Yes, you lot!
You know the line, you absolutely know it.
The line between chatting up, banter, wisecrack, flirting…..and being a total fucking creep.
For those of you who are fully aware of “the line” (and don’t bother with “oh that’s so ambiguous, it’s really not) it’s your duty to do something, to intervene, drop the faux loyalty, the comradery and step in, pull up and have a fucking word.
It’s not funny, it’s shite, it looks shite, it makes your group look shite.
I was in Cyprus last year and at our hotel was a bunch of loud, excitable late teen lads. Seemed like it was *that first holiday* away from Mama and Dada, now this is a learning curve, the heat, the drink the drugs, the abundant testosterone, but it also about learning control, understanding your place amongst your collective, your peers, your perceived “alpha” mates.
I’m quite a savvy chap, I have an uncanny sense of identifying conflict, some of the lads played it out amongst themselves, like peacocks, which is cool, I’m all for archetypes in the postmodernist world but there was this one (in this case the “perceived” Alpha, the biggest, the loudest, the gobshite) who was completely oblivious to the fact “the line” even existed!
There was a young Swedish girl carving out her summer livelihood teaching the kids snorkelling and for a small fee, she would also teach adults too, so alpha bloke approached her. I was by the poolside with my little fella at this point going insane at his unwillingness to at least try and learn to swim but couldn’t help want to observe the interaction that played out before me.
At first, he asked about prices, lessons etc…to catch her attention, to engage her, job done.
Then he starts the flirt, she went along but in the sense, she didn’t want to piss off a hotel customer, he knew this, he cynically used this space and this is when I started to slowly make my way closer to them, I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a good day for her.
Within a few minutes, he was literally asking her to go back to his room…for a fee! This was the point I felt a little red mist descend, then I remembered 10 of his mates were watching this play out, a couple laughing, a couple smiling, a couple pretending to be indifferent and the rest clearly uncomfortable but shit scared to say anything, to take the challenge to the alpha. To do the right thing.
Just a few feet from me, another middle-aged man had, like me, watch this unfold. He was Norwegian (we spoke afterwards) then came the “shit I need to act here” moment. Alpha was now at the point of pulling at her, in her space, in her face making the same reprehensible demands but now with elevated aggression.
This was a young girl, alone on an island, no family, some friends and afraid. Not only afraid of her aggressor, afraid to “cause a scene”, afraid there would be a complaint about her, afraid for her job, being humiliated in front of families and staff.
She was completely vulnerable, in an awful position, crafted and executed exactly as alpha had planned. This was now past me thinking “can she pull out of this? Can she defend herself from this prick? The answer was clearly no – it had gone beyond that.
At the same time, me and Norwegian bloke jumped out of the pool, walked up to him, tapped him on the shoulder with a very clear “fuck off, now”.
He looked startled at first, then the damaged-ego-rebuttal from him….” or what”?
Me – “I’m here with my family mate but you and I will go for a short walk if you don’t apologise right now”. (admittedly, I knew 6ft 5″ Norway was behind me)
After about 10 seconds of his “weighing” me up he walks off and says to his mates “she’s a dog anyway”…. fucking prick!
Then Norway walks over to him, headlocks him, trudges him back towards her and says, ” apologise again”….he gurgled something out of his choke hold then Norway let him go.
We both apologise to her for our sex’s fucking outrageous behaviour, why? because for far too long we’ve been complicit in this shite. In the pub, in the club, on the beach, at work, on the high street. What if this was a drunk 18-year-old girl alone on her first holiday with no one around? Having two grown up girls it makes me sick to the stomach.
I actually felt shite about it, that this is so commonplace, so frequent and we try to obfuscate and deny it to ourselves but we know it goes on, we know we’ve all got *that mate*
My wife asked “what was that all about”, I felt embarrassed to have to tell her.
Being the conscience of a group is difficult, I get it, it’s easy to go with the herd mentality, easy to stay quiet but for fuck’s sake guys, this makes you guilty, it made that whole crowd guilty. It makes me fucking embarrassed to share this world with twats like that. This group of boys, yes boys, were eventually thrown out of our hotel but the day before they were ejected I briefly chatted to two of them at the bar, they gave me that sheepish nod at first, because they knew.
We all know, we’ve always known.
So chaps, a request, no I mean a demand…..time to “out” the fucking creeps, pull them up, watch the play unfold but the minute you sense she is uncomfortable, STEP IN for fucks sake. If it’s the alpha and you’re worried for your own well being, seek consensus with your mates, then act as a collective, even if you have to make light of it, get the fucker away from her. Keep doing this and you just might make yourselves a little more approachable.
You just might make that woman you like believe it’s safe to come and talk to you, on her terms.
Change can only happen from within, the opposite sex can define how we should behave around them and they absolutely should, but it’s also our job to police each other, it shouldn’t need demystifying, it should be blindingly fucking obvious.
Do this, we’ll make progress, then just maybe it will make conversation and the laws of attraction a little easier to understand if we can at least start with a little respect.