In the olden days, creepy men would give "acquaintance cards" to women

I’ve found that its only in hindsight that you can truly know how creepy you were being while approaching a woman, (Not that this was ever a concern I had while I was single mind you, but like I said, hindsight) you’d think that singles night at a bar would be as safe as it gets, but then you’re still you and can easily come off as creepy to the wrong person at the wrong time.
The weird part is that actually worrying too much about being creepy is creepy in itself and one of the creepiest things you can do.

You risk coming off as a creep, that’s what one does. Hopefully you don’t “fall in love at first sight” everyday, but as with many things in life, sometimes you just have to take a chance.

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I try to start with something subtle, such as “I PROPOSE THAT YOU AND I FORM A SEXUAL ALLIANCE!”, and go from there.

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You can’t win, can you? Perhaps, if one realizes that one is not entitled to win…

Oh God. I sound like a creep!

runs and hides.

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Or even realizes that it is not a contest!

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As I realized over the years, the only way to win[1] is to not play.
sigh

[1] or at least to not lose

(When you’d vastly prefer, and would be way less nervous about, spending a day in a level-4 biolab over a night in a singles bar,…)

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I’d love to spend the day in a BSL4 Lab…

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I suspect that these were used at brothels in an imitation of social norm of “calling cards” in polite company.

Victorian Calling Cards came with a manual

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I think it’s unrealistic to expect that people not have an interest in someone unless they’ve met and gotten to know each other. People are attracted to each other physically, and that’s as good a jumping off point as any. It shows a certain lack of tact when people seem overly fixated on someone’s appearance, but that’s going to be how most people initially decide whether they’re interested. How we approach and present ourselves to each other is entirely a function of social norms, and I suspect a big part of the problem in Western society is that there has been a certain breakdown in those norms and what people consider to be acceptable behavior. I mean, with the note specifically: I am thinking specifically of one person I know who got a note from a stranger on the bus who would have followed up on it if she wasn’t attached.

With the exception of certain specific settings (e.g. certain bars, online dating, V-Day singles’ party) people don’t have a good handle one when, whether, and how propositioning members of the opposite sex is supposed to work. Hell, we haven’t even completely settled (as a society, not me personally) on whether it’s acceptable for women to hit on men. Class and race also enter into it, and more heavily than people are comfortable admitting. Propositioning someone outside of your social class can be an issue. All of this is to say, it’s complicated enough that people can be forgiven for awkwardness. I think that in general, people should behave in good faith, and with the ability to gracefully accept rejection. Beyond that, there really isn’t any way to define creepy.

“Creepy” as a concept is actually very interesting, since on the one hand, it defines a real sense of trepidation or caution in women that is a product of experiences with harassment. On the other it is an idea men use to articulate frustration with a lack of well-defined behaviors that allow them to be confident they haven’t transgressed this boundary, especially when the default interaction in our society places men in the role of initiator. It’s a real can of worms that makes me realize how glad I am to not be dating.

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From a woman’s point of view: all that poor lady knew from the note was that someone was watching her go about her daily routine and sent her a note letting her know that. Similar to the note I mentioned getting on Facebook, that implied that he’d been reading my comments and lurking about my profile (which is pretty locked down, so all he can see is 4 or 5 old profile photos.)

I don’t know if you can understand what it’s like to get a note like that with no prior warning, from a person whose existence you’ve been totally unaware of. But it’s not flattering and it generally does not endear the note-giver to us. Even if she might have liked him had she met him otherwise.

This would be a lot less difficult if guys just believed women when they tell them stuff.

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That just made me snort.

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It’s creepy unless she had been interested…then it would have been cute or romantic. I remember 2 instances where the same action was seen both ways. At a large bookstore with a cafe: “I’ve seen you here a lot and wondered if you’d like to have a cup of coffee”…one woman said “No thanks”, and left with a suspicious look. The other I went on a couple of dates with…we didn’t click but are still friends. You just have to risk it sometimes.

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Me too.

Also, unlike attempts for dating (or social-anything) it would be actually fun, there’d be every thought-about mechanism preventing you from screwing up, and if you do screw up not only you’ll likely know what mistake you did but the pain will be with you for way fewer days.

The lack of what-went-wrong feedback is what is driving me mad. Without that, no chance for iterative improvements. That, and lack of clear communication… Oh well… Few and cryptic outputs, no crash dumps, no way to debug in runtime nor post-mortem…

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I do agree that in these specific contexts it was on the creepy side (your tale falling very firmly into that side), I’m pointing out that notes have their place in non-threatening communication. In the context to which I’m referring, the guy gave my friend the note before debarking, and the content of the note stated he felt it would have been awkward for her if he propositioned her and then have to sit there until he got to his stop if she wasn’t interested. She really appreciated that level of consideration.

I actually think it’s way more complicated than that, if we’re talking about the practical act of living in this world as we have found it. If you mean that it would be easier if more men would take “no” and its more subtle equivalents for an answer, then yes I think the overall situation would improve, as well as more generally accepting the validity of female narratives. However, men who do take no for an answer and who do accept the validity of female narratives still occupy a world filled with men who do not. How people navigate that remains deeply complex, just on a pragmatic level.

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I remember a long time ago hearing about a variation of this. The card said: If you’d like to go out with me, smile. If not, please tear up the card and give it to me."

The gimmick was that it was an unrippable card, so, the theory went, the woman might try to tear it up, realize the joke, and eventually smile despite herself.

I was a lot more impressed with it as a kid, but even now, I can see that it does have a sort of amusing charm… assuming you never have to be the one who actually has to deal with receiving one (and if you don’t think empathetically towards those people).

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For what is worth, I’ve been added a few times only for my cute mug. And hey, it’s cool to feel attractive and desired and so on… but most of the time they’re old guys with lots of grammar mistakes and no shared interests whatsoever except sex. And then I feel like creeped out.

Of course, an eighteen years old guy added me in that same way - and since then we’ve exchanged more than two thousand texts in a couple of weeks.

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There is no foolproof way to introduce yourself to someone you find attractive that is able to make you come off not-creepy.

At least, that’s what I’ve concluded from my long-standing record of romantic failure.

Ironically, I’d say probably the least creepy way to introduce one’s self to someone they find attractive is to find an attractive prostitute and ask them for business. No deceit, everything’s out in the open, no need for obfuscating exactly what you want out of the entire relationship, the prostitute is expecting the advance. It’s business. That cuts down on any likelihood of that person finding you creepy, but I’d personally say that hiring a hooker in itself is either desperate or creepy enough on its own.

Isn’t a singles bar basically the same as a Level-4 biolab, but without the protective gloveboxes, fumehoods and sanitation stations?

I sit down for a drink at the counter, and all I see is:
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width=400>

Go to the bathroom, all I see is:
<img src= width=400>

I order a Reuben:

When I finally settle on a beer:

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