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?

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 09:43:14

Oh, God yes, this annoys the life out of me.

I think it mainly pisses me off because I think it would be LOVELY if we DID live in a society where people randomly struck up conversations with other people - men, women, whoever.

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.

But I actually dread standing at bus stops etc alone, because men so often strike up conversations that seem innocent enough and then end up with them asking for my phone number. I wouldn't mind if it wasn't so blatant and so obviously random - they'd do it to ANY woman standing there, it's not because they're particularly interested in me.

Back2Two Sun 02-Dec-12 09:47:16

Should we ban men fom talking to women they don't know?

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 09:51:08

I don't think that's what the OP was saying Back2Two .

Good example of a straw man, though.

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Sun 02-Dec-12 09:51:32

I make a point of answering people who speak to me in the street.

I have just been to the corner shop with DS. As we came out there was an old boy outside and he said "alriiigghht darling?"
So I said, "good morning, how are you today?" In my best Mary Poppins voice. He said "err fine thanks." And then shuffled off looking at me like I was bonkers!! grin

IfYouSeeMeSayHello Sun 02-Dec-12 09:57:21

How very dare they. The audacity of a man - a man! - daring to speak to me just because I am a woman!

Really, I would be delighted. These minor interactions with other human beings are all part of the tapestry of life.

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 09:57:34

See - I don't randomly talk to strangers who I just happen to see. Not an "Alright" to a bloke I see. I might if I'm out walking in the country but that's just what you do on a country walk.

I wouldn't see another woman and just say something at random. I don't think blokes randomly just say something to other blokes. That does not mean I don't start up conversations but that depends on where I am.

But I just want to walk down the street without some bloke feeling they have the right to suddenly say something to me when they see me.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 09:58:43

Not what the OP is saying IfYouSeeMeSayHello .

There's a lot of deliberate misunderstanders out today.

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 09:59:10

if But it seems very one sided IYSWIM. Do you randomly make comments to men as you pass them in the street?

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Sun 02-Dec-12 10:01:42

It annoys me too.

Recently I was waiting for a train and drunk bloke latched on to me. Then insisted on giving me a hug goodbye. Bleugh.

digerd Sun 02-Dec-12 10:07:34

I do miss all that attention. Now at the "invisable" age. < down in the mouth face>

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 10:08:29

Do you really miss the attention digerd ? I hate it. I just want to be able to walk down the street and not feel like anyone has a right to my time.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Dec-12 10:11:49

I love it when random strangers say things to me. I think a man saying a silly/nice/pleasant thing is the last bastion of chivalry. If it is grumpy or sexual that is annoying.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Dec-12 10:12:59

I find the elderly are most prone to random comments; it's sweet. It's hardly a huge waste of time is it?

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 10:13:58

If anything is a straw man, and surely thats a sexist saying. It is the idea that women should be able to walk freely unhindered by random people talking to them. If however the op is objecting to the use of words like "love" or "Darling" that is different as the issue is with possible sexist language.

The issue here is people moan about lack of community or feeling safer in the streets, but then refuse to engage even in small talk with other humans. People have been socalised in to isolation, it is normal not to talk, make eye contact, take no notice of children and adults showing signs of distress in the streets. If you are geing asked for your phone number all the time that is unwelcome and would give you the feeling that perhaps you are not being valued. Why not at least take the positive of having spoken to another person and when it happens refuse politely but say you were pleased he felt you were worth talking to.

shadylane Sun 02-Dec-12 10:14:45

I love it. I find it more weird to sit opposite someone on a tube and not smile or similar. Also women talk to me all the time, probably more than men do.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 10:16:36

Esme said "not feel like anyone has a right to my time", this is not the same as being spoken to just you are female.

Lottapianos Sun 02-Dec-12 10:16:50

Chivalry? On the feminist boards? Wowza......

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 10:17:03

How on EARTH is a straw man a sexist thing to say?

I don't WANT people to judge my "worth" before they talk to me. 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.

BillyBollyBallum Sun 02-Dec-12 10:17:09

Everyone talks to me, men and women. Only thing is common is that generally they are 60+.

Doesn't bother me particularly, they make an innocent remark, I reply in the time honoured fashion. Everyone's happy.

What does irritate me is young blokes doing the "smile love, it'll never happen". Not so much older blokes though when they do it. Maybe I trust their intentions more <ponders>

itsthequietones Sun 02-Dec-12 10:17:56

I think it mainly pisses me off because I think it would be LOVELY if we DID live in a society where people randomly struck up conversations with other people - men, women, whoever.

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.

To the OP, maybe with the incident with his friend slipping on the ice, he just found it funny and wanted to share, maybe you reminded him of someone he liked, there are many reasons why he chose to speak to you, it doesn't have to be negative or threatening.

But yes, I have also made random comments to men in passing.

I really don't understand the issue.

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 10:18:20

What I'm trying to say is - why does it seem to be men doing it to women? I don't seem to notice men doing it at random to other men, or women doing it to women or men. And it's not small talk - it's just a random comment as you pass them, or suddenly out of no where.

Small talk is to me what people do in a queue for example. Nothing wrong with that. I often do it myself. But that's in a particular situation. Not as I just get out of the car. Or as I walk down the street.

LynetteScavo Sun 02-Dec-12 10:20:41

No one speaks to me.

I used to attract the elderly when I was young. My friends used to say, "Oh, I met this great person at a bus stop in Dussledorf and we all went camping." This has never happens to me.

I think it's the permanent look of distaste on my face.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Sun 02-Dec-12 10:21:45

I have no problem with it (I often do it myself) unless something about the situation makes me feel uncomfortable.

Normally, that means that a bloke will say something while surrounded by mates whereas I will be on my own.

Usually all that will be said will be "alright love" or something along those lines, but it makes me feel like he wouldn't say it if a) he wasn't surrounded by mates or b)if I wasn't alone. Which in turn makes me feel like he wanted to intimidate me or make me uncomfortable.

However I did spend a lot of time in high school being bullied so I may be oversensitive to these sort of things, but the situation I've just described definitely puts me on alert as it were.

Haggisfish Sun 02-Dec-12 10:21:49

Women do talk to women, well I do anyway, and I talk to men as well. And actually, my OH talks to other men, too, all at random - I think you are only seeing what you are looking for.

werewolvesdidit Sun 02-Dec-12 10:24:29

Well op, I'll tell you how to make it stop - get to a size 18 and permenantly have small children hanging off you (usually with one crying) and also always wear sensible shoes, dirt-proof clothing and a look of harrassment. I can guarantee no man will ever look at you again... (goes off to weep in a corner)

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 10:27:01

Women cannot be straw, female who present false misleading arguments in order to obscure the real debate are called what?

And thank you esme Men only talk to random women they want to shag is what your saying. I would love to see your evidence for that, your worth is judged by so many people in so many ways that you have no control over, so you return the compliment by wanting no man to speak to you becouse you have already judged that he only want your phone number. Would that apply to all men, women, children?

YouCanBe Sun 02-Dec-12 10:27:30

I only get this is I dress nicely.
If I keep my armour of scruff on, I get left safely alone.

(Ugh. Other people.)

YouCanBe Sun 02-Dec-12 10:27:45

If, not is.

TheFarSide Sun 02-Dec-12 10:28:36

If a man randomly says hello to you because he finds you attractive, what's the problem? There is also the possibility that the man is just being friendly.

Really, this is a depressingly misanthropic thread.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 10:30:27

The PERSON doing the argument isn't a straw man, the ARGUMENT itself is called a straw man. It is a reference to a particular book and therefore not sexist. I fear you might be doing it again, by bringing up such a ridiculous argument.

I don't have evidence beyond the anecdotal. Men talk to me in the street. Women don't. No man has ever spoken to my partner (male) in the street.

Shrug. If that's not your experience, that's great. It is my experience and the OP's.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 10:30:56

I talk to anyone,and reply with a smile if anyone talks to me.

It's nice to be nice. smile

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 10:32:35

TheFarSide I don't mind men finding me attractive, shit, even though I clearly hate men, I WANT them to find me attractive. God it's hard being a feminist.

What I don't like is the fact that so often when I make it clear I don't want to chat, they carry on regardless. It is threatening and unpleasant, to the point where, if anyone chats to me, I tend to put my guard up straight away.

It is unpleasant indeed that we live in such a society that means that anyone chatting to me instantly gets the cold shoulder, I agree. But that is not my fault, but the fault of all the men who have called me a bitch or a slag or threatened me when I didn't want to talk to them.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 10:37:25

I have to say i have never been called any of those names just because i didn't want to talk to a man.
I'm not saying for one minute that it doesn't happen just that it hasn't happened to me.
I like a chat with just about anyone,even just a friendly nod in passing might cheer someone else up.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 10:41:22

AllTheYoungDudes you are lucky then. It happens a lot less now that I have more self-confidence.

VBisme Sun 02-Dec-12 10:43:50

I walk along the street and smile at everyone who passes me, I sometimes evening say, good morning or good afternoon.

I'm new to the area and have never had a negative response to this approach. (Nor have I ever been "chatted up").

What's wrong with being friendly?

shadylane Sun 02-Dec-12 10:44:25

Wow esme I am pretty sure I've never been called a botch or a slag in the street. How unfortunate that you have. The only annoying thing I frequently get when road cycling is 'smile it might never happen'. I must look serious when concentrating in traffick

babesdontlie Sun 02-Dec-12 10:44:26

I'm with YoungDudes

I chat to anyone who wants to pass the time of day when I'm out and about doing errands or walking the dogs.

I always make a point of saying "hello" or "morning" or answering old people as I might be the only person they have spoken to that day, and that thought makes me sad.

Can't say I've seen a visible difference in the men/women ratio.

DH has previously commented that he sees women are 'drawn' to chat and be friendly to me.

What I won't acknowledge is people (men or women) who want me to join in complaining about anything (the queue/the traffic/the train being late etc), sorry, if you want to be negative, you're on your own.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 10:46:02

I love it.
Men and women oftne randomly chat to me.
And I smile and briefly chat back.

I do wonder whether men might do it more than women because, on the whole, men are not so chatty as women. So they like the social interaction they can get with some! women.

TheOriginalPan Sun 02-Dec-12 10:47:26

Well, men do make odd random chats with other blokes, ime. I know I do. Funny observations, comments about the weather (you know when it's really warmhmm etc). I'm not sure how any particular woman can judge as to when/how men do this unless they were to set up a very sophisticated monitoring system? <rarely strike up convos with women in public for reasons of sensitivity>
I'd guess that as a woman the reaction depends a lot on your previous experiences of being 'approached', if it's good or bad.

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 02-Dec-12 10:47:33

By your words OP you are old enough to be his mother. Perhaps he was properly brought up and always has a smile and a pleasantry for old ladies grin

RumbleGreen Sun 02-Dec-12 10:54:19

I think you are only seeing what you want to see I can personally tell you men do talk to other random men. Especially in the first scenario he did something embarrassing he made light of the situation.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Sun 02-Dec-12 10:54:51

THere are two different types of chat, though. THere are the people who make a passing comment to strangers, which is OK (though can be annoying if you are deep in thought or whatever) and there are men who think they are entitled to bother you because you are out without visible signs of a male owner.

TheOriginalPan Sun 02-Dec-12 10:55:39

It could also be a regional thing. When Londoners/SE people come up North they always comment on how easy people seem to feel in chatting at bus stops or anywhere folks are meeting in public temporarily.
Try going to Ireland - you're badgered to death for details of where your mammy lives/where you work when just trying to buy a coffee.smile

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 11:01:29

VBisme I don't think anyone said there was anything wrong with being friendly, but then that's not what we're talking about, is it?

TheOriginalPan Sun 02-Dec-12 11:08:06

Esme - you said " Men speak to young, attractive women. It's fuck all to do with a feeling of community." - that just isn't true at all. Some men may only speak to young attractive women, but blanket assertions like that points to where your experience/thinking is, but isn't reflected in lots of people's experience. And is a bit insulting to portray men as shark-like operators.

colditz Sun 02-Dec-12 11:08:31

I DO live in a culture where strangers randomly talk to each other, I wouldn't have been remotely bothered by this.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 11:08:59

Well what are we talking about FromEsme?

A young man made a remark about his mate slipping on ice to an older woman,not a sexually charged remark,just a jokey aside.

Then another man says 'Hi love'.

I don't tend to say things like 'love' or 'darling' but i wouldn't read anything odd into either of these.

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Sun 02-Dec-12 11:15:15

Tbh if someone slipped on ice they'd know if I saw it as I would be laughing. If he said that to me I'd have "no, so you will have to do it again"

Men randomly talking to me doesn't bother me. If it's filth they are speaking then I don't appreciate it and will tell them to fuck off. But been nice and just saying hi? I don't see the issue.

I went into somewhere the other day where a man who was meant to be helping just started talking about my phone hmm That was strange tbh but he was vert chatty so he no doubt is the same no matter the sex of the person.

WillYuleDoTheFandango Sun 02-Dec-12 11:19:15

He was probably just embarrassed that you saw him and was trying to make light of it.

I talk to anyone, some people answer some don't. Lots of people (men, women, children, old people on benches) randomly strike up conversation with me too. I must have that sort of face. I like it smile

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

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

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

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

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.

grimbletart Sun 02-Dec-12 12:11:19

I live in a (large) village. Men and women randomly chat to whoever all the time. My trip to fetch the morning paper is constantly punctuated by "Good morning", "Alright?", "Nice day isn't it", "Bit cold" etc. Man or woman - makes no difference.

As for chatting in bus queues, ticket queues etc. why not? It passes the time. I've met really interesting people in queues grin.

All this is quite different from the e.g. building site random male to female 'chat' as in 'cheer up love, it may never happen", which is designed to embarrass, intimidate, intrude etc.

Important to realise there is a load of difference between the last comment and the ones in my first paragraph.

MMMarmite Sun 02-Dec-12 12:13:54

I love talking to strangers. It makes the day much more interesting and sociable. Obviously there are some men who talk to women in a creepy way or just indiscriminately chat up/ cat call every young woman, and clearly that is wrong. And there are times, like late at night alone at a bus stop, where the man should be particularly careful not to make a woman feel threatened. But I would hate men to feel they can never start a conversation with me.

yahnyinlondon Sun 02-Dec-12 12:25:47

I've found since having a small person with me, I get people talking to me a lot. Mainly women, but occasionally older men. They are generally very polite.

However the first time I went out without my baby to get some fresh air because I was losing the plot pick up some shopping, some random dude approached me when I was looking for the right bus stop in a high street, mumbled something at me, I was a bit confused as I was still quite sleep deprived (3 weeks after giving birth) and I with a what, sorry. He mumbled again about going to the movies ad I was just like no, sorry, not interested. He then swears at me and walks off. I guess he didn't notice my wedding rings, mothercare bag, boots bag filled with baby paraphernalia hmm

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 13:34:28

what a v odd op,why do you read sinister or peculiar motives in chit chat
people interact,chat and yes both genders swop safe anecdotes
talk about demonizing people or looking to find ulterior motives where none exist

AbigailAdams Sun 02-Dec-12 13:35:14

It's all about invading personal space even if that isn't literally. The workman shouting Cheer up love thinks it is OK to disturb you as you are walking along minding your own business.

Standing in a bus stop can be assumed that if you speak to them you are not greatly interrupting their daily business as they are stopped. It is not unreasonable for it to be a bit boring and providing they aren't doing anything else like reading or listening to iPod or whatever it probably isn't inappropriate. Same for walking along the street in a village or in the country. There aren't many people around, you presumably make eye contact first, so the person you are speaking to is expecting you to be friendly. In that scenario you probably wouldn't holler the street to some random person or stop greet someone who is walking fast with their head down, because that would be an invasion of personal space. I assumed the latter was the kind of interaction the OP was talking about.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 13:39:40

her personal space wasn't invaded,a man fell,probably felt awkward.made comment
she's not said he persisted, it was appropriate in context of what had happened
this js peculiar and a bit sad to demonise male interaction as inappropriate

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 14:30:27

enimmead "But I just want to walk down the street without some bloke feeling they have the right to suddenly say something to me when they see me".
The trouble with this statement is most people welcome it. So a bloke is never going to know who are the few people who wont appreciate it.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 14:32:57

Getting chatted up at bus stops and asked for phone numbers.
Do you ever dress down or wear a fake wedding ring?
Im guessing you dont want to do either of those things.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 14:34:05

Really amillionyears ? I should have to PRETEND I'm married in order to not get attention?

I work in a primary school, how do you think I dress? But even if I went out in fishnets and a bra top, I still don't expect men to sleaze on me.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 14:38:51

Didnt think you would like that suggestion much! grin

But seriously it is not much to do is it?

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 14:45:47

So she should wear a fake wedding ring as an obvious sign she's 'taken' or deliberately make herself unattractive? To avoid people propositioning her at a bus-stop?

lemonmuffin Sun 02-Dec-12 14:45:48

Dear me. Person of the opposite sex speaks to you. How utterly dreadful.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 14:48:32

Narked. Yes, if she wants to. The wedding ring alone might do it.
She sounds very bothered often by a lot of men.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 14:53:56

It's not much to do, no. But why the fucking hell should I? I'm just as happy telling them to fuck off.

I would love to live in your world where wearing a wedding ring to put men off is no big deal.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 14:57:19

and the very fact amillionyears that you thought to post a suggestion specifically because you thought it would get a rise out of me doesn't say much about you as a person.

I have no problem with men speaking to me on a personal level - like I said, any sort of hint that they are trying to chat me up and they get told I'm not interested, any further and I tell them to piss off - but I thought we were discussing this on a societal level. So what I personally may or may not do is irrelevant.

lemonmuffin Sun 02-Dec-12 14:58:51

It's not "attention" Enimmead.

It's just friendly conversation, it's what makes the world go round

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 14:59:52

Let's face it, it can be both lemonmuffin

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 15:00:17

anyhoo.its a ridiculous op, much indignation about fuck all
i have no problem with appropriate banter from either gender
its norm for people blether and chew the fat.i like to,and i have chatty weans too

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 15:05:39

FromEsme,why on earth would I want a rise out of you? confused

lemonmuffin Sun 02-Dec-12 15:12:54

Right. Let me tell you this story:

Shopping in big supermarket last week, rushing round as usual, mind on other things.

Long queue at checkout, stood there with blood pressure rising thinking about how much I've got to do still, and old lady behind me says 'I like your coat'.

'thank you' says I, and somehow from that she starts telling me about her family and her late husband who has recently died. And we carry on talking all the way through the checkout and packing the bags, right up to the entrance of the supermarket for a good 10 minutes.

And we said our goodbyes and then she says 'thank you for talking to me, it's been lovely to have a chat.

And it made me weep, all the way back to my car.

Think about that.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 15:13:19

Ok so esme does not want chatted up, the assumption behind all this is that every male that starts a conversation randomly with a woman is only interested in a shag. Is chancing his arm, taking a punt as it were.

If this was indeed the point of every conversation more sympathy would follow the op, it raises other issues though. What if a presentable person nicely dressed, not reeking of drink, respectful and polite were to come up and just ask if you have the time or the inclination for no strings attached sex, they will pay for a proper hotel room or they would be wiling to go haves, food and or drink can and would be part of the deal if that was what was preferred.

Is that better or worse?

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 15:14:18

and the inclination that should be

germyrabbit Sun 02-Dec-12 15:16:46

i feel left out now as random men don't talk to me grin

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 15:18:08

amillionyears when someone posts "I didn't think you'd like that suggestion" with that inane grin emoticon, forgive me if I think they were looking for a rise. That's how it comes across.

Leithlurker how is it any different? I wouldn't be interested in that either.

lemonmuffin entirely different scenario to my experience.

Again, we're talking about this on a societal level. Others seem to want to talk about it on a personal level and when you have two totally different spheres you're talking about how can you resolve anything?

lemonmuffin Sun 02-Dec-12 15:20:19

Hmm, no it's not. It's about engaging with other members of society, male or female.

And sooner than you think, no one is going to want to do that with you.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 15:30:44

FromEsme. Sorry, didnt mean it like that. I can see though, how you might have thought that. Apologies.

TiggyD Sun 02-Dec-12 15:36:25

"Do blokes do this to other random blokes? "


But not everywhere. I was visiting a little village the other day to go for a walk in the surrounding hills and 4 or 5 people in the village said hello to me, including several men. It might not happen in cities or Towns, but if you get into the country or generally away from the South East you get men talking to other men randomly. Tends to be older men, but not entirely.
I've not had a man call me love, but I've had "Dear" a few times. It's a local thing where I live.

TiggyD Sun 02-Dec-12 15:38:31

I even got called "Moi Luvver" in Cornwall the other year. I didn't realise people actually said it! smile

OddBoots Sun 02-Dec-12 15:42:24

As a 30-something woman I am just as guilty of this, I ended up talking to an unknown (lost) teenage lad last week and mentally kicked myself as I found myself calling him 'sweetheart'.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 15:43:03

It was a societal point Esme, you dont want random men tasking you for your number, maybe others do. Maybe some woman would like to ask random men or women for their numbers. Night clubs, bars, even supermarkets are places where both sexes apparently "hook" up. Your partner was random at some point esme.

From stats very many people are having random encounters initiated by both sexes, how is this achieved if not by someone chatting up someone else. My scenario was a shortened version of a pub club scenario. It is you that wishes to say that you do not want chatted up it is you that it saying all women do not want chatted up. I think given what we know about the behaviour of people that is patently untrue for a large number of people despite what you want esme.

I would then make a further point, if we are only talking about random conversation that you only suspect will lead to an attempt to get your number I am presuming you "screen" out most males who attempt to speak to you. In which case as unforgivable as being called really horrible names is, you are giving out a signal that dismisses someone's presence, they may well feel that it is you that is being rude.

MoreBeta Sun 02-Dec-12 15:44:26

I do speak to random people in the street if the occassion warrants it. Man or woman.

Its not like I am a regular chatterbox but if we are say in a situation occurs where you are thrown together with other people then striking up an conversation rather than just standing there in silence seems more sociable.

Its not hollering across the street or propositioning people though - which would be annoying and unwelcome.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 02-Dec-12 16:11:39

This drives me crazy. I feel like a lot of men feel entitled to talk to/disturb/harass any woman they see. It's a subtle way of reminding us who has the power. If they don't get the hint when I ignore them/give them a monosyllabic reply and turn away, I find a hard stare and "I don't want to talk to you" usually does the trick. grin

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 16:16:59

lemonmuffin no-one talking to me in the street sounds like HEAVEN.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 16:26:08

I just talk to random people- friendliness helps the world go around. You don't have to read anything into it.

digerd Sun 02-Dec-12 16:47:27

I,ve met so many talkative lovely ladies on the bus, and been told very interesting life stories, also some sad ones. Makes the journey fly by.

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 16:49:25

Like I said - I have no problem with small talk in queues etc. It makes the world a nicer place.

But just walking down the street and a bloke on the other side looked at me and said "Hi love". It's just something about that that made me feel uncomfortable. I happily say hi when out in the country - it's just what happens but it just seems too "out of place" on the main road.

And the young bloke He was surrounded by his 3 mates. I was in my car when he slipped. I got out a minute later and he then made the "Did you see that love " comment. Maybe he was trying to be funny but I just don't think he'd have made that comment if I'd been a bloke. It was not an attempt at conversation or smalltalk- just a statement. And the fact he was with his 3 mates did make me feel uncomfortable.

helpyourself Sun 02-Dec-12 17:09:11

It sounds as if you're extrapolating from two mildly lairy encounters way too much.
As many posters have said, strangers talk to each other, sometimes with sleezy intent, but by and large it makes the world a friendlier place.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:12:01

op you're still supposing sinister content and somewhat making loose associations
IMO,nothing sinister in what the man said to you
if you feel spooked by mere proximity of 3males only one if whom made comment, well that's peculiar

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:13:03

Based on my experience, I've found men make comments to random women on the street a lot more than men make a comment to random men.

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Sun 02-Dec-12 17:14:45

There's a man who walks his dog around my area. When he sees me he shouts "hi love" if he's on the other side of the road and waves. I wave back. There's nothing sinister or creepy about it.

The 'did you see that" comment is nothing. He slipped and asked if you saw it. I'd have laughed. It's not like he shouted "get ya tits out".

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 17:17:03

No, there's nothing sinister about someone you see every day talking to you and I doubt that's what anyone on this thread is saying.

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Sun 02-Dec-12 17:18:31

I dont know the man. When he first ever said it I didn't find anything dodgy about it either.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 17:19:41

That's interesting, SP . What's your point?

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 17:20:01

Holla, I have seen this argument made before, that men "feel" they are "entitled" to talk to women and this is some kind of harassment. Wolf whistles, leering, making public comments, about how you look, what you are wearing, what they think about you are all harassment. Not acceptable, just like racist or homophobic behaviour language would be.

I cannot see though that a bloke saying "Hello Love" from across the other side of the street, not followed by "get your baps out for the lads" is harassment".

Enimmead, I get what you mean by the three blokes, but not that the comment which was made would worry you. Why would he not take the opportunity to embaress even further his friend who fell. It was not an invitation to talk about the Israel Palestine situation it was just a quick reply that was called for. I worry that young people, boys and girls are becoming more demonised so that even when they try and engage people with just a throw away comment it is seen as a threat. Women should be able to walk where and when they want, but fear of others is also keeping both generations and sexes apart.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:21:18

Trust me - when I "used to be male", I can not recall a time a bloke in the street made any kind of comment to me. Not a hi or anything like that.

But since transitioning, I have really noticed how men do make comments at random now to me. Just when I pass them. Not even trying to make conversation. Just a Hi. Or Hello, flower like I got last week.

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Sun 02-Dec-12 17:23:25

My point is there's nothing sinister about a man saying hi or making a comment about falling on the ice. Just as if it was a woman saying it.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 17:26:32

I'm not sure anyone's arguing that it's sinister and or threatening.

They're mostly arguing that a. it happens and b. it's annoying for some.

I'm mostly interested in the pure fact that it happens. Men talk to women in the street, where women don't generally talk to men or other women, and men don't talk to other men.

Fair enough if you either a. don't agree that that's the case or b. find nothing interesting about the fact that it does. That's fine. But there's no point in trying to argue that anyone's saying they find it sinister.

Great, you like people talking to you in the street. Personally I find it annoying. Both views are fine and both are equally valid. I resent being made out to be some sort of anti-social weirdo for not wanting to talk to people I don't know.

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:28:20

I agree with the op and Esme. It is so very obvious when men are doing it be arseholes. Shouting "hello love" from the other side of the street is part of street harassment. The fact that male posters don't understand that it can be intimidating for that to happen to women is the problem.

Men don't experience anywhere near the street harassment women do. Some of you may want to read up about Hollaback

Also, stereotypes based on nationality are offensive.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:30:24

"I'm mostly interested in the pure fact that it happens. Men talk to women in the street, where women don't generally talk to men or other women, and men don't talk to other men"

I don't even think it's talk. It's comments. Not expecting conversation. And it is based on my experience men doing it to women.

Men just don't make comments or even say hi to random men walking down the street.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 17:35:30

Can I ask why you personally dont like it.
You dont find it sinister or threatening.
Presumably you dont feel nicer for the encounter afterwards?

You do say it takes up your time
And you do say they are "judging your worth".

Am I right in thinking you think they are looking and talking to you like a piece of meat? Or have I got that wrong?

You dont have to answer that if you dont want to.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 17:36:20

My post was to FromEsme, but anyone can answer.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:41:48

But why is it that men don't do it to other men?

Yes - they might have conversations in certain situations but men do not make random comments to other men on the street.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 17:46:23

I would imagine that men find us women on the whole, softer than other men, less frightening.
Most men find other men, especially men larger than them, intimidating.

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:49:32

So they do it to women because they find us less threatening?

Do you not see the problem with that?

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 17:51:12

Kim several posters to this thread have said men do. I would go further and say that they should and I encourage people to talk to other people in the street, shop, pub, everywhere.

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:53:12

It's normal in parts of the US for people to talk to one another in the street. The only time i've had random men speak to me in the UK in the street has been for the purpose of being rude and aggressive.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:53:14

leith There is a difference between striking up a conversation in the pub and a random comment walking down the street.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:55:21

And maybe it is harmless but it does seem to be "one way" . It's just something that I have really noticed.

TeiTetua Sun 02-Dec-12 17:58:28

I think HollaAtMeBaby (that name??) is saying it right:

This drives me crazy. I feel like a lot of men feel entitled to talk to/disturb/harass any woman they see. It's a subtle way of reminding us who has the power.

It's bullying, sexual harassment. Even if it stays in the limits of more or less polite communication, it's a demonstration that a woman has no right to be left alone.

On the other hand, if you meet a stranger (anyone) on a lonely mountain top, you are required to exchange a few words. In the city, no.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Dec-12 18:00:22

I don't really get what the big deal with being spoken to by men is. Normal behaviour surely?

perplexedpirate Sun 02-Dec-12 18:05:47

Oh dear. I'm always talking to people in the street. Men, women, small children, dogs if they'll stay still long enough...
I thought I was being sociable but obviously I'm just creeping folk out. I shall cease and desist forthwith. sadblush

piprabbit Sun 02-Dec-12 18:08:52

I've been out with DH when other men have made random comments to him. Often about sport (either based on some big current event or thinking DH supports a team or assuming the DH is South African). It's fine. DH makes a random comment back, they laugh and everyone goes on their way.
The fact that DH isn't interested in support, doesn't have a team and isn't South African has never prevented a friendly exchange.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 18:09:09

Would you say hi love to a complete stranger on the other side of the road?

piprabbit Sun 02-Dec-12 18:09:54

Isn't interested in sport blush sorry.

evilgiraffe Sun 02-Dec-12 18:16:04

I speak to - and am spoken to - by men and women alike. It has never bothered me. I find I'm more likely to have someone speak to me if I'm in a good mood and smiley - people talk to people who look friendly. I was on my own chatting to some tourists in a book shop the other day (grandad, dad, and three small boys) - it was nice, not weird in the slightest.

In what universe is conversation peculiar or threatening? I don't understand the OP at all. Life is much more pleasant if you assume people are being friendly, which is almost always the case.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 18:30:50

WithTheDude post 17.49pm.
No, I cant see the problem. You may need to elaborate.
Yes, if a man was being rude or aggressive.
But in the ops example, the man was not being rude or aggressive.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 18:32:21

TeiTetua. You dont think that the ops example was bullying or sexual harassment do you?

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 18:37:42

Teitetua. Another question if you dont mind.
I sometimes talk randomly to men on the street, in a train, bus , shop, whereever. Would that mean I then have some power over them?

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 18:47:04

Kim I would not use the word "love" in any form of greeting. The fact that some people not just men do this I have always seen as patronising. I acknowledge though that in parts of the uk it seems to be a very fixed part of local dialect which again both men and women employ equally. To know that it is meant as a sexist or sexual remark means assuming that this is the way it is intended every time it is used.

In Scotland we have the term "Hen" that used to be used a lot and in fact can still be found in some places as a form of address of exclusively females. In fact one of our most cherished Scottish icons, the "Sunday Post" has a cartoon strip that still uses the phrase. I would imagine this would drive most women wild, and I never use it for that reason. But it is an example of local dialect that could be argued as nothing more than a respectful way of addressing someone. www.dsl.ac.uk/

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 18:49:44

Jeez,are you lot still arguing about a guy who slipped on the fucking ice.

I would have laughed out load.

The young man was not being a sexist twat,just making a jokey aside to a passing person.

Say hello to the next person you pass in the street,you may make their day.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 18:52:14

And so fucking what if someone says 'hi love'.

Just so what.

At least they're being friendly.

Talk about making the world a miserable place.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 18:57:03

And I suppose your wee rant there has made the world a LESS miserable place, eh?

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 19:02:37

Bore on Esme.

You've been at it all day.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:02:39

My point is that men do not seem to make a comment at random to a bloke they see in the street. Not a friendly hi or anything like that. They just walk down the street.

But I have really noticed since transitioning how many more innocuous friendly hi comments I get as I pass men. Not meant in a taking the piss kind of way but just a hi love etc that I did not get before.

And I don't get the same "hi" from women I pass. Just from men.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 19:08:14

It is a wonder some people dare open their mouths! A bit of friendly banter cheers up the day.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 19:11:22

Kim,i say hello to men and women if i pass them in the street,not in a busy street,but on the street no less.
Maybe if you said hello to passers by then they would be friendly back to others if not to you personally.

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 19:15:34

'Hen' isn't a mark of respect. It's dialect but not as a mark of respect.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 19:16:21

One of the advantages of getting older is that I can talk to anyone without anything being read into it.

See now I live in't country. Way up north in the chillyness that is Scotland.
If I were walking down my road and a man going the other way didn't say hello I'd think he was odd! He would say hi aye to my dh too not just to a woman!
So maybe it depends on where you live!

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 02-Dec-12 19:19:58

"My point is that men do not seem to make a comment at random to a bloke they see in the street. Not a friendly hi or anything like that. They just walk down the street."

And yet men have come on here and said that they do talk to other men that they don't know on the street.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:20:08

I wouldn't deny it's quite nice for me to get comments like "Hi, love" as I pass a bloke smile

But it's not something that ever happened to "the old me".

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:20:38

Difference between talking and a comment.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 02-Dec-12 19:24:02

Where I come from you are either "darling", "love", "sweetheart", "lass" or "boy".

Some posters on here would have a field day if they ever went there.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 19:25:19

The hen thing I agree as I said could be seen or heard even as being less than friendly, however it is all in the context abit like using the word love. Sisters and mothers I have heard saying hen to each other, as well as father to daughter.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:26:43

As I'm sure some of you know, I'm MTF trans. I have noticed a big difference in the way I am treated by men at a distance (before I open my big mouth) compared to the way I was treated before.

And random comments / compliments or greetings on the street by men is one of them. None of them to do with being trans.

MMMarmite Sun 02-Dec-12 19:27:01

Kim that's very interesting. Why do you think it is? Are they trying to chat you up now, are they more intimidated by men than by women, or something else?

When I went travelling alone, I struck up many many conversations with strangers on public transport, at tourist places and so on, because strangers were the only people to talk to! In those situations I thought (although have no evidence to compare it to) that being a woman worked to my advantage, because people of all genders were happy to chat back to me and didn't seem intimidated, as they might have been if randomly chatted to by a man.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 19:28:20

In fact I have just remembered my dad would say to my sister "c'mon hen away and get yer coat on and we will get tae the miners club for the first bingo."

MMMarmite Sun 02-Dec-12 19:31:58

Well, I think one conclusion from this thread is that the geographical variation dwarfs the gender variation.

TiggyD Sun 02-Dec-12 19:32:52

"So they do it to women because they find us less threatening?"

Mostly this ^ I think.
As a young gentleman I didn't get man hellos. During the time I had long hair and wore a leather jacket I got no hellos and people would stand on the train rather than sit next to me. The older, and possibly less threatening I get, the more casual greetings/remarks I get.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 19:33:08

I didn't know that Kim.

Makes no difference anyway.smile

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 19:35:39

Long hair and leathers might be seen as a bit scary Tiggy.

madwomanintheattic Sun 02-Dec-12 19:36:15

Last winter, I slipped on a slight incline as the snow I was walking on (carrying a huge open box of small paint brushes, Christmas decorations and my car keys) had sheet ice underneath it.

I did a full-on comedy banana skin routine, ending up with both legs shooting out in front of me, the box heading skywards as my arms windmilled, and I landed unceremoniously bang splat on my arse, with paintbrushes raining down around me.

I scrambled to my feet as my fast as the ice and general deshabille would allow, and called out to the poor bloke shoveling his drive over the road (who I do not know from Adam) 'oh, my god. Did you see that?'

Was I in some way harassing him?

I talk to complete strangers in the street all the time. And they talk to me. Men and women.

Talking. Momentary links with strangers in an isolated world. I think it's necessary for the soul.

I've been groped in the street by a random. That was harassment. I'm dead against random gropers, me. People that talk to me? Yay. More of it, please.

<for ease of reference, I'm the wrong side of 40, size 18, with three kids, and a desperation about the ills of modern society. I do not include talking to strangers to be one them, whether a penis is involved or not>

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 19:40:46



inde Sun 02-Dec-12 19:41:04

Slightly off topic but has anybody else noticed that women invariably smile if they catch another woman's eye but we men rarely do. It's something a female friend commented on recently and I've noticed she is right. If I do smile under those circumstances then it would be to a woman and not another man.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 19:41:51

Likewise AllTheYoungDudes

Last time I checked, it is a chat forum, for people to chat on. No-one's forcing you to talk to me if you find me so dull.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:44:37

I'm not sure why men do not make random comments in the street to other men. I would say "hi" possibly to someone walking down the street and smile, but "Hi, love" just seems to add something that is not needed. I've never said love to anyone in my life, despite years of being up North. Nor called a random stranger sweetheart or petal.

And like I said, it was very rare for me to receive such comments in my old life. But it's much more common now. But only from men.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:53:10

inde, yes men expect women to be pleasing and smile an din fact often say - cheer up love if you choose not to smile. The weak smile to the powerful. There are a lot of sexism issues in the smiling thing.

Men make comments to women because they want to chat them up. I don't know how anyone on this thread can suggest it's gender neutral. It's not gender neutral at all.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 02-Dec-12 19:55:05

Evening all

inde Sun 02-Dec-12 19:57:03

I think you misread my post Xenia. I was not talking about men expecting women to smile. As I said I don't tend to smile to any strangers but I have noticed that my wife smiles at other women all the time. Should I be worried. smile

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 19:57:15

You sound like a well balanced person Esme,with a chip on both shoulders.

Henceforth i shall ignore you,as you can me.

And we'll all go about the world pretending we can't see each other.

Sounds happy doesn't it? smile

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:59:02

There is certainly a lot of feminist thought about the obligation on women to smile which is not required of men. Also it is a status thing. Everyone will smile at Prince Charles on an official visit even men.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 19:59:59

Sorry Livvy ducky.

Nice evening. smile

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:02:19

I don't remember any women ever saying to me "Hi love" just as I was walking down the street in my male days. Sometimes a hello, but not very often.

Or asking me to smile or cheer up.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 20:02:28

AllTheYoungDudes, FromEsme has a different perspective to you.
We all come from different perspectives,and I dont see any reason why we cannot discuss this thread without personal insults.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 20:02:44

Will they Xenia?

I don't know prince Charles so i wouldn't go out of my way to speak to him.

But i might nod in passing....or even say hello.

inde Sun 02-Dec-12 20:04:33

There is certainly a lot of feminist thought about the obligation on women to smile which is not required of men. Also it is a status thing. Everyone will smile at Prince Charles on an official visit even men.

Again though I was pointing out that women seem to smile at each other. My friend pointed out that women smile at each other but men don't tend to smile at each other or to women they don't know for that matter. She never mentioned that men expect women to smile and it comes as a complete surprise to me that anyone does..

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 20:05:25

See, I can say to Xenia, that I think she is talking a load of rubbish on this occasion without insulting her!
Xenia, as I and others mentioned upthread, I talk to random men frequently.
Surely, when I do that, I am not upstaging then, am I?

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 20:06:13


Being pleasant doesn't hurt anyone.

Saying hello or making a remark isn't a threat or a come on.

Just passing the day.

ThatDudeSanta Sun 02-Dec-12 20:07:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 20:08:45

Me too Dude.

You Bastard. smile

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 20:09:37

Cripes,you are a bastard aren't you? smile

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 20:13:32


I reckon Ezzers can fight her own corner don't you lovey?

Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 20:13:43

Oh, I get all kinds of people talking to me. Always have had - think I just must have one of those faces. I can remember going shopping one time with my mum and at one point she just looked at me in amazement and said "Have you noticed how many people talk to you?" It happens everywhere - in pubs (happened in a pub today in fact - an old boy chatting on about Yorkshires), in shops, on the street, at bus-stops, on trains, all over the place. It tends to be mostly young people or old people, hardly ever middle-aged people. But it's definitely women as well as men. Maybe they just recognise a fellow-traveller.

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 20:15:41

thatdude - there is a difference as has been pointed out - between perfectly normal conversation between strangers - and someone making a comment as you walk down the street.

People on here seem to be implying that just because you don't like men (and it is men) making comments - even though they seem friendly - as you pass them in the street means that you are some completely anti-social person who won't talk to anyone.

I do talk to people and make conversation. I do not make random comments to men or women as they pass me except for a possible hi. But not from across the street. I am sure a man would not say "Hi mate" to another man from across the street. But "hi love" or "hi sweetheart" is something I do not really like as I pass someone who maybe in their garden.

But I do make conversation with people.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 20:16:28

amillionyears honestly, people throwing personal insults doesn't really bother me. It just shows them up, not me.

As happens so often with any feminist discussion, people just revert to mocking, kind of bored of it now. Sure, you can have a different perspective without insinuating that there's something wrong with the other person. I can fully understand that some people like that level of contact. That's fine for them and I would never think to tell them they were wrong for liking it. I, on the other hand, don't. So, not sure why that's so wrong and why people are resorting to insinuating there's something wrong me.

Even if I DID like it, I'd still be interested in the fact that men speak more to women than they do to other men in the street. I am interested in that sort of stuff.

amillionyears I don't like people talking to me for a whole variety of reasons. I wouldn't say it's to do with feeling like a piece of meat exactly. It's hard to explain and I have been working all day, so can't really get into it.

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 20:18:08

AllTheYoungDudes I prefer "Frommers" actually, lovey.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:19:09

I find it astonishing that so many people on this thread have not been subjected to random uncalled for comments from men who are trying to chat them up. It is how it is. I am not massively bothered by it but it is something women are subjected to the world over. Now in Egypt (?) they have had to put on special women only train carriages to stop male gropers. But to suggest that the issue does not exist seems weird to me. Obviously if you're 30 stone or 60 the problem presumably dissipates.

TiggyD Sun 02-Dec-12 20:19:52

Is it me or do the people at MNHQ seem to spend all their time coughing on threads now?
Is there some kind of disease going round HQ?

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 02-Dec-12 20:22:03


Is it me or do the people at MNHQ seem to spend all their time coughing on threads now?
Is there some kind of disease going round HQ?

I do actually feel a little fluey - which I could SO do without.

I was rather clearing my throat to ask folk to behave.
Thanks awfullly

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 20:23:21

Xenia, why cant a random man talk to you?
What do you not like about it?

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 20:23:35

A good job that you don't live in places that you get called 'duck' , 'pet' or 'my lover' etc!

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 20:24:34

btw, we are not talking about groping on this thread.

Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 20:25:06

Oh God I've certainly had unwelcome come-ons from men, both in this country and in loads of others. Everything from grabbing me, rubbing up against me, making really really lewd comments to me and (in one memorable incident) following me home, ringing my doorbell and then standing the doorway, knob out.

That is quite different to the passing the time of day type of comments and attempts at conversation though.

ThatDudeSanta Sun 02-Dec-12 20:25:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:25:37

"Xenia, why cant a random man talk to you?"

It's not talk - it's making a comment as you pass.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 02-Dec-12 20:26:38

"Well, I think one conclusion from this thread is that the geographical variation dwarfs the gender variation."

This certainly matches my moves from north to south of teh country.

"Men make comments to women because they want to chat them up."

Thats a rather large generalisation. Unless you know all men and there reasons for talking to women.

Back2Two Sun 02-Dec-12 20:26:57

I love feeling free to speak to strangers. Often it makes my day and I hope it might make their day when I say something in passing.

I understand that overt sexual insults or comments are beyond question offensive and intimidating. Or just plain wrong.

But, is it SO wrong for a man to speak to a woman because he does think she looks nice? I mean ...is that really criminal, abusive, asserting power and degrading women? And maybe men just chat to women a bit because it's banter. Because men are male and women are female and we are animals and animals have rituals around communication with the opposite sex and generally the male likes to try to impress the female with his bright feathers and lovely songs blah blah

Or, maybe it's just a random man being totally normal and talking. Outrageous..

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 20:27:12

"I do get that men make intimidating and unwanted comments to women, but the comment from the bloke in the OP wasn't. "

It's being called love by a complete stranger. I don't like it. Or being called sweetheart.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 02-Dec-12 20:27:28

Olivia did you just LOL?

Have you got a temperature? Are you feeling giddy ::headtilt::?

SomeTiggyPudding Sun 02-Dec-12 20:30:09

Get well soon Olivia.

But if you do snuff it can I have that blue background you use when you post?

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 20:30:34

It's just a word ime eninmead.

Not rude,just a word.

What if he'd said 'Hi bitch,did you see that!!'

Now that would have been rude.

But 'Hi love' isn't rude.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 20:30:43

enimead, can you describe why?
Do you feel like a piece of meat?

AllTheYoungDudes Sun 02-Dec-12 20:33:42

enimmead,you could have said to the young man whose friend slipped on the ice.

'please don't call me 'love',i don't like it'

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 20:36:08

From a woman, it's fine. In shops or things like that, it's fine.

But it just seems wrong from a man on the street. Love and sweetheart. It's a term that I think from a man should be between him and his partner. Not a comment made to some woman he sees on the street.

That's just me. I'm no bloke's love or sweetheart. And it is men who say it as I pass them.

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 20:38:11

"enimmead,you could have said to the young man whose friend slipped on the ice."

And get involved in an argument about sexism with 4 20 year old blokes?

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 20:39:56

ok.I sort of see where you are coming from.
That they are being too personal with you.

fwiw, they probably use different vocabularly to their girlfriends or nearest and dearest.

Nagoo Sun 02-Dec-12 20:43:37

Kim, please forgive me, but I have a question about people speaking more to you as a woman than a man; do you think that people speak to you more because you are happier in yourself, more open etc?

As a general point, maybe women are expected to smile and be nice, more than men. But you if you expect someone to be sour and unresponsive then you wouldn't bother speaking to them. People look to connect with a friendly face. In the OP I certainly don't think it was about power or dominance. The bloke was laughing and wanted someone to connect with the joke. Maybe if the OP had been a man he would have held back because he might perceive a man to be less friendly for whatever reason. Those reasons could equally be about power and dominance.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:46:25

nagoo It's not speaking more. It's making comments as I pass. Trust me, I get a lot more men saying hi, hi love etc than I got before. Men are just a lot more friendlier (if that's the right word) to women in the streets.

It has definitely been an eye opener. Lots of things have actually. smile

Nagoo Sun 02-Dec-12 20:49:20

The 'love' thing is about intent isn't it? So the woman in superdrug who says it to every customer isn't intending to cause offence or demean or whatever. You probably wouldn't be offended by her because you aren't threatened by her.

The man shouting it makes you respondin a different way, but his intent would be no more insidious that the woman in the shop. It's how you percieve him that is different.

You saw it was disrespectful, and it might have been, but I would like to think that he was just excited and wanted to connect with someone as a human, albeit in a clumsy way.

Nagoo Sun 02-Dec-12 20:51:51

I am going to completely undermine my own argument now, because when you said that, I had a flashback to the brief period of time that I was blonde.

I couldn't stand it.

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:55:29

nagoo - I'm blondish, slim and long hair. I just smile rather than say anything as that might spoil any illiusion they might have. As I pass quickly.

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:02:53

I think its also how much sexual harassment one has experienced in the past that can change how one reacts to it in the present. And, you can usually tell between an elderly man saying 'hello love' when you walk past him into the store. I don't like it but he's not being offensive. Thing is a lot of men use it to be offensive and intimidate women.

The assumption that women have to respond politely to every random man in the street makes it harder for women to get away from men who are trying to intimidate. Women are socialised to be nice all the time so when we react not-nicely, even to quite a credible threat, we are told we are overreacting. Women are never told to trust their instincts. And, men who think they are nice have absolutely no idea about the personal experience of the woman they are talking to and immediately assume a woman who walks away or shouts is being a bitch for the sake of being a bitch. They never think that actually that woman, that complete strange who you said "hi love" too was a victim of sexualised violence whose rapist used that exact phrase.

Men don't get just how intimidating it can be to be approached on a road by a strange man.

And, frankly, any man yelling hi love across the street at me, I would assume was a complete pillock because in no universe is that polite behaviour.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 02-Dec-12 21:11:28

YY WithTheDude.

madwomanintheattic Sun 02-Dec-12 21:14:12

I'm in two minds about 'love' and 'sweetheart' tbh. Most folk (men and women) use it as a shorthand for 'you there in the blue shirt that I do not know your name'. I don't like it used in a deliberately patronisingor phwoary manner, but these are few and far between.

I appear to have got into the habit of calling everyone 'my darling', or 'lovely'.

It's very odd, and I can only assume it crept on with age, as it's just an exhibition of general goodwill, rather than me wanting to belittle or fuck everyone.

madwomanintheattic Sun 02-Dec-12 21:14:44

<it's non gender specific. I call everyone 'my lovely'.>

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:18:51

I call people I know who are friends "my lovely". I wouldn't say it to a stranger.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:21:49

I call people 'love' or 'sweetheart' a lot. Where I grew up people call you 'pet' and I like that a lot. It isn't gender-specific. I do agree there are plenty of non-gender-specific ways of talking to strangers that are perfectly polite and nice.

But there are also, unfortunately, plenty of gender-specific wankerish ways of speaking to strangers, IME, and I really don't think many people would be confused about the difference if faced with real examples on the street.

I have noticed that, as a youngish woman, if I call a man from round here 'sweetheart' he will often react slightly oddly. The same men will happily call me 'love', but they don't expect it back from women. I'm not sure they find it offensive (I hope not because it is more or less reflex for me), but I do notice it and find it quite interesting. I wonder if it makes them think about what they're habitually calling me?

Try it sometime: go into a busy pub, or a shop, and try to get a bloke's attention by calling him sweetheart or darling, and see how many times the bloke in question twitches a little bit, or starts trying to see if you were chatting him up.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 21:22:47

Chatting is totally different from what many of us mean on the thread.
For example (and this was a rare night) last week I was on the train into London. I was reading the FT, not many people on train. The man opposite said - I love your boots. In fact (and you can all laugh at this) at first I thought he had said I love your boobs. So you think - ah nutters on the train, the trains are full of them so you ignore it. I suppose I looked up.I wasn't really in the mood to chat and obviously. it was chatting up. He was reasonably sane, posh but longish blondish hair, we exchanged a few sentences. He got off 2 stops on. So that didn't feel too intimidating but it certainly wasn't just friendly chat.

Same night I walked about for 3 minutes from a hotel reception to the tube in London and first 2 Asian youths moved a bit closer and started talking and it wasn't friendly chatter, they were a bit drunk (this of course will teach me to wear high heels.. laughing... ) and before they had even finished their comments which I cannot quite remember but was certainly not a friendly chat in the street a 30 stone arab man who may have had mental health issues moved slightly closer to me pushing his hips out and rubbing his penis on the outside of his trousers toward me - about 5 feet away. I walked on quickly, left all 3 men behind and got back to my newspapers on the train. I didn't feel scared but it was one evening and it was 4 different men and it was nothing to do with friendly chatter. It was all to do about sex or power. I am not overly PC and I like men but it is definitely a feminist issue and men are not subjected to this. They may be more at risk of being stabbed of course and perhaps that is worse.

AnnoyedAtWork Sun 02-Dec-12 21:25:08

Really fucking hate it. It is all about power. Men trying to intimidate women.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:38:09

xenia2012, please don't take this the wrong way, but your name is very, very similar to a long-term poster, did you know that?! I'm assuming you're new but forgive me if I am wrong.

A man saying hi isn't intimidating

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 21:43:59

re boots. See, I would have said, "yes I like them too. I bought them in xxx" or something like that.
And then seen what he had to say. But I always wear my engagement ring and wedding when out and about, so no doubt that I am married.
So, I suppose, thinking about it, everything may be different for a single woman.

yes, 2nd paragraph, totally different. But not what we were talking about on this thread.

LapsusLinguae Sun 02-Dec-12 21:44:18

LRD - I think she's done an 'Xmas' namechange? confused

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:45:21

Ah, ok. confused

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 21:45:22

LRD, this has to be the same poster. She posts the same.
But I am very surprised to see the slight name change. I thought she would never change.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:45:57

amillion - I wear my wedding ring, I can't say it's made a blind bit of difference. But maybe you meet more observant men than me.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:46:39

Sorry, it didn't even occur to me it was the same poster. Obviously I didn't read carefully enough. I just assumed a newbie who'd registered in 2012.

I am rubbish at similar names.

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:53:35

Wearing a wedding ring has nothing to do with it.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:54:43

It's just occured to me 'a blind bit' is probably a phrase I shouldn't use. Sorry. blush

FromEsme Sun 02-Dec-12 22:02:00

SP to you a man saying hi isn't intimidating. Nor me. Not the case for everyone, unfortunately.

I don't think a man saying hi was ever the issue though.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 22:12:13

See thats why conversations like this are so much about perceived slights and not about anything near as dire as people make out.

Blind people, people with visual impairments, disabled people in general, the majority of those that care for all those people could not, will not, and would piss themselves silly laughing at the thought that they would ever be offended by that statement LRD, in the scale of things its not even on the radar. Just like all this huffing and puffing because some women see a slight or a power play in every day activities. You want power play try going out and have people talk to anyone BUT you thats power.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 22:14:36

leith, do you mind not talking for everyone else? You may not take offence but there's no need to be rude because I'm concerned I might have upset someone.

What an arrogant attitude you have - you're calling other people's (legitimate) feelings 'huffing and puffing' and 'perceived slights', but (with no apparent sense of irony), you're saying it's terrible when you get ignored.

Why do you deserve such special treatment, may I ask?

WithTheDude Sun 02-Dec-12 22:16:07

Except for the fact that sexual harassment and sexualised violence are very real experiences for many women who find these types of comments intimidating.

It really is depressing listening to men mansplain away women's very real thoughts as irrelevant.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 22:22:17

LRD, not sure if you think you may have upset me. You certainly havent. smile

madwomanintheattic Sun 02-Dec-12 22:24:28

Xenia, yes,. Chatting is different. But the op was just a comment made by a bloke who'd embarrassed himself. He wasn't being patronising, chatting the op up, or anything derogatory. And she was offended at the fact he had had the temerity to speak to her.

So, it could be said that the thread isn't what the op was talking about... grin

I dunno, tbh. I think she tries to post the same way as Xenia. grin the fact that a namechange is involved makes me question the authenticity a bit, lol.

It's a bit like the BBC deciding to rebrand. Unlikely...

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 22:24:53

I'm glad of that. smile

I didn't have any particular poster in mind, I just realized this is a phrase I would rather not use, and I felt bad about having used it, so thought best to acknowledge that.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 22:31:08

OP was a bit different than chatting up. I tripped and fell into a hedge- felt a real fool (but not hurt) and felt constrained to say something to the passerby who happened to be a teenage boy. I'm sure that had I slipped on ice I would have made a passing comment to whoever was passing, regardless of gender and age- and wouldn't have imagined they would be on an Internet forum saying that the world would be a better place if everyone kept their comments to themselves!

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 22:33:43

Or maybe it is just young men who can't make comments- as a middle aged woman perhaps it is allowed?

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 22:37:13

But no-one is saying the world would be a better place if everyone kept their comments to themselves, are they? That's just a made-up argument because you don't like the one that's actually being put forward.

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 22:40:21

But I bring you back to the OP. It's one of many comments that are made to me predominantly by men.

He had his mates who he'd talked to. Maybe he was just trying to be friendly. But I honestly do not think he'd have said anything to me if I'd been a bloke. Why? I'd have just got out the car and carried on.

He probably was just trying to be friendly. But it's just one example of many when random men just make comments out of the blue in the street to me that women just don't do.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 22:42:54

OP doesn't like the fact she was spoken to by a stranger. I can't see why we can't speak to strangers- he seemed perfectly friendly to me - it was a simple one off comment. Was I terrifically rude because I made a comment to a young lad when I fell in a hedge?

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 22:45:11

I do make random comments- I didn't realise, before today,that I was supposed to know people, had to worry about gender and age and if I had friends with me it was taboo because I could have spoken to them!

enimmead Sun 02-Dec-12 22:45:30

exotic I did not like being called love by a 20 year old bloke.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 22:45:37

We can speak to strangers. hmm

The OP didn't like the fact she reckons men speak to women in a way women don't speak to men or other women, and she didn't feel comfortable with it.

Lots of other women have explained they've also felt uncomfortable with gendered interactions like this; lots of other women have said no, they don't get it and don't care.

I don't see anyone saying 'let's not bother talking to strangers, ever', so it's a bit sly to pretend that argument is being made.

CaseyShraeger Sun 02-Dec-12 22:45:52

I slipped over in the park today, then got up and made a flippant self-deprecating remark to a stranger who was passing and would have seen the fall. I'm female, he (as it happens) was male. I'd have said exactly the same if he'd been female.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 22:50:50

It doesn't bother me.

madwomanintheattic Sun 02-Dec-12 23:57:14

So women don't talk to you in the street.

I wonder why not? They talk to me, and I talk to them.

Genuinely interested. In that sort of non sexually charged or patronising way, I wonder why women don't talk to you? Do you think it's to do with them, or you?

Are you giving off a 'don't fuck with me' air that men feel free to ride roughshod over in an ice breaking way, because they have been brought up to be braver?

I probably, on the whole, have more women that chat to me out of the blue in the street than men. One woman I could barely get rid of - I was in the queue at the grocery store, and by the time I had paid I knew where both she and her dh were from, when they were planning to go back and visit, how long they have lived here, and what she was going to have for dinner that night. Oh, and a couple of new websites for recipes.

So, I don't know. It must be something more personal, I think. My experience as a woman doesn't tally with yours in a 'just chatting or commenting' way. It does with the patronising and sexually inappropriate sit, but I see them as completely and utterly different.

If anything, I think men are far less likely to make a random comment or chat to a woman in the street for fear of being seen as a potential attacker.

FromEsme Mon 03-Dec-12 00:06:23

So now it's our fault if women don't talk to us?! Because we're obviously cold, awful harpies?

Give me a break.

madwomanintheattic Mon 03-Dec-12 01:31:21

Partly facetious, my lovely... wink

But just pointing out that some women get loads of other women talking to them, so the op's experience isn't universal. grin

MoleyMick Mon 03-Dec-12 03:48:25

I am in Australia, so that might account for a difference, but in my experience, men talk to men in the street as well as women, and women talk to both sexes too. It's just that men will say "g'day mate" to men and "g'day darl" to women. If i am with my kids, they'll say hello to the kids too, and if DH is out with them, he comes back saying some bloke at the park or shops or whatever chatted to them. It's nice. I don't see the problem. Even if you are a bit preoccupied and it interrupts you, surely it only takes seconds out of your life? It's never occurred to me to think anything of it!

WhoWhatWhereWhen Mon 03-Dec-12 04:31:04

I chat to other men all the time, It's a good way of getting to know if they want to shag me, some do some don't, I enjoy the chat either way

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 06:48:23

I wonder what age you are allowed to be call someone love? If not at 20 is it allowed by 40yrs? Do they have to be older than you? Is it allowed if they are a woman? I don't call people love etc but lots do- it is fairly harmless and not something to brood about.
He fell over, made a comment, you didn't even have to reply!
When I fell in the hedge and made a comment to the teenage boy he just gave an embarrassed smile and probably thought I was 'a mad old bat' but it doesn't mean that I can't make remarks to random people! I don't need to size them up for age and gender first!

Nagoo Mon 03-Dec-12 07:42:56

It's a good way of getting to know if they want to shag me

you might be talking about other men here, but basically that's making it explicit that when men talk to us, there is an element of sexual predation about it.

The way that makes us feel is directly dependent on how safe we feel at the time.

enimmead Mon 03-Dec-12 07:49:23

madwoman So women don't talk to you in the street.

I wonder why not? They talk to me, and I talk to them.

FFS - can't some people on here read? I am talking about making one off comments. Not talking. Walking down the street and some bloke saying "Hi, love" or "Hi sweetheart" as I walk past. Waking past a bunch of blokes and one of them saying "Hi, Love" - which is not what would happen if I walked past a group of woman.

And if a bloke walked past a group of blokes, would one of them say "Hi, mate" as they walked past? I don't think so.

Leithlurker Mon 03-Dec-12 07:57:53

LRD I can and will make sweeping statements as this whole thread has been about sweeping statements, you are seriously telling me that disabled people will be offended by you using an every day phrase which we know relates to non disables language.

Just in case you worry yourself to sleep, those that use wheelchairs still go for a walk, and those that are deaf still listen to music.

Now manplanning god forbade, but I am a man, check, I know more about this issue of unwanted and unwarranted speech from both personal and theoretical perspectives. I have been attack, abused, laughed at, spat on, pointed to, and ridiculed. I have even been sexually assaulted in a pub by a stranger, I still speak to strangers and welcome being spoken to by strangers. Ah but yes I know I am privileged,

so if you don't fucking mind keep your stupid comments and feministplanning to yourself, try and be human not a collection of ideal and political dogma.

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 08:31:27

I shall just continue to make random comments and if people don't want to be spoken to that is their problem-they are perfectly free to look straight through me and ignore. If they want to call me 'love', 'duck', 'hen' etc they can-without having to be a certain age or sex! (I don't use it myself and don't particularly like it, but I am not going to think-he is 20yrs he can't say it but the 70yr old can!!)

Leithlurker Mon 03-Dec-12 09:02:06


Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 10:02:22

There is a huge difference between being friendly to people as a lot of us are, when out and about and what many women are subjected to on a daily basis by men. The latter is an issue women all over the world have to deal with from sexual assaults on trains - not so common here as in Japan, Egypt and other places to general leering and the types of comments I described from the other night. It is a much bigger problem for women than men.

General it is not wise to go put to them jabbing a nose in their face saying - oy mate stop it nor to go back to them with something similar or say small penis because of the difference in relative strengths nor is it wise to carry a knife and threaten them with it. I suppose you could try to record it all and post it on line.

(I am I)

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 10:07:27

Slipping on the ice and making a comment is perfectly acceptable-even if you are 20yrs and male. It is a bit unfair if I can do it as a middle aged female and he can't!

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 10:10:21

Xenia2012. You dont seem quite yourself.
Are you feeling ok?

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 10:13:30

For the record, if someone said Hi love to me across the street, I would smile back and or wave., unless it was dark or he/they appeared drunk.
So even if they were meaning it rudely, I should hopefully have burst their bubble, and made them feel nicer at the same time.

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 10:14:13

By someone, I meant a man of any age.

I often chat to people in the street, or instigate a brief exchange (Everyone is 'duck' around here, male or female, and the traditional greeting goes this: Ay up, duck). I have never had random comments thrown at me of the 'Hi love' variety, unless it is going to be followed up with 'Do you know where X street is?' or similar. Maybe it depends where you live? <muses>

WithTheDude Mon 03-Dec-12 10:32:54

Do you know, I genuinely don't give a shit about whether or not some arsehole whose clearly shouting across the street at me in an abusive manner feels nicer about themselves.

It's some serious internalised misogyny to even say that.

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 10:49:47

misogyny is hatred of women?

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 10:52:14

Sometimes people do horrid things to each other, because they feel unloved themselves.
Sometimes they will stop doing those things if they are loved.

WithTheDude Mon 03-Dec-12 10:58:23

And, you've just made it women's responsibility to fix it for complete strangers.

With no thought to how it might effect individual women.

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 11:05:19

I dont expect many women to do what I do.

Society, men and women, can help each other out if they want to and are able to.

BeataNoxPotter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:06:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 11:07:38

leith - I 'seriously told you' no such thing and I'd thank you to stop misrepresenting me.

I simply apologized in case my phrasing might have offended someone. I also clarified that I wasn't thinking of any particular poster, I was just concerned.

That is in no way a 'sweeping statement'.

Now, to what you say: 'I know more about this issue of unwanted and unwarranted speech from both personal and theoretical perspectives. I have been attack, abused, laughed at, spat on, pointed to, and ridiculed. I have even been sexually assaulted in a pub by a stranger, I still speak to strangers and welcome being spoken to by strangers. Ah but yes I know I am privileged,

so if you don't fucking mind keep your stupid comments and feministplanning to yourself, try and be human not a collection of ideal and political dogma.'

How would it make you feel if I replied: 'ooh, you're just huffing and puffing - all this about 'unwanted speech' and other stuff - rubbish, I don't think it's a problem'.

You'd be justified to feel awful, right? Because you clearly believe quite strongly (you 'feel', I might say), that what happened to you wasn't very nice.

Yet, you're happy to belittle other people's experiences and feelings. Why do you get special treatment? Why are the awful things that you say happened to you (and I believe they did, and I believe they are awful, just so you know), somehow more deserving of our concern than what other posters describe?

It is this level of hypocritical selfishness I find very difficult to understand. And while I'm not reporting your post as I'd like it to stand so everyone can see how you speak when called on your inconsistencies, that is a vile way to address someone.

I regularly have people speak to me - random strangers making a comment about the weather, the dog/ds (if they are with me), etc. And I do the same.

Is this not just being sociable, normal, friendly?

I suspect, as has been mentioned, that it probably does depend where you live. It is certainly completely normal here. Children and teenagers also speak to me (and other adults).

inde Mon 03-Dec-12 11:23:47

I think people are unintentionally misrepresenting the meaning of amillionyears post. She meant (I think) that sometimes she wasn't sure if people were being rude but gave them the benefit of the doubt anyway.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 11:34:02

I think she meant that too. But the reason it is catching people wrong (and there's no reason amillion would have known this, I'm just saying I'm pretty sure this is what's bothering people) is that it's a fairly common sort of truism that is said when men do something nasty. 'Why did he feel so alienated from society?' 'Well, perhaps the problem is he didn't feel loved enough'.

I'm seeing these comments on my facebook pages after those awful news stories in the US and over here about men who, very tragically, killed their families and then themselves. So, it did make me think a bit.

Obviously talking to people in the street is a totally different order of activity (!!), and I can see why someone friendly will think it's best just to treat everyone as if they've perhaps been rude for some reason, and to be nice back. I don't think this is a gendered principle - if someone snaps at you bagging up your shopping and you're this sort of nice person, you'll probably tell yourself she or he is just tired or cranky, and you'll be nice back.

The reason that - for me - it becomes a bit uncomfortable is this association that practice of 'being nice to strangers' has with women. I do think women are expected to do a lot of the 'being nice' and smiling (hence 'cheer up love, give us a smile', being a comment typically made to women, because some men like to think they ought to be able to make women smile). There's a very Victorian/Edwardian idea (which my granny would have loved) that women are naturally better at adding a little social ease to situations, that they ought to be sociable and pleasant because everyone likes a smiling girl and it cheers up the men, who're naturally more gruff, what with their Masculine Natures.

Ok, we can snigger now, but I do think the vestiges of that attitude are still seen in everyday social intereaction. And I think at their extreme, they come out in these reactions to the tragedies I mentioned above, where people wonder what the woman didn't do, that her partner or family member killed her.

Sure, it's a completely extreme connection to make and I stress I'm not comparing the two situations ... but that is what amillion's phrasing happened to make me think of, with its language of 'not being loved', so I thought I'd put it out there in case it helps explain why some posters are reacting to it a bit.

Adversecalendar Mon 03-Dec-12 11:39:15

People always speak to me, men and women and I am also approached by cats on a regular basis.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 11:41:50

<makes mental note to check the gender of cats who meow at me>

Actually they all go for DH, sly bastards, they know he is a pushover.

namechangeguy Mon 03-Dec-12 11:55:12

I have a couple of questions for the OP, so that hopefully I will not make the same mistake;

1. Was it the guy's age that bothered you (would it have been as annoying if he had been over 60, or a boy)?
2. What rules should we adhere to for such social interactions (based on ages of the participants, or opposite genders, or anything else I should be aware of)? Would I, as a 40-ish bloke, be better off just not engaging at all, or in certain situations? (I am aware of the obvious, such as not shouting across distances etc.)

As for my own experiences, I have found this happens to me far more in the USA. People seem far more open, helpful and friendly when compared to the UK, and are far more willing to start a random conversation.

One last thing. In the OP's example, the guy seemed to be asking a question - 'Did you...?'. He does not appear to be talking at you, but rather engaging in social interaction.

Nagoo Mon 03-Dec-12 11:57:40

Cats know better than to call me love.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 11:59:54

I think cats must feel immensely patronized, actually.

'But I am a mighty hunter! I have vanquished many small spiders and caught the occasional cunning beetle! And yet you call me pusskins. Come the revolution, you shall be first to die ...'

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 12:01:40

inde, yes that is what I meant.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 03-Dec-12 12:02:16

I do not mind strangers talking to me but quite a few times because I have not responded in a grateful manner I have been insulted I also feel many men are oblivious to how vulnerable some women can feel and need to be a little more aware

I feel as a women I have been conditioned to always be nice, sometimes I have felt uncomfortable with attention a man is giving me but if I were to say this or ignore them I am the one often in the wrong why can I not tell a man in a polite way that he is making me feel uncomfortable by crowding me, staring, being over familiar

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 12:05:43

Women are conditioned to be nice and also those lower in a sense than others smile at those who are above them so the requirement that women smile at people and men is about the exercise of male (or sometimes female) power.

If you are in the street and don't want the man to wolf whistle or look you over or shout cheer up love you can probably come up with some kind of reposte although it is often safer not to. As soon as you move into a business environment where someone has power to hire or fire you it is harder. Women tend to get on at work by doing the smiling thing and indeed can be criticised for work for qualities men are praised for. All fascinating stuff.

I only ever dared to approach a cat in the street once. The fucker regarded me cooing at it, let me stroke its head, then bit me with a consideration becoming of a well thought out decision. Cats are bastards.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 12:12:42


That's awful, but also, I'm afraid, quite funny in your telling of it.

TheSmallClanger Mon 03-Dec-12 12:16:30

A lot of it depends on context, same as everything else. I know what the OP is talking about, but I'm finding it really hard to pin down the context.

I do know that having some drunk bloke plonk himself down next to you and repeatedly say "y'alright love?", when you've made it clear you don't want to chat, is completely different to a cheery "good morning" from an old boy out with his dog.

Sometimes I do engage in chat when out and about, and it normally starts with a very specific comment, often relating to my dogs: "Is that a Great Dane?", "is your dog friendly?" Or it could be a tip-off that the farmer is herding sheep up there, so maybe to walk the other way, or that a particular cheese in the supermarket on offer is very nice. All of these things can lead to a pleasant casual conversation. I don't think I've ever got one out of "y'alright love?" or "where are YOU going?".

Clanger, dogs pretty much guarantee a chat, don't they? I am regularly accosted by people of all ages wanting to chat about the bastard spaniel. Teenagers tend to gravitate towards us. I'm like the Pied Piper of Lynx and Impulse.

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 13:14:33

Depends on the chat. Two men over 60 or 70 in two consecutive weeks outside the supermarket both said to me they liked the colour of my bike! I don't know if that is a known chat up line or they just liked the colour and that was fine, whereas the various drunk, weird, mad, sexist men the other night was not fine.

Bue Mon 03-Dec-12 13:35:56

Where does the evidence come from that men don't strike up the same type of chat with men? Of course they do. And women probably chat to me at least as often as men do. When I was younger I always thought a man making small talk was going to ask for my number (conceited much?!) but that only ever happened once.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 13:38:22

My poor DH. sad

D'you know, bue, not once in all his 25 years has someone struck up a conversation with him by telling him how pretty he looked, asking him if he was going out somewhere nice tonight, or calling 'looking good!' after him.

What is he doing wrong? What do all these men you know do to get this pleasant attention?

LRD, my DH has been told he's pretty and propositioned shock Once at a bus stop, and once in a cinema. Both strangers. Both dudes. And there was the memorable Hair Sniffing Incident Of 1997. But we don't talk about that.

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 13:48:45

At times I feel like I am in a parallel universe on this thread. Most women surely get all these chat up lines from men (I even had one man ask for sex at the end of a business meeting last year and I am not making it up - it was ridiculous. We were here. My adult son was in the house. I don't what he expected, ugly little man). I wonder how many women have ended a business meeting by asking for that?

Obviously most of the time we don't have these problems and if people are saying men have stopped this kind of thing that is great. There is a time and a place to chat women up (or men up) and men should only do it in the right place and context.

namechangeguy Mon 03-Dec-12 13:52:00

The only way to be sure that you are not going to upset someone or make them feel uncomfortable or threatened is to not make smalltalk. I am all for this. The nuances otherwise are just too complicated for me, and I wouldn't know when I am doing it wrong sad

Better safe than sorry though.

namechangeguy Mon 03-Dec-12 13:58:00

Xenia, that is a cut and dried situation, and wrong on so many levels. Some of the other examples, like the OP and the guy on the ice, have genuinely got me wondering though. It's a bit of a minefield at times, and I am looking for pointers in some of these situations.

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 14:06:44

namechangeguy, I assume you are a man.
I dont think you should not do small talk. Imagine if all the guys, and women come to that, did that. The world would be a very lonely place for everyone.
I can understand you wanting to do that, but please dont.
I would like to hazzard a guess that 90% of women at least wouldnt want that.

rubyrubyruby Mon 03-Dec-12 14:09:11

I have only read a few others posts other than the OP but I don't understand it all confused

WithTheDude Mon 03-Dec-12 14:10:57

And, I'd suspect you'd be wrong about that amillionyears.

rubyrubyruby Mon 03-Dec-12 14:12:41

namechangeguy - you can chat/make small talk with me any old time regardless of your age. I will smile and chat back to you, whether I fancy you or not! as I do anyone else - male or female.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 14:15:32

chickens - your DH must just be prettier than mine.

I have to say, while I do understand that many people, men and women, find social conventions hard to grasp, it always slightly irritates me when people take a martyred tone and declare they just can't cope with these complexities like, um, not making someone else feel uncomfortable so they won't bother. To some extent it sounds a bit like toys out of the pram to me. And I notice it's both male and female posters, so I don't think this is a particularly masculine/feminine response - just an 'I can't be arsed with the silly feminists' one.

For me, if I hear from a load of people that they're uncomfortable with x, and x is something I regularly do, that does make me think twice. Sure, I might decide all these people are silly whiners and I'll continue to do x, but I can't quite imagine myself ever taking the tone that it's somehow unreasonable for other people to be uncomfortable. Or acting as if they've somehow constrained my freedom of expression by telling me they're uncomfortable.

That would make me feel like an arrogant person (and while I'm used to that, a little more would be de trop).

namechangeguy Mon 03-Dec-12 14:16:01

Million, I don't think the world would miss my sparkling wit and repartee too much grin

It isn't something I do a lot of, really. I am quite a private person. I will only usually chat if required, e.g. if someone needs help, directions etc. But if I made a tit of myself by flying across some ice, I might save face by making a comment and not think twice about anything than my own embarrassment. This thread has got me thinking that this might disturb some people, so maybe when this happens we should just grin and wander off.

namechangeguy Mon 03-Dec-12 14:20:09

Well, as a toy-thrower, I am looking for some pointers LRD. Specifically in the case of the OP and the guy who slipped and then spoke. Would you (genuinely) help me with the complexities of that one?

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 14:20:57

I don't see why it's complex, so sorry, I'm not really sure what you're asking. confused

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 14:23:13

I do think that this is a situation where being on the net makes it much more difficult to know what's going on - no matter what your position on this one.

If I say I habitually call everyone 'sweetheart', you've no idea how that really comes across. Maybe you'd hate it - maybe you'd find it friendly and nice - maybe you'd roll your eyes and think it was affected or twee.

But I don't reckon it does any of us any harm to muse a little bit on shared experiences - why do some posters seem to have had similar experiences, while others don't get it at all?

It is interesting.

Myself, I think it's gendered (whoopee shit, no surprise there), so naturally that's how I'm talking about it.

BeataNoxPotter Mon 03-Dec-12 14:37:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 14:40:30

Oh, what a lovely Christmas name! smile

I agree, btw.

namechangeguy Mon 03-Dec-12 14:44:36

Okay LRD, I am not making myself very clear here. Apologies.

What I am saying is, what did the guy who slipped in the OP do wrong, and how should he have acted? Because in my eyes all he did was draw attention to his own embarrassment.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 14:48:45

Well, like I say ... I don't think it's very easy to know, over the net. I read it one way - sounds as if lots of people read it the other. Who knows? IMO it doesn't really matter, since it's happened and over - I assumed the OP was trying to start a bit of a debate about what we all think about this sort of issue, is all. Maybe I read her wrongly.

feelingdizzy Mon 03-Dec-12 14:56:12

Like almost everything in life your view of this is personal and situational.

I live in the rural west of Ireland where I have to add in extra time to go anywhere as it would be seen as incredibly rude not to pass the time of day with almost everyone.

I am generallly a chatty, outgoing and enjoy talking to people,butI have had random commments thrown at me by men,that weren't wanted.I think most women have.Also what I consider annoying is sometimes based on my mood ,whats happened that day etc.

Also in terms of relating to men I am single and dont mind men talking to me as an opener to getting to know me ,perhaps getting my number.I have also had fun conversations with men and women for the hell off it.

I enjoy my corner of the world in which regular ineraction between people is seen as the norm.I like my children growing up somewhere in which this support is seen as beneficial.I also want both my ds and dd to feel equipped to challenge people when they feel threatened or demeaned.

enimmead Mon 03-Dec-12 15:54:33

I see the ice thing is annoying some people so I'll explain. He was with 3 mates. He slipped over. I was in my car. He'd had a laugh with his mates about it. A few minutes later I got out.

"Alright love, did you see me slip?".

I just felt uncomfortable with 4 young blokes in front of me and suddenly being engaged in conversation. I don't need to justify it. I just did. So I smiled and said "Oh yes" and got on with my business.

But my point is - would he have said it to a bloke?

inde Mon 03-Dec-12 16:08:44

I can imagine they might say "did you see that mate" to some random bloke. To an extent I do see where you are coming from enimead. When I'm just going about my business I don't really want to be engaged in conversation with lads who are messing about, but it happens. On one occasion I even had a teenage girl who was passing in a mixed group gently pinch me and make a comment. She did it in a completely non aggressive way so I wasn't particularly bothered but if a male had done it to a female I would have thought it was disgusting.

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 16:50:57

I can't see why he wouldn't say it to a man- the only difference would be 'mate' instead of 'love'. It didn't need much response, 'yes' and a smile was fine and move off - which is what happened. I can't see why it needs analysing.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 16:53:08

Why, inde, out of interest?

exotic - am I reading this wrongly, or is this you saying you do actually accept there is a gendered difference?! Good for you. I agree.

But I disagree it doesn't need analaysing. If you don't fancy it, feel free, don't... others may.

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 17:08:56

I made a point of speaking to random strangers today- they all replied. I didn't think 'he is male and early 20s - can I speak to him?'
I would bet that they have all forgotten it, they are not analysing what I meant, would I have said the same to a man, should I have phrased it differently, should I have spoken in the first place? It is a wonder anyone dares open their mouth!

amillionyears Mon 03-Dec-12 17:11:36

I think men speak differently if they are talking to random women, and I think women can sometimes speak differently to random men than they would to random women. tbh, it isnt something I have given much thought to before.

In your case,op,no I dont think he would have said that to you if you were a man.
I think, in your case, that he was being friendly and having a bit of an added joke with his mates to cover up his embarassment.
I think if you had been a man, he would probably not have said anything, and been even more embarassed.

rubyrubyruby Mon 03-Dec-12 17:16:25

I find it sad that people feel 'uncomfortable' engaging in conversation with random strangers. A sad reflection of today's society.

inde Mon 03-Dec-12 17:20:28

Why would I have found it disgusting if a male did it to a female? I would hope that young males are not often going around assaulting 60+ year old grandmothers in the street to look big in front of their mates.

Rosmarin Mon 03-Dec-12 17:26:20

I had one wonderful experience in Barcelona. I was walking along the street late at night (it was still busy, mind) and I saw a man do the most enormous yawn with quite a funny expression on his face. It was so funny that I just burst out laughing and he saw me and we had a short conversation about how funny his yawn had been and I re-enacted it for him. He was just charming about it - we chuckled together for a moment - and then went our separate ways.

Back to reality, every other instance in my memory where I've had contact with unknown men in the street has made me feel uncomfortable or, when I have responded in a normal or friendly way (anything besides nasty), there's been some catch and wanting a phone number or something from me etc etc.

And otherwise, comments in the street have been harrassment. Some really nasty, ugly things. angry

I wish there were more funny yawn moments.

inde Mon 03-Dec-12 17:27:59

And I think it would have seemed more aggressive had a male done it to a female.

madwomanintheattic Mon 03-Dec-12 17:36:15

I have no idea whether he would have said it to a bloke.

I said it to a bloke, when it happened to me. I totally accept all the gendered stuff, but in this situation, I'm really struggling to see why you felt that way (I'm interested why you felt that way, but I'm struggling to grasp it. Is it because it is tied up with all the other genuinely gendered instances where a group of blokes made passing comments to a lone woman? In which case, I see your own personal context. But why does a bloke asking a woman if she saw him fall over - presumably damaging his street cred and minimizing his masculinity in one fell literal swoop, have to be looked at in this manner?)

This instance wasn't a gendered exchange. By judging it as such, we run the risk of building further barriers between the genders.

This was a person who slipped and made a comment to a passer by, in the same way that I and a few others on the thread have done. I wouldn't have cared if it was a man, woman, or alien from outer space, I was co platelet preoccupied with my own display of comedic value and my sore arse and damaged dignity. Wy would it have been any different because he was a man?

Why would his intentions have been different because you were a woman?

I'm genuinely interested that you felt uncomfortable because of the gender dynamics in this tiny exchange - and I think it says something appalling about expectations of gendered relationships in public.

Is it just because he was in a group and you felt threatened? (Even though he was one the one who had landed on his arse?)

I find locally we have a far more relaxed attitude to teenagers hanging around in groups - they are often polite and well mannered, and although I often find my expectations of conflict increase when I see them hanging around a bench, I am invariably reminded that just because they are 14 doesn't make them a danger. I smile and say hi, and they smile and say hi back. It's reasonably common for teens to be engaging and helpful in say car parks/ shopping centres. I can't help but feel they are trying to nick my shopping, but I know that's my own inherent bias after years of UK media telling me how dangerous teenager louts are. Ditto men.

madwomanintheattic Mon 03-Dec-12 17:37:39

Co platelet? This iPad has a mind of it's own...


Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 17:56:31

I do think Rosmarin's experience (not in Barcelona) but with men more generally is more typical -the woolf whistles, the shouted comments etc. I really don't think I at my age can be the only person who suffers it and of course at my age it's nothing like as much as it was but how many men will have cycled locally and get women in a car slowing down and shouting something out of the window which I had a few weeks ago, that was a couple of builders. It does not bother me hugely and I don't go to bed crying about it and sometimes it's flattering but it is definitely entirely different from what men experience.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 03-Dec-12 18:05:10

Just throwing this out there, but if the comment had been, "oh no, did you see me slip? What an idiot I am!" would it have seemed more "cover up the embarrassment" and less, "hey love, have you been paying attention to me and my actions."

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?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 15-Dec-12 19:28:35

Leith, I believe that both parties in the interaction DO have an awareness of which kind of interaction it is, just that the raw circumstances of it are insufficient detail.

For example, one teenager could ask another if they had their lunch money. It might be a friendly question, it might be meant in a bullying fashion.

Leithlurker Sat 15-Dec-12 19:45:29

Ok Doctrine, both people know what they want to achieve from having an unplanned and informal chat. I agree somewhat with that, however saying "Hello" or "Good Morning" or "excuse me" are all seen as a form of politeness and in themselves probably not designed to start a long conversation. However some people do initiate a conversation with those words again for many reasons, not always though with some hidden agenda. I say Good morning to you, you say it back, I say its a lovely day, you agree or disagree, I may say some other unimportant thing. I am passing the time of day I am not asking you to be emotional involved in a personal discussion about politics.

How do you know from that example before it happens that I have any other agenda? What in that example would you think was my agenda?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 15-Dec-12 20:21:22

Leith, if all you said was Hello on a winter's morning when you were walking your dog one way up the street and I was walking down the street to the shops, I wouldn't think you had an agenda other than being friendly.

If you were walking behind me the same way up an empty street in the dark and you jogged to catch me up and say Hello, I'd be much more wary of your agenda.

All you've said both times is Hello.

Leithlurker Sat 15-Dec-12 21:14:31

Exactly so what your talking about is you making a assumption that in the later instance that you would be in some danger, or that in the night time you would not want approached by me.

Two problems with that are that 1. I might be the one asking you for help as you are the only person around, 2nd your fear or mistrust is both understandable and possibly predictable by other people. It does not or will not stop people coming up to you unless you take up NCG idea of a visual (Do not talk) signchoose.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 16-Dec-12 10:32:36

Err, Leith, you gave me the example of using just one word, so that's what i did. Re needing help, the thread has been about random chats, not about requests.

However, if you came up to me in the second example then I would be feeling wary. You would have breached my boundaries and I would be looking to understand why. If you followed the Hello with " I'm sorry, I'm lost" it would explain why you had done so and my wariness would reduce.

juliex Sun 16-Dec-12 21:14:22

i get this a lot, usually chat up lines though, one said, do you know what i like about you? i said no. he said, the fact you have a c**t.

i could not believe it. anyone had that before?

garlicbaubles Sun 16-Dec-12 21:59:33

I need to read this thread when I'm less tired but, as a lifelong talker-at-bus-stops, I disagree with your general principle enim. I think random contact is normal human socialisation (look at young children) and I regret its erosion through mistrust.

Men do speak to one another randomly, and so do women. Clearly you have to make a judgement as to whether the contact is likely to be threatening - a man who turns a passing remark about the weather into a leery chat-up is invasive, so threatening, but would he be if he took more care over it and ended up politely asking for a date? Would it be wrong of a woman to do that?

Juliex, what a prat! Sure, men who act like that - and who yell comments on your appearance, etc - are doing it to demonstrate power (in their tiny minds). Everyday harassment is, I think, a different issue from social mistrust although they're linked and the harassment is a serious problem.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 16-Dec-12 22:42:26

Juliex, sorry that prat spoke to you that way. you might like to google the Everyday Sexism project for examples of similar prattishness.

juliex Sun 16-Dec-12 22:49:42

Oh, i will, thank you. It isnt the first time either, i dont wear revealing clothing or talk alot when im out, im more shy than anything, but i get builders shouting a lot more than anything quite explicit as well, they dont mind if children are around either talking about f*****g you with my c**k you dirty s**t.

is it because i am blond? seems to attract idiots i find. glad im not the only one. smile

Latara Mon 17-Dec-12 12:46:52

That sounds horrible & annoying to cope with juliex - that is deliberately intimidating behaviour from men, rather than just random chat.

I'm lucky that i haven't had that stuff aimed at me for a while, but i've been ill & think i looked ill until recently, which probably stops that behaviour.

Frans1980 Mon 17-Dec-12 18:54:21

Let's advocate for a law that bans men talking to women they don't know!

If feminists got everything they wanted the UK would be a bit like Saudi Arabia with the genders reversed!

grimbletart Mon 17-Dec-12 19:12:00

* I feel offended on all your behalf that your Head of State is not an elected person*

Well that would be an interesting world-first wouldn't it?

grimbletart Mon 17-Dec-12 19:14:19

Oops sorry - a bit of something I copied from another thread escaped and inserted itself into Feminism blush

What I meant to quote was Frans saying If feminists got everything they wanted the UK would be a bit like Saudi Arabia with the genders reversed!

And then say that would be an interesting world-first.

<I'll get my coat>

namechangeguy Mon 17-Dec-12 21:49:37

That's an interesting direction re Saudi. The only way I can see that the OP could have peace in public is if we have something like the Saudi religious police. Then women could report men (ones unknown to them) if they approached them and tried to engage in conversation. Combined with my idea re hats, I think it's a workable solution. With current government cuts, I think this is pretty unlikely though.

juliex Mon 17-Dec-12 22:14:48

Thank you for the kind comments, it is always in a crude manner as well, they have said similar to my mother and she is 65, begs belief.

sorry if this is the wrong thread, just had to let it off my chest.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 18-Dec-12 07:15:54

It's not the wrong thread juliex, don't worry.

FamilyGuy2 Tue 18-Dec-12 13:24:52

I speak to anyone as I think it greases the wheels (so to speak). I work in a predominantly male environment and often strike up a conversation with people in the kitchen, coffee queue or gym. It's how you get to know people isn't it? I'm not an extrovert (quite the opposite) but have learnt that breaking the ice pays dividends in terms of social interaction.

If I'm outside of work I'll strike up a conversation if there is cause to do so, irrespective of whether you're male or female. I think it's a pleasant way of passing the day and helps to break down the reserved nature of us English folk.

I say English as I've spent time on mainland Europe and Ireland/Wales and have found it noticably more open there than here. I don't think English people are anti-social but are harder nuts to break.

I have to say that I'd never considered the OP's POV though. I can often tell if someone isn't receptive and will usually drop it right there if I get the vibes but I have to say that most people are usually up for a bit of banter.

Latara Tue 18-Dec-12 13:36:29

I'm a Southerner & local men are a nightmare to get chatting to, they always seem to need alcohol! So i'd agree with FamilyGuy2 in some respects about English people.

Latara Tue 18-Dec-12 13:46:46

Eek, just re-read my post, i don't look that fugly or act off-putting honestly, but i think maybe that post gives that impression!

What i mean is that many Southern English men (I'm in Dorset) aged approx 25 - 45 are very shy / distant IME with anyone unless they have drunk some alcohol.

I find Northern men, Southern European / Arabic / African / Aussie men to be friendliest, also some London lads are friendly.

Southern English men who are very young (under 23) or much older than me (over 50) are easier to talk to than men in my agegroup, don't know why that is but they seem more confident.

Is it because younger lads have 'the overconfidence of youth' while middle aged-to-elderly men grow more confident with age?

garlicbaubles Tue 18-Dec-12 13:46:49

I can often tell if someone isn't receptive and will usually drop it right there if I get the vibes but I have to say that most people are usually up for a bit of banter.

Interesting in two ways, FG2. The first is about commonplace social skills - I'd say I'll drop it 99% of the time (some folks are really bad at politely letting you know they don't want to know!) and I suspect a verbal approach becomes harassment when the initiator fails to pick up on "go away" clues.

While I've met many people, of both sexes, who are deaf & blind to social signals, it seems to be a predominantly male problem. Men frequently get away with being a bit clueless when it comes to emotional intelligence; I think this isn't any kind of male-pattern brain malfunction but a symptom of entitlement.

Interestingly, too, I don't find most people are up for a bit of a chat. I find just under half Brits are, depending on the environment. I also find men are more likely to misconstrue my friendliness as a come-on (not so much now I'm old, but it's still a notable phenomenon!)

My observations are all about innate male privilege. What do you think?

garlicbaubles Tue 18-Dec-12 13:48:32

I dunno, Latara! Maybe you are so stunningly gorgeous that men in your age group are scared of you? (That would be a whole other discussion strand.)

Latara Tue 18-Dec-12 13:50:05