I really wish they would stop teaching Romeo and Juliet in high school. I may remember incorrectly, but doesn't Romeo see Juliet at a party, follow her home, and then start declaring undying love beneath her window? And this is held up as romantic? Let me tell you, if some guy I only saw at a party followed me home, the drama would end in the time it would take me to dial 911. Anyhow, my point is [and I do have one -] I think this play is responsible for stalker behaviour.
Indeed, I met some sort of would-be Romeo on the subway last night. It was about 11:30 and I was heading home from visiting friends. I was out-of-my-mind fatigued and just wanted to crawl into bed. Alone. There was a guy sitting near me. He didn't seem crazy or anything. Just another person on the subway. We barely made eye contact. I noticed that he was also getting off at my stop. Again, no red flags, no overtly strange behaviour.
We were walking towards the stairs when he complimented me on the belt I was wearing. It is a fantastic belt so this didn't phase me either, although I did find it a bit odd when he followed the compliment with "Is it a weightlifting belt?". Um, okay. No. It's wide, but hello? Suddenly I was thinking, "Oh my f-ing Christ - does my funky awesome belt look like a weightlifter belt?" Like I said though, I was tired and focussed on getting home.
He kept walking beside me. I believe he was still talking about weightlifting, but I wasn't paying much attention. He was still beside me chatting away when we reached the level below the final escalator to the exit. I didn't want him following me onto the street and seeing what direction my apartment was, so I stopped and turned to give him my attention.*
He was back to talking about what a great belt I had. This time he added, "And those jeans! They're great too. You're very... what's the word I'm looking for?...curvaceous ." Now suddenly the conversation was going in a way I wasn't comfortable with. At this point defensive tactics started to percolate in my slow, tired mind: must get out of this conversation as soon as possible and try to ensure that dude will not follow me and will not get upset in any way.
I was still getting a vibe though that he was lonely and had no idea how to talk to women not that he was violent.
I can't remember the order so I'll list the highlights of the ensuing chat before I managed to extricate myself from the situation.
- He spoke a mile a minute without pause
- He asked me my sign and then proceeded to tell me that it's a party sign. It's not
- He told me his sign (I didn't care. I'm not into astrology)
- He got me to touch his hair. I did briefly and regretted it. Don't ask strangers to touch your hair and if you do, make sure it's very clean
- He offered to let me touch his beard. I declined with, "Gross. No." I had gotten over the shock of being asked to touch his hair
- He told me how long he had been celibate for. Again, I didn't care, didn't want to know
As I walked away, I noticed that he went to go back on the subway, in the opposite direction. I realized that he had been watching me on the subway, waiting to see what stop I had. This unnerved me. However, the over-all incident didn't freak me out. He didn't seem dangerous. He was only lonely. He walked away saying something about how nice he was to women but how they never wanted to date him. If I hadn't been so tired, I probably would have enlightened him as to how creepy and wrong his approach was. Not in a mean way, but so he could gain some sort of insight into how counterproductive [and in fact repugnant] his pick-up moves were.
*I am always hesitant to walk away from someone if they aren't being blatantly rude or offensive. I feel like I should listen. This policy is now being revised.