Author Topic: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!  (Read 8401 times)

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sammycat

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2013, 08:21:07 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.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 08:22:55 PM by sammycat »

poundcake

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2013, 08:00:58 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make a great plot for a movie, but in real life, it is rarely the touching moment of sweetness and understanding that outdated tropes would make it out to be.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.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 08:04:32 AM by poundcake »

rashea

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2013, 08:01:15 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.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

mbbored

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2013, 12:02:21 PM »
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?

MrTango

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2013, 01:44:14 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.

lurkerwisp

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2013, 02:35:04 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.

blarg314

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2013, 09:37:10 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.


Hawkwatcher

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2013, 03:36:32 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.
 

 

LifeOnPluto

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2013, 01:34:40 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.

Garden Goblin

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2013, 12:46:54 PM »
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.

miranova

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2013, 07:33:52 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.

cocacola35

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2013, 11:55:46 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.   

CreteGirl

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2013, 03:38:43 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.

gramma dishes

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2013, 03:56:15 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

Mental Magpie

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2013, 06:45:52 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.
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