By Timothy LeGower - 13 Sep 2012

Dragon*Con PSA

This is actually a PSA for guys in general, but it was heavily inspired by my reflections of Dragon*Con and things I observed there…thus the title. It’s also inspired by other stories I’ve heard and read recently, like this one.

I know the following is not meant for most of the people who read my blog (all 3 of you) or most people in general but I’ve recently observed this first hand and it made me angry, so I felt the need to write about it.

Now I’m not completely naïve as to what goes on in a man’s head, I mean I am still a straight man, so I do understand to a point.

I understand the urge to look at and admire girls, especially ones I find attractive or dressed in what I consider revealing or sexy clothing. I look, I admire, but I don’t stare and try not to make it obvious (I’m sure I fail on occasion).

I get that a lot of men don’t have women coming up to us constantly to tell us how attractive or sexy we are or that they want to have sex with us, so we think we’d be flattered if it did happen and therefore a woman should be flattered if we tell them something like that.

However, we are delusional when we think about how flattered we’d be if a woman approached us to tell us she found us attractive. Why? Because we are usually imagining a woman we find attractive. We don’t imagine being bombarded by women we find unattractive telling us how sexy we are. We don’t imagine a gay man approaching us to tell us how attractive we are. I don’t believe a lot of men would be flattered if a gay man approached them like that or if a woman they felt was unattractive approached them like that. This just doesn’t occur to them or maybe they are deluded into thinking everyone must find them attractive, I don’t know. If it’s the former reason, then think about what I just said. If it’s the latter, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news, guy, but not every woman finds you attractive. Deal with it.

Now maybe I have been hanging out with Noisyastronomer, the Skepchicks and my female friends too much, but I believe my mind has been opened and I feel more enlightened by my new knowledge and understanding. My god, I am not perfect and I can still be oblivious, and inappropriate, but I think I am better a person now. And I feel bad for the men I observe who just don’t get it and feel even worse for the women who have to put up with it.

Guys. If you attend a convention or happen to be in a hotel where one is going on, the girls dressed in costumes (whether they are scantily clad or not) are not encouraging you to hit on them, ask them out or be in appropriate. They are dressing as a character they like, identify with or whatever. The costume they are wearing happens to be what the character wears.

You can ask if they’d be willing to pose for a picture or ask to take a picture with them. Many of them are more than willing to show off the hard work they put into their costumes.  Some of these costumes are phenomenal pieces of work that took a lot of time, skill and money to assemble and they are proud of their work, as they should be. BUT you must remember: you are not the reason they are dressed in the costume. They are dressed in the costume for themselves, so it is their prerogative to say no. If you ask and they say no, that’s the answer. Don’t bitch, don’t whine and don’t insult them. Accept their decision and move on.

I witnessed two instances of men being creepy at Dragon*Con. One was an attendee of the event and one was someone who happened to be at the hotel for something else going on.

The one who was not a Dragon*Con attendee kept making comments about the women in tight fitting costumes or the women who were in scantily clad costumes. In fact, it made me a bit uncomfortable to be sitting next to him at the bar because he kept asking me about the girls and some were good friends of mine. In fact, this gentleman hit on at least one friend of mine and she had to just walk away. In fact, I had to get up and walk away from this guy. In hindsight, maybe I should have said something to him but he was drunk, slightly bigger than me (at least in better shape though that’s not difficult) and did not seem to be an educated and understanding fellow. So I just walked away and warned my friends about him.

The Dragon*Con attendee approached a friend of mine and told her that she was beautiful and her boyfriend or husband, if she had one, was a lucky guy.  I was working on something else but heard that clearly. I thought it was a bit weird to say out loud to someone you didn’t know, but figured that would be the end and he’d walk away and I went back to focusing on what I was doing. I caught bits and pieces of conversation (I say conversation but it was really just this guy still talking…so not really a conversation). I figured I must be missing something or not hearing correctly since I was occupied because there is no way that guy could STILL be going on and on to a stranger like this and there was no way that he just told her that he had been staring at her legs during the entire panel and couldn’t keep his eyes off of them. That’s not something people say to strangers, right? I must have heard it wrong. No, no I did not hear it wrong. That’s exactly what he said. Again, I wish I would have called to my friends and asked them to help me with something in order to save them or something, but my mind couldn’t process that this guy was still going on and staying these things. It baffled me.

Now to conclude and summarize all of this:

Men, women are human beings ( it’s really sad that I felt like that needed to be pointed out). They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not like objects or something you just want to date or have sex with.  So avoid the pervy pick-up lines, the flirting and the inappropriate comments, even if you are being joking or playful, the woman does not know you, she does not know you’re being playful or joking and it probably isn’t coming off that way.  So just don’t do it.  Try striking up a conversation about something that interests you or her. Talk for a while and get to know her.  But remember, she doesn’t owe you anything, so if she doesn’t want to talk, that’s her right and it should be respected. So just say “Ok” and walk away.

Guys, just please think. Treat women with dignity and respect.

In fact, just treat EVERYONE with dignity and respect.

To quote Wheaton’s Law, “Don’t be a dick.”

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2 Comments

ChristianSeptember 13, 2012 11:41 am

Nice work, Tim.

I think a lot of this crap goes away if we take a moment to put ourselves in their shoes. “How do I come across to her?” If we’re honest, we might realize we look like idiots (at best — often far worse).

This is even more important for physically intimidating people. (You might have to trust me on that, you huggable Tom Baker-y guy.)

Dragon*con has a rep as a place where there’s plenty of casual hooking up. That’s cool, but it doesn’t mean it’s some sort of Sex Costco. At least try talking to them like people first. If you want the sex without the conversation, there are some places in downtown Atlanta that can help you.

NiallJanuary 17, 2013 6:07 am

This piece is spot on.

But I would have preferred if you didn’t use a gendered insult at the end.

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