Case File #02
Type: Socially Awkward Creeper/Nice Guy/Stalker
So with this Creeper I call “Toshiba”, just by his type alone we can see that there’s an abundance and a variety of dysfunctions going on here. In spite of all this, for a long while after I cut off contact with Toshiba, I actually felt vaguely guilty for being so harsh. However, there were things I learned about Toshiba later on that would have made me see this whole sequence differently had I known about them before.
Apparently before Toshiba became fixated on me, he had been creeping on my friend stargirlwayback. This was before she and I became friends so I didn’t get the details of it as it happened but only after everything in Part 1 transpired. He basically pulled the same intrusive, clingy routine with her. I actually saw this happen frequently as I walked through the student lounge. I didn’t yet know either of them though, and judging by how awkward and unromantic their interactions appeared, I assumed that they were oddly clingy brother and sister.
In addition to monopolizing her time in the student lounge, Toshiba would often show up at stargirlwayback’s work. She worked at a pizza restaurant and almost without fail, Toshiba would “just happen to show up” there exactly when she was on break. Every day. If my workplace had not been in a large building that required security clearance to get in, chances are he would have showed up at my work too. Also, after I cut him off, he told several people that that same coffee shop he followed me to had terrible coffee, bad music, douchey customers and awful service. Why was he there every night then? Suddenly all those bored nights he spent alone at the coffee shop became much creepier.
It didn’t stop there. After I managed to shake off Toshiba, apparently he had tried this same routine with so many girls that the student lounge population came up with a code word to deal with this. They called it “Sejekyllpod“. The way it worked was that if someone spotted Toshiba coming up the stairs to the student lounge, they would call “Sejekyllpod!”. Then everyone would shuffle themselves to make sure all seats located next to females were already taken before he got there. That’s how bad it got.
So with this in mind, it’s even less likely that this whole incident was just some sort of paranoid misunderstanding on my part. There was most certainly a pattern here and not a good one. This much I knew, but until thinking it through further, I was still left with a vague sense of guilt. Couldn’t I have dealt with that better? Did I have to reduce him to a sobbing quivering lump? After all, a “creep-shaming” was what I had been trying to avoid resorting to and that’s what this turned into didn’t it?
The narrative of what people pejoratively call “creep-shaming” is by definition a gross overreaction to innocent awkwardness and ineptitude resulting in much heavier attacks on the alleged creeper than is apparently necessary. The alleged creeper is essentially punished for simply having an unrequited crush and being awkward about it. The idea is that their crush is either a sadistic narcissist on a power trip or a coward who was too scared to directly say “no”. Instead of just saying what they mean (which creepers and creep defenders insist will always work! We swear!) they chose to kill a mosquito with a sledgehammer, smash their feelings to bits and accuse them of being a creepy rapey pervert.
This was not what happened here. I told Toshiba multiple times that I wasn’t interested in dating him and gave him multiple chances to change how he interacted with me. I didn’t even use the word “creep” or anything like it at any point during this fiasco. In addition to being obstinately creepy, there were several things Toshiba did that were just plain not cool.
Let’s start with lunch.
To the person who assumes that a guy would not be so irrational as to start a long campaign pursuing a lesbian (and not even in the “Dude, lesbians are hot!” or the smug “I can fix that for you.” sort of way), trying to buy their affections with lunch appears to the outside observer to be either a platonically friendly and inclusive gesture or just downright stupid. Despite my saying that this started to become excessive and uncomfortable, he insisted it was fine and would refuse if I tried to pay him back. He’d even go so far as to try to undermine my efforts to pay for my own when I could. In holding this over my head when I finally gave him a rejection he couldn’t manage to mentally wriggle his way around, this suggests that he:
a) fully intended on holding this over my head in the event that he got rejected.
b) presumed that you get reimbursed for failed attempts to buy affections.
or c) was so convinced that this was eventually going to work that he didn’t even consider how rejection might play into this at all.
The implication is that it’s women’s responsibility to refuse lunch from guys they don’t intend to date even if said guys insist they want nothing in return and won’t accept monetary reimbursement. It’s a spin on the idea that women are vending machines that dispense sex when you put enough money or kindness in. To Toshiba, I was a vending machine that ate his money.
Apart from lunch, nothing in this story screams “desperate for brownie points” like claiming to have been my knight in shining armor when my bag full of dirty, smelly work clothes got stolen. I wasn’t upset or in distress. He didn’t “comfort me”. He let me use his phone. Apparently since this phone usage happened under circumstances he could paint as sufficiently dramatic, this meant I owed him a date. Sadly, the “But I was the Hero!” routine is a Rejected-Nice-Guy favorite. The problem is, usually people can tell the difference between genuine altruism and desperate attempts to paint oneself as the guy who saved the day. When people start to catch on that your good deeds come with strings attached, they generally stop appreciating them. The more you argue for your supposed heroism, the more obvious your attitude becomes.
The next and perhaps most obvious problem here was Toshiba’s horrendous handling of boundaries. Not being attracted to men should already have drawn the line of “does not want to date men”. Sure, exceptions happen from time to time but usually if a person who is not normally attracted to people of your gender is somehow into you, they’ll let you know. They have to. Otherwise, you’d assume they aren’t into you. Or at least you should. Assuming from the get-go that you have a good chance of being that special snowflake that’s the exception to their sexual orientation suggests that you probably view other boundaries as being equally meaningless.
This was one of the worst boundary trainwrecks I’d ever seen. In addition to having admittedly took my sexual orientation “with a grain of salt”, Toshiba also chose to ignore a clear rejection after he asked me out and another when I told him to stop following me. To many creepers, rejection is negotiable, open to interpretation, to be contested or haggled; anything but real and anything but final. Toshiba’s methods of trying to prove that a rejection somehow doesn’t count were many. One that he used in particular that’s common among creepy Nice Guys was to imagine that my rejecting him was merely due to “emotional issues.” This serves to imply that if someone won’t date him, something must be wrong with them. They’re wounded! They’re sick! Someone should help them! This also gives these creepers the incentive to imagine that all their target has to do is go get better and then realize he was right for her after all! See? This was all for her own good!
Toshiba was so intent on finding all manner of loopholes in my boundaries that he saw anything short of giving him a yell-down-war-hell-ride and cutting off contact as “giving him hope“. So in the end, since “no” to him meant “try harder”, if I wanted him to stop what he was doing, he gave me no choice but to do what I did. It would have ended no other way. Sadly, this is not an uncommon ending. That’s the hazard of trying to bend or perforate boundaries or only accepting the most explicit and forceful of no’s while willfully ignoring all else.
You get swatted with a sledgehammer.