Call me an asshole. Call me a scumbag. Call me a dickhead. But don't call me creepy. Please. I don't ask much.
All I ask is for you to disparage me accurately, and — I think I speak for many men here when I say — while I've definitely at times deserved all the other stuff, the creepy description just doesn't fit.
It's really been bothering me lately how creepy is one of the most overused and misused words in the current dating landscape. You can be an asshole. You can be a dick. You can be all of the above and still go about things in such a way as to not deserve to be called the other one.
And yet, for as long as I can remember, "creepy" has been the go-to phrase for women to describe just about anyone they don't want to be associated with. Girls use it to mean innocent things like "annoying" and "ugly" and "I just don't like him" when really the word has a more insidious — sometimes legally so — connotation.
Jared from Subway was creepy. Dark figures in shaded alleyways are creepy. Crawlers are creepy. But because of dating apps and social media and what feels like a lazy lack of vocabulary more than anything else, “creepy” has come to mean just about everything else.
What that's done is cast an infuriating and often unfair shadow on otherwise well-intentioned men who just don't happen to be your cup of tea.
Let me give you an example.
Say you give a guy your number, but have no intention of ever texting him back. He adds you on Instagram and likes five of your not-quite-most-recent pictures.
The resulting conversation with your girlfriend typically unfolds like this: “Look at this creepy guy who liked all my pics.”
Now say, for instance, an attractive guy you've known for an equally short period of time does the same thing — likes those same five pictures.
The resulting conversation typically goes like this: “Look at this guy who liked all my pics!”
Neither guy acted any differently from the other, and you showed them the same level of interest. Yet one is branded and ostracized, while the other is lauded. One welcomed, while the other deemed a danger.
It's totally unfair to the guy who treated you the exact same way. You don't need to ever see or even answer the first guy. But you don't need to label him the way we label men who fuck blow-up dolls either.
A few months ago, I found myself in a stranger's bedroom on the other side of town at 5 am. We'd met at a show and jumped and danced and took a cab back to her place.
The ride went a little long, and it became clear that some of the energy that bound us together in the first place had begun to dissipate. That moment we'd met in, that we'd decided in, that we'd committed to — it was closing.
It happens with every moment, and all you can do is hope that window doesn't shut on you before you're done with it.
Anyway, that was the feeling as we stumbled into her very neat and considered room. I immediately got a bad feeling. A sea of pillows sat erect at the top of her bed, and the front one, all white and puffy, had a imprint of Drake's face sewn into the front.
I hate Drake. He's one of my two least favorite people on the planet, behind the current president. I hate him so much, I'm willing to ruin a night over it.
Of course, I said something. I made a lighthearted joke about how basic and derivative her music taste was for a girl I'd met at an indie rock rave. She shrugged it off and hit me right back with a joking insult, then grabbed me and pulled me onto the pillow.
We continued to trade playful insults as we rolled around, kissing and undressing. She sent one, and I sent one back. It went on like this for a while, all in good fun. The moment had returned, and we both seemed committed to it.
Then, I snuck in a compliment as she came up for air and ran her hands over my scalp.
“Your bangs,” I said. “I'm lost in them.”
“Shit,” she said. “You have, like, perfect hair.”
“Yeah,” I admitted. “I know.”
“You're kind of an asshole,” she whispered, still laying on me, through an I-mean-it-but-I-don't-care smirk. “You may actually be the worst person I've ever met.”
A little intense, I thought. I'll play along.
“If that's your game,” I said, smiling, “then you just might be a bit of a bitch.”
A switch immediately flipped in her head. She jumped up and became enraged.
“What did you say to me? Did you just call me a bitch? Did you just call me a BITCH??! You do NOT call me a bitch in my own apartment. Nobody calls me that. Who do you think you are? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! GET OUT! GET THE FUCK OUT RIGHT NOW!”
I did not protest. I did not even speak. I'd resigned myself to the fate of the moment, and it was over. I just chuckled, zipped up, strapped on my shoes and walked out into the freezing rain at 5:15 am.
Fast forward six months. I went to same type of show in the same neighborhood. I was with my same friends from the last show. And all of a sudden, here comes Bangs Girl, walking up to the bar.
Bangs Girl! I never thought I'd see her again. How often do you get to confront someone who treated you so terribly? I just had to go say hello.
I went up smiling, to try to laugh the whole thing off and make amends. She was not happy to see me. I apologized and said she might have owed me one, too. She didn't see things that way.
Instead, she said this: “What are you doing talking to me? This is so creepy!”
To which I took much offense.
That's not what this word means.
I did not follow you here. I did not ambush you in a tight space. Just seeing someone in a place you also happen to be at doesn't make it creepy. That's coincidence. And maybe a little understandable, given that you listen to the same music in the same city.
I did not stalk your social media. I did not text you – ever. I did not show up back at your door when the sun came out demanding my umbrella — which I needed, by the way.
You just happened to ever see me again, and I just happened to say hello.
A dick move? Probably. Annoying? Certainly so.
Call me an asshole. Call me whatever. But don't call me creepy. Please. I don't ask much.