying, "howdy me, motherfucker. Howdy me again! Fuck you, howdy motherfucker. Fuck you. I'll fuck you up."

"Howdy" is pretty far south of "smile" on the "getting into peoples' personal territory" spectrum.

Just my experience, and it's not better or more meaningful than yours, but it has informed a general level of reserve on my part when I'm around other men on the street. It just wouldn't be worth the trouble if I ended up mistakenly engaging with a live one.
posted by mph at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2014 [30 favorites]


If you can manage the complex rules like "Don't use the urinal beside another man if you can avoid it," you can manage "don't talk to strange women walking down the street unless they initiate."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2014 [37 favorites]


The people who get all "I'll never talk to anyone again then SO THERE" in threads like this always make me roll my eyes so hard I can hardly read, because barring edge cases? They already act in generally acceptable ways in which they read and react to social cues and body language appropriately. They know generally know enough to act right at work, they know there's a difference between how you act in a library versus a grocery store, they know enough to keep from having been beaten to a pulp or arrested frequently. So why the tantrums over having to acknowledge that yes, wanting to interact with a stranger of the opposite sex may require some of those same skills of reading and respecting those subtle cues?

And why blame the women? Who do you think taught us - by very specific and repeated and gross examples - to be wary of interactions with guys we don't know? (Hint: Guys we don't know, most often.)
posted by rtha at 1:11 PM on November 8, 2014 [113 favorites]


I resemble this greeting: "Hey dude! Does that neckbeard go *all* the way down?"
posted by surazal at 1:18 PM on November 8, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's quite telling that men who get stroppy over being told to not harass women never seem to get stroppy over being told to not harass men.
posted by Solomon at 1:20 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


If you can manage the complex rules like "Don't use the urinal beside another man if you can avoid it," you can manage "don't talk to strange women walking down the street unless they initiate."

This is a perfect example and I'm stealing it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:21 PM on November 8, 2014 [8 favorites]


I just can't believe it when men say this. They have no trouble following the basic rules with other men, but it suddenly become SO COMPLEX when it comes to interacting with women.

Not speaking about the obvious clear harassment here that nobody has an excuse to be confused about, but just in general men feel it's more complex because of the patriarchal pressure they feel compels them to approach women or else they will never have a relationship with one. The rules for interacting with other men have a lot more situations where "just ignore them" works out. But the perception of interactions with strange women is that they are mandatory, and the guys who are bad at it can get bitter and stupid. The guys who are good at it can get their own issues too that are just as bad.

But then, we can't expect all women to equally approach men they are interested in because they can be black boxes of potential dangers. Big stupid human mess. There are some ways we need to change how we raise boys, I think, we haven't quite figured out how to do it best for the 21st century.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2014 [13 favorites]


If you're so terrible at reading social cues that you can't tell whether or not you're making other people uncomfortable, how on earth do you manage to hold down a job or make friends? Could it be that you DO know how to avoid making people uncomfortable, but choose to ignore it when you want a woman to hop on your dick?

I've been seeing a trend of people claiming "im introverted" or like the above to excuse rather rude/careless/criminal behavior on their part. Oh god, and its like EVERY single relationship askme starts out with a disclaimer with someone claiming they have been messed up forever just because they may have been a virgin till 18, or weren't part of the homecoming court. And no, that doesn't excuse you being an asshole. If that's any sort of indication of the real world, I can just imagine this bullshit creeping into criminal courts. "I'm sorry, your honor, i didn't have many friends in high school. I didn't know that following someone to their house and using a reverse keyhole glass wasn't consistent with social norms".
posted by hal_c_on at 1:31 PM on November 8, 2014 [19 favorites]


I'm wondering how many of the people online who are defending catcalling actually do it IRL. I think they just hate the idea of any behavior they view as inherent to the masculine experience being disparaged.

And the whole "But I don't get it, I was just saying hi" faux-ignorance really grates on me. I feel like I see this with misogynists all the time, like "It's too hard to tell if a woman is consenting." This shit is not at all complicated, don't try acting like you're confused by some set of byzantine and ever-changing rules.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 1:31 PM on November 8, 2014 [41 favorites]


If you can manage the complex rules like "Don't use the urinal beside another man if you can avoid it," you can manage "don't talk to strange women walking down the street unless they initiate."

This is a perfect example and I'm stealing it.


Ok. But every single dude I know has been the third person to arrive in a 4-urinal bathoom, and has had to act like it ain't no big deal to be standing next to dudes who are all peeing and won't wash their hands, but will fix their hair in the mirror with their disgusting urine caked hands. Wait, what are we talking about?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Uppity Pigeon #2: And the whole "But I don't get it, I was just saying hi" faux-ignorance really grates on me. I feel like I see this with misogynists all the time, like "It's too hard to tell if a woman is consenting." This shit is not at all complicated, don't try acting like you're confused by some set of byzantine and ever-changing rules.

QFT. If I stare straight ahead, keep walking, and don't reply to any of your bids for conversation, how is that opaque in any way? Fuck, it's not a 19th century novel where you're required to parse the meaning of a strategically placed handkerchief!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:38 PM on November 8, 2014 [35 favorites]


Fuck, it's not a 19th century novel where you're required to parse the meaning of a strategically placed handkerchief!

New product idea: a lacy Victorian fan that sprays mace.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 1:40 PM on November 8, 2014 [35 favorites]


Fuck, it's not a 19th century novel where you're required to parse the meaning of a strategically placed handkerchief!

And, if it was, we'd all know better than to strike up a conversation without a proper introduction!
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:50 PM on November 8, 2014 [24 favorites]


New product idea: a lacy Victorian fan that sprays mace.

Modest proposal: women walking down the street are permitted by law to mace as many as three men per month, no consequences, no questions asked. Few women would abuse the privilege, and I as a straight man would still feel safer walking down urban streets at night than women typically do now.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:11 PM on November 8, 2014 [12 favorites]


Is it risky? Sometimes I actually do talk to randomly encountered dudes. If anyone seems disinterested or uncomfortable or the conversation otherwise ends/stalls out, I stop.

Cool, so can you teach other guys to do that when they try to talk to us women? Because a lot of times they just keep trying to talk to us and see that's kind of the point of this hashtag thing so if you could teach other guys how to read our body language too it'd be really cool kthnx
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:23 PM on November 8, 2014 [8 favorites]


but just in general men feel it's more complex because of the patriarchal pressure they feel compels them to approach women or else they will never have a relationship with one.

So every guy who does this is single and has never dated before. Who knew?!
posted by winna at 2:33 PM on November 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Literally after I read and commented on this post, I was walking to get coffee, and a homeless man started catcalling at me.

Here's the kicker: When I didn't respond, he told me to choke and "die in a ditch, bitch."
posted by ourt at 2:36 PM on November 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've been seeing a trend of people claiming "im introverted" or like the above to excuse rather rude/careless/criminal behavior on their part.

Oh, please. (Not you, hal_c_on, the people who make such excuses.) In what bizarro world do introverts try to strike up conversations with strangers on the street???
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:46 PM on November 8, 2014 [10 favorites]


a lacy Victorian fan that sprays mace.

I remember a (Chinese?) film where an assassin used a fan to similar effect, but this one shot blades instead.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:52 PM on November 8, 2014


In what bizarro world do introverts try to strike up conversations with strangers on the street???

To be fair, the version of it I've heard is "I'm an introvert — but I have to meet people somehow, so I have no choice but to force these interactions because they don't happen naturally for me."

Which I think is the honest truth for some people, and a shitty place to be. Like, even introverts need to find friends somewhere, and often introversion combined with awkward parenting or fucked up socialization as a kid leaves you without good ways to do that.

And it still doesn't justify bad behavior. But I do think that part of the solution to this is going to be providing introverted men with better social tools for connecting with other men, and with women, so that they aren't stuck making it as they go. Because for a lot of introverts, trying to fake extraversion without any kind of support or teaching ends up looking like "Well, extroverts sometimes strike me as a bit pushy, so I'm just going to be really really pushy with everyone else and surely that will work great."
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:55 PM on November 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


.."complex rules like, don't use the stall next to a man if you can possibly avoid it"..
I'll just leave this here..
posted by bird internet at 2:58 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I marvel at the fact that so many men take things like "don't sexually harass women!" or "the patriarchy is a thing that is real!" or "check your privilege!" so personally that they feel they need to defend themselves, like with the #notallmen nonsense.

Like, I've encountered these discussions online & never felt like any of the criticisms were directed at me (white man), because I'm (more than 50% of the time) not a dick in those ways.

You really out yourself as a part of the problem as soon as you get defensive.
posted by univac at 3:08 PM on November 8, 2014 [32 favorites]


Man greeting another man:
Man 1: Heyo chap, I say do you have the time?
Man 2: Busy at the moment my good sir, kindly move along.
Man 1: Righto.

Man greeting a woman:
Man 1: Heyo my good lady, I say can you spare a smile?
Woman 1: Busy at the moment my good sir, kindly move along.
Man 1: Aw bitch, all these rules! WHO CAN EVEN TELL WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO DO IN THIS CRAZY WORKADAY WORLD?!

Also, Dogg it must feel sick as hell to receive a card from a dude
posted by supercrayon at 3:11 PM on November 8, 2014 [64 favorites]


Hershele Ostropoler put it so well.
"If you step on my foot, you need to get off my foot.
If you step on my foot without meaning to, you need to get off my foot.
If you step on my foot without realizing it, you need to get off my foot.
If everyone in your culture steps on feet, your culture is horrible, and you need to get off my foot.

If you have foot-stepping disease, and it makes you unaware you’re stepping on feet, you need to get off my foot. If an event has rules designed to keep people from stepping on feet, you need to follow them. If you think that even with the rules, you won’t be able to avoid stepping on people’s feet, absent yourself from the event until you work something out.

If you’re a serial foot-stepper, and you feel you’re entitled to step on people’s feet because you’re just that awesome and they’re not really people anyway, you’re a bad person and you don’t get to use any of those excuses, limited as they are. And moreover, you need to get off my foot.

See, that’s why I don’t get the focus on classifying harassers and figuring out their motives. The victims are just as harassed either way."
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:31 PM on November 8, 2014 [111 favorites]


So unexpectedly obvious. This hashtag is perfect. I just love the last few seconds of the buzzfeed video.
posted by ana scoot at 3:46 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about this a lot, because I'm a guy, and I live in a large city. And I have been "hollered" at by other guys in my city.

Let me clarify: I like to skateboard, to get places and also for exercise. So sometimes - very rarely, I should add - some shithead bro-fuck walking with his pack of shithead bro-fucks (especially during the bar hour) decides to yell at me "YEAHH DUDE SKATERRRRR WOOOOO DO A 360".

And while it is nowhere on the level of threatening as a guy harassing a woman trying to get somewhere, I gotta say, it's really annoying. Because you know they are not actually genuinely cheering for you while you transport somewhere. It's a power play to show all their friends how little they give a fuck. "Ho ho, watch me yell at the skateboarder." You feel like a prop in their crappy stand-up act.

I'm not telling this anecdote to try to make some kind of point that this happens to guys too, or that guys do holler at other guys, nor do I mean to inject a male perspective in to a discussion about a problem that women primarily face. Because this happens to me maybe once every few months, if even. It's not comparable.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's fucking annoying when people holler at you in the street and try to play it off like they were just just joking or just being nice, but it's neither, it's very obviously a power play and a performance and it really sucks that women have to be part of this performance whether they like it or not on a weekly or even daily basis. If guys did that me every time I went out on my board, you bet I'd eventually be too exhausted to even do it. And that's without the whole "rape and sexual assault statistics" thing.
posted by windbox at 3:56 PM on November 8, 2014 [44 favorites]


#DGD is cracking my shit up.

en should no lnger say hello to, compliment, hit on, look at, or even acknowledge the existence of women they have not been specifically introduced to and known for an extended period of time and even then it's questionable. "

Yes. When in doubt, go full-on Jane Austen. It solves many problems and prevents many others.

But seriously, if you really NEED to talk to a woman, beyond just exchanging smiles or nods on the street, beginning with a polite, "Excuse me ..." is almost always a signal I'm not about to be harassed. "Excuse me, but I think you dropped your earbuds." "Excuse me, do you have the time?" This is the accepted method for interrupting someone you do not know in our culture when you have important information to ask or give. It even begins with an apology for the intrusion!

(There are a small subset of men whose lead-up to inappropriateness is something like "Excuse me, did you drop something?" you turn to look and they go, "Has anyone ever told you you're beautiful?" and it's SO MUCH GROSSER than if they'd just shouted "Hey hot stuff!" because you feel duped by responding to common cultural politeness. Uggggh.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:04 PM on November 8, 2014 [19 favorites]


But seriously, if you really NEED to talk to a woman, beyond just exchanging smiles or nods on the street, beginning with a polite, "Excuse me ..." is almost always a signal I'm not about to be harassed.

In NYC, it's a signal you're about to get hit up for money.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:08 PM on November 8, 2014 [20 favorites]


(There are a small subset of men whose lead-up to inappropriateness is something like "Excuse me, did you drop something?" you turn to look and they go, "Has anyone ever told you you're beautiful?" and it's SO MUCH GROSSER than if they'd just shouted "Hey hot stuff!" because you feel duped by responding to common cultural politeness. Uggggh.)

Yeah, the moment of street harassment that made me feel worse than any other is the guy who chased me for half a block yelling "excuse me miss!" until the worry that I'd dropped my keys or transit pass or something outweighed my common sense and I stopped and turned around-- whereupon he just slowly looked me up and down. SO MUCH GROSSER than if he'd just yelled something at me.
posted by matcha action at 4:08 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


In NYC, it's a signal you're about to get hit up for money.

Also my experience living in other big cities. Personally I'd prefer people just say, "you dropped your headphones!" or "I'm looking for XYZ Street" in a friendly tone and not try to preface it. It's the whole "hello, excuse me, how are you doing today, can I just talk to you for a minute" spiel from someone on the street that gets my hackles up because I'm used to that being the prologue to someone asking me for something.

You're only allowed to do that if you're Brandon Stanton and you're about to take my photo.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:38 PM on November 8, 2014 [8 favorites]


As a punk rock teenager dressed like a ragamuffin, I regularly got cruised by (a) gay dudes who probably thought I was a teen runaway, and (b) blue collar middle-aged men who definitely thought I was a teen runaway and wanted to buy me pancakes and tell me about wisdom/god. I had a crazy camping backpack from the '70s at that time, so that was definitely part of it. But, yeah, as a teenager I was on numerous occasions straight up offered cash on the street to "be in a video"/"take some pictures"/etc., to say nothing of "hey bro watchoo got in that bag?" type encounters, so, I have to say, under the right circumstances, dudes will definitely greet dudes.
posted by batfish at 5:05 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's the whole "hello, excuse me, how are you doing today, can I just talk to you for a minute" spiel from someone on the street that gets my hackles up because I'm used to that being the prologue to someone asking me for something.

Seriously. Nothing annoys me more than scammers of all kinds, big and small. Just once I wish someone would just come up to me and say, "Hey, I need $10 because I'm addicted to heroin and I'm out of money." If you do this, I will give you the $10 for heroin.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:08 PM on November 8, 2014 [9 favorites]




(b) blue collar middle-aged men who definitely thought I was a teen runaway and wanted to buy me pancakes and tell me about wisdom/god.

I had a very similar experience of men when I was 18/19. Though the nice blue collar guys didn't always just want to buy me pancakes....

It's funny you bring this up, because I'd largely forgotten about it. I was spoken to, greeted, proposition quite regularly by men. And to be honest, it wasn't just friendly guys saying "hi." Most of them wanted sex.

Now that I'm in my later 30's it's pretty rare for strange men to speak to me, and when they do it tends to be as an equal. It feels very different in tone and manner than what I experienced as a lost-looking teenager.

/derail?
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:20 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


you people must live on a different planet. In Texas, you always say hello.

One of my favorite parts about driving in Texas is how if you are driving a truck, every guy driving a pickup will lift a couple of fingers off the wheel as a nice little Texas good-ole-boy truck-bro-wave.

But they still don't start honking and waving and telling you your truck is cute, just like all the other examples of how men talk to other men on the street. It just doesn't happen that way, but it does to women.

I was spoken to, greeted, proposition quite regularly by men. And to be honest, it wasn't just friendly guys saying "hi." Most of them wanted sex.

Yeah, that happened fairly often when I was about 18-20 also, but although it was sometimes gross and often creepy, it was never threatening or scary.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:43 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's a thing with sports cars, too. See someone else driving a car like yours, finger wave of acknowledgement. Brief, stoic, just enough to signal that you are a part of the Group.
posted by indubitable at 5:59 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


"New product idea: a lacy Victorian fan that sprays mace."

I'm reading Waistcoats and Weaponry right now, which has battle fans.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have promised myself "Waistcoats and Weaponry" after I catch up on grading. But screwing around on Metafilter keeps sucking me back in. #procrastination
posted by joycehealy at 6:05 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


The people who get all "I'll never talk to anyone again then SO THERE" in threads like this always make me roll my eyes so hard I can hardly read, because barring edge cases?

More succinctly, I think if someone says, "What, so I cannot ever say hello to someone?" the best answer is, "If you cannot tell apart the situations where it is appropriate or inappropriate to strike up a conversation, then you really should stay quiet."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:08 PM on November 8, 2014 [19 favorites]


I think if someone says, "What, so I cannot ever say hello to someone?"

I used to try and patiently explain this stuff to people. Now when I'm pretty sure someone is being clueless or disingenuous I find saying "Are you fucking simple?" with a scowl usually ends the conversation.
posted by supercrayon at 6:12 PM on November 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


mph: Pause for an army story: I was once out on the barracks picnic tables with a bunch of guys. This one dude was spun up about whether Heat was a better movie than The Godfather. Next thing we knew, one of us was in a headlock getting slammed into the picnic table. A few weekends later, this one guy told the same dude to "chill out" -- really just "chill out," not yelled or followed up with profanity or anything -- when they accidentally bumped into him, and ten minutes later they were being driven to the emergency room while the rest of us got sponges and buckets and cleaned their blood off the walls and floor, including the door frame they clung to while the dude tried to drag them into his room to continue the beating in private.

How the hell did the first incident not end with prison time? I hope the second did.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:14 PM on November 8, 2014


I love this.

And it occurs to me that imagining the guy who is talking to you saying the same stuff to another guy is actually a good litmus test for when you can't quite tell if he's just being friendly or if it's something else.

Like yesterday I was mowing my lawn at the front of the house and a guy walking down the road motioned for me to stop so he could say something, and when I did, he said, "I just wanted to say good on ya, mate. Good on ya for mowing the lawn. Yeah." And I was all, this is weird, but he's just being friendly, so I probably shouldn't ignore him or be rude. So I said something non-committal and went back to mowing. But thinking about it now, yeah, he would totally not have said that to another dude.
posted by lollusc at 6:31 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


(b) blue collar middle-aged men who definitely thought I was a teen runaway and wanted to buy me pancakes and tell me about wisdom/god.

I had a very similar experience of men when I was 18/19. Though the nice blue collar guys didn't always just want to buy me pancakes....

It's funny you bring this up, because I'd largely forgotten about it. I was spoken to, greeted, proposition quite regularly by men. And to be honest, it wasn't just friendly guys saying "hi." Most of them wanted sex.

I'm 31 now and just a normal looking dude, but when I was a teenager and young man I guess I had a certain look because I was definitely hit on by ostensibly "straight" dudes with some frequency. It's definitely a thing that happens, and probably because of that guys catcalling women has always freaked me the hell out.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:45 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Speaking of talking to strangers: I live in a mixed neighborhood in Philly. The white people avoid your gaze and don't say hi. The black people meet your eyes and say hi, and even strike up a conversation. One of the reasons gentrification pisses people off is that the white people act as if they don't want to be part of the neighborhood. It may just be cultural. It may be that they are scared of random strangers hitting on them.

Spouse and I are white but sociable, so the neighbors look out for us and we look out for them.

(cis female) I've been hit-on-and-threatened by guys in public places, but it stopped happening when I turned about 50 (except a couple of years ago in Cleveland, where people shouted at me from cars in a vaguely threatening way). Now the only remarks I get are pleasant, non-interactive, appreciative remarks about my general fineness from older black guys. If the catcalling had been like that when I was younger, I wouldn't have hated it so much.
posted by Peach at 7:05 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


How the hell did the first incident not end with prison time? I hope the second did.

The first time, the collective wisdom of the people involved was "he's sort of high strung, yeah, but there was no blood." He got a company-grade Article 15 for fighting the second time.
posted by mph at 7:10 PM on November 8, 2014


"Respecting ZDOCtrine (Zero Direct Ocular Contact) is mandatory at all times. "

I internalized a different city etiquette than you did; I make eye contact with almost everyone, usually accompanied by a quick nod. It goes along with the face of, "I am on my way to someplace else." Eye contact is one of those things that is part of being aware of my surroundings.

I dunno, I talk to a lot of strangers but I don't really have the problem of catcalling women, and I don't really think it's that hard…
posted by klangklangston at 7:34 PM on November 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


Shit, I'm female (but old) and I talk to everyone in my neighborhood; I usually greet people with a nod at least, when I pass them. And yes, I lived for all of my life in good sized cities: New York, Paris, London, Toronto, Vancouver, in the descending order of size.

Catcalling isn't about 'saying hi' or 'being friendly' or about 'getting laid': it's about owning the street, claiming it as space that women shouldn't occupy. It gets more and more endemic the more sexist a given society is, and eventually takes the form of beatings and physical assaults.
posted by jrochest at 8:16 PM on November 8, 2014 [27 favorites]


I'm female and youngish (33, so that "ish" applies) and my best venture on this front of late is to be as present as possible in the moment and say something like, "See, now, that makes me uncomfortable. You're making me feel uncomfortable. I'm gonna continue with my day now. Hope you have a good one." There's just really not a way to win, but that seems to be working a bit, especially as I get more established in my neighborhood and have dudes who look out for me. It sucks that, for general safety, I have to have dudes to look out for me, but at least they make it so that I might be able to be clearer to the schmucks.

Also (and I hope this is not a derail, but this stuff takes up a lot of my day-to-day brainspace for real), one day an older guy I see around a lot decided he wanted to get to know me as a neighbor. Which is usually awesome. In this case, he seemingly could not stop staring at my chest, even though I told him quite explicitly that it made me uncomfortable. "Oh, you know I don't mean it like that," he said, along with general apologies that yet seemed never to render him capable at looking at my face instead. "It's cool," I said, "You can stare at my boobs; I'm just gonna stare at your right wrist while we talk, then."

We discussed the weather and the neighborhood and how great our city is. It was about forty seconds before I got to call him out on hiding his wrist behind his left hand. "Why are you hiding yourself?" I said. "Your wrist is so beautiful the whole block's gotta appreciate it." He looked embarrassed and laughed and I laughed and he didn't look at my boobs again. I don't know if it changed a goddamn thing, but it made me feel a little better.

On the lighter side, DGD is just grand and I'm really chuffed about the whole thing.
posted by lauranesson at 8:50 PM on November 8, 2014 [32 favorites]


you people must live on a different planet. In Texas, you always say hello.

There was a period in college where I decided that (as a naive white guy) I could spread a bit of happiness by simply say "hello!" to everyone I saw while walking around school. This was a nice, mid-sized California college in the late 1990s through early 2000s, and I thought people would generally respond positively. Some days it went well, and I'd get smiles or a "hi" in return. Other days, I quit trying after a few people, because I only got sullen looks in response and I was emotionally drained. I felt like I was simply offering a brief, positive greeting to men and women alike, and I got nothing from guys or gals than a blank stare. My energy went out into a black hole. Enough days of non-responses and I gave up.

But in retrospect, I realize the only people who really ever greeted me at random on campus were the strongly evangelical Christians, who usually traveled in groups, stopping random students to ask them if they had been Born Again. And today, the only people who greeted me in any sort of way were third-party sales people, camped out in a home repair mega-store, trying to get me to buy a gazebo or solar panels. I totally understand a general skepticism to out-going strangers -- what is your angle, and what are you trying to get me to buy?

And another epiphany came today when I tied together an anecdote that Matt Damon shared on The Graham Norton Show earlier this year, when aligned with a condensed 2 minutes of street harassment of a women who was just going about her day, and this post. Some guys treat women like celebrities, with the notion that the guys deserve some response from these mildly impressive individuals who they do not know. Matt Damon talked about some random guy following him, calling him Mark Wahlberg (it is a mutual mix-up, to the point that Matt and Mark have an agreement). Matt tries to ignore the guy, because Matt is out with his family doing normal family stuff. The guy doesn't let up, so he turns to the guy and says "Hey." The guy is happy to get some general recognition from a star he really doesn't know at all, and goes about his day.

This is a reality for women, but moreso. Some dudes just want recognition, because they think they are owed some greeting from someone they don't know, and they'll get pissed off if they don't get any response. Meanwhile, women don't know if someone's trying to sell them something, proposition them, or worse. They're just trying to go about their day as easily as possible.

So if thinking about women as "just like any other dude who wants to be left alone" doesn't ring true, think of celebrities who just want to shopping and maybe eat dinner at a restaurant with their family. Sure, they could say "Hi" to everyone in the restaurant, but that's a hassle, when they could just order their pizza in peace. Stars Ladies -- they are just like us (dudes). So leave them the fuck alone.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:25 PM on November 8, 2014 [9 favorites]


There's definitely a cultural aspect to the whole "hello" thing. I grew up in California and no one I knew routinely greeted strangers when out walking. In New Zealand if you pass a stranger while out for your morning walk you may very well get a smile and a friendly "good morning", especially from older folks. I thought it was weird when I first moved here but I'm used to it now and sort of like it.

However I hate the whole derail of this anyways, because the dudes who are like "I CAN'T EVEN SAY HELLO" are not confused because of cultural norms, they're just being disingenuous and I don't feel the need to take it very seriously or to give them the benefit of the doubt.

If I wasn't afraid of potentially escalating things I would love to start reacting to street harassment by childishly repeating whatever the person said and adding, "duuuuuuh" onto the end, much like in this episode of Community. That would be so fun. "Uh hey baby, DUUUUUH" "Smile it might not happen, DUUUUUH".
posted by supercrayon at 10:20 PM on November 8, 2014 [8 favorites]


On a related note: 3 Shortcuts To Not Being A Terrible Person.

" Imagine if you were walking through a city and, say, 100 large men yelled at you about how they wanted you to blow them. How your lips look soft like a pussy. Imagine those guys were in groups, or they were armed, and they each outweighed you by a solid 50 pounds. Imagine knowing in the back of your head that people like you get raped by people like them once every two minutes in America, and you and everyone like you has a one in five chance of being raped in your lifetime. And you don't know if these guys are "just joking" or not. You won't know until they do something. And if they do try to do something, maybe with a weapon, what can you do?"

Also:

One study had nearly 90 percent of participants saying they'd been verbally harassed or followed by a stranger. In Indianapolis and the Bay Area in California, that number is 100 percent. That's not just a hell of a lot of harassment, that is literally all the harassment. The entire female population is covered, and not just in those two cities, but all kinds of places. A good city is where maybe only 60 percent of women will be followed down the street by a guy asking to see her tits. Isn't that pleasant?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:45 PM on November 8, 2014 [13 favorites]


I was at a bar the other night after a gig having a beer by myself and a dude came up to say hi.. Cuz his hot little friend-girl liked me but was too shy to come up and say so herself. Just imagine, I could've knocked that guys lights out! Instead it turned into an awesome night, the very sort of night all those cat-calling assholes hope against hope to achieve! A night that most likely won't be repeated, nor should be! Thanks, guy!
posted by ReeMonster at 7:58 AM on November 9, 2014


Living in Toronto as a dude, yeah, if someone strikes up a conversation with me in public they either want my money or my soul.

For the years I lived in North Philadelphia, though, it always seemed like there was a culture of public greeting. Walking down the street, probably about half of the men I passed would say something like "How you doing today?" or just "Morning?" These never seemed intended to start long conversations, nor did they, but very rarely, transition into requests for help or money. They just seemed friendly. Part of it may have been that I was a white dude living in a majority black neighbourhood, but I don't think so, as the behaviour seemed common between people of all colours.

Watching the catcalling in New York video that started this recent conversation, I counted maybe two occasions where the men seemed to be legitimately "just saying hi" as they would to a random dude walking by because that's part of their culture. The other thousand or so examples were obviously different.

I guess all of this is to say that sometimes dudes do greet dudes, but these Twitter examples really get at the difference. You try and pay a man a "compliment" in public, you likely to get punched.
posted by 256 at 7:59 AM on November 9, 2014


I love everything about #DudesGreetingDudes.

I am a Person who Greets People, by nature -- I am open to random gentle interactions with strangers, and frequently start or respond to small talk when walking or waiting in line or whatever. Sometimes these interactions are with men; sometimes they even come in the form of compliments! I have a dress that I look fucking FIERCE in, and nearly every time I wear it, I get random compliments from strangers. These are virtually never creepy, and here's why: because I am a Person who Greets People, when I'm out and about, I am looking at people's faces, because that's how I roll. Not like staring, just glancing at people's faces. Sometimes I'll run into another person who's looking at people's faces, and we'll both be looking at each other's face at the same time, and we'll make temporary eye contact, and both smile. This is how People who Greet People identify each other, and once that identification has been made, we know that further gentle small talk is likely to be welcome.

If someone doesn't meet my eyes, they don't want to be talked to, so I don't. If I'm not in the mood to Greet People, I don't look at people's faces. If I make eye contact with someone and smile, and instead of smiling back they look away, then they don't want to be talked to, so I don't talk to them. These all seem to be rules that dudes instinctively understand with each other, and yet seem to be totally baffled by with women.

I guess what it boils down to is that greeting or initiating small talk with someone who hasn't already indicated that they're open to it via non-verbal cues is rude. And the fact that there are a lot of men who perpetuate this rudeness almost exclusively with women is sexist.
posted by KathrynT at 11:35 AM on November 9, 2014 [14 favorites]


Every now and then a normo, I-just-wear-a-suit-because-I-have-to-at-work business dude gets a cool tie pin for Christmas or picks up a jacket that comes with a pocket square and accidentally stumbles into the Secret Society of Fancy Folk Who Complement Each Other's Sartorial Choices* and he is completely taken aback. **

*a loose-knit collective of well-dressed, masculine-and-androgynous-presenting folk from across the gender spectrum, including fake vampires, real mobsters, alternative rappers and very persuasive cellphone salespeople.

**this reality made possible by class privilege / the illusion of class privilege. Big ups to all the home tailors and thriftstore superheroes out there stunting on fools!
posted by elr at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


I just found this great set of tips at the toast on female body language!

totes legit
posted by winna at 4:32 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: made possible by class privilege / the illusion of class privilege.
posted by mr. digits at 4:47 PM on November 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


If someone doesn't meet my eyes, they don't want to be talked to, so I don't. If I'm not in the mood to Greet People, I don't look at people's faces. If I make eye contact with someone and smile, and instead of smiling back they look away, then they don't want to be talked to, so I don't talk to them. These all seem to be rules that dudes instinctively understand with each other, and yet seem to be totally baffled by with women.

I was also baffled by this, it seems so easy to understand.

And then I realised that catcalling men weren't looking at the women's faces.
posted by kjs4 at 5:35 PM on November 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


Occasionally I am approached by an unusually bold manservant and asked "M'Lord, why have you consigned 30% of humanity to horrible suffering in the Smelting Zones, where one prays for death every waking moment? Is there no mercy to be had for my brethren?"

...and I point to this, and chuckle, and with downcast eyes he begs for my mercy, as forgetting the Lesson is a mortal sin among the Servitors.
posted by aramaic at 9:14 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


You point to dudes greeting dudes as a justification for consigning humanity to the Smelting Zones? That's pretty harsh!

I mean at least when I send people to the Games of Virtue where they are pitting against the Betroxian spiderbats armed only with tatting needles I make sure the individual participants are the ones who offended. True, some of the violations are things like leaving menus on my door in defiance of my sign that says no advertisements or failing to abide by the rules of the grocery store, but nonetheless they are clearly defined rules and so fall under the conditions of entry into the Games.
posted by winna at 5:59 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


But I do think that part of the solution to this is going to be providing introverted men with better social tools for connecting with other men, and with women, so that they aren't stuck making it as they go.

It is interesting how no one ever seems to be concerned about the plight of poor awkward introverted women and making it easier for them to connect with people in more acceptable ways than pestering strangers on the street...oh wait, it's because we already don't do that.
posted by naoko at 9:29 AM on November 10, 2014 [17 favorites]


Seriously I am so sick of things being presented as "awkward nerds vs. women," as if no woman has ever had the experience of being an awkward nerd, so we couldn't possibly understand.
posted by naoko at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2014 [20 favorites]


Right...women don't do that so we don't talk about women doing that. Men do it so we talk about them doing it.

We might talk instead about how introverted or less assertive girls can have issues in the classroom or at work because they don't speak up enough, whereas introverted boys are more likely to have been socialized into assertiveness even if it isn't really how they are wired. Different gender roles can result in different issues for introverted people.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2014


Different gender roles can result in different issues for introverted people.

While this is true, this should not also be seen as an excuse for the fact that these supposed introverted men are transgressing polite society.

I mean, when there's a rash of kids committing shoplifting in a given area, we don't fall over ourselves tut-tutting about "oh, but those kids are in a poor area, and we should have sympathy because different demographics can cause different issues for kids". Instead, we crack down on security because "grar rar these punk kids are shoplifting and that's bad".

And yet, whenever we talk about men catcalling women, invariably someone will come in trying to fall all over themselves about how "introverted boys are more likely to have been socialized into assertivenss" and imply that we should therefore forgive them.

Well, I'm sick of being pressured into doing that and am more like "grar rar these punk guys are being jerks and that's bad."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 AM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Different gender roles can result in different issues for introverted people.

Women being awkward and introverted causes problems for them.

Men being awkward and introverted (if the excuse given for men hassling women in the streets is correct, a theory the accuracy of which I have grave doubts) causes problems for other people.

Generally speaking we don't reach out the hand of kindly understanding and tolerance to people whose inability to manage basic etiquette breeds ruction. Why it's supposed to be different when lust is involved is a perpetual mystery to me.
posted by winna at 10:33 AM on November 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm sort of weirded out by the urge to pathologize being an introvert, for what it's worth. Introverts are people who are energized by being alone. It's a normal way of being, not some sort of disease that makes people do obnoxious things. I don't think that enjoying his own company makes a man want to humiliate and dominate women.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:40 AM on November 10, 2014 [15 favorites]


Related.
posted by naoko at 10:48 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I mean, when there's a rash of kids committing shoplifting in a given area, we don't fall over ourselves tut-tutting about "oh, but those kids are in a poor area, and we should have sympathy because different demographics can cause different issues for kids". Instead, we crack down on security because "grar rar these punk kids are shoplifting and that's bad".

I agree with your wider point, but that isn't a good sort of example. We should be looking at underlying issues with young people and crime instead of just throwing them into the system and moving on.

And yet, whenever we talk about men catcalling women, invariably someone will come in trying to fall all over themselves about how "introverted boys are more likely to have been socialized into assertivenss" and imply that we should therefore forgive them.

I am sorry if you have had a bad time with previous commentators on this subject. I believe that introversion can be a cause of a wide range of social misbehavior, much more often not the aggressive and assertive type, but it can occur. I don't think it's a primary cause of a majority of harassment, but it can occur in some cases. Nobody has a good excuse for that behavior unless they are mentally ill to the point where they truly don't understand what they are doing. Introverts do not count in that category.

Men being awkward and introverted (if the excuse given for men hassling women in the streets is correct, a theory the accuracy of which I have grave doubts) causes problems for other people.

Yes, that was kind of precisely my point about why we end up talking about them on the subject of harassment instead of introverted women.

I am an introvert. I do not harass people. I do not think they are pathological or diseased or obnoxious.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2014


I agree with your wider point, but that isn't a good sort of example. We should be looking at underlying issues with young people and crime instead of just throwing them into the system and moving on.

Is this the advice you would give to the owner of the shop that has been getting robbed? Does he have no right to try to reclaim some of what was stolen from him? Should he just sit back and let his goods be stolen because "we should be looking at underlying issues with young people"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, I think I also see the disconnect here -

I am an introvert. I do not harass people. I do not think they are pathological or diseased or obnoxious.

I suspect that what you're missing is that when we protest against the argument that "it's just introverted men doing this", it's not because we think that introverts are obnoxious.

Rather, it's because we don't believe the men doing this are introverts in the first place. People trot out that tired argument all the time, but it runs counter to a lot of other people's experience with introverts, so it smacks of someone trying to make excuses for transgressive behavior that they think will cause us to feel sympathy for the men who transgress.

So the pushback you're seeing isn't about "introverts are jerks", it's about "why are you asking me to feel sorry for a guy who just told me he wants to eat my pussy".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:22 AM on November 10, 2014 [11 favorites]


^ No I understand all of that. What I am saying is sometimes introversion can be a cause of social misbehaviors including harassment, but that it is not a primary cause in most cases.

It's okay if we disagree on that, it's not an excuse for the behavior.

Is this the advice you would give to the owner of the shop that has been getting robbed?

It depends on the situation. When I got caught shoplifting when I was a kid I got a stern talking to from a security guard and never did it again, problem solved, he didn't even take the item back. (It was smokes) Doesn't work for everybody or for more serious crimes so you have to use your judgement. I would always advise looking at underlying causes of criminality though because hopefully you can use that knowledge to prevent crime in the future. As I said though, I agree with your wider point. There is no reason to coddle harassers even if you are trying to figure out why they do what they do.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2014


When I got caught shoplifting when I was a kid I got a stern talking to from a security guard and never did it again, problem solved, he didn't even take the item back.

Okay, but my point is that the security guard gave you the stern talking-to, rather than turning to the shopkeeper and saying "oh, maybe he comes from a poor environment and you should forgive him".

That is our point.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:32 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am an introvert. I do not harass people. I do not think they are pathological or diseased or obnoxious.

The problem(s) is not introversion. Being an introvert does not mean one is also socially awkward, or anxious, or has trouble interpreting social cues or body language. Introversion doesn't cause entitlement. And it's not an excuse for not figuring out one's own issues around anxiety or shyness; I know plenty of nerdy, kinda awkward guys who somehow also manage to be decent human beings who don't catcall and don't OOPS sexually harass women they do or don't know.
posted by rtha at 11:32 AM on November 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


I was taking the train to work the other day, and there was an open seat. As I was about to sling down my bag and drop into it, I suddenly realized that there was a guy across the aisle from me who looked like he was maybe trying to do the same thing. So I sort of awkwardly paused and said, "hey, sorry, you go ahead." He just stared at me, kind of sneering, and then said, "no, whatever." I said, "no, really, sorry about that, I didn't mean to get in your way." And then he said, "look, I'm not from Seattle, you're being way too fucking nice, so fuck you, motherfucker, get the fuck out of my face."

When a dude escalates in anger because you are being too polite to him, we are talking about a socialized aggression that is beyond the ability of any single person to appease. But he wanted me to leave him alone, so disengaging was possible. If he had, instead, wanted to stay in my face, there would have been no shirking him.
posted by Errant at 11:32 AM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Okay, but my point is that the security guard gave you the stern talking-to, rather than turning to the shopkeeper and saying "oh, maybe he comes from a poor environment and you should forgive him".

That is our point.


Yes, I point out for the third time that I agree with it. :)
posted by Drinky Die at 11:34 AM on November 10, 2014


Yes, I point out for the third time that I agree with it. :)

Then what is your antagonism towards our complaints coming from in the first place??? Do you just like fighting?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:55 AM on November 10, 2014


Then what is your antagonism towards our complaints coming from in the first place???

From a miscommunication of some kind, apparently. I am not antagonistic towards your complaints.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:58 AM on November 10, 2014


I'm talking about how you responded to this comment about how women are sick of being told "they're just awkward introverted dudes" by going off on a tangent about how introversion is different for the genders, rather than nodding and saying "Yes, it is unfair to expect women to excuse these men for their awkwardness." A point which you say you agree with.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


That could certainly be the source of the miscommunication. I am not antagonistic towards your complaints.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:13 PM on November 10, 2014


...So shall I take it as read that the next time someone says "man, I don't know why people always pitch this as 'women vs. introverted dudes'," that you'll just nod rather than saying "but introverted dudes have different socialization"?

Great. Thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:30 PM on November 10, 2014


When someone says that they understand awkward men because they are awkward women, or the other way around, I will still point out that it isn't necessarily the case because sometimes socialization along gender lines creates different sorts of awkwardness. Assuming I feel it is a worthwhile addition to the thread. In this case, it does not appear that it was because in failing to adequately note agreement with the frustration expressed I unintentionally communicated that I didn't, in general, agree with the sentiment that was the main point of the comment.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:40 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Um. Cracked article.
posted by halifix at 12:18 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


"look, I'm not from Seattle, you're being way too fucking nice, so fuck you, motherfucker, get the fuck out of my face."

"Your quaint customs confuse and terrify me."
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:18 AM on November 14, 2014


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