A few Saturdays ago, a guy followed me for a solid five minutes as I walked to the subway, asking me for my number. I didn’t feel unsafe as much as I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. People were staring; some people were smiling like it was cute. But I just wanted him to go away; I wasn’t interested. I lied that I had a boyfriend, which by itself didn’t help much. So I lied that I was on my way to meet my imaginary boyfriend for brunch, and asked if he would like to join. Luckily, we had reached the station and he didn’t call my bluff; he left me alone. But it got me thinking – I need more creative responses to these kinds of unwanted public advances. The go-to, “Sorry, I’m not interested” or “I have a boyfriend” don’t always cut it so here’s what I have come up with:
- Start singing a nursery rhyme. Think of how awesomely ridiculous it would be if someone is bothering you for your number and all of a sudden you break out into, “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water-spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out…”
- Tell your pursuer that you’ll go out with them on one condition – that they rub your feet three times a day, every day. Explain further that your feet smell nastier than the sewage because you suffer from permanent foot fungus that cause them to reek constantly. (If someone still wants to go out with you after this, they might be worth considering.)
- Ask them how much money they make immediately. Then inform them that you only date people after you’ve seen their income statements. Demand that they produce it in the next half hour or the conversation will be over.
- Get super loud as you refute the pursuit. As in caps lock loud – “WHAT? YOU WANT MY NUMBER? I DON’T KNOW IF THAT’S SUCH A GOOD IDEA. YOU’RE A STRANGER AND I JUST DON’T THINK THAT’S A GOOD IDEA. EVERYONE, THIS PERSON WANTS MY NUMBER AND I DON’T KNOW THEM. SHOULD I GIVE IT? WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK?”
- Start speaking what may sound like a foreign language. (You don’t actually have to know a foreign language.) Make some funny sounds and gesture that you have no idea what they are saying.
- Make animal noises. I’m talking like a good-old fashion, “MOOOOOO” sound, like a cow. This is only in extreme cases but think about it – there are very few people who will continue talking to someone who sounds like an animal. The horror that will transpire on their face will be priceless so you will have to be sure to maintain a straight face. Will they think you have some serious issues? Yes. Will you feel like an ass (no pun intended) while doing it? Yes. But sometimes you simply have to do what you have to do.
What creative ways do you respond to unwanted public advances?