Oh goodness the internet is an interesting place sometimes….
A few days ago, I saw a series of articles on Facebook which seemed to all be related to each other. I kind of love when that happens because it shows the journey the information is taking. I once wrote a paper in grade 12 using three articles which were a response to each other. It was great.
One author wrote about how Anne Boleyn was a witch and that’s why King Henry had her executed, the next said no no it was because she failed to please him sexually, and then the last said no! It was because she was a whore and slept around with so many people. My teacher was also my debate coach and I knew him very well – he was a Christian and sexual things made him nervous (one student liked to just scrawl penis on the blackboard in her perfect cursive and watch him get all flustered trying to erase it as quickly as possible). I entitled my paper Anne Boleyn: Whore, Witch, or just bad in bed? and the look on his face when I handed it in accompanied by the immediate blushing was well worth it.
But getting back to this post….
I’m sure you have seen at least one of these articles. It’s all over the place! The topic of women wearing headphones and how to approach them if you feel attracted to them or compelled to interrupt their day.
It all started on The Modern Man, with this article entitled How to Talk to a Woman who is wearing headphones. If you have yet to feel outrage today, I suggest you go over there and take a read.
The author is pretty much a douche canoe (I read this term some where and feel like it applies to this situation). He seems to be the type of guy who thinks that all women want him, and that he is God’s gift to the female race. He is labelled as their “dating and relationship expert”, and from his picture collage it’s clear that he is….
Now some of the things he says are ok, like stating that some women are open to having you approach them and talk to them when they are wearing headphones, and others are not.
This is true.
Sure, but it’s how you approach them that’s the issue. He advocates standing in front of them and forcing their attention on you and telling them to take out their headphones. He gives you a step by step instruction on how to “approach a woman”, even giving conversation examples on how to talk to a woman once her headphones are out.
For example, in a shopping mall or shopping street:
You: [Smile in a friendly, confident manner] Hey – I know it’s not normal for people to talk to someone with headphones in, but I was walking along and saw you and thought – wow, she’s hot, I have to come over and say hi. I’m Dan, what’s your name?
You: [Add in some humor to get her smiling and create a spark between you] Cool…nice to meet you Jessica. I don’t normally talk to girls with headphones, but your big green headphones were just calling out to me.
Woman: [Possibly smiling or laughing].
You: [If you’re in a shopping mall or city street, let her know that you have something else to do besides talk to her, so she understands that you’re not going to stand there talking to her for 30 minutes] Anyway, I’m just out doing a bit of shopping at the moment. How about you?
*pink letters highlighted by me*
Really Dan? REALLY?
He also gives tips in the article and with embedded videos on: conversation mistakes that turn girls off, common mistakes men make when approaching women who are wearing headphones, and tips for building confidence to speak to women.
If you happen to make it all the way to the bottom of his article, there are links to his previous and next articles. Previously he wrote about “do women like to be chased” which I’m sure has some MAJOR insights into the female mind. His next article was “do all women cheat”. The first sentence says that no, not all women cheat but it’s becoming more common when they are unhappy.
To be clear, I didn’t read either of these articles so maybe he had some good ideas. I’m not holding my breath though…
The next article was written from a woman’s point of view and posted by The Guardian, entitled How to actually talk to a woman wearing headphones.
The author of this article, Martha Mills, wrote (about Dan’s article)
An article has surfaced from the quagmire of bilge that is The Internet and it has caused, not without reason, a small tornado of outrage
She starts off by linking Dan’s article but she does a pretty good job of destroying his arguments. Basically shutting him down with this small paragraph:
The author, one Dan Bacon, could have saved us all a lot of bother here by answering his “How to” with “Don’t”. Sadly he seems to have missed some basic behavioural science here; you see, the very reason I and many other women wear headphones isn’t as a trivial obstacle to some throbbing hormone mountain, nor as a challenge for those blessed with an abundance of ego. It’s a defence. A defence against the aural onslaught of modern life and especially the leering advances of said throbbing hormone mountains. In short, we wear them because we don’t want to be talked to. It’s basic physics really – we fill our ear holes to stop you from getting in.
She mentions something that a lot of women face when rejecting men: being called names by a now overly aggressive man. However Dan goes on to support persistence with the woman.
The advice here (given by Dan) is basically “No doesn’t mean no, it means keep going until you get what you want – the screaming will stop eventually”. Because apparently that’s what women want – and forms the basis for a million rape defence cases. Trust me, when we tell you to go away we aren’t testing your measure as a man, we’re testing how quickly your legs can carry you in an offward direction.
Put Dan’s advice into any other scenario for the true jaw-drop factor: “Shopkeepers may lock their doors at night, but if you want a pint of milk, just hammer on the door until they open up. They’ll be flattered.”
(–) added by me!
Of course this has led to a few other articles. Upworthy has posted a response which, in keeping with the outstanding standards I have always seen from them, takes a less attacking approach to Dan specifically but looks at the issue as a societal thing.
Lindsey M., a board member at Stop Street Harassment, offered some helpful answers to common questions about why this type of interaction isn’t welcome.
“This concern presumes, as a default, that it is acceptable to gamble a woman’s discomfort or sense of safety against the odds that there’s a shot of success,” Lindsey wrote in a Twitter direct message. “That willingness to gamble is male privilege: It centers the desire to pick up a woman over the possibility that she wants to be left alone.”
And of course, where would we be if Buzzfeed didn’t take a stab at it as well? That article is how twitter has exploded over this issue. If you need a little bit of a giggle after all of this then I suggest you check it out here.
Now here comes the personal side: I wear headphones all the time when I am out and about here in South Korea for a few reasons:
1) most people don’t talk to me
2) I love listening to music. It puts a pep in my step and makes my outings more enjoyable
3) because long subway rides are more enjoyable when I have music
4) I can look at my phone when I don’t feel comfortable looking at the people around me
I think I have been lucky as a woman that I don’t really get the cat calls or harassment from men around me (possibly because of my size and they don’t feel the need to comment on it? Or men just don’t find me attractive? I don’t know) But I really do consider myself lucky to have escaped that part of life.
I have had that one incident where a guy followed me off the subway in April. He moved around the train to talk to me, and then kind of stood in front of me to talk to me. I took out my headphones to talk to him because he was attractive and had a nice smile. I’m also a nice person and it was obvious he wanted to talk to me. He didn’t force himself into a conversation with me. While he was attractive I got a major creepy vibe from him. I ended our conversation (or so I thought I had) and tried to put my earbuds back in. He kept talking, and asking personal questions that I avoided answering with real details. I even got off the train at one station I wasn’t planning on getting off at. He left the train as well, and continued asking for my number, even after I told him no, saying “why not? I’m a good time”. I was glad that it was a major transfer station and I could slip into the crowd and away from him. I just transferred to a different line to get home.
For me, especially in a country where I know I probably wouldn’t have been helped by strangers or authorities, it was scary when he actually followed me off the train. I had never felt like that before, and I hope I never do again.