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 Post subject: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:24 pm 
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So lately I've been let out of my job at around 8:30 p.m. or so. It's dark, and I have a fifteen minute walk home. I inevitably end up getting stuck behind a woman who I don't want to terrify. I've got long legs, so if I were to let her go well ahead of me, I'd have to walk at a snail's pace. I worry that it will be creepy as fork if I simply keep pace behind her on an empty, poorly-lit street, even if I am a good distance behind her. But speeding up to pass her might freak her out even more.

What's the protocol here? Am I over-thinking things?

Sorry if I don't respond immediately. My internet at home has been down for 24 hours. So I'm checking the PPK from the local library.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:27 pm 
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Because Bob Barker Told Me To

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I would cross to the other side if possible.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:28 pm 
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You're overthinking it. If you don't intend to rob, rape, or harass her, you're in the clear.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:30 pm 
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You're overthinking it. Just walk around her. If you're feeling particularly polite, say "excuse me" while you do it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:30 pm 
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i'd want you to go by me, and quickly. few things are more unnerving than a stranger keeping pace with you about ten steps back on an otherwise empty street. maybe before you pass her, pull out your phone or something and pretend to be having a conversation, so she knows you're there?

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Have you thought of skipping home? There are few things less threatening than skipping.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:34 pm 
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This is a bit random, but the skipping made me think of it - there is a teenager in my neighborhood that walks backward all the time. You'd think it would be somewhat amusing, but at night it really creeps me out. If I didn't know it was him (I think he may have a developmental disability), I would really be worried.


Last edited by Beanitarian on Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:34 pm 
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Fee wrote:
You're overthinking it. If you don't intend to rob, rape, or harass her, you're in the clear.

Yup. That said, I'd rather someone pass me while walking than stay right behind me for a long time. People speed up to pass you by all the time-- not a big deal.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Skipping may not be threatening, but an adult skipping in the dark, or at a time of night where one is worried about seeming threatening, is pretty creepy.

However, it may make your walk home more fun.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:39 pm 
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helbury wrote:
Fee wrote:
You're overthinking it. If you don't intend to rob, rape, or harass her, you're in the clear.

Yup. That said, I'd rather someone pass me while walking than stay right behind me for a long time. People speed up to pass you by all the time-- not a big deal.

agreed. you don't have much control over how someone else feels and you're not intending to harm them so I wouldn't worry about it. personally I always pass by people but I walk fast and hate walking behind anyone.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:00 pm 
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When I run in the dark I have found I startle people when I come up behind them so I make some noise, usually a loud fake cough. If I can I step out onto the street, just off the curb, to go around them.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:14 pm 
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I think that whatever you do is fine but I always prefer it if I can at least see the person walking behind me when I look over my shouder, so basically try not to walk directly behind someone.

If you wanna speed up & pass someone, go for it, but try to stay a foot or two away from their side if possible.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:15 pm 
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Haha, I've had the same problem before. I've pretty much made up my mind that I simply cannot and will not stay behind slow walkers so I'll always pass no matter the circumstances. What's the worst that could happen? Not like she's going to mace. Well, maybe she'd mace you if you were wearing a ski mask and wielding a shovel but so long as you don't look intimidating I think you're in the clear. Or take Fee's advice and skip! And sing!

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:31 pm 
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acr wrote:
i'd want you to go by me, and quickly. few things are more unnerving than a stranger keeping pace with you about ten steps back on an otherwise empty street. maybe before you pass her, pull out your phone or something and pretend to be having a conversation, so she knows you're there?


Yeah, heh, I sometimes end up in the same place.

Crossing the street is kind of ridiculous and usually not possible. Sorry, but I'm not going to go a block out of my way (crossing the street 2 extra times) to make you less nervous. Also, the place this most often happens is when crossing a bridge over a river here in town, where the sidewalk part is separated from the roadway by a concrete barrier. The sidewalk narrows for part of it, down to just barely wide enough for 2 very friendly people to walk hip-to-hip. (Touching. Arms around shoulders. VERY friendly people.) So, it's potentially quite creepy.

I do usually cough a bit (not, like, enough to make said lady think that she's about to be accosted by a chronic tuberculosis sufferer, but enough that I'm clearly not sneaking up) and maybe scuff my feet a bit before I get close enough to be potentially nervewracking, though, so I don't startle anyone.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:34 pm 
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nickvicious wrote:
Well, maybe she'd mace you if you were wearing a ski mask and wielding a shovel but so long as you don't look intimidating I think you're in the clear.


But I'm on my way to my Anonymous Night Gardening meeting! People are so judgemental. :(

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Or take Fee's advice and skip! And sing!


I shall skip along singing "Jet Boy Jet Girl" at the top of my lungs. That will certainly make my intentions clear.



(At least women will feel less threatened. I guess.)

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Just remember to always be polite. I've had it happen to me maybe a million times that I'll be listening to my mp3 player and for whatever reason when I see a person coming up from behind me out of the corner of my eye I'll mini-scream and then start laughing at myself for getting scared. And then they don't laugh and I feel crazy. So maybe if you just skip past her laughing, she'll be cool with it.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Yeah, just pass her. I'd be mildly annoyed by someone keeping pace behind me, especially if I thought I was holding them up.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:50 pm 
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This thread has strangely made me wonder how I'd feel about someone wearing a bunny suit on my tail. Or dressed like a clown. Or a teddy bear. Or like that.

To answer the poster's question: Just do your own thing, you have no bad intentions so I wouldn't worry about it. If someone else worries about your intentions, you can do nothing more about it in that moment other than to just pass by them on your merry way and that will reassure them in any case.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:09 pm 
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I would take Fee's advice.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:16 pm 
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I think it's considerate of you to think about this, because shiitake like this does freak me out. I'd be cool with you passing quickly. Once you do it a couple times, she probably won't even think twice about it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Yeah, I would speed up to pass, and cough or something so you don't startle her.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:29 pm 
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Beanitarian wrote:
This is a bit random, but the skipping made me think of it - there is a teenager in my neighborhood that walks backward all the time. You'd think it would be somewhat amusing, but at night it really creeps me out. If I didn't know it was him (I think he may have a developmental disability), I would really be worried.


Haha! In both Japan and Korea I saw lots of people speedwalking backwards! I heard several explanations: that people do it simply to get a different form of exercise, or to "rewind energies", whatever that means.

JonnyWoop, I think it's considerate of you to think about it. I agree with the consensus, it's best to just pass and maybe acknowledge her with a "excuse me" or a small head nod.


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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Yeah, along the lines of skipping by, it would be awesome if you were a world class gymnast and roundoffed, cartwheeled and did a triple flip in pike position, nailing the landing, as you passed by.

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Have you all ever read the Schrödinger's Rapis essay?

(http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest ... chrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced)

Has some bearing on this, I think.

(The internet doesn't seem to like that dumb URL.)

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 Post subject: Re: What is less threatening?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:42 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
nickvicious wrote:
Well, maybe she'd mace you if you were wearing a ski mask and wielding a shovel but so long as you don't look intimidating I think you're in the clear.


But I'm on my way to my Anonymous Night Gardening meeting! People are so judgemental. :(


This made me laugh so hard I cried. I'm not entirely sure why but I just thought you should know.

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