Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: Samgirl2 on May 13, 2013, 06:07:44 AM

Title: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Samgirl2 on May 13, 2013, 06:07:44 AM
So, this is a pretty weird and I guess slightly sweet story in a way. Just thought I'd share it and see if anyone would have acted differently in my situation....

I had arranged to meet a friend in a nearby town as it was halfway between both our houses. We found a nice old pub for lunch but the restaurant was full so we were shown to a table in the corner of the bar instead. Now, the bar was really a small room with a bar in one corner and 5 tables scrammed in. It was certainly close enough to hear everyone's conversations.

Friend and I were talking about a mutual friend who has recently got engaged after meeting a guy online. The conversation then turned to internet dating stories etc, amongst other things. Throughout our lunch I noticed a man at the bar staring at us rather intently. He was old enough to be our Dad and to be honest, looked a little rough around the edges and it was a bit unnerving.

Anyway, as we were leaving I had to walk past him and he grabbed me by the arm and said 'Excuse me love, are you local?"  I said no, and tried to extricate myself from his grip, when he said that he couldn't help overhearing our conversation and that the problem with people nowadays is that they don't speak to people in the real world. He then started to lecture about people not giving anyone a chance, and "look, we're talking now aren't we, you should get out in the real world and talk to people, none of this online stuff". I really wanted to get away and everyone in the bar room was looking and a few were laughing. He went on a bit longer and I was finally able to say, "ok, I'll try and remember that" and practically ran out of there!

So, friend and I looked around some of the shops for about an hour when suddenly my friend exclaimed "CRUD MONKEYS!, no way!" and I looked up to see the same guy heading towards us on the main street. There wasn't time to hide and he called out "stop, I have something for you!". As he got closer he looked straight at me (cigarette hanging from his mouth) and said "I knew I'd see you again, I wanted to give you something" and started to fiddle with the catch on his rucksack. My friend and I were stuck. I didn't want to appear rude and I thought if I walked away he might get angry as he had a very gruff manner, so I stood there very awkwardly and he produced a bunch of red roses from inside his rucksack and presented them to me, saying "I knew I'd see you again and I wanted you to have these. you ned to get out and talk to people".

My friend was almost dying with the effort of not laughing and I felt so so awkward. I didn't want to be talking to him, let alone accepting anything, but I didn't want to be rude and I guess it was a very sweet gesture, if done in a rather strange way! Oh and the fact they were in a supermarket wrapper with "3, bargain" written on them!!!

So, I took them, said thanks and turned and walked as quickly as possible, wondering what on earth to do with this bunch of flowers I didn't want!  We decided to cut our visit short as we didn't want to run into this guy again.

Once I got home it seemed a shame to bin them, so I put them in a vase and they do look cheerful. But, he made me feel so uncomfortable that it didn't come across at all as a nice and kind gesture, more like an agressive, slightly stalkerish much older man thing that I didn't like at all.

But, I don't really think there was anything else I could have done to change the situation...
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: RingTailedLemur on May 13, 2013, 06:48:31 AM
Well, I'd have kicked up a fuss the minute he laid hands on me - and I would have run away when I saw him heading my way on the street!

Sorry, I don't see what is "sweet" about being grabbed, lectured and chased.  I think you were very polite and calm, but you may have engaged the crazy and personally I would feel quite uncomfortable visiting that place again.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: sammycat on May 13, 2013, 06:49:52 AM
Well, I'd have kicked up a fuss the minute he laid hands on me - and I would have run away when I saw him heading my way on the street!
Sorry, I don't see what is "sweet" about being grabbed, lectured and chased.  I think you were very polite and calm, but you may have engaged the crazy and personally I would feel quite uncomfortable visiting that place again.

Ditto! :o >:(
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Momiitz on May 13, 2013, 07:01:15 AM
I think you did as good as you could under the circumstances. I might have listened to him at the restaurant in your place especially if he looked unbalanced. But once he grabbed your arm I think it would have been fine to sternly tell him to let go and to scream as well if he did not let go.  That would be safety over etiquette.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Venus193 on May 13, 2013, 07:38:56 AM
Agree with the others.  Him grabbing your arm crossed the line.  Stating "You will not touch me!" in a Shakespearean stage voice is what I would have done, simultaneously while freeing myself.  That would have drawn some attention which -- one hopes -- would have embarrassed this man.

Interestingly, there was an incident with flowers and a wrong prospective suitor in my favorite novela (see photo below).  The heroine handed the flowers to a cute young couple she passed on her way home.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: FlyingBaconMouse on May 13, 2013, 08:04:28 AM
Ugh! I agree you should have made a scene. But then, even aside from the severe creepiness of this, I think people who carry on about the internet as though long-distance written communication was invented around 1978 are going, to paraphrase Firefly, to one of the special hells.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: rashea on May 13, 2013, 08:59:39 AM
I think in the future, it's fine to be rude in a case like this. You don't have to be polite to someone who is seriously crossing boundaries.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: SleepyKitty on May 13, 2013, 10:38:07 AM
While I agree with the others in that I would have firmly put a stop to the whole thing the minute he touched me, I also think you were well within your rights to have refused the flowers. I've used a variation of "Sorry, but I only take X from Y," with X being anything that I don't want and Y being the appropriate relationship to end the conversation. So, for example I would have said:

"Sorry, I but only take flowers from my boyfriend."

It's not a perfect line, since it's kind of awkward (and untrue), but I've used variations at bars when I get someone persistently trying to buy me a drink ("Only my boyfriend buys me drinks", "Sorry, I'm only dancing with my girl friends tonight," etc...) and it tends to shut the situation down more effectively than just saying No, Thanks. You can always follow it up with, "I'm old-fashioned like that," or something similar to soften the refusal.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: WillyNilly on May 13, 2013, 10:40:38 AM
I totally get what others are saying. But i have a slightly different perspective.

I used to hang out at "an old man bar". It was the divey-est of dives. A few young folks hung out there, and lots of older ones. I even worked there for a while. So I got to know the old guys. And they did look rough around the edges and kind of creepy I guess. But I knew they were just sad old men. They are a particular type of functional alcoholic, and really not to be frightened of. They always enjoyed the company of pretty younger women in the bar, not in a sexual way though, just in a life affirming way and in the way anyone can appreciate general beauty and vitality. That the other regulars in the bar, and even the bartender, didn't seem alarmed he grabbed your arm makes me think he was one of these old guys - harmless and just a sad old drunk who saw the errors of his life way too late and through the bottom of a glass.

If he was that kind of guy, the flowers were more for him then for you; the act of giving them to you, probably gave him great joy. he got that feeling of being young and romantic and gentlemanly, even if for only a moment, by giving them to you. he got to feel for a moment as though all the rough times he'd been through were worth it because he got to impart what he considered long, hard earned wisdom upon you. Of course being an old drunk, its not elusive wisdom or anything, but to him it was.

So please enjoy those flowers and think of them as a gift you gave a lonely old man, you probably smiled at him and said "thank you" and that probably made his day, heck his week.

...And just don't go back there!  :D
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Twik on May 13, 2013, 11:24:57 AM
I have to disagree. You are asking women to accept being hit on in an aggressive way, on the grounds that "it makes obnoxious drunks feel good". It's the epitome of the idea that "nice" women put other people's feelings ahead of their own.

Eventually, the OP is going to run out of places to go, if she has to always act thrilled by strangers rudely accosting her, then never go back to that location for fear that she's encouraged them.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: WillyNilly on May 13, 2013, 11:30:26 AM
I have to disagree. You are asking women to accept being hit on in an aggressive way, on the grounds that "it makes obnoxious drunks feel good". It's the epitome of the idea that "nice" women put other people's feelings ahead of their own.

Eventually, the OP is going to run out of places to go, if she has to always act thrilled by strangers rudely accosting her, then never go back to that location for fear that she's encouraged them.

I'm not. I'm not saying anyone has to accept it. I'm also saying she wasn't being hit on.
But the fact is, she did accept it, I'm simply saying she shoudl look at it in a different way.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: nyarlathotep on May 13, 2013, 11:55:35 AM
I have to disagree. You are asking women to accept being hit on in an aggressive way, on the grounds that "it makes obnoxious drunks feel good". It's the epitome of the idea that "nice" women put other people's feelings ahead of their own.

Eventually, the OP is going to run out of places to go, if she has to always act thrilled by strangers rudely accosting her, then never go back to that location for fear that she's encouraged them.

Thank you. Parking my POD here.

Sorry, but as a young woman, I don't exist solely to provide men with an ego-boost, especially if that involves putting up with unwanted attention, especially if that unwanted attention involves me being grabbed. It really doesn't matter whether the OP was being hit on or not; she has a right to assert her own boundaries regardless of the motives of the other person.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Tea Drinker on May 13, 2013, 06:59:14 PM
I totally get what others are saying. But i have a slightly different perspective.

I used to hang out at "an old man bar". It was the divey-est of dives. A few young folks hung out there, and lots of older ones. I even worked there for a while. So I got to know the old guys. And they did look rough around the edges and kind of creepy I guess. But I knew they were just sad old men. They are a particular type of functional alcoholic, and really not to be frightened of. They always enjoyed the company of pretty younger women in the bar, not in a sexual way though, just in a life affirming way and in the way anyone can appreciate general beauty and vitality. That the other regulars in the bar, and even the bartender, didn't seem alarmed he grabbed your arm makes me think he was one of these old guys - harmless and just a sad old drunk who saw the errors of his life way too late and through the bottom of a glass.

Or it might mean that, being fellow old drunks who have never had to fend off a strange man who grabbed them and started to lecture them, it didn't occur to them that one of their own kind might be doing something wrong, or potentially dangerous to a woman he approached and manhandled.

Quote
If he was that kind of guy, the flowers were more for him then for you; the act of giving them to you, probably gave him great joy. he got that feeling of being young and romantic and gentlemanly, even if for only a moment, by giving them to you. he got to feel for a moment as though all the rough times he'd been through were worth it because he got to impart what he considered long, hard earned wisdom upon you. Of course being an old drunk, its not elusive wisdom or anything, but to him it was.

So please enjoy those flowers and think of them as a gift you gave a lonely old man, you probably smiled at him and said "thank you" and that probably made his day, heck his week.

...And just don't go back there!  :D

I agree that he bought the flowers for his own sake, not for her benefit. That doesn't excuse it; if anything, it makes it worse, because it means that it didn't matter to him who the OP was, or what she thought or wanted. Your comment is basically saying that it's okay for men to treat women that way, making them uncomfortable for hours or days in order to give themselves a few hours' gratification, and that the appropriate outcome is that he gets to keep hanging out there and she has to go somewhere else.

Yes, it might be prudent for her to avoid the place: I would tend to avoid a bar where one regular grabbed me and lectured me on what was wrong with my lifestyle, and the bartender and the other regulars ignored the whole thing. But I would avoid it the way I avoid unsafe foods (anything from allergens to contamination that would be bad for everyone); I wouldn't think that it was right and proper for me to have to go somewhere else so the cook didn't have to answer questions about potential allergens or keep the work surfaces clean, let alone so the cockroaches or the botulism toxin could enjoy that kitchen in peace.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: WillyNilly on May 13, 2013, 07:15:59 PM
^ Thats really not what I'm saying. Because I don't see it as a man/woman thing really. I see it as a sad older person and vibrant young person thing. As a female I noticed it as a sad old man thing, but really the old guys would try to impart "wisdom" on the young men too.

Did any of you ever see the movie Trees Lounge? Its a real place BTW. And a few of the peripheral characters are the type I'm thinking of. For some people, the bar is their community, just as much so as a church is for other folks. And when a stranger walks in, the regulars can feel a sort of draw to welcome and protect the new person. That's what it sounds like this guy was doing. That he saw a young person, and he wanted to give her a bit of advice to make her life better. I think it was misguided advice, but I think it was coming from a good place.

To me, its not about how a man treats a woman, so much as just paying homage to someone who is saddened by a changing world and letting them have a moment. Its giving them a minute as you might give a panhandler a dollar. The OP could have yanked her arm away, or said something firm, or turned around when she saw him on the street. All of those would have been perfectly acceptable actions for sure. But that she didn't makes me picture a pretty harmless, yet annoying, guy. Its just a kindness of sorts to accept that kind of action from someone I think. Its the whole 'its the thought that counts' thing - he truly thought he was doing a kindness, so the kindness in turn IMO is to accept it at the time.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: SleepyKitty on May 13, 2013, 07:17:02 PM
I get what you're saying, WillyNilly, and I do think it's important to remember that, while any person has every right to react to being touched without their permission, not every case is one of a threatening or obnoxious person - sometimes it's just a lonely person. And I think you rightly point out that there are probably many cases where compassion is just as legitimate a response as "get away from me!"

With that having been said, though, I think it's unreasonable to expect the OP to assess the situation as you did. You yourself point out that you got to know the guys at your bar over time, and that's what makes this type of situation non-threatening. Guys that you know are a little sad and a little lonely reaching out for some human contact? Sure, I can see how gracefully accepting flowers can be affirming for both people. But a guy you've never met before overstepping appropriate boundaries of social contact (don't touch someone without their permission, for example) not just once, but twice? I think it's always best to err on the side of caution - it would be lovely to live in a world where you could err on the side of compassion, but I just don't think it's realistic.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: sammycat on May 13, 2013, 07:21:07 PM
It doesn't really matter if the man was/is the  most charming person on the face of the earth and would have been  OP's soulmate had she given him a chance, he made her feel uncomfortable, and the arm grabbing is completely inappropriate.

OP was under no obligations whatsoever to indulge him.

I felt creeped out just reading the OP, let alone if it had actually happened to me.

It wouldn't matter if it had been a woman or a child who acted this way to the OP, the OP's feelings of discomfort are completely valid.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: poundcake on May 14, 2013, 07:00:58 AM
Quote
I see it as a sad older person and vibrant young person thing. As a female I noticed it as a sad old man thing, but really the old guys would try to impart "wisdom" on the young men too.

Again, this is putting the onus on a woman who is being made uncomfortable to just "be nice" for the sake of this stranger's needs, and that is the problem.

It may make a great plot for a movie, but in real life, it is rarely the touching moment of sweetness and understanding that outdated tropes would make it out to be. One example: I had a rare afternoon off, and took a book to a restaurant at the mall. I wanted to read, eat, and then run a few errands, all things I hadn't been able to do for weeks. Well, no sooner had I sat down and opened my book, then an old woman comes over and sits next to me, and announces, "You know, Don is just so proud of me."  ??? I don't know if she was mildly impaired or what. I'd just gotten my food, so I couldn't leave. All my attempts to cut conversation short with, "It's been nice chatting with you, but I'm going to get back to my book/lunch" were ignored. I could hardly eat, and most of my meal went to waste. I managed to escape after over an hour by finally just growing a spine and saying "Well, time to go, bye!" and fleeing. I no longer had time to run my errands, either. When I mentioned this to my mother later, she admonished me with the same argument: "She was probably just lonely! You should feel sorry for her instead of judging her. Was it really that hard for you to give her a few minutes of your time?" Actually, yes. It was. First, there is the immediate inconvenience that I did not want to have a social interaction with this person at that time. Second, my afternoon, and my meal that I could only afford as a special treat, was ruined. But especially, third, that is the message I was raised with, so even as a little girl, I felt I had to "be nice" to the creepy old dude following me around the store asking me my name, or the strange lady who wanted to hug and kiss me. "But it makes them feel better, so is it really that big of a deal?" Yep, it's Gift of Fear time.

I don't care if it was one of those chatty old ladies, a "sad old man," a lonely grandmother who wants to take the child in my care for an ice cream, an old guy who just wants me to "smile!" I don't care if, on the surface, it sounds cold and selfish. Don't tell me "It's just a small thing, is it really that hard?" Because you are asking people to compromise their sense of comfort and safety. No. It is not my job to make every sad, lonely person feel better when it makes me incredibly uncomfortable, unsafe, or is just really inconvenient.

So OP, I totally agree. It was seriously creepy, and I'm glad it didn't happen someplace where you live, so you constantly have that "What if he followed me? What if he's here? What if I run into him again?" feeling. Don't feel like you have to convince yourself that you "guess it was sweet" because no, if it made you feel uncomfortable, it wasn't sweet. Ugh.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: rashea on May 14, 2013, 07:01:15 AM
And when a stranger walks in, the regulars can feel a sort of draw to welcome and protect the new person.
I've been to those sorts of places, and love them. But, then I would think it would be a good idea for other regulars to coach each other on not touching. That to me still crosses a big boundary.

To me, its not about how a man treats a woman, so much as just paying homage to someone who is saddened by a changing world and letting them have a moment. Its giving them a minute as you might give a panhandler a dollar.
I happily give that to people, sometimes, and at my own choosing. The same as giving a panhandler money. I'm happy to listen to the older man who wants to tell me war stories when I'm waiting in line at the store. There was one man in my town that everyone listened to that way. But, they don't grab me, or chase me down if I express that I don't have time right now.

I think your viewpoint can be a nice one. But it is one I would have to be thinking that way ahead of time. Trying to turn something that was creepy into something nice after the fact seems to minimize the creep out that the OP felt. I don't think that's what you're trying to do, but it can come across that way. I see your viewpoint as more of a, "here's a different way to see it next time" and I think that's wonderful. In a place where I felt secure, I might go for that attitude. But that's for me, or anyone, to judge for themselves.

In other words. The exact same actions on both parties can be a nice, if somewhat bittersweet, moment, or it can be creepy.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: mbbored on May 14, 2013, 11:02:21 AM
I have to disagree. You are asking women to accept being hit on in an aggressive way, on the grounds that "it makes obnoxious drunks feel good". It's the epitome of the idea that "nice" women put other people's feelings ahead of their own.

Eventually, the OP is going to run out of places to go, if she has to always act thrilled by strangers rudely accosting her, then never go back to that location for fear that she's encouraged them.

Thank you. Parking my POD here.

Sorry, but as a young woman, I don't exist solely to provide men with an ego-boost, especially if that involves putting up with unwanted attention, especially if that unwanted attention involves me being grabbed. It really doesn't matter whether the OP was being hit on or not; she has a right to assert her own boundaries regardless of the motives of the other person.

Exactly. I am not here to fulfill the lives of strangers. That just turns me into an object that exists for their pleasure, not a person with their own wants or needs. What if he wanted a hug or a kiss on the cheek from the OP? Should she have done that to make him feel better? And how old is old enough to demand the attention of younger women? Can a 60 year old man do it? What about a 50 year old?
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: MrTango on May 14, 2013, 12:44:14 PM
No one has any obligation to sacrifice their comfort or their boundaries to make someone else feel better.

Personally, if someone grabbed me the way the OP was grabbed, my first reaction would have been to strike back in self-defense.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: lurkerwisp on May 14, 2013, 01:35:04 PM
No one has any obligation to sacrifice their comfort or their boundaries to make someone else feel better.

Personally, if someone grabbed me the way the OP was grabbed, my first reaction would have been to strike back in self-defense.

Yeah, I have to admit that reading the post made me seriously uncomfortable and was wondering about when I'd come to the part where OP pulls out her pepper spray.  I have to admit that if I'd seen the guy again after being grabbed the first time the "stalker" warning bells would be ringing pretty loud and I'd be headed for the hills.  Potentially seeming rude to an aggressive man who doesn't respect personal boundaries wouldn't even be on the radar.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: blarg314 on May 17, 2013, 08:37:10 AM

The sequence of events:

Scruffy looking old man visibly eavesdrop on a conversation between two young women  in a restaurant.  When they are about about to leave, he grabs one of the young women by the arm and reads her a lecture on her social life and dating habits, based on the conversation he was eavesdropping on. Some time later, he tracks down the OP in a different location, repeats his advice for her personal life, and gives her flowers.

I really can't see how this is a sweet gesture that should be accepted with gratefulness and/or pity for a lonely old man. The boundary between polite and creepy behaviour was passed the moment he grabbed her and started offering her unsolicited dating advice.

There are times when it is kind to indulge someone who is elderly, or lonely, or mentally challenged. This was not one of them.

Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Hawkwatcher on May 17, 2013, 02:36:32 PM
Some people have a knack for interpreting any remotely positive attention as a sign of "he/she likes me."  Considering this guy's behavior was not normal, I would be worried that he might interpret any friendliness on the OP's part as a sign that she is interested in him. 

While I think that the OP handled this situation in the best way that she could, I am a little concerned about her comment stating that she did not want to be rude when she took the flowers.  I think that this is one of those few occasions where appearing rude is the least of the OP's concerns. I am glad that the OP is safe.
 

 
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 18, 2013, 12:34:40 AM
Hmm, this is a really tough one. I can totally understand WillyNilly's (very compassionate and insightful) perspective, but I can also see where other posters are coming from, and agree that no one should ever have to feel uncomfortable and unsafe just to appease someone else.

I guess I don't really have any advice to impart, except to say that OP, I probably would have done exactly the same as you did.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Garden Goblin on May 18, 2013, 11:46:54 AM
It's nice to be compassionate to old folks who are getting senile and lonely.

But it's also important to show compassion to the folks accosted by and made uncomfortable by the inappropriate boundary-violating and often outright harassing actions of the aforementioned old folks.

My great-aunt is a very lonely woman whose mental facilities are going.  That doesn't make it acceptable for her to scream racial and homophobic slurs, harass young women that she doesn't feel are 'dressed appropriately', or to throw things at people who are inconveniencing her in any way.  Especially since, as is 99.99% likely with the old dude in this tale, it's something she's been doing her entire life to some degree or another.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: miranova on May 18, 2013, 06:33:52 PM
I do not care what his motivations were, whether or not he was hitting on me, or whether or not he was sad and lonely.  I would not put up with ANY stranger grabbing my arm and holding me hostage to any conversation he wanted to have with me.  I would have ordered him to let me go and I would absolutely make a scene if he didn't comply.

And yes, I know, I'd be called names under his breath as I walked away but I don't care.  No one has the right to put their hands on a perfect stranger.  That act alone takes him out of "sad but harmless old man" category to me.  Having my arm grabbed is NOT harmless, it is aggressive.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: cocacola35 on May 19, 2013, 10:55:46 AM
As a true crime fan, I've seen many cases where women had been abducted, raped, or almost killed.  The scary thing is that in about 50% of those cases the women said they were initially uncomfortable with the situation before the crime happened, but when asked "Why did you get into his car, open the door, accept his gift, etc?"  The answer was always, "I didn't want to be rude."   

Young women (or any woman) should be encouraged to disengage from a situation the moment they start to feel uncomfortable and not be made to feel guilty about not being polite to everyone.  We are always saying on this board that safety trumps etiquette and this situation definitely applies. It is not the OP's or anyone else s' responsibility to make strangers with creepy, stalker behavior feel good.  In fact, that encourages their inappropriate behavior and in some cases may lead to more terrible situations.  While we should initially treat all our fellow man with kindness, the moment the other person is feeling threatened or uncomfortable they have every right to leave the situation.  It's very sad that we have to be careful about this sort of thing, but unfortunately that is the reality of today's society.     

The moment the man in the OP grabbed her arm, I think she had every right to get away from him in any way possible (screaming, jerking away and running, etc.).  The man may have called her names or thought she was mean, but her actions may have prevented something worse from happening in the future.   
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: CreteGirl on June 14, 2013, 02:38:43 PM
Hmm, this is a really tough one. I can totally understand WillyNilly's (very compassionate and insightful) perspective, but I can also see where other posters are coming from, and agree that no one should ever have to feel uncomfortable and unsafe just to appease someone else.

I guess I don't really have any advice to impart, except to say that OP, I probably would have done exactly the same as you did.

I agree with everything you have written, and I have to say I was touched by the compassion in WillyNilly's post.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: gramma dishes on June 14, 2013, 02:56:15 PM


...   My great-aunt is a very lonely woman whose mental facilities are going.  That doesn't make it acceptable for her to scream racial and homophobic slurs, harass young women that she doesn't feel are 'dressed appropriately', or to throw things at people who are inconveniencing her in any way.  Especially since, as is 99.99% likely with the old dude in this tale, it's something she's been doing her entire life to some degree or another.

Gee.  I can't even begin to imagine why she is a very lonely woman!  She sounds like such a peach!   ;D
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Mental Magpie on June 28, 2013, 05:45:52 PM
For those of you who don't know, I'm a corrections officer in a male prison.  I knew that some of the inmates would test me from the get go by saying inappropriate things to see how I would react to them.  I didn't shout, I didn't cuff them up even though I could have, I didn't giggle and thank them, I simply said, "That is inappropriate."  That was all it took for some of them.  This continues to work well for me and I suggest its use in every day life.

That being said, I could tell the difference between creepy sexual predator inmates, just testing me inmates, and sad old inmates.  I totally see where from WillyNilly is coming.  I personally would have thought he was a sad old man but that is my comfort level.  That being said, "That's inappropriate" would work well in all three situations.  Even with a whine of, "But it was just a compliment," my response of, "Doesn't matter what it was, it's still inappropriate," continued to work.  Only new inmates who don't know me try it anymore.  I've even had to escalate to, "That is wildly inappropriate and I have already told you to stop more than once.  Please turn around and cuff up."  Tone of voice is part of it; it's a very "no-nonsense" tone without much emotion.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: EllenS on July 02, 2013, 01:51:07 PM
Compassion is always a choice, and a beautiful choice - as long as it is true compassion, rather than some manipulated response.  I think the whole point of compassion, as WillyNilly spoke of, is that it is NOT an obligation.

If you feel threatened/pressured/obliged/like you "are supposed to" give someone your time/attention/some slack, then that is not compassion.  Compassion comes from a person who feels safe, whole, and intentional.

The more experienced you are at reading your own cues and warning signs about a situation, the more confident you can be in your choices to enforce a boundary or give someone a little leeway.
Title: Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
Post by: Teacup on July 15, 2013, 01:16:05 AM
I love love love Mental Magpie's response of "That is inappropriate" said in a firm tone.  We know here at Ehell that to call out rudeness is in itself a rude act, but where safety is concerned, some of the rules have to go out the window.

If need be, you can escalate ("Let go of me!", call for help, ect.) but this option does give the perpetrator the opportunity to take back the action and perhaps redeem him/herself. 

That being said, were this an empty street and not a bar with other patrons around, I would definitely skip straight to the yelling part.