As a man, and a straight man at that, I know what it’s like to feel immediately defensive when you’re told that a lot of typical dude behavior towards women is a huge problem.
But I also know what it’s like to take a breath, step back, and recognize that if I truly care, I can do something about it. I can stop being a part of the problem, which is what matters, and will ultimately benefit everyone, myself included, far more than any stupid defensive posturing.
Those moments are valuable.
But how easily do those moments come? Let’s hear from stories from Reddit folks.
1. The catcaller.
My brother used to catcall women ALL THE TIME until once when I was with him.
He was driving, I was the passenger, and he yelled out to a woman in another car about how hot she looked. I turned to him and said very casually yet matter-of-factly, “You know, women hate it when men talk to us like that. It’s not flattering, it’s objectifying and disrespectful.”
He got quiet, his eyes glazed over, and I saw him taking in what I’d just said. It had simply never occurred to him that what he was doing could be seen as anything other than flattering. He never, ever did it again, and I saw him grow into an extremely respectful person over the next couple of years.
Sometimes all it takes is someone to make them aware. This is why women call on men to call out their guy friends for this type of behavior. Some men look at women as objects, and they don’t take us seriously. But, the same thing coming from your sister or one of their guy friends? Completely different reaction.
2. The grand moment of realization.
I had what I can only call a grand moment of realization. There was a girl who I was acquainted with, and she was obviously, obsessively, and weirdly into me.
Being at the state of peak neckbeard that I was, I was desperate for a girlfriend. But for whatever reason I was not into the idea. I knew her too well, and although she was interested in me, I was NOT interested in her.
I spent a long time thinking about whether I should start seeing this girl I wasn’t attracted to… then it clicked for me: Sometimes people just aren’t into you. That’s okay, and it’s actually a good thing not to have to say yes to a relationship just because someone thinks they’re qualified to date you.
That moment back in 2009 changed my perspective so much, and I was able to realize that other people have and deserve their own autonomy.
3. The radar dish.
I know a guy who is creepy towards women.
I shared a flat with him and another guy. The other guy used to bring his girlfriend over sometimes and we became friendly. One night she confessed to me the other guy “creeps her out” and she’s “A little scared of him”. I had no idea he had that effect. I was surprised.
But the other day I was at the park with him. A young blond girl, looked in her 20’s, wearing black shorts and a t-shirt, came and started walking her dog in the park while we were talking. She’s a nice looking girl.
My friend turned like a lighthouse to face her…and just stared. And stared. In fact wherever she moved, he turned to face her.
After about 60 seconds of this (I was still talking to him) I got annoyed.
“Dude will you STOP staring at her? You’re going to make her feel uncomfortable”
“You’ve been staring at her non stop since she got to the park. You had a look now look away and stop bothering her”
“I think you’re being paranoid”.
She left then. And a few days later I caught him doing it again with another girl.
Now, I like pretty girls myself, but you don’t STARE at them.
And you don’t stand up, stare in their direction, then turn to face them everywhere they go…like a radar or something.
I tried to tell him he’s being creepy, but he won’t listen.
Creepy guys don’t always realise they ARE creepy. And don’t listen either!
4. The killer.
Saw this answer some time ago It was this dude that tried to confess to the girl he liked by going to her apartment and make her dinner with candles,flowers and all that sh*t But then the girl came home and the first thing she said was ” are you going to kill me”
5. The listener.
Talking to women, becoming friends with women, changing my circle of friends, growing up, learning empathy, and the final nail in the coffin was sobriety.
6. The masseuse.
I’m guilty of this, though naively and innocently so.
This sounds weird to me now, but I actually grew up in a household that valued back, neck. and shoulder rubs.
I did this for a long, long time to people I was friends with, men and women. In my head, it was just a way of saying I cared.
In retrospect, it undoubtedly gave of a super-creepy vibe.
I stopped once I saw it in context of someone else doing it to a woman, and her facial reaction to it. Then it just clicked. “Oh…OHHHHHhhh…wow, that’s inappropriate…”
7. The dad.
I used to have this older man always flirt & be unprofessional towards me at work when I first started, I was around 24 years old.
After i had enough of his weird comments & flirting, I told him that he has a daughter the same age as me (which was true because he’d talk about his family at times) and that how would he like it if some older man was talking to his daughter like that and making sexual comments to her.
He became less weird and flirtatious and more “regular” holding normal conversations. He moved shifts so I don’t even see him anymore.
8. The handsy one.
My best friend was actually the creepy guy.
We were both freshmen in college and virgins, and I was an attractive woman who spoke to him. It took me leaving a party because he wouldn’t stop putting his hands on my shoulders and a guy friend of mine walking up to him a few days later (not at my bidding, he just decided to do it on my own) and telling him “you make Minaowl really uncomfortable, stay away for her.”
He apologized to me and gave me space, but we were still in the same social circles, so we saw each other around and gradually became really good friends. He has apologized for making me uncomfortable multiple times, and once over a year after that party, he turned to me and just said “I’m so sorry for that night.”
9. The turned tables.
When I was younger, I would sometimes realize, someone was trying to get me f*cked up or otherwise defenses down, so they could f*ck me.
I was always really devastated and felt dirty, like I was being preyed on. But I kind of did the same thing to other people, which was justifiable because I was crushing on them or whatever. It took me a while to realize, the behavior you don’t like is what you’re doing to others.
After that I became a lot more transparent and stopped doing the whole “creepy friend with ulterior motives” and just started doing the “I am interested in you and would enjoy a date” from the get go, and it made things a lot better for everyone. If there was rejection I dealt with it and moved on, like a healthy person.
10. The cringe.
I’m a woman but I have a story about being creepy towards men.
In college me and my long term boyfriend had just broken up because he wanted to date my friend instead. This left me desperate to date or sleep with new people so I would feel desirable again. My good friend Paul was in college as well and had a cute roommate who was NOT into me. I asked for his number and Paul straight up told me no because his roomie wasn’t into me.
Well I went through Paul’s phone for the guys number anyway. It only took me a couple days to realize how genuinely creepy and desperate I was being, and every time I look back at this I cringe.
11. The way too much.
idk if I was ever creepy. I’m sure I was but I was told I was too intense. Too forward. Which made girls uncomfortable. I figured that everyone was having sex so why not just start the conversation there and see where it goes. Yeah no one wants to talk to relative strangers about your d*ck going inside their bodies. When someone you think about constantly looks at you with disgust. It’s pretty painful.
When I went to college I realized how many girls were actually sexually assaulted. It seemed like all of them. Seriously every single girl had a story about being accosted, or groped, or held down, or r*ped. When I was saying sexual things I think they thought I was the kind of guy to do that.
The disgust turned to fear in the post MeToo era. Honestly I think it’s for the better. Talking about sex with a female stranger can be a can of worms of sh*t that I had no idea was even happening. Coming from a place of privilege to try and get some sex is cringey af. Sex isn’t the answer to your problems. And women aren’t objects to help make you happy.
Basically, just have a modicum of respect for the human being in front of you.
12. The motto.
I wasn’t being actively creepy, but:
I used to think cat-calling was just flirtatious compliments, and who doesn’t like those, right? >.> I never cat-called anybody, largely because that’s not my personality type.
But now I live by the motto: “Never say something to a stranger that you wouldn’t want a big guy saying to you in prison.”
13. The education.
Reading many many posts on Reddit about how pervasive of a problem it is for women to have men leer or subject them to microaggresssions.
Hearing it all named, and hearing how unsettling it is for people, made me re-examine some of my behavior towards women.
Please do keep talking about it, it works! I sometimes hear “how do men not know about this”. Some don’t, but it’s constantly being discussed and part of the collective consciousness, then they will.
14. The trip.
I was what I would describe as an incel in training, I basically ticked all the boxes except I had no idea that something like this was even a thing and I was still kinda reserved about it, I’m glad I changed before I found those echo chamber forums, I don’t even wanna think what I would have become if I had all my views being reinforced.
I’m really into psychedelics although I tend to stick with weed now LSD was a big part of my later high school years. One day I dropped acid with the boys like I usually did, we got to talking about relationships and that’s when the bad trip started.
Once I realized that the trip was gonna be bad I excused myself to a storage room in my house that we basically just put a bunch of sh*t in, unluckily for me what I didn’t realize was that in this room was also a large mirror, so big that I could see myself entirely.
Now if you know anything about LSD you know what happens when you look in a mirror especially during a bad trip.
I basically went on a spirit journey where I could see what I was becoming, and it scared the absolute sh*t out of me.
That’s it, I did LSD took a good look at myself, and was so extremely terrified of what I saw that I basically had no choice but to change.
15. The poison message.
A girl told me she wasn’t interested because I did something creepy and she felt uncomfortable about it. I had no idea it was a creep move at the time. I’d never had that feedback and I’m very happy she provided it when she could have just ghosted and moved on.
I had problems understanding social situations and reading queues. I was influenced by 80’s and 90’s movies as my main educator in the ways of talking to women. My parents were available but my anxiety prevented me from asking and they failed to insist.
So I wasn’t born with the ability to read social situations well, I was provided with no map beyond coke-fueled Hollywood and my mindset was one of competition to “win” the woman prize rather than simply being with this person and getting to know them as a person.
Remember – it’s better late than never to grow up.
Have you had a moment like this?
Tell us about it in the comments.