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?

colditz Sun 02-Dec-12 11:19:26

Young men speak randomly to me all the time, and I am thirty two, haggard, and have small people attached to my every appendage.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:20:41

"And is a bit insulting to portray men as shark-like operators." I don't think I did that, it certainly wasn't my intention.

SPs the issue is that random men don't chat to other random men. Meaning that something else is going on. In my experience it's that men are chatting to women as some sort of come on/power thing, but am open to other suggestions, such as that men feel threatened by other men so don't talk to them. Obviously not a good thing either.

TheOriginalPan Sun 02-Dec-12 11:22:12

and this, I'm afraid Esme: "Whether it's to do with chatting up, I don't know. It could just be a power thing, or a safety thing - like a man randomly chatting to another man could end up in a fight."

Do you really think that badly of us? That's pretty extreme, don't you think?

helpyourself Sun 02-Dec-12 11:23:13

I find this so sad, I feel as though I do live in a society where I can talk to just about anyone - men, women, children, old and young. Strangers talk to me if we're in a queue, at a bar, out shopping. I'll speak to anyone. Yes occasionally I've been chatted up, but hardly ever really. Obviously I weigh up the situation first, but I find people are generally friendly.
I agree. I can't smile at the moment- stitches in my mouth, and I'm finding the world quite unfriendly. There's another thread this morning about 'cheer up, it'll never happen' comments, which I hate, they're aggressive and intrusive, but general chatter, what's the weather like and even compliments, I like.
OP I know where you coming from, but I'd find it very unempowering to live in a society where men wouldn't talk to women 'randomly' as if as a woman I couldn't a) differentiate between a passing the day comment and chat up and b) would be unable to cope with it by fending it off or shock embracing it.

ithaka Sun 02-Dec-12 11:24:26

Maybe it depends where you live? I live in a small village near a teeny city. It is very normal for strangers to say hello, comment on the weather, pass the time of day. Gender doesn't really come into it, more a sense of a shared human experience - a community feeling, if you like.

To me, there is a world of difference between a comment, exchange of civilities and the sort of wolf whistling, lewd comments that are so offensive.

It would be a shame to 'throw the baby out with the bath water' and condemn all interaction by strangers because some people make unpleasant sexist remarks. I like living somewhere where people aren't afraid to speak to strangers.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:24:29

What are you afraid of OriginalPan ?

Do I think badly of men? Quite the opposite. I am continually disappointed by the fact that certain of them let themselves down so often. If anything, I think more highly of them than those who think they can't control their base instincts.

What's your thinking behind why random men don't tell other men to "cheer up" or to "give us a smile". Because talking to my partner just now, he's saying "I wouldn't say it in case he smacked me in the face." Not that he'd say it to a woman either, obviously.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 11:24:48

DP talks to people too.

He is a man shock

I don't think he feels particularly threatened by other men,why would he?

CaseyShraeger Sun 02-Dec-12 11:25:47

Isn't it telling that a poster up there said that she doesn't get any attention now that she's older? Men speak to young, attractive women. It's fuck all to do with a feeling of community.^

Except that (leaving the OP's attractiveness out of it for the moment) she specifically said that she was old enough to be the first chaps mother.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:27:44

That's true CaseyShraeger so we're clearly seeing two different experiences here.

On the one hand the OP was spoken to, another poster is ignored.

People have different experiences shocker.

Snorbs Sun 02-Dec-12 11:28:11

the issue is that random men don't chat to other random men.

But that's simply not true, as others here have already said. Admittedly it happens more in some parts of the country/world than others. Relatively rare in London, much more common outside.

But I guarantee you, speaking as a random man, I have had random men make passing comment to me about situations such as slipping on ice and vice-versa.

You may not notice it for the same reason I don't often notice men speaking randomly to women - I'm not the one being talked to.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 11:29:46

I thought we were talking about the OP.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:30:28

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FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:31:04

Well, we are talking about the OP, but, as in all conversations, that then extends to wider issues.

I'm confused that anyone would think that wouldn't be the case.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 11:34:25

Now you see FromEsme,i take exception to you saying in a jokey way that people are more pissed in Scotland,DP is from Scotland and he doesn't roam about pissed talking to random strangers.

Those jokey asides just reinforce stereotypes,DP has put up with that rubbish for years.

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Sun 02-Dec-12 11:35:16

My brother talks to other men often. He stopped a man to ask about his car. He's 18.

My dads the same. He will chat with anyone and everyone. I think that's more to do with been Irish through as when I visit Ireland everyone talks to who ever they want.

TheOriginalPan Sun 02-Dec-12 11:35:18

Esme - I'm afraid of global warming, debt crisis, future of my dd, my friend's mental illness. Not sure why you ask. I was only highlighting your comments as they are the most extreme.

TheOriginalPan Sun 02-Dec-12 11:36:55

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Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 11:37:55

yea got to admit of all the random men who have spoken to me very few have been pissed, many many more are taxi drivers so I bloody hope their not pissed. I live in Scotland btw. I think given the responses that this is a personal issue not a feminist issue.

TheLightPassenger Sun 02-Dec-12 11:38:18

confused. I work in a very public location (though my job usually isn't public facing!), and am always having random people speak to me (or vice versa), both men and women. And see male employees talk randomly to other men and women. All in a spirit of camaraderie/community. Yes, I wouldn't be too chuffed at a random "Hi love", but the ice incident wouldn't have bothered me in the slightest.And when I was younger I have had random abuse hurled at me by men about my appearance - dog and ugly sad

Snorbs Sun 02-Dec-12 11:39:11

Ah, right Esme. So when you said "random men don't talk to random men", it was not that you were simply misinformed, but instead you were making a statement that you positively knew to be untrue, not least because even your own DH admits it happens.

Isn't making statements that you know not to be true simply for the sake of the argument a form of trolling?

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:39:42

I am Scottish. Shrug. It is indeed my experience that you get more random pissed conversations in Scotland and therefore not a stereotype in my opinion. It is ALSO a stereotype, but it is also my experience.

dwagdays Sun 02-Dec-12 11:40:52

Where I live we are all 'love' men as well which rather evens it out. I am a random chatterer and initiate conversations with men and women. Have made friends with all sorts of ages and genders. Am often chatted to, invited one guy round for tea after a random encounter that he initiated. He is a great friend now, prob dhs best friend. I think some interactions are just friendly.

The more patronizing, hostile, ingratiating are easy to spot. Do some men presume lead and ownership of conversations yes but I would prefer a world where more women did the same than one where no one chats.

I can't really see the presumption in either of the interactions cited. Having adapted to my new environment I sometimes use 'love' to children, teens, men, women and my dogs. It isn't always inappropriate.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:41:16

He's not my husband.

And snorbs honestly, I don't get your post, I don't see where I said something I knew to be untrue. Since I'm now being accused of trolling, I will bow out since this is going nowhere.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 11:47:00

Locatio, location, location Esme, I live in a very busy part of Edinburgh very many boozers open all day, I am out most days, I have big "fuck me" power chair so not at all invisible, and again your experience is not mine. Nor do I recognise the stereotype of inebriated people that common in the streets.

If however you are talking about evening night time, pubs and clubs in particular or places like taxi ranks or other spots where drunk people would gather then your right.

CaseyShraeger Sun 02-Dec-12 11:48:35

Given that people have different experiences, it's not entirely appropriate to make sweeping statements like "random men don't chat to other random men" or "Men speak to young, attractive women. It's fuck all to do with a feeling of community.", though. Men do chat to other random men - we've had several of them here say that they would have expected a brief conversation in the case of the slipping-on-ice incident described by the OP. And as established by the very first post, they do talk to older women.

If we're going to move the conversation on specifically to "Cheer up, it may never happen" remarks (which may be made more by men - anecdotally, I'd imagine so, although I've had them from women as well) or to chatting up by stealth, then fine. But be clear that you're reframing the question, and be aware that as the thread didn't start off about either of those things plenty of other posters will still be discussing the question as framed by the OP.

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