By Jesse Turner
A few weeks ago, I was walking to my car from class. It was 6p.m. and still light outside. I was walking by the science building when a man who seemed to be in his mid 30s came up and asked me if he could walk and talk with me. I hesitated, thinking he was one of the many canvassers I see on campus. I asked him why he wanted to walk with me. He said that he had time, he was lonely, wanted to make new friends, etc. I did not believe him and I was afraid to say no outright, so instead I tried to discourage him by saying I was in a hurry and just walking to my car. He started walking with me anyway. Another woman saw this interaction and how uncomfortable I was, and she spoke up: “I’ve seen you approaching a lot of people around here.” Appreciative of her actions, I tried to walk away quickly while he was distracted. But he caught up to me.
I told him I was sorry he felt lonely but that approaching random women on the street was not the best way to make friends. “I don’t know who you are or anything about you, it’s kind of a scary situation to be randomly approached,” I insisted. He insisted back that he was not a dangerous guy and that he totally understands women and their fears (here’s a tip; saying “I’m not dangerous” while following a woman to her car is not reassuring). He had an argument for every reason I gave him that this was a terrible idea, which just made me more defensive. Finally, I told him outright: “You do not understand my fears, if you did, you would not be following me. You would have taken the hint.”
We finally got to my parking garage, and I told him to stop following me, not wanting him to see my car. Just like I expected, he asked for my number so he could take me out.
This blog is not about bragging that I got hit on. And no, this situation would not have been different if I was attracted to this guy. This blog is about the fact that this guy’s desire to follow me, talk to me, and ask for my number does not trump my desire to feel safe and be left alone. His arguments that humans should be able to talk to one another and be able to meet people this way, are BS. You have never made a best friend by approaching a random person on the street, so don’t put your fake burden on me.
So, when should you randomly hit on someone on the street who does not want to talk to you? Never. It’s scary and unnerving. Do not do it.
9 thoughts on “Is it OK to Randomly Hit On Women On Campus?”
Thank you for bringing up this issue and telling us your story! I totally agree with you that it is weird for strangers to just randomly walk up to someone and start talking or hitting on them. Although it is different for me being a guy, I still hate the fact that some people just randomly hit on people they don’t know and make them feel uncomfortable. I believe this is a huge issue in society and I’m glad you decided to talk about it. It’s great that nothing bad happened to you, but dangerous situations can and does occur to other people. Hopefully others will take this issue into consideration and help out whenever this occurs.
Thanks so much for giving your take on this as a guy. It can some times be hard to talk about this because I have had guys respond defensively by thinking I mean that they should never approach or flirt with women, which was not my point. You need to be able to read the situation and understand when you’re being too persistent and why women are often fearful of being approached on the street. I really appreciate your feedback!
THANK YOU for bringing up this issue!!! This is something that has been really frustrating me ever since I moved to Portland.
Last night, I was riding my bike in Beaverton in broad daylight. I let a truck go ahead of me before I crossed the street, and the driver waved a thank you. I didn’t think anything of it. When I arrived at Goodwill 30 minutes later, the same truck pulled up beside me and the driver tried to ask if I was single. I didn’t know he had been following me that entire time. It freaked me out. Luckily, I was able to just walk straight into the store, but then I started wondering what could’ve happened had I turned down a side street where there wasn’t such a clear escape, or what would happen if he followed me home. I was also sooooo mad.
People like this always insist they’re just being nice, but I’m not asking for their opinion or their “kindness”. I don’t dress to impress men, and now I am forced to contemplate my outfit choice every morning before I go out of the house. “Should I wear a dress, or will that garner unwanted attention? And I better make sure I plan my trip so I’m home well before nightfall. Better also make sure I don’t listen to music while I’m walking in the street, either, because I have to be constantly aware.”
As women, we have significantly less freedoms than men do, simply because we have to be more wary about the threats that men like this pose. It’s such a complicated issue — if we change our clothes, stay inside, and remain extremely cautious, then it’s almost as though we are submitting to them. But if we rebel against them by wearing what we wish and going where we please, we could end up becoming a target. It’s impossible to win.
I’m only 17, and I don’t want to be jaded and skeptical and untrusting about every man I meet already. But it’s almost like I have to be!
I’m so sorry that happened to you, that’s terrifying! Was it a company vehicle? If so I would call a customer service line and let them know this happened. That is completely unacceptable for someone to follow you in their car.
Jesse, This guy was not a “good guy” looking to sincerely meet a woman. He was a danger. Some of the clues: being argumentative to all your points; insisting he’s a good guy; talking about his loneliness; and especially, following you
I have tried to meet women that I don’t know, that I found attractive. But if we don’t start the conversation right away with mutual interest, smiles, and friendly back-and-forth, then I don’t pursue it. Certainly, if a woman expresses a desire not to be talked to, I give up.
That’s some of the differences between a gentleman and a creeper. Most good men start out life shy anyway, and have to learn that, sometimes, assertiveness can be useful. But again, if the assertiveness is not appreciated and attention not reciprocated, a gentleman will move on.
As well, I haven’t met many girlfriends by talking to strangers. Usually it’s thru classes, friends, at parties, etc.
Thank you for your comments. I think that was what was so frustrating about this encounter was that he felt completely entitled to follow me just because he claimed to be feeling lonely, even though I was clearly expressing my discomfort. The sad thing is that I probably could have gotten him to stop following me if I had lied and said “I have a boyfriend” because men tend to feel entitled to any and all interactions with single women. I really appreciate hearing from a man who disapproves of these encounters like I do.
What happened next??? Did he leave? Did you call security? You can’t leave us hanging lol
When he asked me for my number I said no and then sort of quickly backed into my parking garage and ran up the stairs 🙂 I think he just walked back down the street after that. I wasn’t planning on calling campus security but by coincidence a campus security car was driving out of the parking garage behind me. I flagged them down, told them what happened, and described the guy. They were incredibly receptive and said they would try to go find him as they were worried he would probably keep up this behavior.
Thank goodness! 😀 glad you’re okay and made it out of there safe & sound 🙂 and perfect timing for campus security, haha. And why were’t you planning on calling campus security? Were you going to call the police instead? It’s probably a good idea people hear about this so no one else has something bad happen to them 🙂 I saw on the news that we should report anything even if it seems minor because that way, they could send more officers or security into that area so that no one could potentially get hurt or harassed in the future; which sounds good to me! 😉 btw, thanks for replying to all of us! Most of the other authors don’t, lol