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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is a stranger?

I've been thinking about this concept lately -- of unknown men being dangerous.  I was trying to explain to a guy online that I might not want to meet a total stranger.  I don't think he really understood why.

Normally I don't automatically think "Male = unknown = utter distrust" but there are moments when yeah, I do not trust a stranger when he makes demands or hits on me.  Particularly when it comes out of the blue.

That's instinct, sure; but's it's also experience.

But I do have to admit that I wonder about a guy who doesn't get that.  That being a stranger means that simply you are a stranger.  Unknown.  Maybe you're charming, maybe you're nice, maybe you're any of a number of things.

It could just mean that you are dangerous.  That you will rape me or stalk me, or that you will frighten me because you don't behave as if what I want -- or fear --matters.

Some anecdotes about strangers:
  • A guy who talks to me for minutes and then demands my email address... not asks, but demands.  He's told me something about himself already.
  • A guy who emails me a few times and says he wants to meet me, but who hasn't bothered to converse with me -- doesn't come across as wanting to meet me.  He wants to meet [insert some female here, possibly any female].  That's not bad, but not reassuring when I explain to him that he's a stranger and that I don't feel comfortable nor safe meeting him.
  • A guy who talks to me in a store... and then tells me I'd have to change everything I do as soon as we began dating.  Even though dating wasn't part of the conversation until that moment.  He worked there and kept following me as I tried to continue shopping.  (You can probably see why I didn't go back to that store again, and managed to leave without letting him corner me again.  I even asked a nice person to stand behind me and not let him approach me when I was in the checkout, as he kept attempting.)

Maybe they were all nice guys.  Maybe they were all Nice Guys™.  (See DivaLion's post about them for more tips.)  Or something in between, respectively.  I mark the first as a predator, possibly a NG™; the second as clueless; and the third probably stalks others as well as me, although he might be socially inept too.  :/

I like people.  I talk to strangers quite often, online, offline.  I always have.

You know something?  Just talking to someone is conversation.  I didn't ask any of them for dates.  I was talking about how I loved swordfighting with one, and about my favorite show with another.  I don't normally fear strangers unless they give me cause.

Two of those men didn't act like I was a person.

The other didn't suggest any friends or acquaintances we might have in common.  (Which helps when you move and want introductions.)  Maybe he just isn't good at thinking that way.  I couldn't say.

But it underlines the quote, that men fear being rejected and women fear being slain.  Emotional hurt to physical hurt.

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