Creepy dude at the bar.

I’ve been meaning to write this post all weekend and have been unable to marshal my thoughts into an argument.  This will therefore be full of holes.

So after the neoliberalism conference on Sat., me and a large chunk of cohort went to our usual bar to grab drinks, kill time, procrastinate various large projects, the usual.  I walked, since the day was beautiful (you know, balmy Chicago and all), and ended up waiting outside the bar for the rest of my people.  A random drunk guy came up, shouted at me, and touched my hip, which was weird but dude, drunk guy, what do you expect?  Things went downhill from there.  This drunk guy really wanted a conversation, and Brianna and Chris, being nice people, were willing to humor him.  Me, being not a nice person, was not.  After he interrupted our conversation for the fourth time to hover over my shoulder, asking if I thought he was “stupid” (answer: yes), I turned to him and said “I just want to talk to my friends.  I don’t want to talk to you.  Sorry.”  This was apparently a bad move, as he started shouting at me, that I was a racist (dude was Asian), a snobby bitch, the usual drill.  (This is why I fear rejecting men who hit on me.  Feels like 50/50 odds it’ll turn ugly no matter how kind I try to be.)  He eventually got bounced, thank god, and the evening ended well, although I was jumping at shadows the whole way home.

So here’s the half-formulated argument.  This happens to me, and to other women I know, way more than it should.  Oh, it happens to guys too, but I wonder if the fear of physical safety is as loud.  The easy answer is “it’s just a drunk guy, man up and ignore him.”  Except that’s not a structural fix, and looks a whole lot like victim-blaming.  I wonder what else I could have done, other than not looking single in public.  Perhaps I should have left my asshole magnet at home?  I wanted to hurt this guy, scream back, do something other than quail like a giant girl.  And I hate that I’m afraid to go back to that bar now, and that my brain turns it into “well, it’ll all be easier when Matt’s here and you have an overt boyfriend,” which completely misses the point.  What’s the good feminist response to being cornered by a drunk asshole in a bar?


2 thoughts on “Creepy dude at the bar.

  1. Ignore the “feminist” response and instead react how any person would – annoyed and irritated. Dude is obviously unwanted, let him know that. If he doesn’t knock it off, let a bar staff person know and let them take care of it. If he touches you in any unwanted way, try to resolve it with a stern warning… if he tries it again knock his block off.

    Ignoring the situation only makes it worse, makes you feel worse, and excuses his behaviour. Pardon the language, but fuck him and all men of his ilk.

  2. Forget what you’ve been enculturated to believe about responding to violence. When it comes to your safety and well-being, take a page from Mr. X’s book and consider asserting yourself by any means necessary. Sure, you should rebuff him sternly and inform security, but if he touches you again or threatens you in any way, punch his fuckin’ lights out. Trust me–you will feel far less miserable than you do when you, as you put it, quail. In fact, you may feel good about it. I sure do, on the rare occasion when it happens to me.

    As for the “man up” argument, screw it. You’re not a man. The world isn’t structured so that this guy is “just a drunk guy” to you–he is a potential assailant, a dangerous unknown, and he should be treated as such.

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