The absurdity of creep shaming

Imagine you went down to the bar at the corner and had a beer. It’s a hipster bar and you pay for the atmosphere, so it’s 5 bucks, just like it’s printed on the menu. Business as usual. But let’s imagine the place gets a new owner. To you everything looks the same. It’s still self-service, the guy at the bar still looks as if he wants to sell alcohol to you, and the prices on the menu are the same. You’re readying yourself for a long night. First beer: 5 bucks. Half an hour later you get another one. Strangely enough, it’s ten bucks now. You have no idea what’s going on, but you are too meek to stand up for yourself and you pay ten bucks for a beer that should cost five. It doesn’t take long until you get thirsty again, but this time around the guy at the bar tells you that you should be ashamed of yourself because even though he’s selling alcohol and looks as if he wants to sell alcohol it doesn’t mean that he wants to sell any to you.

Does this sound absurd to you? Good! It sounds absurd to me, too, so I would like to discuss a phenomenon that is just equally absurd: creep shaming. Of course, creep shaming is only tangentially related to alcohol consumption. It plays out quite similarly, though. I’ll continue with the thought experiment: After downing a couple of beers for whatever price, you get adventurous and think that it sure would be nice to get your dick wet again. Looking around, you can’t fail to notice that some women seem to aggressively advertise themselves by wearing short skirts and tight tops. One of the girls seems to be glancing over, so you decide to try your luck. But wait, Broseph, not so fast!

You know, you have to understand that just because she is flirting, or maybe even cock teasing guys, she isn’t necessarily available. Maybe she is, but maybe she’s not. Thanks to prevalent social norms it’s the guy’s job to make the first move. This wouldn’t be so bad if women indicated clearly that they were interested in you in particular. Sure, this does happen on occasion, but normally they cast their net wide and hope to catch the attention of some guy they find attractive. They would only rarely walk up to him directly, because then their Prince Charming might just laugh at them. Maintaining the phantasy that they would eventually get him is apparently better for their self-esteem. So, they don’t walk up to guys because they don’t want to feel rejected. This is an experience women much prefer to reserve exclusively for guys, and they happily put the burden of the approach and of initiating a conversation on you. That’s not all. You also have to move the entire interaction from “hi” to the bedroom so that she can then tell her girlfriend the next day about all the things that “just happened”.

Okay, the burden is on you. This time you’re quite sure, though. I mean, just look at her! She’s flicking her hair and smiling at half a dozen guys, all in an attempt to get some attention. Still, until you actually make a move, you won’t know whether she wants to hook up, or just likes to feed off the attention she’s getting from all the drooling guys. You think it’s your lucky day, and you say hi. Everything goes well. She giggles when you tell her that you’re an electrical engineer since she believes it’s a word you just made up. This goes on for half an hour, and eventually you tell her to get her coat, and you take her home. Well done!

But this is not the only possible outcome. If she really just wanted to feed off the attention of some random guys, then her behavior would have been the very same. Of course, if the guys knew that she wasn’t really interested, they’d ogle some other chick instead. This is a situation she wouldn’t like either. All you do notice is that she seems rather flirtatious. Just like in the last scenario, you’re confident so you make a move. She’s not interested. Bummer. And what happens next? Well, if she’s got a modicum of decency, she would just turn away. Yet, it just so happens that some women love to play “hard to get” and feign disinterest, fully expecting the guy to read her mind and still go after her. But maybe she’s really not interested. Not so easy to know. You can’t be bothered, so you say to yourself, “fuck it!”, and hit on some other girl who is hopefully more mature.

However, let’s say she’s one of the more frustrated women and looking for an outlet for her pent-up aggressions. I seem to dimly recall that such women exist, too. If you’re unfortunate enough to bump into one of those, then your friendly, “Hey, what’s up?”, would be met with a facial expression of disgust and the words, “Ugh…. Creep! Go away!”, followed by her loudly complaining to her girlfriends how you “creep” could even have dared approaching her. This might happen to you. It’s not because you’re an insensitive asshole, but because she does nothing more than inviting attention, and then picking one of her suitors. Women just don’t clearly indicate when they are interested in a particular guy, and even showing disinterest is not a clear signal. Don’t laugh! If you’ve got female friends and talk with them about their romantic life, you’ll hear the most bizarre stories, like women sincerely claiming that by “actively ignoring” a guy they’ll get his attention. Heck, they might even start to wonder whether that guy was secretly gay — just because he never ever spoke to her, even though she was ignoring him so hard all the time.

You’re dealing with women who act in a very deceptive manner. She is not clear about her intentions, and she probably wants to maintain some plausible deniability in case she ends up going home with you. They just don’t like admitting to themselves when they’re behaving like sluts, so everything has to “just happen.” If you’re logically inclined, you might assume that X implies Y, but when you’re dealing with women, then X can imply anything. This is because you’re playing a game with incomplete information.

Note to fuming feminists: this is a concept from game theory. The upshot is simply that in a game of incomplete information you don’t know about the payoff. Maybe it’s zero, or negative, or positive. It could be anything. Again, dear feminists, “payoff” is a term used in game theory, so don’t tell me I’m “objectifying women”. However, since women do prefer playing a game of incomplete information, it seems quite obvious that they are in no position to “creep shame” some poor guy who just so happened that he wasn’t able to read their mind. A woman who shows no interest could have been pining for your cock for months. You can’t tell from her behavior. On the other hand, a woman in the club who acts as if she’s ready to jump your bone could quickly turn a cold shoulder to you.

The solution would be so simple. I mean, if you go out you can clearly see that most guys aren’t that intimidating, and they understand the meaning of “no”. Women would just have to either “grow a pair” and not send indiscriminate signals, or, heaven forbid, dare to approach a guy they fancy. If this were more common, then they would probably learn that men don’t think as highly of her than she’s thinking of herself, and that many are not interested in hooking up with her. This is not the kind of game women would want to play, so they prefer a strategy of ambiguity if not deceit. Didn’t approach her even though she showed “active disinterest” for an hour (in the club) or for weeks (at work or university)? It’s all your fault! Approached her because she was behaving like a bitch in heat, but you didn’t know that she only wanted to feed off your attention? Too bad, man! It has got to be all your fault. You probably recognize this pattern: no responsibility for women, and putting all the blame on men. It’s a convenient world view. It’s also a nonsensical one.

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