Seattle buses provide ample opportunity for creepy, bizarre, and/or uncomfortable situations with strangers. The one I just witnessed is the current “winner,” as the creepy older guy managed to somehow simultaneously hit on and witness to an attractive young woman sitting behind me.

Guy: You’re so beautiful, intelligent, and spiritual.. I know because I can look into your soul through your eyes, because I’m a warrior of Christ. I’d love to have a relationship with you.
Gal: Um…no thank you
Guy: Well if you change your mind my address is (address) and you can visit whenever you like…you’re so wonderful.

He then proceeded to ask her questions about her name, age, profession, and if she would go on a date with him for the next 15 minutes…which she stupidly answered, albeit in a way that screamed “please stop talking to me.” EDIT: Hopefully she was giving fake information. When she got off the bus he started chanting all these facts to himself, including the intersection she got off because he assumed that’s where she lived. He then started groaning about how hot she was and how badly he wanted her for the rest of the bus ride, until he got off at his stop.

Lesson 1: Don’t give personal information to creepy people on the bus. Eek. WTF. I hope this guy doesn’t turn out to be a stalker. Women are socialized to be polite even in situations that make them incredibly uncomfortable. We need to feel more comfortable saying “No” or “Please stop talking to me” or even moving to another part of the bus.

Lesson 2: Women have to deal with this stupid shit all the time.  I had a similar event happen about a week ago where an older man tried to convince me to get off the bus with him to go on a coffee date, and was trying to pry all sorts of personal information out of me. Even though this time the guy wasn’t talking to me, I was incredibly uncomfortable. I was worried about the young woman (who was the same age as me) and worried that he may start talking to me next. It’s worse because a bus is a situation where you feel “trapped.” You can technically get off (if it won’t make you late for something important), but there’s the chance someone will follow you, so staying trapped on the bus with that person is actually the safer situation.

I know a lot of guys don’t understand why getting hit on by strangers can make many women so uncomfortable. I hear “I’d love random women hitting on me!” all the time. But when you can’t ride the bus in peace…when you dread sitting at a bus stop with other people because they’ll do the same…when you stop wearing nice or flattering clothes because you want to decrease your odds of receiving wolf whistles and cat calls…when you have no idea if any of these people are potentially dangerous…

“Flattery” turns into “fear” very quickly.