A table set for dinner, two wine glasses a bottle in wine bucket overlooking the ocean
A table set for dinner, two wine glasses a bottle in wine bucket overlooking the ocean
#stalking, #incels, #datingadvice

Dear Paul, I did all the right things; This Woman Owes Me a Date, Right?

Paul Kiernan

Let me start with this NPR survey that found 81% of women have experienced sexual harassment. That’s an incredible number. And being sexually harassed isn’t something any woman deserves.

Dear Paul,

I met a woman, well I saw a woman in a coffee shop, and she was attractive. I followed her and was able to overhear her phone number when she was buying something in a store. I sent her a text, explained who I was, how I got her number, and that I wanted to take her out for a nice dinner.  She said that my actions were creepy. I found her Instagram account and sent her funny videos, got her address, and sent her beautiful flowers. I did all the right things here. She again told me I was creepy and refused to go on a date with me. After a few days of calling and texting and gifts, she changed her number and shut down her Instagram account. My question is, why do women claim they want affection and grand gestures, but when they get that, they reject the guy giving them what they want? She’s probably just insecure, right? Afraid to fully give herself to someone who is going to treat her the best and give her the life she really wants. Am I right?


Nice Guy Still Waiting

A person walking alone through a dark tunnel

Dear Waiting,

In a word, no.

No, you are not right. Not at all. Not even a little bit. I beg you to read this carefully and share it with your guy friends who do think you’re right.

Let me start with this NPR survey that found 81% of women have experienced sexual harassment. That’s an incredible number. And being sexually harassed isn’t something any woman deserves. 

People who have been sexually harassed, which is what you're doing, by the way, often experience years of adverse psychological effects that destroy their lives. Even though, as I’m sure you’ll say, you never touched her, you never really met her in person; what you've done has caused her to hide, to flee, and that was motivated by fear.  Do you understand that victims of this kind of behavior can spend years dealing with anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep disorders, weight loss or gain, nausea, low self-esteem, and sexual dysfunction? Sometimes, the victims never get over the harassment, and it alters their lives forever.

When you contacted this woman and asked her out, she said no and, sorry to disappoint you, but that’s the end of the story, right there. Continuing to contact her, send her gifts, and ask her out is not romantic, and it’s not the big gesture women are looking for. They want that grand gesture from someone they know, someone they like, someone they can trust.

Trust is huge here. With online attacks, stalking, and behavior like yours, trust becomes a central issue. Can you honestly say that eavesdropping on her transaction, getting her number, and anonymously calling her was designed to engender trust? Or did you not think about that?

Do you understand the effort it takes to change a phone number or delete a social media account? There are friends and family, work and life people that she now needs to hunt down and get her new number to. There are stories of why she’s doing it. There are going to be repercussions. You forced her into that. Why? I’m actually asking, that’s not rhetorical; why did you do that?

Look, just because you’re a man and you ask a woman out, it doesn’t mean she owes you anything. The online Incel (involuntary celibate) movement has given guys this sense of entitlement. Suddenly they believe that women owe them dates or sex. Well, they don’t. And harassing them doesn’t make it better. Nor will it change their minds. If you stopped and thought about it for a second, you’d see that your constant pushing and your harassment are not going to make her wake up suddenly and say, wow, this man who has invaded my private life is the man of my dreams. 

Life is not a rom-com.

A hooded figure walking a busy street at night

And blaming women is just stupid. Saying women don’t know what they want, saying they should date you because you did all the right things, or whatever excuse people use to couch their harassment and chauvinism in the guise of romance is just wrong. 

As for her being insecure, she is NOW. Now she will feel insecure about leaving the house for fear that you’re lurking in the bushes or that you’re following her about town. How do you think that feels? Trying to live her life, but always now in the back of her mind, she’s thinking, is he following me? Or, if she says hi to a stranger or strikes up a conversation while she’s waiting for her coffee order, things that she did naturally, easily she now second-guesses because she doesn’t want to encourage someone like you to infect her life.

If you were attracted to her, approach her kindly and say hello. If she’s not interested, walk away. Surreptitiously getting her number, calling her, texting her, and inundating her with gifts is not smart or kind, nor will it produce the results you want.

Women are not put on this planet for your pleasure or to fulfill your needs. They are people like you. Think a bit beyond yourself and your needs. A healthy relationship is based on care, common interests, attraction, and trust. Nothing you did in this scenario fits into the frame of a healthy relationship. Stop. Stop now before you do this again. Have respect, think about the other person, and stop generally blaming women for your insecurities and failures in dating.

Think. Be human. Be kind.

I hope that helps.