Friday, August 04, 2006

Women...You Are Not Alone

not_over_it sends along this little item from
Beth Duddy, 46, a restaurant server/artist from San Francisco tends to pull from the paranoid schizophrenic end of the spectrum, i.e., “intense people who like to talk,” often, as it turns out, about their “enemy lists”.

Duddy, whose mother suffered from mental illness, calls herself freak tolerant and admits to being a bit outside the norm, herself.

“I’m college-educated and can put on a business suit and pumps and all that,” she says. “But I’m not afraid to talk to strangers on the street. And it seems that I attract these amusing oddballs and losers. It feels like once I make eye contact with them, it’s all over. They pick up on whatever it is that tells them they can open up their freaky baggage.”

Ginger, on the other hand, tends to attract random — and unwelcome — sexual attention, like the guy on the dance floor who kept unzipping his pants at her or the men who routinely pull over as she’s walking down the street and demand that she “Get in!”

“A lot of the freak encounters I’ve had are about harassment,” she says. “Which, unfortunately, is pretty pervasive in our society. But I think some things happen because I’m social. I’m out there meeting people and I’m open and they sense that and just pounce.”
A lot of women I've talked to over the course of my life will relate similar stories, usually from their teen years. I have a hunch that child predators, the children they prey on, and the sexual "freaks" as described in this article share a lot in common: unresolved sexual conflicts that force them to act out in abnormal ways.

I was fortunate, in some ways, as I was a victim of child molestation and came to deal with it in a wholly organic way and early on in my sexual maturing process (you wouldn't know it to look at me now, but I was the idealized American boy: blonde hair, blue eyes, a Boy Scout, very näive...the list goes on). Others, if my suspicion holds true, were not so lucky.

So how to avoid enounters like these?
According to Steen Halling, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Seattle University, Ginger and Duddy’s assessments aren’t far off. Some people are targeted, either by their body language or their open demeanor.

“If somebody is predatory or exploitive, they’ll have a good eye for people who look vulnerable,” he says. “They’ll look for someone who seems to have self-doubt or who might be sympathetic or who will respond to someone who gives them a lot of attention.”[....]

“It could be that there’s a different level of communication going on,” says Halling, the psychologist. “Something preverbal and unconscious that registers with someone who is psychiatrically disturbed. It brings to mind those cats that have a knack for jumping up on people who have allergies.”
So as a public service, MSNBC posted some "rules of the road," which I'll copy here:
How to freak-proof your life

— Speak up: If anything seems weird, deal with it immediately. Ask if you’re interpreting a comment or situation correctly and if you are, let the person know that they’re acting inappropriately. If it’s sexual interest, tell them immediately that you’re neither available nor interested. If it’s some kind of harassment, speak up. Women are taught to feel afraid, but they need to respond, to say something.

— Be aware: Don’t ever act as if you’re lost or bewildered, instead be purposeful and direct as you move through the world. Be alert and somewhat skeptical of people, although this doesn’t mean you should be untrusting of everyone.

— Trust your gut: If you get an uncomfortable feeling from someone, take it seriously and don’t engage with them. Do this often enough and you’ll get a better sense of your own instincts.
Go read the entire article. You'll see what kind of view Ginger gets from her apartment window...

In a related story on MSNBC:
‘Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?’
Beeeeeeeeeeeeecause we do all the work, usually?