My first night there, Preview Night, I left the table to go to the restroom. I passed two large men. I am only 5’4, so most creatures over 5’8 register as large with me. Anyway, they seemed large. I walked past them, minding my own business and bladder, and right as I passed by, I heard the one…
So, with DragonCon approaching, I keep going back to the last time I went, and how, after the burlesque let out, I was taking the stairs up the few floors to the lobby, hoping to bum a smoke (bad, I know) before going up to my room in the same hotel. All my friends were staying in other hotels and had already gone their separate ways. I was dressed up, but not dressed as anything. Nor do I think I was dressed provocatively (not that that should matter!), esp. since I’d just spent an hour and change watching much better looking women than myself take off their clothes in humorous and artistic ways. Nevertheless, some dude followed me. Up one, two, three flights of stairs.
I finally whipped around and confronted him: “Do you need something?”
“Um. Can I take a picture of you?”
I said yes, struck what I hoped was a flattering pose, and then wheeled around and took the last flight of stairs a little too quickly to the relative safety of the smoking porch to get away.
He was a little guy, very nebbishy and shy and probably harmless, but it made me feel freaked out for three cigarrettes-worth of thinking time. I had been totally alone with him for the first three sets of stairs. It was so late it was going to be early soon, and there wasn’t a soul in most of the hotel (with the exception of the smoking porch and a couple other common mingling areas).
So, now I’m wondering, what IS the appropriate response? That guy, ultimately, didn’t bother me all that much. I’m guessing he’s a chubby chaser with a preference for polkadot dresses or something. But I’ve had my ass grabbed and my boobs “accidentally” brushed by a stranger’s hand before. And I’ve both overheard and been the intended audience for comments about parts of my anatomy. Luckily, none of these at the ‘Con. But what should I say? How can I react in a way that lets the person know that they are being an asshole without provoking a really bad response?
Yikes. In all honesty, in THAT situation, alone the way you were, you probably handled it the best way you could. Creepy photo-taking aside, he followed you in a deserted stairwell. It’s… yikes. That’s when the game changes. And I am DEFINITELY NOT an expert or sociologist or cop or… whatever. So I can’t say I know for sure (not that you asked me) (and though i totally definitely did say that more women should speak up), but I did once just simply say to a guy, “Why do you have to be so rude? Are you proud now?” and he actually didn’t have anything to retort, and looked ashamed.
This DOES bring up a good question though, how SHOULD someone address the situation? And isn’t it fucked up we even have to wonder?