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Thanks (?) to the nice Twitter friends who clued me into this horrible WikiHow on How To Stop A Wedding, or, as @KristinMuH put it, “a manual to help stalkers ruin their target’s special occasions.”

While I once joked that I would like to see this happen someday, it was, in fact, a joke. And the instructions to basically kidnap the person make my hair stand on end:

Take charge if things go your way. If he or she decides not to go through with the wedding, it is your duty to immediately escort the bride/groom away from the pressure of their family and friends. There is no doubt that friends and family will be angry or furious and will demand answers if the bride or groom doesn’t immediately flee the scene…Have a get-away car prepared so that the bride or groom doesn’t have to face the embarrassment of his or her friends and family.

EEK!

So, if you find yourself searching for instructions on how to stop a wedding, ask yourself:

Has the affianced person been kidnapped? Is it a child? Then stop the wedding by alerting the appropriate authorities.

Is this someone you think should marry you instead? And they know how you feel? And yet they are still obstinately not marrying you, to the point where they have planned an entire wedding with someone else? Okay, here’s what you do:

  • Find out when & where the wedding will be.
  • Book yourself a vacation to “anywhere but there.”
  • Block this person in all social media spaces so you’re not seeing photos and updates.
  • Try for someplace with very limited internet access so you reduce temptation to watch it unfold on real time at the wedding hashtag or whatever.
  • If you can, get a trusted friend to go along with you so that you are not alone and there is someone who can comfort and distract you.
  • Remind yourself that soulmates aren’t real, and that other people get to choose who they want to be with.
  • Or, if it’s more comforting, say to yourself “They are making a mistake, but it’s their mistake to make.
  • Wait it the fuck out and move on with your life.

And if someone pulls this whole shebang on you at your wedding, here is a script:

“This is inappropriate and I’d like you to leave now.”

Hopefully your friends and family and security will form a nice barrier between you and this person and make sure they are escorted from the premises.

Now it’s time for the monthly(ish) feature where we find out what search terms bring people to this site! Except for adding punctuation, these are unchanged. Enjoy!

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Smeagol looking scarily enthusiastic.

If you had met up with your ex that day, this would have been the expression on his face. Still feel guilty?

Hi! This is very sweet, right? But don’t spring it on someone the first or second time you meet them. Friend-date people for a little while and if you’re meant to be friends you will totally figure it out.

Dear Captain Awkward:

I ended my first romantic relationship earlier this year. I’m in my early 20s, still in college. He was 10 years older than me. Long story short, we had met during the previous summer and had been attempting a long distance relationship. We talked constantly. Though he was needy and was borderline smothering me at times, he was sweet and fun. We finally met up again in early spring and everything seemed fine. Shortly after, he decided to tell me that he had slept with two other girls while we were apart. To get them to sleep with him, he told them that he had feelings for them. I was disgusted and called off our relationship. Still wanting to be amicable, I left the door open for a future friendship, but I told him that I needed some time. 

I wish it ended there. After a few months, I contacted him again. In a moment of loneliness and weakness, I wrote him a letter apologizing for cutting it off so abruptly. I also apologized for not being expressive enough-I’m not lovey-dovey and I tend to be shy about expressing my true feelings around men (Somehow, at the time, I felt that I had caused him to cheat on me-which I now realize was HIS decision. I have no control over his actions.) I missed him, and I wrote that I wanted him back in my life. Note that I never expressed any desire for a romantic relationship, and I had previously said that I wanted to be friends in the future.

After a month of casually e-mailing back and forth, he suddenly sent me a text message asking to meet me somewhere near my school. After a few texts back and forth, I found out that he had traveled cross country to see me, without warning. A trip to see me would have been long and costly. I panicked. Clearly, what he was doing was beyond being “friendly”. My entire mind and body seemed to be screaming: “Do.Not.Meet.Him!” I didn’t. I sent him an e-mail to leave me alone, and everything finally ended there.

I never wanted to start a romantic relationship again. I had only wanted to start our friendship over again. Was I leading him on? I’m still beating myself up over this. I hate that I had to hurt him, but at the same time, I don’t want to see him again. I felt that he was trying to pressure me into doing something that I didn’t want to do. He proved that he would always think about his own needs/desires first, not mine. But I still can’t justify my own behavior. Was I in the wrong?

Love Rookie

Dear Love Rookie:

Your former dude mistook your friendly email for a romantic gesture, so he made what he thought was a big romantic gesture in return, except really it was a stalkery gesture. That isn’t about you “leading him on,” that’s about a story he told himself in his head about what you wanted and about what would happen when he showed up. You say you felt like he was trying to pressure you into doing something you didn’t want to do. You felt correctly! He was in fact a “needy & smothering,” high pressure and manipulative guy! Who lies about his feelings to get girls to sleep with him, which constitutes actually “leading someone on!” You learned what he was like the first time you parted ways, and then you tried to give him another chance to be in your life as a friend, and he blew that other chance.

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Privilege Denying Dude Meme: "Joins feminist society only to pick apart everything said."

There’s always one.

Dear Captain,

Long time reader, occasional commenter and seriously in need of reassurance, or clarity over what has just happened. My experience with men is limited, although in the current academic year I have had three men throw themselves at me – only one of which was appreciated. Have had many unpleasant experiences with men and relationships, have only just started to come out of a shell and was doing well at my current university as a post-grad until the following incidents occurred. Now feeling the urge to go and hide in a corner/walk away from my degrees.

In brief: my supervisor introduced me to a friend of his – another PG student at the university who has the same political leanings, socio-economic background and on the surface a lot in common with me. A couple of friendly e-mails were exchanged. Then we went for a coffee. All very pleasant – the guy was genuinely funny and seemingly good company.

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Edit/Update:  The LW contacted me to let me know that she left Jon the Asshole (Yay!) after he (predictably) physically assaulted her (Boo!). She’s doing ok and gives us all her love (which is returned. SO returned). I’m leaving this question up because she’s probably (sadly) not alone in having the question.

 

Hello Captain,

About a year ago I got into a relationship with this guy for privacy purposes we’ll call Jon. Jon was really great. He lived really far away. We visited back and forth. When he visited me the first time though he was super mean to all my friends and family.

I thought it was because he was far from home. I went to stay with him (where I am now) very, very far from home. For months he’s been nothing but verbally and emotional evil and mean to me. I was begging him to stop. He never did. Recently, about a month ago, I asked again. I was on that tipping point of “falling out of love” he yelled at me for “asking him to stop being mean.”

I became pretty numb to him, and am now. I started letting myself fall for a guy I casually flirt with online. Who lets just face it, would be closer if I went home and has way more in common/to say to me/is way more my type.

My ticket home isn’t for another month. Now that Jon can sense a problem he’s acting all nice and loving. I said a few times I would try and love him because he throws stuff around when I try to break up with him. How do I tell him I don’t want to try anymore? Should I wait til I go home?

And should I pursue something with casual (bordering on serious) flirting friend, if it feels right?

 - Really freaking scared

Dear Really Scared,

Aaaaah! This got caught in the spam filter and I could not answer it immediately!  Aaaaah! I am so sorry!

First, do you live with Jon? Does he have access to your living space? Can you get to a safe place that he doesn’t have access to? Call one of the hotline numbers from this post (and read all of the comments in that thread, there is tons of practical advice there for getting out of a scary situation) and make sure you are in a safe place as soon as possible.

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Hulk

HULK NOT DONE HELPING LADIES FIND INNER HULK

This came into the Captain Awkward mailbox last night.  It seems like we’re all in the mood to Hulk out and get people to stop touching other people, so have at it, commenters.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I have a recurring problem when it comes to friends. It’s been a problem from the very beginning, as far as I know, and I’ve never been able to fix it. For now, it’s gone, but I know it’s going to come back.The problem is, essentially, that my friends will not stop touching me in ways I don’t like. Granted, I don’t like being touched at all.

But these people insist on doing things like stealing my hat every time he sees me (which led to me not wearing my favorite hat for several years until he graduated), poking me every time he sees me (this guy actually admitted that he A) only pokes women and B) waits until a woman puts on her angry voice to actually listen to her; I wish I’d had the guts to punch him in the face), and hugging me even though we’ve had a conversation about how I don’t like it when he hugs me and I want him to please stop AND I’m standing there doing the awkward trying-not-to-touch-you-back-pat. These are three different guys, three examples of people who won’t stop even though I’ve asked them to, told them to, and finally (in one case) yelled at them to. They’re also just three in a lifelong line of people who won’t leave my body alone, and who won’t listen to me.  Read More

The Hulk is Angry

We're going to solve this one with a little help from Feministe's Jill and The Incredible Hulk.

Dear Captain Awkward,

This one might be a little long, and I am frankly afraid there might not be any good solution for it.

My senior year in college, I shared a house with wonderful friends and an additional guy, A., who most of us didn’t know, but he was a friend of one of my roommates and we needed another person on our lease, so we welcomed him aboard. While him and I were never the best of friends, we got along okay for the most part, and developed an inside joke about how much we hated each other. Unfortunately, my “joke” hatred for him has since evolved into actual repulsion.

We graduated two years ago, and I moved out to another city, but I would occasionally see A. whenever I came back to visit other friends still in town, because we are part of the same social circle. It used to be fine until a year ago, when his girlfriend and him split up. Ever since, he has been making me and other women I know extremely uncomfortable. 
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And he’s still a dipshit. When last we saw our hero, he was comparing confident women who are hard to control  to “dirty snow.”  On the subject of rejecting strangers who want your number in bars, he says this:

The best way for a girl to avoid that awkward first date is to not give her number out in the first place. As a guy, I know the ins and outs of the phone number game. If a cute girl is giving me any sign of hope, I’m going to try for those digits. I never assume she’s just having fun meeting people — I always think she’s out to find a date like I am.

Okay, Rich, you’re right, it would be good if women didn’t give their numbers to men they aren’t really interested in, but even if they do give the number out, there are still ways to avoid awkward first dates, like saying “No thanks” when the person asks you on a date.   Also, the whole thing where you assume that women are all trying to find dates just like you are? That’s an example of a bad initial assumption that jeopardizes the integrity of the entire experiment.  But…okay. Imagine you get the number, or, the my-number-is-111-111-1111-now-can-I-go-back-to-talking-with-my-friends number. Is this really what you do?

The common move among guys (I’m guilty of this one too), after getting a girl’s number, is calling her phone to confirm that that it’s real and that his number is now registered in her phone. Most guys will watch the girl’s phone as they call it to make sure there’s no funny business going on.

Hi, it’s me, the guy from the bar, just checking to see if you’re a big lying liarpants who is rejecting me while we’re both here so I can go back to pressuring you!”  I’m trying to think of how I would react to having someone call me immediately to check if the number I gave them is a real one.  I’m thinking:  Not well. “Hey, thanks for instantly making me regret giving you my phone number.  Now kindly fuck off and go fuck yourself, in whatever order is most convenient to you.”

Now, to be fair, Rich does eventually get around to saying “Or, you could just tell them no, you don’t want to give out your number,” which risks hurting their fee-fees, but ultimately earns their respect. But not before these self-serving gems about giving the cold shoulder treatment and avoiding dark corners:


If you don’t ask questions, avoid eye contact, and maintain the general appearance of someone who is trying to escape, even the most confident guy will probably give up hope.…Getting trapped anywhere private with the dude you’re trying to avoid will encourage him to try to get your number. He’ll read it as you wanting to be alone with him,even though it’s accidental.

You know what?  I am capable of giving the Coldest Shoulder in Recorded History and I really do my best not to get trapped in dark corners by pushy dudes I’m not interested in.   But it would also be really, really cool if dudes didn’t separate women from their friends, “trap” them in dark corners, and then assume that they want to be alone with you, like “Now that we’re all trapped in this Dark Corner together, I will just assume that you’re into whatever comes next!”  Also, if you’re getting the cold shoulder treatment, give up hope sooner rather than later.  Immediately would be good.
He ends with the most hilarious and surreal piece of advice of all. You should invent a phantom boyfriend.

While most dudes want proof that your phone number is real, they probably won’t need proof that a boyfriend is real. They may try to make you feel stupid by saying they wanted your number “as a friend,” but they’ll back off.

Translation:  While most dudes will not take no for an answer about getting your phone number, and will immediately act like controlling assholes by checking to make sure it’s a real number, they will (sort of) accept that your pussy might already be owned by other some man and (sort of) back off.  Your feelings and opinions are not important, but the thought that they might accidentally be approaching some other man’s property?  Faux pas!

Well played, if self-serving sexist bullshit is your thing.

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