Creepy boys don’t often think of themselves or their actions as creepy. The rants my friends and I often have about how men suck don’t register in their minds as having any relation to them. They’re too nice to hurt a girl, they say. Still, there are many things that men have done to women on campus to make them uncomfortable and yet there are very few men who recognize this. That doesn’t add up.
But I recognize that what is upsetting to us girls doesn’t necessarily translate over to men, and it is hard to directly call someone out on their bullshit. For the convenience of the (probably no more than two) men who read Sex on Thursdays, I’ve laid some of these out for you here.
1. Choking without asking for permission
Much like asking for consent for sex, you should ask, “Hey, do you like being choked?” If the answer is no, don’t try again. Many people really don’t like getting choked and it can be a traumatizing experience to be flung from innocent fun to literally getting strangled.
2. Pushing someone’s head down to your penis to indicate that you want a blowjob or you want the person to go faster
My friend told me that once when she was making out with a boy, he started repeatedly and aggressively pushing on her head. After he didn’t stop, she told him that he was hurting her. He responded, “So does that mean you don’t want to?”
“Don’t want to what?” She said.
“Give me a blowjob.”
“If you wanted a blowjob, why didn’t you ask for one?” He didn’t have an answer to this, and she got the impression that he had done this many times before. My friend was genuinely shaken that he thought this was an appropriate way to communicate with an almost-stranger. If he had just asked for a blowjob, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but instead she left feeling like he saw her as a sex object rather than a fully participating partner. A rule of thumb: Repeatedly pushing for something after you are told anything but “yes” makes you creepy, if not much worse.
Similarly, you shouldn’t dribble someone’s head up and down like it’s a basketball. I’m more likely to end up gagging than going faster anyway. Instead, ask them to go faster. Also, you’re not going to get a lot of enjoyment out of your hook-ups if you don’t explicitly communicate what you want. To all the boys who seem to forget this in the pursuit of a blowjob: You have a mouth too and you should use it to ask for the things that you want.
3. Finishing on someone’s face without their permission
Can someone explain to me why some dudes haven’t figured out that this could be gross for most people? Hooking up with someone does not give you license to do everything you want to do without clearing it beforehand; behaving otherwise makes you creepy.
4. Texting someone multiple times in a row in pursuit of a hookup even though you don’t get a response
If your text conversation looks something like this:
You: It’s Adam from level b last night (the really good looking guy that you made out with)
The girl: ahah. hey
You: Haha you replied :p how’s your day?
Two days later
You: Hey again 🙂 let’s hang out again. Wednesday night was fun 😉
*Spongebob narrator voice* one debt to society later
You: Hey *hand-wave emoji*
You’re being creepy.
This is more extreme than usual, but still, after three texts in a row, you should have gotten the strongly implied “no” and stopped persisting. By ignoring obvious cues of disinterest, you are demonstrating that you may not register or respect similar cues during a hypothetical hook up; there’s a risk that you won’t take no for an answer. You might think that you’re innocently showing interest, and besides, don’t we all forget to respond to texts sometimes and need to be reminded to reply? In reality, you’re making someone uncomfortable.
(This isn’t about double texting. Two texts are fine. Five are not.)
5. Asking for a second date after you’ve been politely turned down
Firstly, be thankful that you weren’t ghosted because turning someone down explicitly requires maturity that us college kids don’t always have. Secondly, no means no. If you ask someone on a second date and they reply, “I don’t think this is going to work out, sorry!” don’t respond with, “Yeah it was a bit awkward on my end, but I was also exhausted as hell from a week of non-stop studying. I think we could get along well and would like another chance.” This will increase your chance of getting a second date from 0% to 0%. But the group chat to which the screenshot of your conversation was sent did get a kick out of this, so thanks!
Just because your actions upheld university procedures, Title IX rules and federal laws does not mean that you didn’t violate someone’s boundaries. Just because you won’t face any disciplinary or legal consequences doesn’t mean that they weren’t disrespectful, demeaning or hurtful. If you creep out a girl, even if this wasn’t out of malintent, you are still creepy; similarly, being awkward is no excuse. It’s on you, unintentionally creepy humans, to realize that your actions can have negative impacts even if you don’t mean them. Now that you know some of the things that can make someone uncomfortable, watch your behavior and control yourself so you don’t do that. And to the girls reading this: If you have friends who talk about having done something like this and didn’t recognize the problematic nature of their actions, you can call them out too.
The Hoeletariat is a student at Cornell University. Afterthots runs monthly this semester. Sex on Thursday appears every other Thursday.