Random men speaking to you

(768 Posts)
enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 09:38:04

I'm sure men don't randomly speak to other men in the street. Strangers. So why the hell do they feel they have to speak to random women. I don't think it's got anything to do with chatting up.

Yesterday, I saw a 20 something bloke with his mates slip in front of me on the ice. As I got out, he said "Hi love, did you see that!!!" I'm -- could be his mum-- bit older than him. Why speak to me? I just smiled but I bet he wouldn't' have said anything if I'd been male.

Just walking down the street, other side of the road bloke smiles and says "Hi love". No idea who he was.

Do blokes do this to other random blokes?

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 18:12:02

I always strike up conversations with random strangers, its just nice.

I did have a funny experience years ago though, i was waiting at the drycleaners desk when in walked a man who started to ask the usual "do you live round here?", coming from work ? etc anyway i was trying to politely fob him off, in walked the drycleaner man from behind the desk with my newly drycleaned wedding dress and handed it to me, whilst Mr GetFresh gaped, "Sorry you're too late mate!" bellowed the helpful drycleaner smile.

Latara Thu 13-Dec-12 11:45:33

I think some men find some women less threatening & more approachable than other men maybe?

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Sat 15-Dec-12 06:13:56

Hark at all the posters on this thread deliberately misunderstanding and extolling the virtues of chatting to strangers on the street.

This is not what the OP meant.

I work in a health-related organisation. Sometimes we have specialists/ programs for older men. I dread those days.

It is guaranteed that if I (a woman in my 30s) encounters them or walks through the waiting room, they will want to have a chat. About something random. They will want to talk to me, smile at me and have me smile at them.
Harmless interaction you say? Perhaps. Or perhaps it IS what the OP is describing - something more innately aggressive. Needy.

I have not noticed the same interaction between them and the male members of staff. And I know they would not strike up a conversation when I am with a male colleague. Not in the same way.

Another example.
I share my office with two men. This week we have had workmen in. Guess who they talk to? Me.
Friendly? Yes. But why me? Why do they not chat to the men in the same way? And the way they talk to me - in a jokey way is different to the way they would talk to the men (which they haven't so far).
Why have they zeroed their attention on the female in the office? It is not necessarily unpleasant to chat with them. But it wouldn't hurt to examine why they feel it is necessary to do so.
Is my work less important perhaps??
I don't know.
But this is the conversation I hope the wisdom of Mumsnet can address, rather than the bizarre pro-chat thread we have now.

exoticfruits Sat 15-Dec-12 07:19:39

I think that it is largely down to personality. My brother finds that everyone chats to him, men and women-very much in the way that you describe, Moaney.

exoticfruits Sat 15-Dec-12 07:20:29

More people make remarks to me when I am with my mother.

SomersetONeil Sat 15-Dec-12 07:27:02

Oh Moaney, you're 'making a big deal out of nothing' slash 'over-thinking', blah, blah, yawn, blah.

Wait for the apologists to turn up, they'll do a better job of dismissing your experience than me. wink

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 15-Dec-12 07:45:43

I saw this in action the other day. A (petite) woman and a (taller, bulkier) man nearly bumped into each ither in the street and did that "left a bit, right a bit" dance. He made some comment, loudly, and laughed. She gave an uncomfortable smile.

Writing that encounter down, it could have been purely friendly and I have seen similar near misses which were just that. Observing the body language of the two, it wasn't. He wanted her attention and she did not want to give it and felt uncomfortable.

inde Sat 15-Dec-12 09:33:27

*I work in a health-related organisation. Sometimes we have specialists/ programs for older men. I dread those days.
It is guaranteed that if I (a woman in my 30s) encounters them or walks through the waiting room, they will want to have a chat. About something random. They will want to talk to me, smile at me and have me smile at them.
Harmless interaction you say? Perhaps. Or perhaps it IS what the OP is describing - something more innately aggressive. Needy.*

I have a part time job working with (mostly) the elderly and yes they can be needy. Getting old is not fun. They have usually led full lives where they were in full control and then are gradually reduced to relying on others and rarely travelling more than a couple of miles from their home. Sometimes I am the only person they will speak to for hours on end. A smile or a hand on their shoulder when they are upset can go a long way. It works both ways though. I used to work in a factory in horrible conditions and there is not a day goes by when I don't feel privileged to have been given this job working with these people who are almost always ever so grateful for anything you do for them.

Leithlurker Sat 15-Dec-12 09:49:31

Inde, I think you have put your finger on something important, today's society can be quite a cold and lonely place not just for the elderly but anyone who has no close family. Youngsters in particular are full of bravado and often seem to have lots of social contact. So much of it though is of a very superficial nature.

However this will be pointed to as not being what the op was about, the op seemed to suggest that it was some kind of burden of being a women that men go out there way to talk to them. Perhaps we should just stick to the script that women are the subjects of unwanted attention and only the individual women can decide if and when they may be approached.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Sat 15-Dec-12 10:19:26

Sigh. I knew someone would come on with a variation of that Inde.

They are not very old. About retirement age 60+. And it is not a reaching-out kind of interaction they are after. It's more of a flirtatious (on their part) kind of interaction.

Why is this so hard for some people to accept?

Leithlurker Sat 15-Dec-12 10:25:31

Accept what though, that your experience is the only experience that should dictate what a reasonable response to a given situation should be? Or that every single 60 year old male wants to get inside the pants of a younger woman and thats why they talk to them?

Those are the conclusions that you are asking to be be drawn as you are supporting the op, What others have said is that they either do not recognise that your experience is the dominant one, or that they on a personal level have not got the same level of issue with the subject that you have.

inde Sat 15-Dec-12 10:33:40

Sorry if I misunderstood MM. My experience is with people older than you are talking about. Some people do prefer to interact with people of the opposite sex though especially if they are lonely. One lady I used to visit said to me that one of her friends was jealous as she hardly ever had a man visit her now and she would just like to hear a man's voice again. I think as well that the women are more pleasant to me than they are to my female colleagues and vice versa.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Sat 15-Dec-12 10:37:35

Listen, learn and accept, rather than deny.

Let me be clear: Some men will make a beeline and seek to interact with women, whether the interaction is welcomed or not.

This is an issue. Why do they actively seek women? Is it because they believe we have to be nice? Caring? Accommodating?
I'd like to see a discussion on this.

GreatCongas Sat 15-Dec-12 10:41:50

I think I live in a different world.
My experiences are
I don't get perved at, chatted up, wolf whistled at etc I don't think I'm un attractive, am 31 with a good figure so there's none of the are you 3 billion stone or older than methusah stuff. Maybe I just look tough
I do get talked to and talk to complete strangers all the time. A complete mix of men and women (in fact hi if you were the lovely woman I met in the bakers yesterday) we say hello across the street
Dh is the same. He's come home saying 'I met this chap at the lights today and he's going to come to <hobby club>'
It may be the regional thing. I live in a small town in east anglia.

GreatCongas Sat 15-Dec-12 10:48:27

When I say I don't get... I mean in the street. And it's a long time since I went to a pub or a club (except for lunch with kids in tow)

inde Sat 15-Dec-12 10:53:40

Your post starts with listen learn and accept and then says you would like to see more discussion on this? It is quite clear the kind of discussion you want. No dissenting voices, male or female, allowed.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Sat 15-Dec-12 11:00:08

Inde there are about 300 of 341 posts on this thread with dissenting voices.
I think the people who disagree have made their point.

I would like to see a discussion between the people who do understand/accept what the OP is experiencing.
Personally, it would be helpful and I would like to read it.

TheSecondComing Sat 15-Dec-12 11:03:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Leithlurker Sat 15-Dec-12 11:16:01

Yay for the North!

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Sat 15-Dec-12 11:24:16

<Gives up>

Leithlurker Sat 15-Dec-12 11:33:53

What if indue that what you want and what you end up doing are two different things. For example what if the OP posted and only got posts supporting her view or taking her view that bit further. In terms of seeing this as an attack on women in general, an attack with sexual intent.

On one level the op gets reassurance that she is not alone, but if it only serves to create a dominant hegemony that all men are sexist and potential attackers. How is that either valid or helpful.

Also if debate and discussion are to have any value then dissent is essential, (Klaxon Goodwins law.) Germany in the 1930's became a society that oppressed dissenting voices and soon the people became fearful of expressing dissent. This is not to say that when people all agree on something that this is as bad as being a nazi, it is to say people who come from different perspectives and traditions can agree and form common interests. However what people from different view points offer is a means to teste the original idea.

In this context the original idea has been tested and pretty much refuted by possibly an equal number of posters which would suggest that some of the issue may be with how social interaction is perceived.

namechangeguy Sat 15-Dec-12 14:00:24

In summary, some women do not like being chatted to by unknown men. Some women do. Could you all please wear something that identifies your preference? Perhaps a red santa hat for those who welcome interaction, and a green one for those who object. Then there can be no excuses, and we can punish the men who continue to defy your wishes. Maybe we could put the offenders in stocks in the High Street, and have random men come up and bend their ear incessantly for 30 minute slots, one after the other. See how they like it, eh? The bastards.

Latara Sat 15-Dec-12 14:40:10

Not sure a red santa hat is quite my style namechangeguy

IME there are 2 reasons i speak to men - a) i want friendly interraction with another human... & / OR b) I fancy them.

I would think it's the same for men; it's called 'Being Human' smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 15-Dec-12 15:09:25

NCG et al, some interactions have a different feel than others, even if they would sound the same if written down.

Leithlurker Sat 15-Dec-12 19:23:13

So Doctrine if "some" feel different to some people what would you suggest?

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