Girls and their gas stations

When I was 19, I worked as a cashier at SuperAmerica. It was, by far, the most obnoxiously boring job I have ever had in my life. That is, until I got my very first Gas Station Stalker.

You see, if you’re a gas station employee and female, you are guaranteed at least one stalker. The Stalker is someone who comes in to buy his daily 3.2% alcohol 40oz malt liquor and two packs of Marlboro reds, and notices the new cashier– you! He kindly informs you that he finds you pretty (swooooon), and on the spot declares you to be his favorite cashier. You smile and say thanks as you take his smelly, wadded-up singles and give him his change. He leaves.

Cut to the next week. Since your first meeting with your new stalker, he’s managed to memorize the days you work, and which shifts. He now makes sure that he waits until you’re there to buy his smokes and watered-down booze, and stands off to the side while you ring up other people, to ensure that he gets some face time with you. You still naively think it’s a little cute, and maybe he’s kind of gross, but mostly, he seems harmless, so you just deal with it.

Cut to a month later. Dude no longer gives a shit that you don’t want to give him your number, or that you have a boyfriend. He continues trying his best to convince you to go on a date with him and his Marlboros and 40s. You complain about this to your coworkers, who tell you about their own stalkers, who are nearly identical to yours. Next time you see Stalker Man coming up to the store, you announce to your coworkers, “I’m going to hide in the cooler! If he asks, I’m dead.” Your coworker complies. You do the same for her when her stalker comes in an hour later. You notice, resentfully, that your male coworkers lack stalkers.

Sometimes, you’re a girl who doesn’t work at a gas station, but instead, you’re a girl who goes to a gas station on a regular basis. Maybe you’re my sister, who lives half a block away from a gas station and has a reason to go there nearly every day. And maybe the slimy douchebag who seems to be the only one working there won’t leave you the bloody hell alone, to the point where you refuse to go to this gas station unless you know for sure that he is not there. Maybe you ask your sister to go for you.

So. That’s where I come in. I frequently go next door to the gas station to buy my sister a pack of cigarettes, because Slimy Douche has made her that uncomfortable by repeatedly trying to get in her pants (which, had he been successful, would have been the second pair of pants in our town-home complex into which he’s managed to get). This does not fool Slimy Douche, who has memorized my sister’s preferred brands of cigarettes and soda, so he asks where she is. “The Girl,” he calls her. I politely tell him she’s busy, not wanting to make things awkward for her if she were to come in again later when he’s working. He says “aww, that’s too bad.”

This continues on a frequent basis, as me, my mom, and husband trade off buying my sister cigarettes. See, he doesn’t bother me, because I come into the store with my husband on a regular basis, so he knows I’m already someone else’s property not likely to be interested. One night, I go in to buy her smokes. She’s waiting in the car, as we are about to go out. He is finally fed up with this and asks why she won’t come in. Is she scared of him? For the most part, he seems like a decent enough guy, if not utterly fucking clueless, so I figure I’ll try to help him out a little. He seems to feel genuinely bad. I kindly explain that his frequent flirtatious behavior started to make her uncomfortable, so she prefers to avoid him. He kind of laughs, and explains that he wasn’t trying to be serious, he just liked to get a rise out of people. He seems nervous, and keeps rambling. I interrupt him to politely explain that most women tend to get hit on just about everywhere they go, or whistled at, or rudely leered at, so it may be something she’s very tired of dealing with. He doesn’t let me finish, but instead interjects to inform me that he would be thrilled if he got hit on every day by women. Not wanting to go into a Feminist Theory 101 lecture with him about street harassment and how insulting and ridiculous it is to expect women to take all this shit as a fucking compliment, I smile tightly, take my purchases, and say ‘bye.’

Yesterday, I go into the gas station. I changed my hair (got bangs), and he noticed. “You did something… your hair? Is your hair different?” I tell him it is, I just cut bangs. I smile, because I’m always so damn nice to everyone all the time, especially people who don’t deserve it. He is about to say something, but stops himself. He then restarts, and says in a frowny-face voice I hadn’t yet heard from Slimy Douche, “well, I would tell you it looks nice, but I wouldn’t want to offend you.”

Motherfucking son of a…

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41 Responses to Girls and their gas stations

  1. Cessen says:

    He kind of laughs, and explains that he wasn’t trying to be serious, he just liked to get a rise out of people.

    Wow. He likes to do that. Strange how I spend so much energy trying not to be a creep, and yet there are other guys out there that seem to revel in it. Ugh.

    • April says:

      I know, right? I had to hold back my shock when he said that. Although, maybe I shouldn’t have.

    • desipis says:

      Or perhaps he’s claiming that it was intentional to cover up the greater sin of being rejected by a girl.

    • Cessen says:

      Point. I’ve certainly said things along those lines in other situations. Strangely, sometimes it feels like more of a faux pas to have been oblivious than to do have done something on purpose.

      I think I’ve had that experience before when making off-jokes, getting a negative response, and then pretending that was the reaction I was going for…

    • April says:

      Perhaps. That sounds really likely, actually. Too bad his cover made him look like an even bigger asshole.

    • typhonblue says:

      I’m having a lot of trouble feeling sympathy for expressions of hatred towards the socially less-able, personally.

      Sounds like these guys are desperate, awkward and socially isolated. I have a non-neurotypical brother(and I am also non-neurotypical to a lesser extent). In his group home he lives with another extremely disabled man who asks out a lot of woman; He probably has no idea what he would *do* with them should they respond positively to his advances, but he asks and he obsesses. But, aside from his penchant for preventing women from having a perfectly trouble-free existence, he is a complete innocent.

      Maybe you’ll meet him one day and hate on him as well.

    • April says:

      I’m having a lot of trouble feeling sympathy for expressions of hatred towards the socially less-able, personally.

      And I am having a lot of trouble believing that all of the men who relentlessly harass me, my sister, and the other women I know are all innocent, non-neurotypical men who simply don’t realize they’re acting in a manner that makes people profoundly uncomfortable, and even scared.

      In the incredibly unlikely event that these men are “extremely disabled,” as you say your brother’s roommate is, how do you propose the objects of their affection respond? Should we smile and allow them to continue asking us out, asking for our numbers, and stalking us? Should we pretend to be interested? Should we just suck it up and go on a date with them? Marry them, if they ask nicely enough? How far do you want us to take this? I mean, if they’re actually disabled, that apparently means that not wanting to deal with the discomfort that their harassing behavior brings us makes us haters, so, what? What should I be doing, to ensure that I am making them as comfortable as possible? Apparently the comfort of the women being harassed is of little importance, so, what do I do, from now on?

      It’s like you really think that me and my female friends, who have all been the recipients of unwanted attention and harassment from scores and scores of aggressive and persistent men, are either too stupid to understand the difference between an asshole and a person who is really not sure of how to relate to other people, or that we have a great fucking time laughing our asses off at disabled people. All of which, by the way, are ridiculous, and the implications of which are incredibly insulting.

    • Desipis says:

      typhonblue,

      I find it’s possible to have sympathy for both the people burdened with emotions that they are not socially equipped to deal with, as well as the people burdened with the resultant antisocial behaviour that they are also unequipped to deal with.

  2. Clarence says:

    Working with the public brings its own risks.

    You don’t notice your male coworkers lives of utter loneliness any more than they are aware (unless you work together the same time or you mention it ) of your particular “stalker”. I will state that while the behavior exhibited in this post is unwelcome and unwanted it is not violent, nor does it go to any extreme such as exhibited in this video:

    I must say that the video is very offensive at the end, non-violent but “creepy” stalkers probably need mental help more than jail, but it’s meant to be humorous.

    In any case I have a suggestion for public employees everywhere: I’d let any employee of mine refuse service to any particular person while they were on their shift. In other words you wouldn’t have the power to ban a guy from the store because you didn’t like him looking at you, but you could ban him from the store on your shift . Anything of a criminal or potentially violent nature I would of course want brought to my attention immediately.

    • April says:

      You don’t notice your male coworkers lives of utter loneliness any more than they are aware (unless you work together the same time or you mention it ) of your particular “stalker”.

      Oh, just so you know, the gas station stalkers weren’t my coworkers. They were customers. Unless you were referring to the mention that the guys wo worked there didn’t have stalkers, like the women did?

      If that’s the case, I am not sure I would say that, as a result of not having someone come in to harass them during every shift, these men are now lonely. That would imply that, as a result of being harassed on every shift by a persistent customer, that the women are therefore not lonely. The absence of a stalker doesn’t make one lonely, anymore than the presence of one makes a person not lonely.

    • Clarence says:

      Way to miss the point, April.

      The point was that because women are not the initiators for the most part they get approached. This leads to things that males usually don’t have to deal with (except if a celebrity or after a bad relationship) such as garden variety creeps and stalkers. The payoff is that the average woman is more likely to have more relationships and sexual opportunities than the average man of her attractiveness cohort. So in effect, the price of the girl being able to choose among a variety of suitors is that she gets plenty of suitors she is not interested in and even a few she downright does not like.However, the price of MOST males not attracting unwanted attention from women is that many men go months or years with hardly any affection or interest from the other sex at all.

      It’s a balance and before envying your male coworkers there lives free from unwanted opposite sex attention, you might want to consider where that gets many of them.

    • April says:

      You have a point. I don’t know what it’s like to be expected to be the initiator in those types of situations. I suppose it’s unhelpful to try to make comparisons, but the comment on the post you’re replying to was intended to be more of an off-handed observation, rather than a serious insight.

  3. typhonblue says:

    “It’s like you really think that me and my female friends, who have all been the recipients of unwanted attention and harassment from scores and scores of aggressive and persistent men, are either too stupid to understand the difference between an asshole and a person who is really not sure of how to relate to other people, or that we have a great fucking time laughing our asses off at disabled people.”

    Do you? How do you, in particular, determine the difference between an ‘asshole’ and someone who is really not sure how to relate to other people?

    I remember once being in a sitting area in a mall and a non-neurotypical man approached me, took my hand and spoke to me for a few minutes about wanting me to go on a date with him. I smiled at him and talked with him until he seemed to loose interest.

    While I was preparing to walk away, he approached another woman who became very offended by his approach.

    For me it was obvious the man wasn’t neurotypical, to her he was just another ‘asshole’.

    How do we determine the difference?

    • typhonblue says:

      “In the incredibly unlikely event that these men are “extremely disabled,” as you say your brother’s roommate is, how do you propose the objects of their affection respond?”

      That’s up to you. It’s a free world after all.

    • Clarence says:

      typhon:

      I think your heart is in the right place , and I’m even going to agree that a small amount of what April is complaining about I’d rather tell her to “suck it up”, there is a downside to the privilege of being the one pursued after all, and one can’t reap the benefits of the privilege without paying the price. However, you’ll notice something: no matter how gently or obnoxiously rebuffed Mr 40 ounce man may be he doesn’t try changing his tactics or tact over a very long period of time. At that point its not like the shy, awkward guy going up to the girl on the dance floor and being called “creep” and maybe sneered at or laughed at (See bottom of post for an example)for good measure. It’s not even like the co-worker who, turned down 3 times over the course of one or two months finally gives up on April changing her mind about going out with him. No, it’s more like someone trying to wear you down with repeated requests or trying to be so obnoxious that she’d say “yes” just to get him out of her hair and try to placate him. That is not a good, respectful. or mentally healthy model of dating success.

      In short, I think you are being a bit too hard on April, though your heart is in the right place. Nonetheless, this isn’t an easy problem to solve because repeat interactions of the type mentioned can be both wearying or frightening, at the same time we can’t penalize men for looking at women funny.

      http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/song_details.aspx?SongID=94

    • typhonblue says:

      “However, you’ll notice something: no matter how gently or obnoxiously rebuffed Mr 40 ounce man may be he doesn’t try changing his tactics or tact over a very long period of time.”

      Again, how do we tell that ‘mr 40 ounce man’ isn’t socially disabled? Because ‘not trying to change his tactics or tact over a long period of time’ is exactly what someone who is socially disabled would do.

      “No, it’s more like someone trying to wear you down with repeated requests or trying to be so obnoxious that she’d say “yes” just to get him out of her hair and try to placate him.”

      Yes, I know what that’s like and so do some of the men I know–from women(it does happen.)

      “In short, I think you are being a bit too hard on April, though your heart is in the right place.”

      I don’t expect of April anything I don’t expect in myself.

      The irony is that I am pretty good at putting down asshats–a verbal dressing down in the face of male stupidity comes very easily to me and usually results in said man shutting up–and I often feel bad about it.

    • typhonblue says:

      Having said that, I apologize to April.

      The treatment of non-neurotypicals or people who are not adept socially is a trigger point for me as I’ve been treated very cruelly in the past for being a ‘social retard.’

    • April says:

      I usually feel bad about it, too, which is why I rarely verbally lash out ant anyone, including the men I’m talking about. If you’ll recall what I actually wrote in the post, I have been nothing but very kind and polite to the men in question. Aside from certain situations on the internet, I’m probably the least confrontational person you’ll ever meet.

      I appreciate that you bring up non-neurotypical people, because it’s something that is important to remember in situations like these. But I would be willing to put money on the fact that these two men I talked about in this post are as neurotypical as they come. Actually, I’ll revise that: it’s been a while since I worked at SA, so who knows about my “stalker” and the others that came around anymore. But the guy at the gas station next door? A stereotypical club-going, drowns-in-cologne, binge drinks at keggers, player-type of guy… I would be utterly shocked to find out that his penchant for not leaving women alone to the point that he scares them out of the store he works at is due to a disability.

    • Schala says:

      By the way, I’d like to add that “socially disabled” needs not meet a specific diagnosis of anything.

      You need not be neurodiverse to have social issues.

      Things that could cause someone to be socially disabled, at least over some period of time (months, years, maybe decades):

      -Trauma in childhood
      -Trauma in adulthood
      -Inexperience in social contexts, possibly due to no one showing them explicitly about customs or what is annoying
      -Being too emotionally expressive (something ignoring other’s boundaries to hug or hold them – especially with strangers, who generally don’t expect such)
      -Having been raised in another culture where certain customs are normal there, but abhorrent here, or vice-versa
      -Being on the autism spectrum anywhere, including “apparently fully functional by reasonable standards” (can eat and cook to an extent, clothe self, live alone, pay bills, work…but not necessarily be able to form friendships or other relationships) – many/most being undiagnosed

    • April says:

      I remember once being in a sitting area in a mall and a non-neurotypical man approached me, took my hand and spoke to me for a few minutes about wanting me to go on a date with him. I smiled at him and talked with him until he seemed to loose interest.

      While I was preparing to walk away, he approached another woman who became very offended by his approach.

      That is a kind and understanding way to react to that situation, and the way that you described it makes it sound very, very obvious that he was non-neurotypical. The other woman’s approach could definitely have been more understanding, but I don’t for a second think she was acting rudely for reacting badly to being touched by a stranger and asked on a date. I would have been uncomfortable, too. I don’t like being touched by strangers. It makes me very uncomfortable when people I do not know touch me. Hopefully no one would think that I’m an asshole for not allowing a stranger to hold my hand, just because he’s disabled?

      How we tell the difference isn’t really a question I can answer. It seems obvious, but I realize there are invisible disabilities. It is something I’ve thought about, but ultimately, I am nice to these guys, for much longer than other women may be nice to them. And I don’t think I should feel obligated to be.

      The point is, the behavior that these men exhibit that makes me and other women profoundly uncomfortable doesn’t change. Whether these men see that I am (or other women are) uncomfortable (or, like the gas station employee down the road, actually likes making women uncomfortable, and admitted it to me, about my sister) doesn’t change the effect that their behavior has on me, and those other women. If someone harasses me, I reserve the right to be upset about it. If someone harasses me and does not stop after socially-understood cues and direct communication from me, that is not my fault. I should be expected to be reasonably kind to people, but I shouldn’t be expected to let people who harass and stalk continue to do so, on the off-chance that they may be disabled.

      Ultimately, they’re acting disrespectfully toward other people. If I’m expected not to act like that to people in public, they should be held to the same expectations, whether they’re disabled or a certifiable asshole. And while I would take into account the fact that someone were disabled if I knew that they were, I can’t always know.

      If the choices are either “hate on” guys who are repeatedly blatantly disrespectful of women after repeated attempts to get him to stop or tell him I am uninterested, or instead treat them kindly and with the respect they haven’t shown me, and clearly don’t intend to ever show me, throughout the course of our interaction with each other, however long that might be, because it’s possible that they might have a disability that causes them to behave in that manner, I’ll go with the former.

    • mary says:

      Well said April.

  4. Adiabat says:

    What a loser! How dare he take a liking to a girl and express it inappropriately. Its like he doesn’t realise that paying attention to a girl he likes and remembering the things she likes is just plain creepy! After all, he shouldn’t expect the girl to act like a grown up, like he is expected to be, and not hide from him like a child does behind their mother. His feelings shouldn’t be hurt by that cos he’s a loser who doesn’t have any!

    Ha at least you showed him by making a post about what a loser he is behind his back where he won’t see it so we can laugh at him and bully him as much as we want.

    • Adiabat says:

      For what its worth April I do respect you on most issues, which is why your blog is bookmarked, but I agree with typhonblue that this is just bullying someone who is socially inept, a condition which I think is a lot more common than most people would like to believe, especially among young men.

      Maybe I’ve got it wrong. You have direct experience of the guy and maybe he is a creep, but I can only go on what you have written here and from you’ve written I think the latter half of the post is cruel, both the post itself and the events which precipitated it.

    • April says:

      both the post itself and the events which precipitated it.

      The events which precipitated it were cruel? Which events?

    • April says:

      Adiabat, I specifically wrote that the men have made women uncomfortable to the point that they prefer to literally hide from them. After several repeated attempts to get them to stop acting like that. Do you really think that my sister should continue going into that store to subject herself to constant harassment that she’s continued to try to deflect?

      I don’t doubt that many young men are socially inept and that many women may not realize that. And it’s not my intention or goal to shame these men. Since you noted you read this blog regularly, I’m sure you notice that I am usually careful not to ridicule men or write entire posts making fun of them, to the point that half of the feminist blogosphere seems to consider me a sellout. But after dealing with persistent harassment since puberty set in over a decade ago, I’d like to think I’ve learned the difference, at least as well as can be expected, between men who are disrespectful assholes, and those who are literally not sure how to act toward women they may be interested in.

      Let me give you an example:

      I just quit a job I had in a large shopping/banking district of my city, where I would frequently go to a bagel shop for breakfast. One guy there, probably in his late teens or early twenties, relentlessly complimented and flirted with me and my coworkers when we’d come in. I wasn’t interested, nor were any of my female coworkers, as we are all in relationships, and he’s quite a bit younger than us, but he was respectful in his social ineptitude. (I would consider relentless flirting to this degree to be socially inept, as if it doesn’t work the first time or three, it’s really time to stop.) His more respectful approach is what prevents him from being someone I addressed in this post, and the reason why I was never made to feel uncomfortable going into the shop when he was working, although I admit that I felt a little relief if I went there and noticed he wasn’t there, because it gets tiresome to continually shoot down flirtatious behavior from the same person, over and over and over and over and over again. But he is someone that I would consider (or guess) to be socially inept, not an asshole. So I don’t/didn’t treat him like an asshole.

      The point is, I am respectful to these men, even if I don’t feel they deserve it. And I don’t think this post, which serves partially as a way to vent about over a decade of such behavior is in any way disrespectful on my part. As you can imagine, hearing a man literally tell me to my face that he enjoys making my sister feel uncomfortable doesn’t make me feel much sympathy for him.

      While I’m sensitive to the fact that many of these men may not be acting disrespectfully on purpose, I ask that you be sensitive to the fact persistent harassment is something nearly all women deal with on a frequent basis, and that we shouldn’t be expected to simply suck it up and deal with it.

    • Adiabat says:

      “Since you noted you read this blog regularly, I’m sure you notice that I am usually careful not to ridicule men or write entire posts making fun of them, to the point that half of the feminist blogosphere seems to consider me a sellout.”

      I do know, which is why I was surprised at this post. I only had your post to go on to make a decision and if you wanted any discussion on this post at all you have to allow posters to make judgements on what is written, even if additional info like the ‘faggot’ cigs makes it obvious that he is a douche. In fact introducing new info afterwards is ‘unfair’ (for lack of a better word).

      From your post alone he seemed like a socially inept guy who took a liking to a girl and got a bit of one-itis. At which point, instead of just putting an end to it and being blunt, your sister actually hid from him, implying that he actually scared her that much, and had to rely on her sister to tell him she wasn’t interested. That sounded like schoolgirl behaviour to me. That coupled with this comment ((which, had he been successful, would have been the second pair of pants in our town-home complex into which he’s managed to get)), I read as unfairly cruel. What was the point of this comment? Were your mocking him for his low number of sexual partners? Were you implying he abused this other girl, or tricked her in some way? Were you just annoyed that this loser managed to get laid? (remember I’m working off the original post here, not the additional info you’ve posted).

      ” I ask that you be sensitive to the fact persistent harassment is something nearly all women deal with on a frequent basis, and that we shouldn’t be expected to simply suck it up and deal with it.”

      Personally I think you should be expected to suck it up and deal with it, and I can think of two reasons why this is so. You accept that most young men are socially inept. Do you also accept that mainstream courting advice for men is woefully inadequate and not fit for purpose? Until the seduction community drops some of its worst elements and becomes mainstream the only way young men are going to learn how to appropriately approach women in a way that doesn’t creep them out is through practice, ie creeping a few women out. If we accept what you say that women shouldn’t have to deal with it these men will never learn how to respectfully approach women and we’ll see a massive increase in the middle aged alcoholic creeps who don’t care if they upset women because they don’t care about anything anymore after a lifetime of forced celibacy and the frustration and desperation that this can cause. This’ll also have the effect of reducing the acceptable dating pool for women to those guys who somehow know how to approach women from a young age without going through the awkward phase.

      The second reason is a bit less charitable and a bit more assholish of me: Why shouldn’t you have to deal with people who annoy you? I have to do it every day. I can’t walk through a city centre without some moron annoying me, from christian evangelists to those agency charity collectors bugging you as you shop, to people who walk too slow on busy paths or who can’t walk in a straight line so you can get past them. It frustrates me as well. But, I understand that we live in a ‘society’ and that all I can do is put up with the people who annoy me. Why should you be any different?

    • humbition says:

      I hate to see these arguments about the difficulties men in general have, being used to defend obnoxious behavior that is probably purposively obnoxious. Even if it is not purposive (and it seems so to me), a civil and non-hostile social environment is something which we have a right to try to preserve.

      Although some people overdo their emphasis on this, women are trained in this culture to be “nice,” and it is kind of exploiting that to ask April or others to tolerate blatant behavior for this and that reason. There was a reason my mother had the book on her bookshelf, “The Pursuit of Selfishness.” She was the opposite of selfish, but that was why she cherished the reminder that one does not always live for others.

      Empathy begins with the self. If we don’t take care of ourselves our ability to take care of others suffers. We’re not talking about putting these obnoxious men on the sexual offense registry. Just an ordinary, civil, public demeanor shouldn’t be too much to ask of anyone — and we shouldn’t be too willing to excuse any and all violations on speculative grounds.

    • Adiabat says:

      “Although some people overdo their emphasis on this, women are trained in this culture to be “nice,” and it is kind of exploiting that to ask April or others to tolerate blatant behavior for this and that reason.”

      I’m sorry, at what point did feminists stop ‘fighting the patriarcy’? It seems that you want everyone else to change their behaviour but aren’t willing to change your own. Just be less nice. You have more control over your own behaviour than you do other peoples’.

      “Just an ordinary, civil, public demeanor shouldn’t be too much to ask of anyone”

      You’d think so wouldn’t you. But it seems it is. There are annoying and rude people in the world and there always will be. I wish I was idealistic like you but to be honest I’ve given up on them. They have a right to be annoying and we have a right to be annoyed, but all we can do is control how we deal with that. It just seems to me that asking for special treament for one group to be rid of the particular people that annoy them is asking for a priviledge that no-one else seems to enjoy. And like I said, at least there’s one advantage to women for putting up with young men ‘practicing’.

    • April says:

      Humbition explained very succinctly what I was trying to figure out how to say, in terms of the overall trend that I am discussing in the post. I’d like to second that, and add to it, to address some of your specific points.

      … if you wanted any discussion on this post at all you have to allow posters to make judgements on what is written, even if additional info like the ‘faggot’ cigs makes it obvious that he is a douche. In fact introducing new info afterwards is ‘unfair’ (for lack of a better word).

      Fair enough, about the discussion, but I am not necessarily upset that you’re disagreeing with me. I expect it here. I’m really just disagreeing back.

      I realize you said that “unfair” may not be the best word to describe the way you felt about having the new information added later, but I added it immediately after it became available to me, in the comment section, where it’s reasonable to assume that people who are interested in having a discussion (and those who are already engaged) will read it. It has apparently worked, since you mentioned it. But it shouldn’t have been necessary, because I think I made it pretty clear exactly what an ass this guy is in the post. (For the purposes of this discussion, I’m not talking about the guys who used to come into SA when I was working anymore. It’s been too long for me to be confident analyzing that beyond the casual rant in the post.)

      From your post alone he seemed like a socially inept guy who took a liking to a girl and got a bit of one-itis. At which point, instead of just putting an end to it and being blunt, your sister actually hid from him, implying that he actually scared her that much, and had to rely on her sister to tell him she wasn’t interested. That sounded like schoolgirl behaviour to me.

      This is unfair. For one thing, I said: “And maybe the slimy douchebag who seems to be the only one working there won’t leave you the bloody hell alone, to the point where you refuse to go to this gas station unless you know for sure that he is not there.”

      No, I didn’t explicitly categorize each and every time she has made it quite clear to him that she is not interested, but I assure you, she didn’t pretend to like him, lead him on, or give him any other reason to believe that she was interested in him. I wasn’t there, either, so I can’t speak for her experience directly, only what she’s told me. But regardless, it’s rude, unsympathetic, and mean to say that my sister’s response, which was to go out of her way to avoid someone who was relentlessly harassing her when she made it clear on several occasions that she was not interested, was “school girl behavior.” If you want to attach insults about immaturity to people in this situation, the man behind the counter at the gas station can easily be said to have been exhibiting “school boy behavior” at my sister. I certainly remember grade school, and being confused about how in the world a boy could like me and think that I will understand that properly while he’s pushing me into the dirt and throwing rocks at me. The employee’s behavior is easily just as childish and immature as you seem to believe avoiding someone who is RELENTLESSLY HARASSING HER is.

      And I also think you are misunderstanding something. My sister never, at any point in time, asked anyone to tell him she was not interested. I thought I made it clear that I decided to politely tell him myself, without her asking me to. In fact, unless she reads this blog post, she doesn’t even know that I mentioned the reason why she doesn’t come in anymore.

      What was the point of this comment? Were your mocking him for his low number of sexual partners? Were you implying he abused this other girl, or tricked her in some way? Were you just annoyed that this loser managed to get laid? (remember I’m working off the original post here, not the additional info you’ve posted).

      The comment about his past sexual activity with our neighbor was included as an illustration to help readers understand what I believe to be his overarching intentions, which is to sleep with as many women as possible, and that he clearly has no problem accomplishing that goal. This is not a stereotypical “loser” that I can see you’re still imagining him to be. He’s not unattractive, he’s conversational and reasonably polite when not trying to fuck someone (or shaming other men for their perceived lack of masculinity), and there is literally no reason for me to believe that he actually has a problem that I should have sympathy for whatsoever, especially when I see the direct effects of his behavior every single day when my sister refuses to be near him.

      Personally I think you should be expected to suck it up and deal with it, and I can think of two reasons why this is so. You accept that most young men are socially inept. Do you also accept that mainstream courting advice for men is woefully inadequate and not fit for purpose?

      I don’t accept that “most young men are socially inept”; I accepted your suggestion that many men may be, and that women may not realize the expectations placed on men when it comes to dating women. I can’t begin to speak on behalf of what it is like to feel external social pressure to be the sexual or romantic initiator, but I can absolutely speak to the fact that, yes, these men that I am writing this post about are doing it wrong. And I don’t feel sorry for the guy at the gas station, at all. I may feel sorry for many other men who are literally clueless and under pressure, but not the guy who intentionally (and that, which I’ve continued to bring up here in the comment thread, was in the original post) he intentionally likes to make people uncomfortable, and admitting to doing so to my sister. INTENTIONALLY.

      Mainstream courting advice for young men… I can’t say I really even know what that is, to be honest. But I’m going to make an educated guess and say, sure, it seems inadequate, based on some of the conversations I’ve had with men recently. And perhaps that’s a topic for a later post. But the majority of men that I’ve encountered do not behave in such a blatantly disrespectful manner toward women… at least not in our presence.

      I do appreciate that you acknowledged the more damaging and manipulative tactics promoted by the PUA community. I’d like to be able to say that I support their efforts to help men gain the confidence to approach women, but after reading The Game a few years ago, I’m just not there yet.

      Finally, I don’t believe I’ve ever implied that I, or women in general, should be exempt from dealing with assholes. In fact, I’m very literally arguing exactly the opposite of that, in saying to you that I find absolutely nothing wrong with this post, or not treating these men with the respect they so quickly and repeatedly deny us, even if I choose to be respectful most of the time, myself. I also deal with exactly the same people that you mentioned on a daily basis who annoy the shit out of me, that has nothing to do with being sexually harassed every time I go to a fucking gas station. There is a difference, and as Humbition pointed out, it is not unreasonable to expect that we maintain a reasonably polite and civil society.

      And it really seems like you care far more about the men who may be disabled than you do about the safety and well-being of the women they are harassing, whether they mean to or not. Which, you know, your sympathies will lie where they lie, and I don’t fault you for that. But you’re veering closely to what most people in the social justice community would refer to as “oppression olympics,” and it doesn’t get anyone anywhere. While we don’t tend to strictly follow certain rules like that here, for the purposes of having as open a dialogue as possible, I do think it’s a good shorthand for explaining why this argument is starting to feel so irritating to me.

      The fact that gender-based oppression has affected so many men in the ways you’re describing doesn’t negate the harmful effects that the ongoing societal trend of sexual harassment (that is what we’re talking about, even if we’re not trying to prosecute anyone) has on women. Of course, the reverse is true, as well. But the men you feel sympathy for don’t “trump” the women I feel sympathy for or negate the validity of their issues, and the experiences I have dealing with the same thing.

    • Adiabat says:

      I fear that you are too close to this to continue this discussion. I probably should have realised this before I first commented. I apologise for upsetting you.

    • April says:

      You’re not going to find many women who aren’t too close to that, or similar, situations. Consider that for a moment. But hey, thanks for essentially calling me too emotional to talk to.

    • Adiabat says:

      I initially wrote out a long post challenging your points. Most of my rebuttals were pointing out things which you don’t normally do, such as hyperbole and exaggeration. Despite this new dislike you seem to have acquired for me I suppose I old you to a higher standard than most people because of your past posts etc. I wondered why your last post was different and all I could come up with was that you’re too close to debate rationally, in this one case. It’s nothing I hold against you. It happens to us all.

      Before you respond, here are a few examples:
      “INTENTIONALLY.” You write, in upper case, how he is doing this intentionally after I challenge you on the events you describe, but further up the thread you say “Perhaps. That sounds really likely, actually” to the idea that he is just covering for his embarrassment.

      “RELENTLESSLY HARASSING HER” You now suddenly use the term ‘relentlessly harassing’, in upper case, when before it was paying too much attention and “memorized my sister’s preferred brands of cigarettes and soda”. Maybe our definitions of ‘relentlessly’ harassing are different.

      “The comment about his past sexual activity with our neighbor was included as an illustration to help readers understand what I believe to be his overarching intentions, which is to sleep with as many women as possible, and that he clearly has no problem accomplishing that goal.” He’s had sex with *one* woman that you know of. Also, I wonder if you would have the same judgments against a women whose aim appears to be to ‘assert her independence’ by sleeping with as many men as she could. You may judge her negatively, but this negatively, I don’t think so.

      There are many more points, and my first post was a lot longer. I don’t want you to reply (but of course I can’t stop you or expect you not to) but I hope it explains my previous comment a bit more to you without sounding like a complete jerk 

    • April says:

      Some of your points are fair about how I got more emotional about it as the argument went on. And I got “louder” (typing in all caps, repeating words, etc.) as I continued to feel like you weren’t willing to step outside of your own perspective, as you were asking me to do.

      I’m not going to respond to the rest of your comment, at least not now, since it looks like we’re both getting tired of this argument. But your comments did inspire me to write a new post about possible better approaches for men to take to flirt with women, without causing the women to think they’re an asshole. So, stay tuned, I suppose.

  5. johnedens says:

    Hi April, interesting blog.

    Gotta say that I would suggest that you and the other women described just shut down these fellows and their unwanted behavior right up front.

    It would save you ladies a great deal of discomfort over the long run.

    You don’t have to be nice to everyone.

    • April says:

      Many women do that already. Some people just don’t have any respect for people, and continue being persistent.

      Although I do personally need to remember that I do not need to be nice to everyone.

  6. April says:

    My mom just informed me that our landlord, a male, also refuses to go into the store when Slimy Douche is working. Why? He told him he smokes “faggot cigarettes.”

    Yeah. I don’t think I’m being too hard on him.

    • johnedens says:

      Surely this fellow doesn’t own the store – perhaps a word with his manager might be in order?

    • April says:

      The owner is exceptionally nice and friendly. Our landlord has talked to him about this employee’s behavior. It’s a family-run place, so I’m not sure it’s going to do any good. Hasn’t yet, anyway.

  7. typhonblue says:

    My mom just informed me that our landlord, a male, also refuses to go into the store when Slimy Douche is working. Why? He told him he smokes “faggot cigarettes.”

    I’m going to make a suggestion.

    Actually do treat this guy like he has a disability. Whenever he acts up, start talking to him in slow, soothing tones.

    Say something like: “I know that people like… yourself… disabled people–I’m sorry I mean differently abled people have difficulty understanding social situations. And know that this isn’t your fault but…”

    Key is, you have to believe it. You have to believe this guy is someone who can’t help himself.

    You could also try nose mining while he’s talking to you and wiping your finger when you’re done on his shirt. This one is a very effective attraction-killer.

    • Schala says:

      I don’t like being given that treatment, mainly because it’s usually assholes who do it to people who are different (but not harmful or even annoying to society).

      Shrinks tend to do it. Speak as if they were all-knowing gods and you were a simpleton.

      You can describe everything in excrutiating detail about what you think you have, and they’ll think it’s something else.

      I got told I wasn’t transsexual by a psychiatrist (after two visits). 6 months later (March 2006) I was taking hormones, bypassing the shrink requirement with a trans-friendly doctor. Thankfully I’m not easily influenced by shrinks. And personal experience tells me they can be very assholish.

      I also got told, by another psychiatrist, I was more flamboyant-gay-man than feminine-woman in how I was (body language apparently). Funny how that didn’t prevent people (almost 3 years ago) from referring to me with female pronouns, female name and all that in 99+% of cases.

      She also said I would be better off as a air hostess or hairdresser (stuff I have no interest in btw). She probably thinks that I belong in stereotypically feminine professions, because all trans women are Barbie, you know.

      She explained to me how she was a real woman, and I wasn’t. How I better accept my trans status (which is true to an extent), and defer to her, my superior (this, however, is bullshit).

      It was four very long visits to that one psychiatrist. One hour per, once a month – and I was sure to bring my mother to all but one visit, to bring her disagreeable tone down (I assumed she wouldn’t insult me as much with my mother present).

      I had to see her to have an official transsexual diagnosis, in order to have an endocrinologist following me, and to have my legal name change (here, to change name, you need a very valid reason – because they assume fraudulent reasons in the absence of proof to the contrary – Napoleonic code and all – and being diagnosed transsexual and taking hormones is one possible reason).

  8. Jim says:

    “Key is, you have to believe it. You have to believe this guy is someone who can’t help himself.”

    He may even start to fall in with that himself. If you can work him to that degree, then you are effectively in charge of the situation.

    Someone nmentioned an aspect of this that hasn’t ben explored yet. This is a matter of work conditions. Even people who work with the public have an expectation of decent work conditions, and to me that covers the customers they have to work with. Most places have signs prominently displayed saying they can refuse service to anyone. When you’re by yourself late at night that may take some firepower of the threat thereof to enforce, but it’s your shift so it’s your store, so you’re in charge.

    The nose mining ploy is a non-lethal version of this.

    I understand how wonderfully convenient it is to have a place to go at absolutely the weirdest hour for cigarettes or beer or a little extra cash off the books, but is that really enough reason to expose workers to this stuff?

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