Anyone who keeps up with me in even the smallest capacity knows I’ve spent a lot of time writing about creepers over the past few years. I’ll admit I get a little carried away sometimes, but even those who disagree with my efforts have laughed at some of the things I’ve done. I started a creeper documentation blog back in college, and even Anderson Coop made fun of me for it a while back.
Jokes aside, I think street harassment should be illegal or at least acknowledged by lawmakers, as women find themselves being verbally and/or visually undressed multiple times a day by disgusting pigs. Some of us simply aim to get from A to B without being sexually harassed, and unfortunately this is an unrealistic thing to want in our culture.
The Hollaback! movement is doing a fabulous job holding creepers accountable, and while I’ve definitely called men out for their chauvinistic, violating behavior before, I have a new approach I prefer: I get weird on these guys.
Like many ladies in NYC, I’ve been catcalled more times than I can count. Some have told me to quit “bragging” about being creeped on, but as creeper victims know firsthand, there is NOTHING flattering or boast-worthy about attention of this kind, and I’m often approached when I look and feel repulsive (post-gym/post-work, when I’m most irritable). So when I’ve encountered it and been in a sour mood, I’ve lost my shit on these creepers. I’ve threatened to post their pictures on the internet, told them to fuck their mothers (rude, I know, but so is demanding a random girl on the sidewalk to blow what is undoubtedly your underwhelming cock), and, in some cases, said, “Is this how you’d like someone to talk to your mother, your daughter, or your sister? You’re perpetuating a hostile and unsafe environment for women. Shame on you.”
More often than not, they cower in embarrassment, and while this means I’ve technically “won” the absurd war that shouldn’t exist in the first place, I never feel better afterward. I feel a rage burning in my chest, and my day has been poisoned because I chose to be malicious to some creeper who is not worth an ounce of my energy.
So what do I do now when creepers bug me? I bring out my daffy sense of humor and make faces.
Take last night, for example. On a subway ride to midtown, this old guy would not stop staring in my direction. Once I was certain he was looking at me and not just zoning out, I began making blowfish faces and sticking out my tongue. He didn’t stop staring, but his look morphed from predatory to downright disturbed. I successfully turned the tables on him and he didn’t know what to do. Objectifying me, however, was no longer an option.
Something similar happened on the subway platform last week. When one guy wouldn’t look away from me, I popped my jaw out of place, sounding off the room with an ear-piercing crack. That’s another thing: I have a bum jaw and can take it out of its socket at any given time, which frightens a lot of folks. I’m technically never supposed to do this, but I do when it’s especially tight or I want to fuck with people. So I did it the other night, and unfortunately, the guy seemed to find it cute, as he popped his jaw out of place moments later. I can’t help it if others are nuttier than I am, but I am off to a good start with this creeper prevention strategy.
I know what you’re thinking: Laura, how old are you? Twenty years younger than my actual age (that would make me around 5), but that’s not the point.
The truth is, I don’t like the negative mood I’m in after I call men out for bothering me, but I don’t want them to think it’s OK to look at me like a piece of meat they plan on ripping to shreds, so I make myself as hideous and silly as possible. Hey, I’m not on the subway to pick up guys, and I actually enjoy being ridiculously goofy. I grew up watching Jim Carrey and other slapstick comedians, so funny faces suit me. If these creepers get to creep on me, I get to be weird and ugly. Believe it or not, it’s quite therapeutic to make fugly expressions. I’m the queen of them, and once creepshows realize that, they’re like, “What the hell?” How’s that for a gamechanger?
It’s kind of a genius plan. Nobody’s feelings are hurt. No one runs away livid. No one tells anyone to go fuck their mother. No one receives a sexism lecture. I get to channel my inner elementary school student/wannabe comedian and creepers get a funny story to share with their other creeper friends. I’ve only done this three times since last night, but the results have all been amazing. I have one more thing to laugh about each day and don’t need to blow up on someone to reach that point.
Call me insane, disrespectful, whatever works best for you, but I like this method, and I’m sad I didn’t think of it earlier.