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Author Topic: Lechery is as lechery does  (Read 487 times)

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Offline EuphoricDysphoriaTopic starter

Lechery is as lechery does
« on: July 25, 2016, 08:32:26 AM »
I've become good friends will a local neighbour and we discovered her husband and my partner work together. Well, at the same company anyway. The other night they told us they were meeting some friends at a local pub we like. It's in a cellar and therefore very cramped. Half its clientele were sat on the ground at street level that night because it was so hot downstairs. Anyway, we go with them and are introduced to about 5 other couples, who like my neighbour are all about 20 years our senior. I'm not bothered about that as this lady and I have a lot in common. We are all crowded into a corner at 2 trestle tables with bench seats, which in true micro pub fashion are such that people sitting are at the same height as if they were on barstools, if that makes sense, so they're still on a level with those forced to stand.

The evening passes well and we all sink a few beers. Nobody drank to excess, it just wasn't that sort of crowd. One guy however, let's call him Bill, immediately detaches himself from the table he's at once my partner and I have been introduced to everyone, and parks himself next to us. He's a big bloke, tall and broadchested. I'm 5 foot 2. I'm slim, reasonably pretty and had made an effort, batwing top and leggings, hair piled up etc. Nothing remotely slutty.  Bill joins in our conversation but I end up gradually moving up the bench and making my partner do the same because of Bill's notion of personal space. He leans over me when talking to such a degree that I realise I can't actually roll a smoke without getting too close to him. His social skills are not the most polished. We were discussing other micro pubs with my friend's husband until Bill went on a wild tangent about zoo keepers who have died hideous deaths. My partner and I tire of humouring Bill, so we head outside for a cigarette. He's one of these people who is very hard work, asking pointless questions after each anecdote that are only tenuously related to it at all. Everything he says is accompanied by such an effusive grin however, that we don't burst his bubble. He's not learning impaired or anything but he definitely doesn't get out much. I can see how he's looking at me, he clearly cannot handle unexpectedly being in the company of an attractive 30something for the evening. My partner describes him as a creep, I concur.

When we go back in, I seek out my friend, specifically to avoid returning to the table where her husband and Bill are sitting. My partner goes to the bathroom. After a few minutes chat she also heads for the bathrooms. I stay where I am, which is stood next to a corner trestle table that boob height on me. Sure enough, before I have time to plan evasive action, Bill is bearing down on me. I try to decide how cold to be without being needlessly rude. I certainly wasn't encouraging him by the time we went outside to smoke. I weigh up the likelihood of having to be rude to get through to him and sigh, this is not how I wanted this evening to go. His wife is way across on the far side of the other table and by all accounts she has hardly  glanced in his direction.

He positions himself so that I'm isolated between the corner of this table and the wall. He doesn't try to touch me but the look he's giving me is just revolting. He is a good foot taller than me and twice as wide. I opened my mouth to announce I also needed the toilet but he spoke over me.

"You're still in the dirty phase of your relationship, aren't you?"

I was so stunned I just stammered an incredulous "Excuse me!?" But I knew I hadn't heard him wrong.

He then told me about a meal out his wife had had and that they were offered coffee after dessert. He said his wife had refused the coffee and said, "Do you really think I want HIM up all night." Which he said put him in his place far as amorous expectations were concerned. He laughed at his own joke and then finally seemed to register the look on my face, at which point he went back to his wife's table without another word.

Now on the face of it, it was just a inappropriate comment and I suppose he must have been merry from the beer. What I don't like is that he picked his moment, when my friend and my partner were both using the restroom, and he cornered me. He was never about to touch me in front of his wife in a public bar but that doesn't necessarily mean he wouldn't have gone further given different circumstances. He made me feel threatened and sullied and spoiled what was a perfectly nice evening. I was so jangled by what happened there was no hiding it from my partner but I refused to elaborate until we got home because I didn't want him to get angry. He maintains that was the wrong decision but whatever, it's done now.

My partner and I weren't exactly all over each other either. We were usually tactile, which meant holding hands, pecks on the cheek or lips. He put his arm around me when we were sitting on the bench together. It's not like we were making out in front of everyone.

The next day I phoned my friend and explained exactly what happened and how it had made me feel. Just a dispassionate report, because I knew she would be upset. I said I didn't want her thinking we didn't want to hang out with them again. Because the night before she had said she would let us know when the group were meeting up again. She said she understood how I felt and she would let me know when Bill wasn't going to attend. That was pretty much how we left things.

Now, though is where I'm starting to get pissed off about the whole thing.  To be contemplating withdrawing from a nice group of people, because one bloke was inappropriate. This is how women them themselves in, by taking responsibility for their safety. They join a gym instead of jog, drive to work instead of walk or use transport, go out to pubs in groups etc. When confronted by inappropriate behaviour we de-escalate first and get angry later. It's reflex for us, because we can never truly know what men are capable of. So men who should be informed in no uncertain terms what they're being like have us colluding in their conduct by laughing things off, being polite, disengaging from the situation carefully. If I go hang out with these people again, including Bill and his wife, am I being forgiving or belligerent? Am I putting myself at further risk? I mean a public bar with my partner is a low risk venue but these are the choices women are confronted with every day and men wonder why we have the occasional sense of humour failure, why we end up on the defensive and are swift to exit any situation we're not happy with.

It's not fair that I should be left with these choices because of someone else's behaviour. Men are often completely oblivious to the way they can make us feel. Bill's actions were pretty deliberate but how am I to know if he's a harmless midlife crisis or a serial rapist? Do I sit there next time, unable to relax and monitoring him in my peripheral vision? Is that not the antithesis of what a relaxing evening out should be?

Unless my friend speaks to Bill or his wife, his little misdemeanour has no consequences for him. He probably won't have given it a second thought, unless it was to jerk over it when he got back home. That's the bit that makes me angry. He can go his merry way completely unaffected. I didn't even have the opportunity to put him in his place myself, to tell him what I thought of his behaviour. They were new acquaintances and I didn't want to cause a big scene.

This is seriously getting to me... and I'm really pissed off about that. That I'm giving this idiot that kind of importance.

Well thanks for reading. Advice and comments welcome.

Offline Oniya

Re: Lechery is as lechery does
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2016, 10:47:52 AM »
If you hang out with this group again, and Bill shows up, make a point of saying to him - before the drinking starts - that you were quite offended by what he said last time you met and that you hope it won't happen again.  If he gets too close, say 'Geez, Bill, the place isn't that loud - I don't need you crawling up my nose.'  Off-tangent anecdotes can be met with an uninterested pause and 'That's nice.  But back to Generic Local Sports Team...'  And if he says anything like what he said the last time, hit him with a good, hard right cross 'Are you [fucking] kidding me?!  What kind of a person even asks that?'

Don't worry about 'being rude' - he's already being rude when he continually presses into your personal space, which is something most people realize they are doing when their conversation company backs away from them.

Offline Neroon

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Re: Lechery is as lechery does
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2016, 12:52:41 PM »
Don't worry about 'being rude' - he's already being rude when he continually presses into your personal space
This is as true a statement as anything I have ever seen.  People like that only continue because they think they can get away with it.  We are trained from childhood to "be polite" and "not to make a scene".  The morons like this Bill you describe play on that.  They hide their abuses through the cloud of social niceties that inhibit us from acting or prevent others from seeing what they do as just plain wrong.  There's the whole "don't mind him, it's just his way" thing that is often used to cover such behaviour.  The fact he was doing this when others were not with you shows he knows what he was doing is damn well wrong.  If this was simply social awkwardness, then he would say it in front of your partner or in front of the others.

It is behaviour like his that can make me ashamed of my own gender.

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Re: Lechery is as lechery does
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2016, 01:20:56 PM »
Having been through situations like this myself I'd like to offer my own experience.

This happened to me twice.  In the first instance I stood up to the man in a way that kept it between us and the situation was resolved.  He understood where I was coming from and even defended my position to a couple who became aware there had been a problem.

The second time this happened the outcome was bad.  While the man was embarrassed and argumentative about what he was doing his wife was even worse.  She tried to turn things back on me and blame me for going after her husband.  Other people got involved.  The arguing got worse and people felt forced to take sides.  They ended up breaking up a really great group of friends. 

What Bill is doing isn't your fault and he needs to be stopped.  Should things devolve that isn't your fault either.  The only behavior you are responsible for is your own.  How you handle it is up to you.  I would simply try very hard not to let anything in my attitude cause him the same feelings he caused you.

Here at work, with between 180 and 300 people on the floor, we have similar personal situations come up from time to time.  We try to head them off by training our team leaders to look for the triggers and have them report back to their section heads or me.  We get HR counselors involved to deactivate the situation and counsel the offended party to be assertive but not aggressive as that only escalates into conflict.  In a way it's easier for us to handle because peoples' jobs are involved and that makes them more cautious.

Be as assertive as you need to be.  Put your foot down and honestly explain how his behavior affected you.  Tell him he made you angry.  Don't be apologetic.  Totally avoid the "I'm sorry, but..." beginning to a sentence.  Hold the line on aggression unless there is no other choice.  Standing up to such a bully is often all that is needed to put him in his place.

Offline EuphoricDysphoriaTopic starter

Re: Lechery is as lechery does
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2016, 07:26:28 AM »
So sorry for the delayed response. I posted ages ago and I thought it had done so successfully because it took me back to the forum but clearly not! N00b error I'm afraid.  :-[

Thanks guys for the input and not least for reading my epic post. I felt better just typing it really, reassured myself I wasn't overreacting. I was a bit wary of putting my foot down when there's a whole group of new people but I think Oniya has the right idea. I need to put flashing neon lights on my boundaries and my personal space and make it clear he was inappropriate.  Now I've told my friend about what happened and my partner is aware, I'll feel more confident about saying something to him and I'll do it in my partner and friends's earshot too, so he knows damn well I'm not afraid to make his behaviour public.

Then I'll be watching my arse and making sure I'm not isolated like that again, in case I've made him angry and indignant enough to put his hands on me. I know it's pretty unlikely to happen in a public place with his wife in attendance but I still can't rule it out. That angers me too, the fact I now need to be concerned about my safety because he's a sad little man who just wanted something to jerk over. It's not fucking fair and I will make sure he knows that.

Obviously I'm not going to go seeking conflict, not least because I don't want my partner feeling like he needs to step in and then everything will escalate. I just want him to understand the effect his behaviour has had and as he's a couple of dolly mixtures short on his quarter pound, I'll be using words of one syllable.

Thanks again for helping me understand that this is necessary and not an overreaction. This group of people only get together once a month, so with me being a shift worker it'll probably be a while before the planets align to allow this fuckwit's chickens to come home to roost.