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Old 12-04-2007, 12:40 PM   #1
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Unhappy handling unwanted attention

Since I've lost weight, I've started getting more attention from men. I mean, it's nice to know that I'm attractive but it honestly makes me uncomfortable and I don't know how to handle it.

Sunday night I went to Walmart and I was walking from my car to the store. I was on the phone talking to my fiancee and there was a group of three men standing around a car. As I walked towards the store one of the guys hollers at me, "hey baby, why don't you get off the phone with your boyfriend and come talk to your new boyfriend!" I just kept walking but it made me feel so uncomfortable... it was dark, and I was alone. I stayed in the store for at least an hour and a half even though I only went there to pick up one thing just so that I felt safe enough to go outside.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking into a gas station. I was alone at the gas pump, there was nobody else around outside of the store except for this guy sitting by the door to the gas station and as I walked in to pay for my gas, he's like, "hey miss america, nice legs."

It makes me want to go out in sweatpants with no make up on just so that I don't get any attention. I'm 19 and I havn't been this small since I was about 14, so I obviously wasn't getting any attention from grown men back then. I don't know how to handle all of this.

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Old 12-04-2007, 12:51 PM   #2
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Melissa - lots of to you.

It IS a weird transition, isn't it? The most important thing, in my opinion, is to come up with strategies to ensure that you feel safe going about your every day life. That means, probably, being extra-vigilant in dark parking lots when you're alone, trying not to stop in skeevy places, and if it makes you feel more comfortable, carrying pepper spray. I may be paranoid about these things, but I take a "better safe than sorry" approach when it comes to this sort of attention.

Other than those strategies to make yourself physically safer, you just have to sort of accept/ignore it. Eventually, it gets a little more routine, but for me it is always irritating. Ignore, keep walking, and keep yourself safe.

Sorry that you (and others on the board) have to deal with this...it is unfortunate, but a fact of life for many.
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:52 PM   #3
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I feel you.

See, I got a lot of attention when I was thin and single. I didn't mind it then, unless it was from ugly men, married men, creepy men, or high school boys.

Since I've lost weight, I have your problem: I'm getting hit on constantly... and not just from the above mentioned groups (they were almost all I'd get when I was fat, if I even got hit on at all ) I have been in a relationship for 2.5 years, so I try to blow them off politely. I just show them my ring and say, "I'm just letting you know so that you don't get your hopes up over something that isn't going to happen - you're a nice guy, though."

I have a love/hate relationship with the attention... I sometimes wonder how I can be less approachable without being cold, unfriendly, and/or frumpy. But... I am none of the above, and neither are you... you have lost weight and probably have looooots of newfound confidence... so you're hot, that's AWESOME... attention, while sometimes obnoxious, definitely isn't all bad - would you REALLY rather not get any attention at all? At least you know people find you sexy!

Do you currently have a boyfriend?
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:09 PM   #4
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Lightbulb This is the #1 reason why I do not look forward to being thin again

I completely understand what you are going through and dealing with.

I have had to deal with unwanted attention all of my life, sometimes with very tragic results. I was sexually abused as a child and teenager. I was forcibly raped as a teenager and I was sexually assaulted even when I was heavy! It messed my head and emotions for decades. I am very skiddish of even getting to close to people as a result. I suffered terrribly from agoraphobia for years. I was just plain scared to go outside of the house.

I went through sexual abuse therapy and I realized that some of these perpetrators have an instinct in knowing who to hit on. Guess who we are? The nicest, the most sweet and usually very feminine women are the ones who get targeted. In other words, we are "easy". I am not by nature a tough person. I know that most people would say I am a real girlie girl. It is a power issue with them and unfortunately it really is not about sexual or physical attraction although I am sure that in their minds they would rather hit on an attractive person than not.

I now understand why famous women have bodyguards. Unfortunately, the rest of us can't afford that luxury. If I could, I wouldn't blink twice about it.

I think you did the right thing. Next time though tell the store manager about it and they will send someone to walk with you to your car AND they will report these guys to the police. I've done and it works. I may look like a push over but I can use my wits and that is what you need to do.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:25 PM   #5
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Oh, Pam, you need to spike up your hair, wear a dog collar, combat boots, and several rings on each hand. If you think you may still be subject to abuse, replace the combat boots with running shoes.

No one will dare to mess with you then.

Have you learned any kind of self defense?
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:36 PM   #6
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I completely understand where you are coming from, when I was a freshman in college(3 years ago so I was 18) I had the same stats as you and I felt uncomfortable like that. I too have been abused before and so men make me skiddish when they are that blunt. For me getting a good pepper spray helped. I went and found the best pepper spray that I absolutely could and I keep it in my pocket when it's late with my finger on the trigger. Sometimes you can never be too safe. Also, if you are worried about taking care of yourself if someone does make an unwanted advance you might check out your local YMCA and see if they have a self-defense class. Sometimes men I think don't realize that what they are doing is actually frightening, or some just don't care.

Here are my suggestions for going places at night:
1. Pepper Spray
2. Cell open ready to go
3. Keys in hand ready to go
4. Be aware of all surroundings when you are walking out of a store just look around and make sure you know what is going on. I've always been told when you walk with your head up looking around people know that you are more confident about the surroundings and not just a shy little girl
5. If a guy says something that you don't like just give a polite smile and keep going....sometimes when guys are with people they are just showing off

Just try and be careful and don't let some fools ruin your great weight loss! You have done an amazing job and you should be proud!
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:07 PM   #7
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I agree with Rhighlan86 that some guys don't realize that what they're doing is intimidating when they're "cat-calling" you. But some do and they just don't care since they just HAVE to express themselves and those are the ones that typically are just T-R-A-S-H and disrespectful in general to women. I took karate myself a year ago and I sure feel a lot better about my ability to defend myself. I'm in no means in shape or strong but my teacher gave me lots of good ideas on what to do if you're attacked. Basically he taught me all's fair in war and survival- do whatever you know is going to hurt your attacker and use your knees and elbows since those are the hardest points of your body ex: jam your elbow in their face. Rhighland had good suggestions but also hold your keys in your hand like a weapon and use those as well and go for the eyes. As far as just being uncomfy in general you're just going to have to ignore them unfortunately. Or come up with a very sharp tongue and wit to embarass them in front of their friends but that might provoke some guys.
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:41 PM   #8
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I find that the more I know about how to protect myself physically, the less I get intimidated by the catcalls also. So you really might investigate protective methods. It is harder to say "what jerks" when you are SCARED of them...once you know you could kick some butt, it is easier to write them off. That's why I recommended getting physical safety under control first, by whatever means you need to.
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:56 PM   #9
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I'll loan ya my can of mace and show you the places to kick where you can do the most damage. LOL

Other than that, ignoring them's the best move. Like someone said, those kinds are TRASH. A small whistle or such isn't inappropriate, but these guys are just immature out-of-work school bullies who can't get a real date, so they like to look cool and macho...making them look even less so in the process. Walk on by them.
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:15 PM   #10
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I talked about this on another board - it is very hard to deal with. I am looking into a self defense class (I was raped) but I got one really helpful tip from a local police officer. Carry one of those little things where you pull the pin and it makes a HORRIFYING loud noise. The other - instead of pepper spray which requires a license in some states (like mine) - carry a small travel size can of Aquanet or similar. Ever sprayed that in your eye by accident ???????
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:21 PM   #11
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It really aggravates me when men honk or catcall at me when I am running. Even worse, ingrates shout rude comments at my dd's cross country team when they run. It really is too bad we can't do much more than ignore the cretins and focus on our own safety....and raise our sons to be better men than these creeps.
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightengaleShane View Post
Oh, Pam, you need to spike up your hair, wear a dog collar, combat boots, and several rings on each hand. If you think you may still be subject to abuse, replace the combat boots with running shoes.
ha-HA!

If it were I, I'd probably bring a pitchfork as well!
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by witchyonadiet View Post
The other - instead of pepper spray which requires a license in some states (like mine) - carry a small travel size can of Aquanet or similar. Ever sprayed that in your eye by accident ???????
You see, I was reading the labels of harardous substances to see which chemicals I would get away with spraying (in case I was assaulted) and a lot of household items that are dangerous has a warning on the bottle that states that mis-use may be unlawful (weapon, arson, etc). I would definitely try hairspray now that I figure it looks more coincidental rather than intentional (my original idea? a bottle that sprays and can hold bleach. I know, I'm evil)
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:48 PM   #14
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A few years ago, I lost 40 lbs and started getting unwanted male attention. I didn't know how to handle it (I was also raped, so these things make me scared), so I ended up sabotaging myself and gaining my weight back. It's hard to tell when men are just making insensitive comments that they think are flattering or when they are attempting to cause intentional harm and that's what's scary. I have a whistle on my car keys but it's been there for so long that I take it for granted and would probably not remember I had it if I were attacked!

I'm not sure there is much we can do about guys cat-calling us besides ignore them. I don't think I would say anything back to them because I would be afraid it would make them mad and they would retaliate. I think it is a good idea to get the store manager to walk you out the next time (I hope it doesn't happen again, but if it does).
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Old 12-04-2007, 11:06 PM   #15
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SHANE ~ Isn't it sad ... that we might want to make ourselves look 'unattractive' to repell 'unwanted' attention? It shows how 'unsafe' women feel in our society. Regardless, your comment was funny! But you make a valid point, that reminded me of something a man once asked me, 'Why do women wander around in bikinis, if they don't want attention? They could get dressed or put a coat on to go to the corner store.'

PAM ~ This connection seems to be more common than we might think. I've heard that some weight-gain may be a sub-conscious attempt to deliberately look unappealing to men to ward off advances. I agree with the rest of these ladies; maybe an assertiveness/defence class might boost your self-esteem.

They have also shared some great tips with you for while you are shopping. Park in a lighted area, as close to the stores as possible. You have your phone with you so that is good; let others see you have it. Put your parcels in the trunk to keep them out of view (less of a target).

I would also recommend that you try not go out by yourself late at night; wait and get that item the next day. I realized that nothing is that much of an emergency to risk my personal well being. Now I only go out at night with someone else, either my Dh or a friend.

A guy once told me after I had lost a lot of weight, not to take comments and/or advances from men so personal; that they are just guys giving you a compliment that they think you are attractive and most of them mean you no harm really. For the few who might, prevention and defensive strategies are best! My mother always told us girls, 'To be safe, live safe!'
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