The following section will be at the top of all posts in the LW Women series.
Several months ago, I put out a call for anonymous submissions by the women on LW, with the idea that I would compile them into some kind of post. There is a LOT of material, so I am breaking them down into more manageable-sized themed posts.
Seven women replied, totaling about 18 pages.
Standard Disclaimer- Women have many different viewpoints, and just because I am acting as an intermediary to allow for anonymous communication does NOT mean that I agree with everything that will be posted in this series. (It would be rather impossible to, since there are some posts arguing opposite sides!)
To the submitters- If you would like to respond anonymously to a comment (for example if there is a comment questioning something in your post, and you want to clarify), you can PM your message and I will post it for you. If this happens a lot, I might create a LW_Women sockpuppet account for the submitters to share.
Please do NOT break anonymity, because it lowers the anonymity of the rest of the submitters.
The class that a lot of creepiness falls into for me is not respecting my no. Someone who doesn't respect a small no can't be trusted to respect a big one, when we're alone and I have fewer options to enforce it beside physical strength. Sometimes not respecting a no can be a matter of omission or carelessness, but I can't tell which.
While I'm in doubt, I'm not assuming the worst of you, but I'm on edge and alertly looking for new data in a way that's stressful for me and makes it hard for either of us to enjoy the encounter. And I'm sure as heck not going anywhere alone with you.
I've written up some short anecdotes that involved someone not respecting or constraining a no. They're at a range of intensities.
Joining someone for the first time and sitting down in a spot that blocks their exit from the conversation. Sometimes unavoidable (imagine joining people at a booth) but limits my options to exit and enforce a no.
Blocking an exit less literally by coming across as the kind of person who can't end a conversation (follows you between circles at a party, limits your ability to talk to other people, etc).
Asking for a number instead of offering yours. If I want to call you, I will, but when you ask for my number, I can't stop you calling or harassing me in the future.
Asking for a number while blocking my exit. This has happened to me in cabs when I take them late at night. It's bad to start with because I can't exit a moving car and I can't control the direction it's going in. One driver waited to the end of the ride, asked for my number, and then handed my reciept back and demanded it when I didn't comply. I had to write down a fake one to get out without escalating. This is why I'm torn between walking through a deserted part of town or taking a cab alone at night.
Talking about other girls who gave you "invalid" nos. Anything on the order of "She was flirting with me all night and then she wouldn't put out/call me back/meet for coffee." Responding positively to you is not a promise to do anything else, and it's not leading you on. This kind of assumption is why I'm a little hesitant to be warm to a strange guy if I'm in a place where it would be hard to enforce a no.
Withholding information to constrain my no. The culprit here was a girl and the target was a friend of mine. The two of them had gone on a date and set a time to meet again and possibly have sex. The girl had a boyfriend, but was in some kind of open relationship and had informed my friend of this fact. What she didn't disclose was that the boyfriend was back in town the night of their second date. She waited to reveal that until my friend had turned up. My friend still had the power to say no, and did, but there was nothing preventing the girl from disclosing that data earlier, when my friend could have postponed or demurred by text. Waiting til she'd already shlepped to the apartment put more pressure on her. It suggested the girl would rather rig the game than respect a no.
Overstepping physical boundaries and then assigning the blame to me. You might go for a kiss in error or touch me in a way I'm not comfortable with. Say sorry and move on. Don't say, "You looked like you wanted to be kissed." That implies my no is less valid if you're confused.