Adults Only.

18+ Minors Click Here

Creeps and Geeks

I have dated them. I’ve had them as roommates. I’ve worked with them (oh, man, have I worked with them.) I have them as friends.

I know creeps.

There’s the too-shy dude. The “nice” guy that “can’t catch a break,” who’s actually a dick that invalidates his own “girls like assholes” theory. The undiagnosed dude who’s running around with autism or OCD or sensory processing disorder or even face-blindness. The dude with the questionable mustache. The dude that is nick-named after a lovingly-crafted Vampire: the Masquerade character from 1994, which he used to vLARP, and has since built an entire false persona around, and for the love of all that’s holy, he’s never, ever going to shut up about it.

Then there’s the scary guys. Lord Dom Thunderfart who threatens people at clubs in a only-barely veiled way. Old guys that zone in on 16 year olds. Guys that are always bringing up sex out of context.  Guys that make you shudder. Creeps.

Creeps run a wide continuum.

The main character in my last short story is a creep. (Note: I HAVE NO BUSINESS WRITING PORN. “What? Red-headed Adonis Billionaires in silk suits are hot? Pshaw. Bring on a subby fanboy living in squalor!”)

“Right. No, you’re right. Sorry. You may be Creepy Sean, but you pay your bills.” She nodded, and she shoved the check into her bra strap.

He tossed the checkbook on his desk, knocking over a can, which destabilized a book, and sent his phone, a screwdriver, and some change cascading to the floor. He shook his head. “I am not creepy. You’re shallow.”

“I didn’t name you Creepy Sean. My friends did. Because you’re so warm and inviting.”

He swiveled idly in his chair and popped his knuckles. She grinned at him. “You’ve got a flaming skull tattooed to your tits. You really wanna talk about warm and inviting?”

She screwed her face up and shrugged. “Dude, forget it. You’re not creepy. Fine. Marinate in the cock cave with the porn bots until the dirty laundry and Cheetoh dust become sentient. I don’t fucking care.”

“Your friends are idiots.”

Creep, in most contexts, involves a certain level of unconscious (or maybe conscious) misogyny.

Not all the time.

But, most of the time.

Most of the time, Creepy Dude scared someone. Worried them. Made them uncomfortable. Or, made them cry at a convention, by whipping his penis out in an inappropriate place, time, context and universe.

So. Yeah. I once knew a guy that was banished from convention forevermore for running around asking people to sign his nuts with a felt-tip pen. Dude wasn’t autistic. He was just a jackass.

This morning I ran across an argument between Ryan Macklin and Chuck Wendig (and some other people.)

The gist is that it’s Super Mean to assume that any given creepy dude can tell when he’s being creepy or not.

Wendig re-tweeted:

Always concerned when guys worry if their behavior at cons is “creepy.” When I go to a con, I just don’t do creepy things.

To which Macklin replied:

Often, when a guy says that he is concerned, he’s really saying a variant: “So, I see that other dudes are able to chat and flirt with women, and I want to do that as well, but I don’t know where the lines are. See, I have a neurological condition or I was awkwardly socialized, so the natural thing I perceive this guy doing is really fucking alien. I’m not a bad human, at least I don’t think I am, but I’m obsessing over this situation to paralysis. It causes me a lot of strife because I’m doing nothing — which, admittedly, is better because I’m not bringing a toxic moment into another person’s life (which is my fear), but I see that I’m missing out of some part of the basic human experience and I honestly don’t know what to do. I would like to be a normal person, please.”

The conversation at g+ is decent. It hit twitter, went a little nuts, and Macklin emo-parted right at about the time I sent:

I am okay with the use of the word creep, in that it can keep women and girls safer. It’s shorthand; it’s currency in inter-female news-sharing at the younger end of things. It is more important for women and girls to be safe, than it is for every dude to get all the vagina he longs for. There’s very little room in the Creep Debate for women to have their cluelessness acknowledged, too. If “creep” works, it works.

Even if it works like a sledgehammer on a walnut.

A continuum that starts at “he has no game and girls make him nervous,” and ends with “coyote-otherkin that eats people and wears their lungs as hats” is probably not… efficient.  It’s not fair.

I get that it’s not fair.

And I understand that it’s frustrating.

Recently, I got into a conversation about frats and how frat parties are the Everest of Male Privileged Consent-crossing, yadda yadda. Only, really? Convention parties are safer than a frat party, how? Given the recent shenanigans in the perv-0-sphere, where people are being violated on stage? It’s not safe anywhere. It’s just not.

And, so, we’ve got this weird lack of specificity in our language that sets up a few ideas:

First: that “creeps” are “awkward” and that the awkwardness is interpreted as “possibly dangerous” in a consent-violating way.  It may be intentional, it may not be, but it doesn’t matter because Lennie Small only wanted to pet the rabbits.

Second: that being socially adept minimizes your chances of being labeled a creep.

Third: that the apex of being a consent violating jerk is  actually at the top end of the socialization scale.

This is nonsense.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the social totem pole, you are getting the same messages about “women as conquerable things to fuck” that every other person out there is getting. It doesn’t matter if you’re Greek or Geek–you’re socialized to put up with aggressive men. To excuse them. To write off the stories that accumulate. Every sexual predator out there has had a friend say, “But he’s an okay guy, he’s just loud/quiet/clueless/a player/a joker/etc. Etc. Etc.”

He’s always an “okay guy.”

The problem with creep is that it means we’ve left women with fucking Spidey Sense as their primary means of defense, then, we, as a culture, minimize and actively hide bad male interpersonal behavior. We hide it with social fallacies and misogyny about lying, drunk, crazy, slutty women.  We hide it with Not My Nigel. We hide it with myth and half-truth. And “he’s an alright guy.” And then when a woman has a failure of Spidey Sense, we blame her for it.

That’s a cruel set up for failure.

There are ways to cut down on a given individual’s creep factor.  Skillsets can be acquired. Rules, hard and fast and free of gray areas, can be learned.  A greater tolerance for neurodiversity can be taught, so that someone can be all, ‘Hey, I’m not a darty eyed weirdo, I’m on the spectrum and I mean you no harm.’

But it’s difficult to justify crying over the unfairness of creep, when we’re offering shelter to predators with endless excuses for boundary violating actions. You take away “creep,” and you’re leaving women no actual alternative besides the never-ending demand to trust, trust, trust and never, never judge.

That is just not going to work, until we’re all willing to label the real creeps.

This entry was posted in Featured and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes