Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Morning Questions: Stalkery Edition

Not that long ago I opened up one of those apps that locates nearby guys for you based on GPS information—Scruff or Growlr, it probably was, since I don’t use Grindr any longer—and I had a nice conversation with a good-looking guy in the vicinity. Nice, but brief. He said I was handsome; I said I felt the same about him. We established that we lived within about twenty-five miles of each other. He asked if I had a big dick. I let a picture do the talking on that one. We both agreed that we should meet sometime, and swapped phone numbers.

And that was it. I flipped off my tablet and went to bed.

The next morning I woke up and looked at my phone. I had ten texts from the guy, spaced out over the hours normal people are sleeping. Are you awake? read the first. Message me if you’re awake when you get this, read the second. Then, I’m up thinking about you and if you’re awake, could you text me back? And so on. If my phone didn’t automatically go silent at ten o’clock and night and keep quiet until nine the next morning, I sure would’ve been awake (and slightly ticked off) at getting a fifth text at four o’clock in the morning, that’s for sure.

When I awoke to all those texts, I found my interest had naturally cooled overnight. I logged onto whatever app it was I’d found the guy, and within seconds—seconds—of logging on, the guy was sending me messages. I’ve been texting you, he said. Maybe you aren’t getting my texts? Your number is ###-###-####, right? Are you around this afternoon? Hello? Are you there? I was feeling disappointed in the guy and hounded and getting a sense of deja vu from earlier in the calendar year, so I just sat there and tried to think of what to do. Then my phone buzzed. I’m trying to talk to you on Scruff (or Growlr or whatever it was), it said. Maybe you aren’t getting my messages there?

Mikey, my brother, said not so very long ago that I get off on being pursued. Which is correct. I’ve spent a lifetime being the one chased. But he very quickly added that if someone pursued me too much, I get turned off even more quickly.

Also true. And even by the most lenient standards, this guy was pursuing me a little too much. A little too hard.

And, as it turned out, a little too crazily. I decided rather than reason with someone who was turning out to be a freak after a brief conversation, I’d cut my losses. I blocked him on the app. I made the decision to ignore the texts (and eventually, phone messages) the guy was leaving for me, because answering them would merely let him know that he actually had the right phone number. For a week I got upwards of twenty messages a day that got increasingly weird. I remember one that ran, From the wilderness an a-rooooo! of the wild wolf cuts through the night as the beast searches for his lost mate.

All I could really think was, what the fuckety fuck, dude?

Eventually, I’m glad to say, it all came to and end when, after over dozens of texts and voice mails he texted with a long and snippy diatribe against me that concluded, When we first talked I THOUGHT you were a nice guy who wasn’t going to turn out to be like all the other assholes in my life but I guess I was WRONG about THAT. I wanted to text back, When we first talked I thought you were sane, but I guess I was wrong, too. But I didn’t.

The whole affair sounds like comic fodder for another of my Department of Odd Encounters-tagged blog entries. But when it was happening, I was really quite shaken, and frightened. I didn’t address it directly in my blog earlier this year when it was going on, but for a couple of months I had a very serious issue with a seriously unstable stalker—and I’m not talking about some random dude leaving unkind remarks on my entries, or someone who exists only as digital bits sending me endless text messages. No, I mean a real-life, local, out-of-his-fucking-mind stalker, who went out of his way to let me know he was tracking my activities both online and in real life. I was genuinely afraid for a period of time I’d come home and find a pet bunny boiling on the stove. And that’s all I have to say about him.

I’ve had stalkers of varying strengths all my life, from the ones who merely moon from afar when they see me, to the ones who stare at me balefully in public locations and leave me notes assuming that I correctly interpreted their stern and forbidding glares as The Look Of True Love, to the ones who follow me around a campus or a town, to the outright freaks who contact me at every turn and see no harm in ‘showing up’ at Macy’s when I’m shopping there and then ‘just happen to be driving the same route’ when I’m taking the back roads home.

I’ll be honest. I don’t get it, guys (and gals—because I’ve had plenty of female stalkers, too). I don’t understand how it’s ever okay to send someone a dozen text messages overnight when you’ve just virtually met. I don’t understand how a person justifies, in his own head, cyber-stalking someone and then bragging about it to the object of his affection—or how he ever imagines that it’s A-OK to creep around behind someone and monitor his whereabouts. I don’t get the mentality. I can’t fit it into any of the little boxes of rationality and sanity that organize my own life. It’s just unfathomable.

I was sexually assaulted, years ago. I wrote about it in these pages. Sure, I’m flattered when someone pursues me, but because of my experience, there’s a limit. Cross that, and I’ll automatically choose the closest and most convenient—and I won’t be coming back to give a guy a second chance.

Enough venting on that topic. Let’s get to some questions from (And again, if you don’t have a formspring account, feel free to send me your questions via email. Just, you know, not two dozen of them via text, overnight.)

Okay since you like some perversion, what is your take on water sports?

My take on water sports is that it's too mainstream and vanilla to be classified a perversion.

Guys pissing on, or in each other is just another form of sex play. It's not scary; it's not particularly dangerous. From a sensual perspective, the sensation of warm wetness on the skin is pleasurable. Sharing piss can be exquisitely intimate; it can also be used to establish or reinforce dominance and submission. Like any sexual tool, the locus of excitement comes about more from how one uses it, than the act itself.

A lot of people have very strong toilet taboos from their childhoods, but you know what? A lot of men grew up being told that anal sex is a bad thing. Judging from the numbers of butt-up photos I see on Manhunt, they managed to get over that taboo. Fear of piss, can also be overcome, and so can calling it a perversion.

Have you ever fucked outside in the rain? If so, did the rain add anything to the experience?

I suppose I have fucked outdoors in the rain, though it wasn't deliberate; there have been plenty of times I've been caught in a park by a sudden downpour, though.

In these cases, the rain hasn't exactly added anything, save for the constant need to wipe the water out of my nose and eyes.

In other words, it wasn't like a Rhianna video or anything.

Do open relationships work?

If both partners work at it, absolutely.

Part of the narrative of our sexually-repressed culture is that sexual satisfaction can (and indeed, must) be achieved only in a monogamous union. Anything less than that is, in the knee-jerk popular conceit, failure.

With that message so firmly pounded into our heads from our youths, it's difficult to wrap our brains around the notion that many couples have arranged their lives outside the dominant narrative to include open relationships. For these couples, the arrangement isn't a 'second-best' compromise; it's not an admission of failure or a confession that things didn't work out as planned. It's a working system that keeps the couple together, that makes both parties happy, that often enhances the relationship, and that even can keep the sexual flame burning strongly between the two.

An open relationship is not going to work if both people don't want it, and it's especially not going to work if one person is being dragged into it by the other. And it's going to feel awkward in the initial stages, and as if it isn't working, as the couple puzzles out exactly what their own rules and boundaries are going to be—especially the first few times that either person ventures out to be with someone else.
Persistence and negotiation will pay off, however. With effort and with time, an open relationship can definitely work—I know many couples who have had such arrangements for decades, and to insinuate that their relationship is less equal to any monogamous couple's is ignorant and derogatory.


  1. Thankfully the block button is there for just such situations. I've had the same thing happen to me and rather than stress about it just cut the cord and move on.

  2. Even ugly dudes like me end up with stalkers on occasion. They aren't always easy for me to identify right away; I frequently mistake their obsession with enthusiasm, which I find flattering. My last one? It ended with death threats and 'I know where you live' (no, he didn't), and 'accidents happen to people like you all the time.' It threw me. I knew he was a heavy drinker and guessed, based on his late night messaging (similar to your dude's initial messaging) that he was probably doing crystal meth. I don't mess with people that do, so that's when I stopped talking to him. And over the month and a half that he kept texting, calling and finding me on hook-up sites, his messages got more and more threatening. I've deleted all my profiles on-line. He doesn't know about my blog. I still get one message a week, usually telling me he's sorry and asking that I come back.. come back? To what? We never met. But that is the delusional nature of being a stalker. Too bad, too. He was hot as hell. What he thought he saw in me, I have no idea. - Uptonking from Wonderland Burlesque

  3. Thanks for your frank talk on stalker-ism and creeper-ism. It's weird but I found myself identifying as both stalker and stalked as I read.

    It used to infuriate me when a normal conversation would start up, and there was some mutual attraction, or at least agreement, and then the dude drops off the face of the planet. Rude. Have the decency to make up a lie and let me off the hook, or the balls to tell me the truth, and let me off the hook. I've never sent dozens of messages or texts, but I've fired off a nasty sounding e-mail or two that I'm not proud of.

    On the other hand, I've had creepers pursue me, and I wasn't interested for one reason or another. And, again, I'm embarrassed to say, I didn't have the decency to lie, or the balls to tell the truth, because, let's face it, when you are dealing with a crazy, it doesn't matter what you say anyway.

    So, as socially unacceptable as silence and ignoring someone may be, that's the way it is with internet/cyber/homo/hookups these day. I'm no longer outraged at being ignored, nor am I hesitant anymore to ignore someone.

    I've learned that the silent treatment, instead of being rude, really means "Thanks but no thanks. Have a nice day."

    1. It's very difficult to establish what courtesies we 'owe' each other in these situations. I've been in similar spots in which I've met with a blank wall of silence where I expected dialogue and reaching out; it's frustrating. At the same time, just because I want someone to respond in a certain way doesn't mean they're obligated. Nor does a brief conversation online obligate anyone to a meeting, or even further conversation.

      I don't think telling someone a lie—even a soft lie, to cushion the blow of rejection—is really a decent thing to do. Soft lies especially don't let anyone off the hook; they just keep them there, swinging.

      If anyone comes swinging at me claiming I've treated them badly because I didn't respond immediately to multiple texts/instant messages/emails, and says I owe them better, I'm likely to point out that the owing goes both ways. I'm owed a little privacy and respect, and the courtesy of being allowed to respond when and if I choose, and to make my own decisions about who I'll see without undue pressure, passive-aggressive gameplay, or manipulation.

    2. Hate to say it, but I think I can identify as the stalker and the stalkeee too. But I figure that since I've given less death threats than I've received, I guess I'm okay. Okay, bad joke. But really, I think some behavior is obviously "off" but other things are similar but on a much smaller scale. For example, I've got a serious crush on The Breeder and have checked out all his online profiles to try to figure out whereabouts he lives and secretly wondered if I could take a trip up there to meet him. Also followed a guy from one room at a bar to another to see if the eye contact we made was a connection or not. And on a smaller scale still, I've caught myself thinking, "Oh, crap. I'm staring at this guy pretty hard and I know for sure I'm creepin' him out". So I let myself off the hook by saying, well, I've never demanded any attention and get pissed off when it's not given. Until I remember some messages where I say, "If it's not a match, just let me know so I'm not waiting around wondering". Hm... just realized I don't really have a point that I'm trying to make. Ha! So thanks for indulging.

  4. Your journals always really touch me in a personal way, in a way that I immediately feel that someone understands and can articulate for others the various social interaction issues I deal with and contemplate. I frequently want to write a response, but I don't want to come across as making any implications that I "know" what you're talking about. Sometimes, it's enough to be able to let you say exactly what you want to say and let the story stay just about you, and for me to reflect on my own experiences as a result of having digested what you've shared in your writing. If you will though, I wanted to share back today.
    1. The opener to this entry had such a kick to it, because it seems to be an issue that is day by day ever more frustrating with these apps. Everyone wants to get your number after maybe one or two words exchanged, or otherwise present an EMPTY, pictureless profile and ask if you want to meet them. I want to respond either "what reason would I want to meet someone I know nothing about?" Second, why would I want to give access to myself to someone I don't even know I want to access me in the first place. Some people understand and accommodate, and others, well, don't. And then you get people who after maybe 5 minutes of exchange say something like "I'm so glad we're like my soulmate" or some insane thing like that. Yes, hooking up went from foraging for sustenance in the woods to a Super Walmart with these apps, but just look at the price we've paid.
    2.Second thing, and I'll get straight to the point, was a friend asking me recently what being in an open relationship is like. I said, well, I can't speak for everyone, but to be honest, although it technically is open in that we both fuck other people, when I don't put it in words and just go on feeling alone, it doesn't feel much more different than the committed monogamous relationships I had before. Well, maybe one difference: I've never come close to experiencing the level of trust and comfort with someone like I do in this "open relationship."

  5. What a loser to keep texting you over and over, must have been high on something or just a natural born whacko.

    Why not put a blog here asking for Q&A topics. That way everything is kept here for you to access easily and since blogger lets an anonymous posting, those that may want to ask a question and not be known can do so.

  6. Regarding monogamy: Well said. Regarding stalking behavior and what we "owe" each other: My take is that we're all human beings, and you owe a hook-up (realized or potential) the same courtesy you'd show an acquaintance or a coworker. But only IF the other party is cordial and sane-acting. Thanks again, Rob, for sharing yourself with us. :)