By Jesse Turner
A few weeks ago, I was walking to my car from class. It was 6p.m. and still light outside. I was walking by the science building when a man who seemed to be in his mid 30s came up and asked me if he could walk and talk with me. I hesitated, thinking he was one of the many canvassers I see on campus. I asked him why he wanted to walk with me. He said that he had time, he was lonely, wanted to make new friends, etc. I did not believe him and I was afraid to say no outright, so instead I tried to discourage him by saying I was in a hurry and just walking to my car. He started walking with me anyway. Another woman saw this interaction and how uncomfortable I was, and she spoke up: “I’ve seen you approaching a lot of people around here.” Appreciative of her actions, I tried to walk away quickly while he was distracted. But he caught up to me.
I told him I was sorry he felt lonely but that approaching random women on the street was not the best way to make friends. “I don’t know who you are or anything about you, it’s kind of a scary situation to be randomly approached,” I insisted. He insisted back that he was not a dangerous guy and that he totally understands women and their fears (here’s a tip; saying “I’m not dangerous” while following a woman to her car is not reassuring). He had an argument for every reason I gave him that this was a terrible idea, which just made me more defensive. Finally, I told him outright: “You do not understand my fears, if you did, you would not be following me. You would have taken the hint.”
We finally got to my parking garage, and I told him to stop following me, not wanting him to see my car. Just like I expected, he asked for my number so he could take me out.
This blog is not about bragging that I got hit on. And no, this situation would not have been different if I was attracted to this guy. This blog is about the fact that this guy’s desire to follow me, talk to me, and ask for my number does not trump my desire to feel safe and be left alone. His arguments that humans should be able to talk to one another and be able to meet people this way, are BS. You have never made a best friend by approaching a random person on the street, so don’t put your fake burden on me.
So, when should you randomly hit on someone on the street who does not want to talk to you? Never. It’s scary and unnerving. Do not do it.