Context matters.


So as you all know, I’m a buff dude. Well-muscled. Eats-protein-powder-straight-from-the-can burly. Featured-image-is-that-time-I-shaved ripped. And I generally pride myself on the don’t-fuck-with-me vibe, unheeded only by fools, I deliberately waft. Yet, this dude at the gym the other day creeped me the fuck out. I bring it up now only as an illustration of how context-dependent creepery is, and how it’s not necessarily that you intended to be a creep, but that a reasonable person would have known creepification would be a likely consequence of such behavior.

So having completed my daily routine of dead-lifting couches while running thirty mile sprints on the treadmill, I’d gotten back into the femme drag for work, left the gym, and was returning to my car. This is one of those gyms where instead of walls, someone thought, hey, why not windows? This innocuous choice, no doubt made in the hopes that passers-by would see yours truly and think, “I, too could look like that,” would prove to be my undoing. Also, no, they can’t.

So I go to open my car, parked in front of one of these windows, and happen to glance up, and what do I see? Sweaty MidForties gazing back with a face so expressionless I initially hoped it was a seizure. I look away awkwardly, and look back. Still staring. In these situations, I recognize it for the aggressive posturing it is, and stare back, at the ready to lower my head and compete for dominance and mating rights with the lady of my choice.

My attempts at counter-aggression were thwarted again by my tits. He did not recognize my glare as a sign I was not at all pleased with his staring, that maybe he might get fucked up if he didn’t cease and desist, and did what any entitled douchebag would: he started smiling and waving.

Guys, don’t do this. I didn’t know this guy. I’d never spoken with him – in fact, after being a BEEFCAKE!, not talking to anyone is my favorite part of going to the gym – and here he was. Waving at me, like he knew something I didn’t. Like he’d broken into my locker and sniffed my gym shorts. Like maybe I should check the back seat of my car for his knife-wielding accomplice he’s obviously trying to distract me from. Like at best he’s confused me with some other girl he’s been stalking for months. I just wanted to sit down and pour some whey protein into my face and think about delts!

To recap: If you’ve been caught staring at a stranger, and now they’ve gone from quiet reverie to what the fuck are you staring at me for, act embarrassed. Look the fuck away. Don’t wave like you know them and keep staring.

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