Thursday, April 03, 2008

Like You, No One

A global phenomenon noted by young ladies the world over is that of the creepy older man. Creepy older men are different to your average night out opportunist, because they make your skin crawl, never really get to the point and are inevitably unfortunate looking. And I am positively gifted when it comes to attracting them.

It's been a long while since this last happened because I have been building a social circle and finding my feet so not really having late nights out. But on Saturday night I got invited to a party thrown by the girls of my bellydancing class (more on the fab girls of my bellydance class another time, who are proof that foreign girls can make female Greek friends when I was told it was nearly impossible).

The night had been rolling on for quite a few hours and my company had got progressively merrier when I was introduced to a man who is somehow connected to my bellydance circle, I don't even remember how any more. Creepy Older Man. Dealing with them is very hard because their age obliges me to be polite, and this was my first all-Greek encounter with a genuine Greek Creepy Older Man (COM).

COM: "I've been watching you and I've been telling everyone to look at that Brazilian girl over there, look how she's just here having a good time, with her glasses. All the men are watching you."

Me: "I'm not Brazilian, I'm Asian."

COM: "How fascinating, you've got that exotic kind of beauty [oh here we go again with the Western exotic beauty sweet Indian girl fetish] and those glasses of yours! Don't ever take them off, you're driving me crazy with your style [someone's been watching too much secretary porn. Or too much exotic Indian sweet secretary porn]

COM: "So what do you know of Greece."

Me: [...??] "What do you mean what do I know of Greece? The food, the people, the place... etc."

COM: "Yes, but what do you really know of Greece."

Now I'm confused and he gives me this look like "Oh you innocent young thing, the stuff I could teach you..." Ew! Did he mean what do I know as in the Biblical definition of knowing?

COM: "You've got something about you which would make a man stop and look twice. They see a girl like you with your glasses [the glasses again.] and it makes them wonder Who is that girl? You're the first Asian girl I've met who speaks Greek and it drives me crazy."

Here, when I was filling in the bits with useless dodge tactic conversation, he made that orgasmic face that people in food adverts make when they bite into a product.

COM: "Do you have a boyfriend?"

Me: "I'm engaged." [leans over to his equally creepy friend and tells him in a low voice when they think I'm not listening that I'm engaged so forget it. Double ew.]

COM: "A man from your country?"

Me: "No he's Greek."

COM: "A Greek huh? You managed that! And where do you live?[I answer] Alone? Or with someone?"

Me: " Of course not alone, with my fiance!"

COM: "So... what do you like to do, what's your favourite thing?"

Me: "Writing." [that threw him]

On paper it looks like I was being quite rude and short, but actually I was trying really hard to be polite and was feeling very uncomfortable.

A whole bunch of other garbage followed about India and Indian women and what ladies we are, and I seriously beg to differ because lady likeness is relative. A true Asian woman would consider me highly uncouth to be sitting in a taverna at 3 am sipping rakomelo. I heard for the 100th time in my life how exotic and mysterious we are and how I should wear a bindi all the time because it would further fuel Western fetishes about Indian girls, oops I mean it would make me look even more mysterious.

Still no sign off getting to the point of what this pointless conversation was, and with my company way too merry to come and rescue me, I seized my chance for a graceful exit when he grabbed my hand and ruined the freshly hennaed design on it. My contribution to the party had been to do free henna for everyone. I excused myself, washed my hands and left.

I know women who deal with the above scenario by turning the tables and toying with their prey. I wish I knew how to do that. All I feel is extremely uncomfortable. It's especially hard when dealing with creepy older men in your third language. At one point he asked me if my normal price for a henna pattern like mine was EUR 5, what would I do for EUR 20? I said something more meaning a bigger tattoo, and he smiled a filthy smile and relayed this news again to his creepy friend when he thought I wasn't listening.

If the creepy older men I attract looked like George Clooney, I would not really care as that's some form of compensation for enduring their verbal diarrhoea. But why do they always have that certain look, those too-smooth cheeks and that hair stuck in the 70s? Do I look like my standard is so low that they have a chance? Why don't young, handsome men engage me in pointless long conversations? It's easier to tell them to get lost.

I got home feeling upset at not having handled the situation better and allowing it to end my night unpleasantly, but at least me and Mr Zeus got a good few laughs out of it.


Blackbird said...

Brilliant and DEAD ON.

Ah, this gave me such a good laugh - especially as I know what you're talking about... Even to the point of being mistaken for brazilian when I'm half-asian. ;) Although seeing as almost every guy then expects me to be his kinky-anime-schoolgirl dream I think I'm better off pretending to be brazilian.

Unfortunately I'm too shy to bluntly tell Creepy Older Men to take themselves (and their powerful perfume!) elsewhere. I basically stand there and politely smile, listen to their fascinating talk and pray one of my friends will stop laughing and come rescue me.

When you've figured out how to make them drop dead with your witty, poisonous comebacks (I know you've got some!) please let us know! Forget learning how to start a conversation with people - I need to know how to end one, fast.

stassa said...

Aw, eeew. Just... eew!

Hey, I know why you get the Exotic Brazillian treatment. 'S karma. I get it too, here in the UK. So, balance is restored. See?

I'm Greek, of course. And as lilly white as we come! What the...?

Btw, hi there! *^_^

smaro said...

Hi there
I found your blog today and have spent so long reading over the last few posts and catching up. Its great! I too am hoping to get to Greece and build a life there soon.

This particular post made me laugh. I believe I must have something that attracts Creepy men of all ages, African and Asian men, men that are looking for something sweet, innocent and easy. I dont get why. I get comments like, "your glasses are so sexy, dont take them off." "wow, your curly hair, you are beautiful". I also get them saying, I love you in Chinese, and then snickering to each other because they think I dont know what they are saying. Have you ever had that? I am petite and friendly, and the things they say about me being a "little doll", asking if I am spanish with all this exotic fiery mediterranean blood...sigh, it would be nice if they all looked like George Clooney.

Laurie Constantino said...

One of my friends and I call it being a wierdo magnet - we always seem to attract exactly the wierdos you're describing. I thought it would stop as I got older, but no, the wierdos keep coming. I've never understood it, but I don't like it. You've captured the creepiness of it very well.

db0 said...

It's a nice piece of information to know to avoid the exotic line. I'm not a COM (just CM I guess :P ) but I've been tempted on more than one occasion to characterise a girl as exotic. I never thought that they would take it as anything else than a compliment (Hell, I like being called exotic as a Greek in Germany, and that's only my accent ;) )

It's a pity however that the rest of your friends did not realise what was happening and try to save you. Leaving you like that in your suffering is just wrong.