As a guy, I feel that one of the worse things I could be called is creepy. I interpret it to mean, “stay as far away from this guy as possible”. Being that I like women (as people—I’m not just talking about sexual attraction here), I don’t want them to be intentionally distancing themselves from me. So I found the discussion which Hugo Schwyzer hosted on his Facebook wall interesting yesterday. He asked “What are the defining qualities of a ‘creepy guy?’ And, what do you think is the true opposite of creepiness?”
I want to try and sum up the discussion as best as I can in my own words. At its core, a woman labels a guy creepy when she feels uncomfortable around him. However she may or may not be able to explain why she feels this way. In some cases, the guy is clearly being disrespectful, being intrusive, etc. In other cases the woman is just getting bad vibes. One commenter pointed out that women are trying to figure out who is safe and who is not. The former, definable kind of creepiness can be helpful, however the latter type is problematic. The reason is, as some commenters pointed out, that many guys who are socially awkward or give a bad vibe are perfectly good men. On the other hand, some guys who are slick and give off a good vibe are actually quite dangerous. Along with this, attraction plays too much into this equation. In fact, one of the commenters said that creepiness had to do with how attractive she found the guy. I have some times felt like our attraction is a curse. It seems like we’re often attracted to the wrong things, making us attracted to the wrong people and unattracted to the right people.
The general consensus is that the opposite of creepy is a man who is respectful to women, honoring them as real people. I am relieved to know that I generally wouldn’t be considered creepy. However, I understand that while a significant piece of it is what the guy is doing, it ultimately lies in the individual woman’s judgement. So there could be occasions when I or another guy are considered creepy through no fault of our own. For example, one time not too long ago I was going to quickly tell a friend of mine that she looked nice that day. This was a genuine compliment and not an attempt to get something. I tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention, not realizing she was right in the middle of something else. She perceived me as being rude, needing attention, and missing social clues, etc. Though she was upset at me, I had to understand that this wasn’t my fault and not take it personally. At the same time, I know I’m not perfect. Though I am generally respectful of women, I recognize that I may have done things at times which made women uncomfortable. If that is the case, I am sorry. (If I am doing something on a consistent basis I am unaware of it; let me know so that I can do better.)