1. Loudly state “$PLACE has so many beautiful women” or “$ETHNIC_GROUP women are so hot.”
I’m going to talk about Montreal specifically, because I used to live there, and thus have often been subjected to statements (always from men) that “Montreal has such beautiful women.”
One time a guy said this and followed it up with, “You know why? It’s because women were shipped over from France to serve as wives for the colonists. Most of them were prostitutes originally.”
Leaving aside how casually you just described women being picked off the streets and forced into marriage for the sake of colonial expansion, that doesn’t even make sense. I’m pretty sure sex workers at the time were not more beautiful than anyone else, just more desperate. So this does nothing to explain Montrealers’ attractiveness. (And anyway, whether these women even were sex workers and not just poor and/or orphaned is doubtful, according to historians.)
Another time, during a politics lecture, my professor was talking about Russia and felt the need to add “You guys think Montreal’s women are beautiful? You should go to Russia. Gorgeous.” Dude. Ew. This is not an appropriate convo to be having with your students.
But those were exceptional cases. Usually it’s just me mentioning “I used to live in Montreal,” and the guy responding “Ah, Montreal has such beautiful women.”
And I don’t know what to say to that.
Where are you going with this? Are you trying to compliment me? I am not that flattered by having you lump me in with 875,000 other women and speaking as if a city (in which I was not born, and no longer live) possesses us.
Are you trying to tell me how much you lust after every girl you see in Montreal? Don’t tell me that. That’s weird. Stop being weird.
2. Tell a crying person “Don’t cry.”
- “There, is that a smile I see? You’re smiling!”
Translation: “If I can just prod you into smiling, you’ll be all better (never mind that nothing has changed about the underlying problem).”
- “How can you let yourself get so upset about this?”
Translation: “You should turn off your feelings. That’s impossible, you say? Well, I’ve been doing it for years, and look how well-adjusted I am.”
- “You look so cute when you cry.”
Translation: “I’m glad your feelings haven’t affected how much I want to sleep with you right now.”
3. Wonder aloud why women don’t make themselves more attractive at work or school.
Even my beloved Tim Urban is guilty of this. He wrote:
It’s funny— I’ve been in love with Natalie Portman in movies multiple times. But I saw her from time to time during college, and she didn’t seem especially charming, or cool. How is it that I’d leave a movie completely depressed because I can’t marry her character, and then see her later that day, and think little of it? If she’s so good at playing parts where she grabs every guy’s heart, why doesn’t she just act like that all the time?
(Urban and Natalie Portman both went to Harvard.)
Fortunately an anonymous commenter already wrote this reply, so I didn’t have to:
“Maybe Portman doesn’t go around constantly exercising her talent for ‘grabbing every guy’s heart’ because… she doesn’t much care whether or not you’re in love with her?”
4. Say “Text me when you get home.”
How about I don’t and you just assume I’ve made it home? I promise to let you off the hook if I get murdered on the way there.
I hate this request because you’re putting the burden on me to remember to do something, while thinking you’re being considerate. You’re not. If you were really considerate, you wouldn’t add needlessly to my mental load.
(My dear Aunt Anne points out that the problem with this request isn’t so much the mental load, it’s assuming someone will do something with you that one might normally only do with loved ones, and YOU’RE NOT ONE OF THEM. Which is a good point. It’s just that the mental load + irrationality aspects are what grate on me. 😛 )
Because really, what are you going to do if I don’t text you? Call the police? No, you’ll just assume I forgot.
Since I am most likely fine, I say we drop this whole charade. You’ll probably hear from me again (like next time I actually have a reason to text you) and then you’ll know that I did, in fact, get home—the way I’ve been doing for 20+ years, somehow, miraculously, without your supervision.
- I’m not saying you can never say “Text me when you get home” again under any circumstances. For example, I met a guy from Mexico City who said he always does this with female friends because A) he really does want to make sure they made it home safely (since there is genuine danger…), and B) since the girls in question are almost certainly already on their phones (“checking Instagram” were his words), he assumes it’s no big deal for them to shoot him a message. But even in that context, it never hurts to frame it as a question (“Do you mind texting me when you get home?”) rather than a command.
- Indeed, upon googling this phrase for this post, I found other women speculating that guys phrase it as a command on purpose “to get the girl to start putting in work to please/obey the guy.”
In case you’re wondering, I do appreciate offers to wait for the Uber/Lyft/Grab/bus with me, or walk me to my car or to the subway. (Unless you’ve been insufferable in one of the other six ways posted here and I want to get tf away from you.)
Update—added Nov. 19, 2022:
(Video: Text me when you get home by Charlie Berens.)
/end of update
5. Try to strike up a conversation with a stranger and get annoyed when they ignore you.
One time in Quebec City, I was walking home past a bar and a guy said something to me in French, the equivalent of “How’s it going?”
Ordinarily I would respond politely, but since I’m still learning the language, his words didn’t even register; I heard them as a mumble and assumed he was talking to one of the smokers standing next to him. I carried on down the sidewalk. Then he said, louder, “Ne me regarde même, eh? Fuckin’ bitch.”
Well, I understood that. Not responding to him the first time was a bullet dodged.
6. Give unsolicited workout advice at the gym.
This has only happened to me twice, but I was still annoyed by it. The first time I was with a female friend doing bent-over rows and this guy at the bench next to us tried to “correct” our form. I was like “Thanks, but we’re not really looking for help.” It was uncomfortable for everyone involved.
The second time I was doing cable face pulls and this guy walked over and told me I should raise the anchor point so it’s above my head. This was a good tip, and something I’ve been doing ever since. But was I grateful to him at the time? No.
I wanted to tell him: Being the only girl and/or non-super-fit person in the weights area used to make me uncomfortable, and I only got over it because I convinced myself no one was paying attention to me. And now you’ve shattered that illusion! Unless I’m about to drop a barbell on my neck, please leave me alone.
But since I was taken off-guard, I just said “Um, okay… thanks,” in a tone that said “Why are you telling me this?”
If I saw him again, I would say “Hey, that was actually helpful, thank you.” But I never have. And anyway, I still could have lived without that tip in exchange for maintaining my delusion that no one is watching me at the gym.
Note for clarity
This behavior never comes from someone who seems friendly, respectful, and recently bathed.
Obviously, if someone approached me with, “Hey, how’s it going? Can I offer you a piece of advice? I noticed you’re doing $THIS, when you might want to do $THAT instead,” I would listen gladly.
That’s not what I’m talking about. No, for some reason dudes who give advice at the gym are always shifty-eyed and sidle up to you suddenly and stand so close as to clog your nostrils with sweat and body spray. And it’s like, “Did I ask? Why do you seem like you’re about to touch me? Back. Off.”
7. Complain about women being “too paranoid.”
This guy in Japan told me “Dating is hard here because women aren’t very trusting. Like, they won’t even tell me which subway stop they live at. It’s ridiculous.” Alright, but why do you need to know which subway stop she lives at? Maybe she doesn’t feel like letting you know. When she wants you to know, she’ll tell you. Was that so hard?
I get that he was saying women in Tokyo tend to be intensely private, which makes it hard to get to know them, and not letting him know where they live is one of the symptoms of it. I just take issue with men who try to argue women out of their “paranoia.”
Women have good reason to be concerned. Even if they didn’t, though, why do you care?
This behavior is similar to trying to talk someone out of their chosen weight-loss plan and into keto/paleo/vegan/gluten-free/whatever instead, or telling them to give up on their obviously (in your opinion) doomed business plan. I’m just singling this one out because it’s something men do to women, and it annoys me because HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? (whether I’m being too paranoid—maybe it’s quite literally a life-or-death situation) and again, WHY DO YOU CARE WHERE I LIVE SO MUCH??
Title inspired by Tim Urban’s post on Wait But Why, 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook.
 Original post on r/femaledatingstrategy: “Dudes always say ‘Text me when you get home’ at the end of a date. I NEVER do it. If you’re worried about my safety, you can follow up later to see if I’m still alive. […] Thoughts??”