Orphanage Rule #10: Put In Headphones Or Read A Book

This is meant to help women avoid being harassed while in public. The logic is simple: If it’s clear that you’re busy, reasonable people won’t interrupt unless it’s important. The problem with this is also simple: It isn’t reasonable men who harass women.

Here are some examples of things that have happened when I tried this method:

Example 1: I was sitting in a mostly empty mall reading a book. A man sat down next to me & asked how I was doing. I told him, without looking up, that I was reading a book & doing just fine. Then he started talking about how he loves books, but doesn’t read often. I still didn’t look up. He told me about how he only really reads when he’s incarcerated. He also started talking about how long his day was & how heavy his boots were that he’d been wearing all day. I put my book down & pulled out my phone part way through this to start tweeting about what was going on. He told me I was being rude for not engaging with him. He left when his girlfriend came out of a nearby store. As he stood up he said, “Sorry for bothering you.” This shows he knew he was disturbing me. He knew I didn’t want to talk to him & he continued to harass me anyway, even going as far as to call me rude for not returning his attention.

Example 2: I was sitting in a food court in a mall, reading a book & listening to music. Due to the fact that I had headphones in & was looking down at my book, I was not aware of what was going on around me. I’m guessing this man had previously tried to get my attention by talking, but I don’t know. What I do know is I was sitting in peace when all of a sudden someone was touching my face.

Yep, a stranger reached over & put his hand on my goddamn face.

I jumped, as you can imagine, & ripped my headphones out as I looked up to see what the hell was going on. A man I’d never seen before was looking down at me & smiling. “Hey there.” He said to me, still grinning.

“What the fuck was that?” I said. It was rhetorical. He stopped smiling. “If you want to keep your fingers, I suggest you don’t fucking touch me ever again.” I spat at him.

“You don’t have to be such a fucking bitch.” He said, taking a step back.

“Yes I do, now fuck off.” I told him.

“You’re crazy.” He told me, before walking away.

Example 3: I was on a train & listening to music. Someone tapped my shoulder so I looked to my right. A man had reached over, across the aisle, to tap me. He was now smiling at me. I turned off my music. “Yes?” I asked him.

“Hi.” He said, looking me up and down, which was awkward as hell considering I was sitting & there wasn’t much “up and down” going on. I put my headphones back in & went back to looking out the window.

A few seconds later he tapped me again. I didn’t smile at him this time. I just asked, “What?” Again, he just said hello.

I stood as my stop was coming up. I had kept my headphones in but turned off the music. After the second time he’d tapped me I wanted to hear what was going on. I heard him telling his friend that he was getting off at this stop “with her.” His friend glanced at me as he said that.

“Fuck.” I thought.

I purposely moved to a door that was further away while he walked to a closer one. As the train stopped, I stood right beside the door as other people got on & off the train. I saw him walk off & could see him looking for me, walking towards the door that he’d seen me standing at. By the time he noticed I had stayed on the train, the doors were closed & we were moving again. I didn’t sit back down & got off at the following stop. His friend was still on the train when I got off. I don’t know if he saw me or not.

So as you can see, reading a book or listening to music doesn’t seem to do anything to deter creepy, invasive men from being creepy & invasive. An alternative to this advice would be telling men that a woman being in a public area doesn’t mean she wants them talk to her, follow her, touch her, or otherwise act like jerks to get her attention.

Orphanage Rule #22: Watch Out For Guys Who Are Too Nice

This piece of advice is a warning of being too trusting. Nice guys are great, but if they’re too nice it could mean trouble. There’s a good chance they’re trying to make you feel secure so they can get you into a position where they can cause you harm of some sort or take advantage of you in some way.

This is a case where it seems like I’m supposed to be psychic & know which men are being regular nice & which ones are being “too” nice. There’s no way for me to know what someone’s motivations are unless they tell me, & even then they could be lying.

I think, at least some of the times I’ve been told this, the point is that when men are very nice, they often feel like they’re owed something in return. Perhaps if they do something they consider very kind & then I reject their advances later, they’ll be angry with me?

Yeah, thanks, Tips!

Okay, but I need a reference here. What does “too nice” even look like?

If a man opens a door for me, is that regular nice or too nice?

What about if he pays for my meal?

Or if he stops his car to let me cross the street?

What if he buys me a drink? Two drinks?

How about if he shows interest in my personal life without being invasive?

If he offers to cook for me, what does that fall under? Will that change if I accept his offer & he actually cooks a meal for me?

If he offers to pet my dogs while I’m walking them, should I allow it? Is he being too nice, or will I be an ungrateful bitch for telling him no?

What if he doesn’t make me pay for a service because he likes me?

If he reads my writing & says he likes it?

Or if he’s behind me in line & offers to pay for my tea? What if he actually does pay for my tea?

Let’s say he comes over while I’m being harassed & tells the harasser to leave me alone. Is that too nice?

Are any of these too nice? Are any of them regular nice?

Is this just a measure for strangers, or are friends included? I don’t think I understand.

Maybe we should just tell men they don’t always get extra favours when they’re good people. That might help them stop throwing a fit when you’re not willing to do what they want after they think they’ve done you some favour.

Is that too far? Can men be expected to learn basic humanity & decency without the promise of a tangible reward? Am I asking too much?

This is another example of women being told they must be on guard at all times & never trust men. It isn’t reasonable to expect anyone to live with that level of anxiety & fear, it can destroy them.

There’s no such thing as “too nice”. If someone’s being nice, it’s a good thing. If someone’s being nice with the expectation of favours later & will react violently when denied, they were never nice to begin with.