Anna Gensler, anonymity, cat calling, creep, feminism, misogyny, OKCupid, patriarchy, privilege, rape culture, sexism, sexual harassment, sexual objectification, true story, violence against women, WTF
A friend of mine keeps a Tumblr of inappropriate, gross, and sometimes just creepy messages from guys on OKCupid. She’s not alone- several blogs are devoted exclusively to cataloguing the inundation of terrible/terrifying crap lobbed at single straight ladies from straight guys on dating sites. One, artist Anna Gensler, goes one further to respond in the best way possible to all the creepy intros: degrading nude portraits of the creep, delivered as her response to introductory messages like “bet your tight” and “I love butt sex.”
When women share these messages, usually the response revolves around that old devil “anonymity on the internet.” Simple logic: when we’re anonymous we say and do things we otherwise wouldn’t, because there are no perceived consequences. Be it a mob or a comments troll, it’s 99% anonymity at fault, according to most of the discussion. Well, I disagree. I’m not saying there’s nothing to the anonymity effect because clearly, yes, that’s a thing that exists. It’s just that in this particular area of social interaction I’ve noticed something at odds with that theory. When I compare the comments I’ve received in real life from men I don’t know, from men I do know, and from the uber-anonymous men of the internet, the differences in content are negligible at best. The only distinction for online creeps that I can see is that they can go on for much, much longer, if only because I’m not physically walking out of ear-shot or interrupting them with a response.
Let’s get all compare & contrast with some examples from my own personal experience. Below, allow me to present the tip of the iceberg of my lived experiences of “come-ons”:
Strangers in public
- “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! HEY! Nice tits/ass.” -various guys, usually teen or 20-something.
- “Smile for me honey.” -various guys, all ages.
- “Meow.” -middle aged man who leaned in to say this to me recently while I passed him, walking in the other direction.
- “Take those headphones off so I can fuck you.” -young guy leaned in to make this suggestion as I passed him, again walking in the other direction.
- dick stroking while staring -various guys, all ages, usually on public transit
- “Bitch. You want it.” -various guys, all ages.
- “Where you going?” -various guys, all ages
- “Bitch n***er fuck! That’s the shit I DON’T like!” -older homeless man, who took issue with my dress/body. This was actually among the least offensive and made me laugh, because it was so over the top and he didn’t follow me or say anything else. That’s years of coping skills/resignation in action.
- various crude suggestions, whispered, shouted, and everything in between.
You see the pattern. When it happens in the real world, we call it street harassment.
Men I knew, either acquaintance or friend
- “So are you a squirter?” -classmate, post-secondary, during otherwise benign conversation.
- “You’ve got nice tits, too.” -classmate, post-secondary, out of nowhere while he talked about his date.
- “How big are your nipples?” -another classmate, who was apparently curious about that.
- “Do you swallow?” -acquaintances (I’ve been asked this more than once in the middle of other conversations).
- “Touch her boobs/Makeout!” -several guy friends have made this suggestion when I’m talking to a female friend.
- “If I dated you everyone would think I’m a pedophile…’ -said suggestively, with a leer, by a (now former) friend.
Sounds like the street harassment, right? But apparently only “feminazis” call this kind of “friendly banter” harassment, or so I’ve been repeatedly told.
Men who messaged me on OKCupid, AKA the “anonymous” crowd
- ‘you should invite me over, we could drive around… nope didn’t read your pres buuut I trust my eyes’ -guy in his mid-40s.
- ‘so pretty & feminine ;-) I am in Toronto often. One week a month at least. Would be nice to have a friend like you, to laugh with, have dinner with, maybe who would take me with her when she shops for pretty things. *blush*’ -56 year old man
- ‘I keep trying to avoid you.’ -30 year old.
- ‘I see you around. I KNOW YOU. We know each other.’ -27 year old (nope, no we don’t, not even the same city, fyi)
- ‘awwwwww your so cute like a little Disney character or something!’ -mid-twenties.
- ‘I’d like to invite you for a nice chat, maybe a walk, I’ll bring my camera, take some nice photos.’ -teenager.
- ‘full body shot’ (not happy with my medium shot, requesting rectification of said problem) -various ages.
- dick pics -various ages, mostly teen through thirties.
- ‘hiiii little girl ur sexy’ -forties.
- ‘I’m a good match but you won’t date a guy under 25, so too bad you’ll never know. Good luck finding someone better who meets your narrow criteria.’ -teenager.
Anonymity my ass. Try rape culture. The perception that boys/men just naturally express their interest by harassing and/or assaulting girls/women starts young with hair pulling and name calling because “he likes you!” and just keeps on growing. Girls are taught to quietly accept it, boys are taught it’s acceptable and even flattering behaviour.
That said, I don’t want to leave things on a dark note. I’ve been holding on to this gem for awhile- the massive, gleaming jewel in my creepy crown! The diamond so bright it rivals the light atop the Luxor casino…
Unabridged, unedited. One day I opened my inbox, and this was sitting there.
Hi. I read your profile and although it was kinda short I thought I saw some commonality there. I also looked at your answers to OKCupids questions and thought I saw some commonality there too. So with that in mind I thought I would suggest you read my profile and let me know if you liked it. As a word of warning, I should say that a lot of people have misinterpreted it and what I am looking for to the point where over the past month, I have felt pushed to change my profile to state something that I had always thought went without saying but over and over there has been confusion about what I am looking for so it seems that rather than tell you about work, fun or my recreational interests, I am going to have to use this space to explicitly state what should be obvious.
I am here because I want to put my penis in your vagina. I am not here because I want you to clean my house as many women seem to believe. I am a man, I don’t care if the house is clean.
I am not here because I want you to help me move and I’m too lazy to do the heavy lifting. The only thing I want to see you lift is my penis to your lips to make it hard and ready to be put it in your vagina.
Money. Ok look. I make a very fine living. I have my own money; I don’t need yours. What I do need is your vagina so I can put my penis in it.
Penis Penis Penis – Vagina Vagina Vagina. Penis in Vagina. Am I finally getting through to you people?
Now when I say I want to put my penis in your vagina this isn’t some metaphor referring to Bavarian Log Rolling nor do I want to take you to Calgary so we can go on the louge. I mean it literally.
As a result of being on the internet and looking for vaginas I can put my penis in, I have become painfully aware that Penis has a different meaning in Kurdish and that Vagina has a different meaning in Swahili. First of all, I can assure that I am using them in their role as part of English Language. Second of all I don’t do that sort of thing to a chicken and even if I did, I already have a brother so I wouldn’t need you. I just want to put my penis in your vagina; there is no need to complicate this, randomly change the language you are reading in twice in the middle of the same sentence or over think things.
Now I know a lot of the more conspiracy minded among you will think this is some sort of trick and that I have to have some sort of ulterior motive. I promise you that I am not going to put my penis in your vagina and then use the opportunity to try to sell you a time share in Whistler, a Cable/Cell/TV bundle or a vacuum cleaner with the proper amount of suction. I am not going to get my penis inside you and then suddenly start giving you my testimony as a Morman and pressuring you to join the church. This isn’t one of those scams where, I cum in your pussy, demand the same amount of cum back and then send you an inflated bill you for the difference. I am not going to do any of these things.
I know a man who just wants to put his penis in your vagina sounds too good to be true and that a lot of women will avoid me for this very reason but the simple reality is that if you don’t take chances you will never get what you really deserve. In closing all I can say is that you should give me a chance, put my penis in your vagina and see what happens.
Say Hi if you want to know more.
It’s like creepy hostile poetry, isn’t it? I’ve actually considered doing a live reading/performance of this message.
And when I did eventually give in to curiosity and check out this guy’s profile, because I had to know who the hell would send this as an introductory message to a total stranger?
- “I’m a good communicator and I speak with care.”
- “good at relationships [...] and fostering communication within them.”