The Ten Shadiest Things Strangers Have Ever Said to Me

Everyday, a harrowing journey begins on this seemingly pleasant street.

Since switching jobs, I started walking to work. I now spend an 35 minutes on foot each way, what would be a pleasant walk if it didn’t also provide an easy 70 minutes each day to be harassed by random men on the street. Yesterday, I was honked at, got catcalled, and had a man ask me, “Haven’t I seen you in a magazine?” I did not stop to hear which publication to which he was referring, but I’m willing to wager it wasn’t the Wellesley Alumnae magazine.

Sadly, I’m very used to this behavior. I’m not sure why I am such a magnet for shady, shady dudes, but I am. It has some advantages–for instance, I sometimes get free food at restaurants, although I am usually just extremely confused about that (“But I haven’t given you my money yet!”)–but mostly, it’s just super creepy and unwelcome. I guess it makes for good stories? For your entertainment, I’ve assembled a list of the ten creepiest things strange men have ever said to me:


10. Champ de Mars, Paris, France – 2008
Anyone want to learn how to French Kiss? Or Vodka Kiss?”

I have to give him props–upon hearing this line, I was amazed that I’d never heard it before (the French kiss part. Not the vodka kiss part. That doesn’t even make sense.). But he was still a miscreant French youth, so he would have been creepy no matter what came out.

9. Dharamsala, India – 2007
“I’m going to teach you Punjabi. Thohade aakha baut Suniya ne. That means ‘Your eyes are looking amazing.'”

This would have been a lot less creepy had his girlfriend not been sitting directly next to him at the time. This was also the same day that I accidentally spent with a punjabi pop star, who I’m sure would have also had some creepy shit to say, had his command of the English language allowed it. Instead, he just kept shouting things like “CUTE BABY!” every few minutes.

Everyone’s favorite Punjabi pop star/stalker. Me also wearing the worst pants
ever because they were the only thing that would dry in Monsoon season.

8. Library of Congress, Washington, DC – September 2011
“You seem like a nice girl, Emma. Are you Jewish?”

7. The Red Line to Shady Grove, Washington, DC – 2010
“Can I like, try something with your hair?”

6. Dharamsala, India – 2007
“really I feel in Love with you and Hope we can share some time with togethere and make Happy and Smile face othere you really so Beatifull & I have no wards to explain [sic].”

Apparently I’d caught the eye of a mustachioed local bookstore owner while on my quest to find the 7th Harry Potter, so he stalked my roommate every day until he finally caught her to give me the first of three love letters. In typical Alix fashion, I handled it spectacularly poorly and just decided to avoid his street entirely, which was difficult as there were only 3 streets to be  had in Dharamsala. Eventually, I had to travel down it in quest of food, and while walking with my hood up and my head down, I literally ran into him. I gave him a very flustered no thanks which was way more awkward than if I’d just confronted him in the first place.

5. Safeway, Washington, DC – 2009
“I like your freckles. They’re really cute. We should just get married, actually.”

Be careful with whom you share an eye roll about that crazy lady in front of you holding up the Safeway check-outline. One minute he’s a friendly-but-lonely 50-something buying a single can of Chef Boyardee, and the next he’s a friendly-but-lonely 50-something buying a single can of Chef Boyardee who just proposed to you. And you’re still trapped into the Safeway checkout line with him for another five minutes, thanks to that crazy bitch in front.

4. Tours, France – 2007
Excusez-moi, mademoiselle, mais vous êtes ravissante. Vous avez besoin de l’aide?

Translation: “Excuse me, miss, but you are ravishing. Do you need some help?” Only slightly creepy, but when compounded with the fact that I was in the process of unlocking my apartment at the time, it becomes pretty questionable. No, shady French man, I do not need your help getting into my apartment. 

3. Just Outside of El Rinconcito, Washington, DC – Last Thursday Night
“You UGLY. You ALL UGLY! Y’ALL UGLY!” [Pauses to reassess.] “No you’re cute. BUT YOU ALL UGLY. You’re cute though I like you. BUT Y’ALL UGLY!”

This was not so much creepy as it was bizarre and terrifying. As L, K, EG, Matt IV and I were making our way to ACKC, a very drunk man in orange lipstick and a wig started screaming about how ugly we all were. Then as he got closer, he paused, looked me up and down, and apparently changed his mind about me and only me. And now until an unspecified future time, all my friends are going to make jokes about my evident cuteness any time I get preferential treatment.

2. New York, New York – September 2011

This next one requires a disclaimer. I am in my mid-twenties, but strangers usually grossly underestimate my age. Two Christmases ago, when I was 22, I got mistaken for an unaccompanied minor at the airport. You have to be 14 to be an unaccompanied minor. So in strangers’ eyes, I’m guessing I’m somewhere in the 15-19 range now. Which is why this next one, courtesy of a homeless man in Murray Hill, is so very disturbing:

“I like your dress… if you were five years younger…”

WTF? WTF?!?! EW!

1. Two Blocks from My House, Washington DC – 2011
“I like them titty bags of yours I want to milk them.”

I went back and forth between this and the last one over which was the absolute creepiest. While I think pedophilia is intrinsically creepier than whatever infantilization/farming fetish shit is happening here, the fact that I had a really hard time even typing this one is what ultimately put me over the edge.

I guess its to these guys’ credit that none of them tried to grope/molest/follow me home, which has happened enough times to merit it’s own damn list. Congratulations on setting the bar so spectacularly low, menfolk! Now stop whistling at me on from the Waste Management truck.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17475018336257547303 Yours Truly

    You need to post this to Hollaback DC. Seriously!

  • http://caffeinatedpanda.wordpress.com/ amandajtai

    Not surprised that half of the comments have happened in Washington D.C. I’m sure there could be an entire post dedicated to stories from the 90s buses.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05300382096023046724 catherine.

    Oh man is it weird that I kind of miss this? It was one of those things that made DC very distinctly DC… here people just very awkwardly ignore each other and pretend not to be interested while they are actually interested. I blame it on the hipsters.