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02 May 2007

Ew fucking ew. Goddamned skeevy dude was rubbing himself against me in the fucking subway and I didn't fucking notice for at least 10 fucking minutes. Now *I* feel dirty and I'm sure he's having a lovely fucking day. For an asshole. Fucker.
Wha? That's no good at all. Nast.
posted by cobra! 02 May | 10:43

There aren't enough double-u's to express my discomfort. I'm so sorry for you!
posted by muddgirl 02 May | 10:44
Ick ick ick. Oh, for the days of hatpins!
posted by Miko 02 May | 10:45
I'm wearing pointy-heeled shoes. I really wish I had thought to step on his fucking toes, hard, before moving away, but then you get stuck in that "Wait, is he really doing what I think he's doing?" space and your brain shuts down.

I did at least glare at him for an extended period once I moved, since I figure subway frotteurs are getting off on the anonymity at least a bit.

Sigh. Fucking fucked-up way to start the fucking day.
posted by occhiblu 02 May | 10:47
Ew! I'm sorry occhiblu, that's a gross way to start the day.
posted by gaspode 02 May | 10:52
I'm wearing pointy-heeled shoes. I really wish I had thought to step on his fucking toes, hard, before moving away

Potentially a good solution, but then you might just be satisfying another fetish.

I know, more ick! Couldn't resist.
posted by Miko 02 May | 10:55
posted by occhiblu 02 May | 10:58
Yuck, I'm sorry that happened to you occhiblu.

I had the same thing happen a month ago. My friends had to tell me what was happening and move to a different location. The place was packed, and I didn't realize. Gross.
posted by LoriFLA 02 May | 11:03
Ewwwww. I'm sorry. I hope he gets a yeast infection or something (not from you, obviously!) and every time he thinks about humping it BURNS.
posted by casarkos 02 May | 11:09
Blarrrrrrrrrr, it's horrid. Sorry it happened to you. I know that irrational dirty feeling.

Long view: you get to move away from this incident and go on being your wonderful self, and he's stuck being a repulsive subway frotteur. Poor sad bastard.

Years ago, I had a boyfriend who liked to grab my ass surreptitiously when we rode the El. One day, when the car was crammed hip-to-elbow, he grabbed and massaged for most of the ride home. As the car emptied out, I gave him a mock scolding sotto voce. With unmistakable innocence, he asked what the hell I was talking about.

And it dawned on me that I'd ridden for, oh, 20 minutes with some stranger squeezing my ass and me saying nothing. Oh, the impotent fury after the fact.
posted by Elsa 02 May | 11:21
If you'd had a cellphone camera. . .

Although, being male, I am unsure how much satisfaction this kind of stuff (hollabacks in general) provide. Seems like it's better than just seething on it's own.
posted by danf 02 May | 11:26
"Wait, is he really doing what I think he's doing?" space and your brain shuts down.

I HATE that! It's only after you've had the time and space to think about it that it dawns on you to stomp on their toes or whatnot.
posted by Specklet 02 May | 11:28
Exactly. Gaaaaah. Because you don't really want to believe taht some people are that gross, but then some people are that gross. Ick ick ick! So sorry, what a crap way to start the day.
posted by dabitch 02 May | 11:32
the problem with all that 'hollaback' stuff is that i fucking HATE making a scene, and the LAST thing i wanna do in a situation like that is draw attention to the fact that im being groped / whatever.

tho i'm sure thats what Skeevy Dudes everywhere are banking on.

guys like that definitely deserve a swift kick in the nuts tho. and i'm not the nut-kicking type.
posted by lonefrontranger 02 May | 11:37

My senior year of high school I was a class assistant for a freshman drama class. Basically my job was to sit there and study unless the teacher needed me to make copies, in which case I made copies. And there was one incredibly annoying little freshman boy who liked to make "cute" remarks to me--eg., I'd be studying my yoga book (I took yoga as my PE that year) which, obviously, has pictures of people wearing leotards bending themselves into pretzels and he'd look over my shoulder and say, Beavis and Butthead-like, "Is that porn? Is it? Porn? Hehehehehe."

So right before winter break (I had just finished a tough exam and was in a FOUL mood because I thought I had failed) I was standing in the lobby talking to a friend before catching the bus home. And I feel someone rubbing all lascivious-like on my coat sleeve. I assume it's one of my friends messing with me, turn around, see it's this little shit and SHOUT, at the top of my lungs, "IF YOU EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN, I'LL RIP YOUR BALLS OFF!!!" Everyone in the hall turns to look, the kid RUNS (and never bothers me again), and the best part--a teacher was standing right there (we're not supposed to yell or use words like "balls" in that particular context), looks at me, sort of shrugs, and goes about her business.

I recommend this approach.
posted by Fuzzbean 02 May | 11:42
the LAST thing i wanna do in a situation like that is draw attention to the fact that im being groped / whatever.

This is very frustrating for me to hear! You SHOULD make a big fucking deal over it! No one's going to stare at or judge you for yelling, they're going to stare at and judge the FUCKING ASSHOLE WHO GROPED YOU!

Silence is the worst thing in the world. If women weren't silent about these kinds of things, they wouldn't happen as much. I'm with Fuzzbean's school of thought.
posted by Specklet 02 May | 12:02
Holy Monty, mother of pearl! That's disgusting. You poor thing!
posted by jrossi4r 02 May | 12:08
posted by matteo 02 May | 12:13
Yuck occhiblu! What I was told in self-defense class is to ram the smegma in the ribs with your elbow if he comes up to you from behind.

Not as awful as what's just happened to you, but someone grabbed my sides with his hands in a store yesterday BEFORE he said "excuse me"--and I've had assholes not bother to say it at all. I snapped, "say it, don't grab me", and to his credit, he did just say it when he had to pass me again.

Hear, hear Specklet!
posted by brujita 02 May | 12:17
Public shaming of the offender can satisfy my outrage, but sometimes it's hard to make the cognitive leap past "Jeez, this can't be happening, right? I'm misunderstanding. Surely!"
posted by Elsa 02 May | 12:22
It's true that it can be a shock when things like this happen--I think I'm particularly unflappable but I definitely understand the "OMG this isn't happening" reaction.

I find something that helps whenever I'm feeling threatened or weak or scared or whatever is to literally say to myself, "Stop it. GET MAD." And it's like there's this switch in me that shunts everything over into anger and lets me yell or kick or run or whatever to defend myself/turn the situation around.

Obviously this works less well in business meetings ;)
posted by Fuzzbean 02 May | 12:44
sometimes it's hard to make the cognitive leap past "Jeez, this can't be happening, right? I'm misunderstanding. Surely!"

Exactly. It was a hugely crowded train, so everyone was bumped up against each other, which is why I didn't notice this guy in particular until I looked behind me and realized he was basically spooning me. At which point I moved away (and glared) and he sorta kinda shuffled back toward me (the crowds made it hard to move far), but he didn't touch me again (though I could tell he was paying attention to where I was).

Had he touched me again, I would have had no problem making scene (I have a loud voice and I'm not very shy about using it). But I was stuck there without definite proof that he was trying to do anything, and then you don't want to be the bitch accusing people of things they're not doing... gah.
posted by occhiblu 02 May | 12:58
Also, this:

I hope he gets a yeast infection or something (not from you, obviously!)

made me laugh a lot. :)
posted by occhiblu 02 May | 12:59
Seconding Specklet and Fuzzbean. Women, in general, are socialized to hate making a scene (be nice! be quiet! smooth it over! keep smiling! get along!), and sleazy people know that and prey on that. They're aware that 99% of the time, not much happens and they get away with it (whatever 'it' is that they enjoy doing).

I like fuzzbean's approach: the cognitive one. "This should be making me mad. If it happened to my mom/friend/sister/daughter, I'd be mad. Hm. Perhaps I should consider getting mad?"

There's definitely a place for shame in a civil society, but by objecting, you get to direct the shame at the perpetrator (where it belongs) rather than at yourself.

but someone grabbed my sides with his hands

That is such a subtle one. I worked for years as a waitress and it's amazing how often it happens. That, for me, is a good example of something that makes me wonder whether I should be mad. Men do it so apparently innocently that they may not know how invasive it feels - it's a hideously intimate way to be touched by a stranger, since it echoes a hug or a sexual embrace. However, the well-meaning men never will know unless someone objects at some point, so perhaps if that ever happens to me again, I'll speak up.
posted by Miko 02 May | 13:03
That is such a subtle one. I worked for years as a waitress and it's amazing how often it happens.

I do that a lot, and it started when I was waiting tables -- you're trying to squeeze through so many small spaces with so many people who are often carrying heavy/precarious things, it just seemed like a courtesy to kind of spatially let people know where I was (as well as protective so they didn't back into me).

I have worked on trying to stop it, a bit, but I do still do it defensively sometimes, if someone is backing up, for example, and not looking where they're going and therefore about to back into me, I might put my hands on their waist as I sidestep around them.

I do continually try to remind myself that other people mind being touched more than I do, though. And I also have an entire other rant about people who move through public spaces without being aware of others, which is a huge peeve of mine...
posted by occhiblu 02 May | 13:46
Years ago I was on a crowded Underground train when a woman standing a few yards away hoisted into the air the hand of a man standing next to her and said in a loud voice "Does this belong to anyone? I just found it on my arse".

Everyone cheered and applauded and the culprit couldn't leave the train quick enough at the next station.
posted by essexjan 02 May | 14:05
Jan, that's AWESOME!
posted by Specklet 02 May | 14:05
I walk around angry just so I'm prepared for when this happen. Go ahead, men of New York! Grope me! I am SO ready!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 02 May | 14:20
As much as I like to flirt, the idea of actually touching women I don't know in situations like this bugs me, and I'm a guy. I try to shrink in on myself in public conveyances to avoid brushing against people, come to think of it. I'm about as "ewwwww" with this as you gals are.

Too bad comfortable shoes are in. A relatively petite female in high heels can wreak impressive havoc on the instep of a grabby skeeze. It's a force-per-unit-area thing, y'know. "Oops, sorry, mister; I got all distracted and sh*t when you were rubbing your crotch on my @$$, y'know? Hope the fractured metatarsals heal right quick."

That grabbing-sides thing? I figured out a long time ago to lay an index finger on the upper arm of the person in my way and they'd instinctively move away from that touch and turn/look over-shoulder to see what was touching 'em. And, y'know, stopping and waiting for the way to clear also does wonders. Clear your throat loudly or say "excuse me" if the person's in the way. Don't grapple 'em.

('Sides, there's always dancing on Monday nights -- I get to hold all the hands and shoulder blades I can stand, and nobody minds.)
posted by PaxDigita 02 May | 14:39
Jan, I did this myself once!

I had read about an incident like that, and never forgotten it. When I was 19 or so, I was helping a couple shopping in the seaside store I managed. The husband and I were on one side of a chest-high rack, the wife on the other, and he grabbed me. Before I had a chance to think rationally, I grabbed his hand, hoisted it aloft, and hollered "Whose hand is this? I found it on my ass!"

He tried to laugh it off, but I imagine I ruined their vacation. Why do I still, almost two decades later, feel guilty about that? And, contrarily, pleased that I for fuck's sake called out the skeeve who thought my ass was his to handle.

One other memorable occasion: I was on an Amtrak train from Chicago to Boston. Thanks to a blizzard closing airports and some roads, the train was full. The man seated beside me decided my knee and thigh were a comforting touchstone, and as I dozed his hand would wander across them. I'm certain he chose me because I was young, vulnerable looking, and alone.

When I finally woke enough to understand that this was actually happening, instead of quavering or shifting in my seat or equivocating in any way, I told him quite confidently I will have you put off this train in the snow at the next stop and never feel a flicker of guilt.

He tried to convince me that he had been fondling my lap by accident, tried to guilt me into being quiet, and then saw the look in my eyes.

He disappeared. Found another seat on that full-to-bursting train, spent the trip in the bar car --- I don't care. Vanished.

From now on, I'm implementing Fuzzbean's approach: Stop waffling and GET MAD.
posted by Elsa 02 May | 14:50
I did get mad. At one point in time I was permanently pissed at cat-callings and touchings and guys waving wads of money at me dear lord how insulting is that. I'd dodge anyone who tried to stop me in the street - even innocent looking backpackers with maps folded wide open because once I stopped, they'd say something nasty. It was never "where's X street" or "what time is it?" it was always something like "looking for a good time? *drool*" Argh! I walked at a permanent fast-pace and dodged into shops at the blink of an eye the nano-second I felt just the tinyest bit followed. If catcalled, I didn't bother with the "F--- you"'s, since that would always open up for the classic comeback "you're a lesbian!" and I'd just get even angrier at the idiotic skeeve-retort. I circled bus stops rather than sit down because there was always someone who'd try and 'strike up conversation' at the bus stops. I Do Not Want To Talk To You Mr! I began walking everywhere because walking could include running away and never getting trapped next to Mr Gropy on a tram or bus. I was seething, and now sore from all the attention it was enough to have someone wolfwhistle to make me rant in anger all day. It was not fun being so unhappy. And that is the worst part of it all, the shady wankers are grinding us down. Aaaaargh.

I don't know exactly when I stopped getting so pissed off. Moving out of Amsterdam was a big help, even in New York you won't get half the hassle. And now, with a baby permanently attached all the shouting I ever hear is "oh my how adorableeee that baby is!" Muuuuucch better now thank you.
posted by dabitch 02 May | 15:26
My general operating rule is that if a guy (or anyone, really) is polite about whatever it is he has to say, I'm fine with it. "Hi, you have a nice smile" is one thing. Rubbing your dick against my ass is quite another.

Which, for me at least, is a decent way to fuel my righteous indignation. I mean, for god's sake, I'd be happy to talk to you if you treated me like a human being, so why the hell are you acting like a complete scumbag to get my attention??? Sigh.
posted by occhiblu 02 May | 15:35
Oh my god, this is all bringing back bad memories of the guy who actually jacked off onto my NEW SHOES on the el in Chicago once. Fucking scumbag.
posted by scody 02 May | 15:36
Yeah, I don't have the perma-rage I used to carry around when I lived in a Real City. Now, most of what I use to keep the skeeviness away is a quick step, a book open on my lap, and a permanent look of boredom. You Are So Very Boring To Me, You Creep.

When I say "stop waffling and GET MAD," I really mean when when something happens, when someone grabs my ass or my knee or, I don't let myself start thinking, "OH, no, that's simply doesn't happen. I must have misunderstood." I know from too many years experience that it does happen, and only when I've immediately called the creep on his creepy behavior have I walked away feeling clean.

PaxDigita, obviously most guys don't do this. I firmly believe most men find this shocking and revolting. When my partner recently heard me talking about behavior I encounter on public transit, his jaw dropped, because I cannot conceive of doing this, and the idea that I've encountered it routinely (less so now that I'm All Grown Up) maked him feel sick.
posted by Elsa 02 May | 15:36
Sorry --- of course, that should read "he cannot conceive of doing this."
posted by Elsa 02 May | 15:39
And now, with a baby permanently attached all the shouting I ever hear is "oh my how adorableeee that baby is!"

When I got my dog, I brought her to work everyday for awhile, and all the men who are stereotypically catcalling at women would catcall... the dog. "OMG WHAT A CUTE FUZZY WUZZY LITTLE BOOCHIE BABY GIIIIIIRL", said the construction worker or the bar bouncer to the 6 pound chihuahua.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 02 May | 16:10
Oh I gotcha Elsa, I just meant that I got over-mad. I was like perma-raged like you said, and it was eating me up. I've kicked, yelled, and even maced in response (obviously not inside a train, but in a graveyard late at night where someone followed me and then ran up behind me, and really, dudes, no rightminded man follows a woman into a graveyard at night to ask what frickin' time it is so, say hi to my mace Mister!). I've alerted all the employees at McD's that some idiot was jerking off at me outside their window by yelling it across the restuarant (no kids inside, it was late - and christmas.) The problem, to me, was that I let it taint everything. I hated the city, and then my job, and then my friends, but mainly the city. That's the wrong kind of mad, I kinda let the black rage take over and never got it out. Pinball might have helped. Or being in a rock band mebbe? :)
posted by dabitch 02 May | 16:27
See before that was in the "but. no he can't be.. Nobody would do that..would they?" frame of mind and once I got past that it was like flicking a switch and I suspected e v e r y o n e of being closet creeps all the time. People couldn't slap me on the back for a job well done withhout me hissing. Too far. Seems there's no "medium" on this here brain-machine.
posted by dabitch 02 May | 16:30
Does that mean you have an extreme brain? ;-)
posted by occhiblu 02 May | 16:44
hehehehe. Seems it goes straight to eleven.
posted by dabitch 02 May | 16:46
That's shitty, occhi. Next time just elbow the bastard, he'll back off because no other passenger will help him, trust me.

(and I know what you mean about feeling dirty. When I was 15, I was walking to a freind's house (at around 10 in the morning) and some guy pulled over. I thought he wanted directions so I walked over, he said 'you wanna make some money?" I said 'huh?' and he said 'give me a blowjob?' I felt filthy for a while, and it was mixed with guilt because I was going through a 'questioning' period in my development. I called the cops when I got to my friends' place but they didn't find the guy. But I still felt awful for a while)
posted by jonmc 02 May | 17:06
So even guys get that weird guilt then? Oh thank god, I was getting tired of hearing it's a girl-thing. I never thought it was, I just thought decent people feel a lot more empathy&stuffs, and thus bad when someone is creepy.
posted by dabitch 02 May | 17:20
no dabitch, us guys are just human, too. :)

posted by jonmc 02 May | 17:32
Had something similar to Elsa happen to me in the middle of a packed souk in Cairo. Was gently pulled back by the hips into a rather eager John Thomas, only to realise that the SO was about 3 people in front of me. The SO heard bystanders saying something about a foreign girl attempting to beat up a local man and turned around to find me pulling the girly overhand flailing freak out.

Pervo took off at a run, the SO took off after him and I followed them out of the souk like something out of a bad movie, including narrowly dodging buses and other chaotic traffic.

Pervo hopped over a low wall, pausing only to take off his shoes. The SO followed and froze upon landing on the other side. It was Friday and Pervo had made his get away through a swath of Muslims praying outside the mosque. The SO had nearly landed on someone's head. He excused himself and set about to calming me (& himself) down.

Some locals come up and indicate to us that they've caught Pervo, wanting to know what he did and if we want to go to the police. The SO explained that Pervo had touched his 'wife' inappropriately, and no, we didn't want to go to the police. The locals wish us well and tell us rather ominously that they'll deal with him.

Apparently they don't take too kindly to either frottage or using a prayer area as an escape route.
posted by romakimmy 03 May | 07:09
there's always dancing

Amen to that. There are some partnered swing dancers who jokingly refer to dancing as 'acceptable adultery.' When I got into it it was pretty astounding to be in a fairly intimate embrace with the bodies of a couple dozen different men over the course of a night. The thing is, it's great - it all falls within a social agreement that everybody understands, and the point is to really enjoy it. Our grandparents/ancestors weren't stupid when they figured out about social dancing.

The funny thing in swing dance is, that even though in a dance you've got a guy's hands all over you and you're touching shoulder to shoulder, arm along the length of arm, across his back and shoulders, with hands on sides, arms wrapped around each other, hands holding -- there is still a line of propriety, and people who cross it and start with the unnecessary ass-touching or boob-brushing quickly find they have a hard time getting a dance partner. Women actually compare notes on the sidelines of the dance and will warn you away from any skeeves. Fortunately there are very few, but there are always some who mistake a dance invitation for carte blanche.

There's even a slang term for the boob issue -- ABG, or Accidental Boob Grab. It can happen after you come out of a spin and he's grabbng for your shoulder and misses. Sometimes guys will apologize "Sorry, ABG!" in the midst of a move.
posted by Miko 03 May | 08:28
To clarify: if the place is noisy I don't have a problem with someone touching my shoulder and gesturing that s/he needs to get by...but that's NEVER been the case when I've been grabbed with both hands.
posted by brujita 03 May | 10:02