I Look Sad and Dudes Are So Turned On By It
I have incurred a gnarly cut on my lip via a midnight bathroom run in the dark gone terribly awry. While ideally, I would prefer to have spent the recovery time hanging out in bed drinking milkshakes and watching Gilmore Girls, unfortunately I’ve had to go out into the world several times while this cut continues to mutate. I’m fairly self-conscious about it. It’s physically uncomfortable and visibly conspicuous. I assumed that anyone who noticed it (ie, people who glance at my face for more than 3 seconds because this thing is kind of huge) would be pretty grossed out or disturbed, and while I’ve definitely received some stares, I’ve also been hit on more in the last five days than in the preceding six months.
I was completely taken aback by the fire time it happened. I was sadly pouting my way through H&M after failing to find anything worth buying, and this dude grazes his hand over my arm and murmurs that I’m so sexy, etc. After four years of living in a city, I don’t take those drive-by flirtations seriously, so I promptly ignored him and kept walking…and proceeded to get hit on several more times the rest of that day. And the next. It was so baffling to me at first. There have been days where I’ve gone out and I’m having a great hair day, my face is glowing, my outfit is fabulous, and I’m practically vibrating with confidence, and then…crickets (not that I’m complaining as I’m not into being approached by strange men). But the day I go out looking openly vulnerable and sad, suddenly every Y-chromosome holder with no shame wants to holler.
However, I believe men who flirt with women they don’t know in spaces where it’s not expected are engaging in low-key predatory behavior. Which isn’t to insinuate they’re on par with rapists or other serious criminals, but I think they do seek out women they perceive to be weak, or insecure, to increase their chances of achieving whatever their goal is. There are enough women out there who are desperate for male attention and validation that this strategy is clearly somewhat effective.
So many women I know have mentioned how they get hit on the most when they’re sick/dressed down/given up on life. And it’s disturbing that men see this and think, “Wow, yes, this is someone I want to pursue.” It feels like these are men who don’t want to see a woman at her best, or at the very least, equal to them. Instead, they want to take advantage of women when they’re fragile because then they’re less of a challenge and more willing to tolerate their shortcomings. And they’re probably not great in bed either.
To me, these bottom-of-the-barrel predators are such cowards. When a guy approaches me when I’m not at my best, it doesn’t feel flattering or life-affirming. It feels like I’m being targeted as an easy conquest and it makes me vaguely queasy, like I’m being manipulated.
I find it a lot more genuine when someone approaches me at my Beyonce rather than at my Lindsay Lohan.