Unwelcome Adulation

ggg2016-02-26 17.08.34I wore this pink-top outfit again yesterday, as on the picture to the left, though that picture was taken several weeks ago.

While I was driving to my business parking lot yesterday afternoon in broad daylight, with friendly neighbors around, I noticed a derelict-looking sort of guy who happened to, just then, be walking out of my property. I pulled right in, in case there was reason to be concerned about vandalism to any of my classic cars parked there. I got out of my car, having assessed him as unlikely to be violent at first glance and in that context.

The guy was swigging on a large beer bottle and was clearly already inebriated. He started a friendly dialog. He had his fishing rod in a tube, and said he’s on the way to go fishing. He’d just stopped by to look at some of the cars in case any were for sale — a nuisance but understandable since it looks sort of like a used car lot. I do have signs up saying that none of these cars are for sale, but the signs are not all over the place.

A Q&A ensued. Was I the owner? Yes, I was. After hearing my accent, he asked: I’m not from the US, am I? No, I’m not. Where am I from? Raised as a German girl in Africa.

Then he starts telling me about a German friend and how he came here from Brooklyn … he stood in front of me, beamed at me and told me how pretty I look. He went on an on about that.

At that point, I really had mixed feelings about the situation. One of the things I appreciate about my fellow Americans is the simple benevolence that makes every day better. Here was certainly an example of that. And if alcohol removes inhibitions, then this guy in uninhibited mode was being benevolent. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s nice. It was not really the type of conversation on which I wanted to spend a lot of time … but I reminded myself that maybe I should just enjoy the benevolence and also appreciate that the guy had correctly figured out that I’m a girl, as opposed to getting hung up on my overly masculine facial features.

The conversation continued. He asked if I have a boyfriend. No, I’m a chick who likes chicks, I replied, nicely enough. He seemed to think that this was just fine too and he offered to introduce me to some girls. He was radiating benevolence even after romantic prospects for him had just become known to be zero. That’s commendable. Not everyone takes the news well.

I mean, heck, this is Nevada and small-town America. Folks are nice until there’s reason not to be. I like that.

Even though I didn’t have much time to spare, I didn’t see any point in being rude and saw more time being wasted and more problems being caused by me being rude about it, nor did I feel any resentment; he was just somewhat tedious to deal with.

Next, he shook my hand several times, said his name several times as an introduction, mentioned some nice things about himself, e.g, owning his own house and the car he’d just bought … then he wanted to give me a hug. I was bemused by this and while I was processing it, he stepped forward and gave me a bear hug. I classified it as eccentric and not dangerous, so I tolerated it and then eventually pulled away as he released his grip.

More adulations ensued as to how nice I look and how tall I am.

This is where my internal red flags as a t-girl started waving. If guys know I’m a t-girl and they think I’m pretty, hot or whatever — that’s  fine.  If guys don’t know I’m a t-girl and they think I’m pretty, hot or whatever — then when they find out, they might react in ways that inspire events that lead to candles being lit at the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance memorials.

So I wanted my visitor to be clear on that point, even as I realized that I was not dealing with a cognitively-razor-sharp audience. I mentioned to him that I’m a mix of boy-and-girl parts hence the tallness, larger hands, etc. I’m not sure he understood all the implications but he seemed no less enthused. Then another hug.  Then another handshake.  I decided to that I’ve discussed my status as a t-girl about as much as was likely to be productive at the time.

As to the hugs, in an adversarial situation you don’t let strangers hug you or even get close enough to have any hope of doing that. As per my combat pistol instructor, really 20 feet is the minimum for shooting someone in self-defense because a hostile human can traverse 20 feet of space very rapidly. However, this wasn’t an adversarial situation and it had no hint of hostility. Besides, it was happening in an open space in broad daylight, so I was even less concerned.

Also, even if things had gone out of control, I so know Judo, Karate and some street fighting quite well since my dad grew up as a street kid, which meant: good street-fighting skills. My dad had trained me in some of them, so unless someone who has me at close quarters is probably at more of a tactical disadvantage than I am, based on my peculiar mix of skills.  For those reasons, I wasn’t too worried.

A friend of mine worked at a local bank until recently, and she solved a complex-seeming problem for a guy with Russian culture — and she ended up getting a big, benevolent, sincere hug right there in the bank. By Russian culture, that’s not unusual. And, there’s quite a bit of Russian cultural influence in Brooklyn, NY — where my visitor was from, so … hugging is more typical as an expression of male-to-female fondness and it’s not as creepy as in some cultures.

I also know that some cultures, such as French cultures, can involve multiple enthusiastic handshakes during the course of a good conversation.

I’d factored all that into my evaluation of the situation. Even so, at that point I felt that it was time, or way past time, to set some boundaries — which also means sticking to them. So the next handshake he wanted got him a stiff-armed, long-arm handshake from me, from a distance, and as he approached, I told him “no more hugs” and I moved away. As he pondered that I said “respect my boundaries” while my body language underscored that. He proceeded to assure me he’s a good guy and he’d respect them.

Then he expressed some more compliments, and then he wanted to give me a kiss. Hell no, I said. Just on the cheek, he said. Nope, I said. Eventually he wound down and left to go fishing, still very friendly. I watched him leave and continue far down the street, apparently happy.

I reviewed how I’d handled it. I hadn’t wanted to give the impression of weakness or retreat nor hostility — nor did I feel any of that.  He was benevolent albeit a little annoying and so I dealt with it as such.

Maybe the alcohol made him seem less smart but he also seemed to not be intellectually all that sharp either; more reason for me to have been careful in how I dealt with it.

Throughout the dynamic, he was a a happy drunk and not a mean drunk. Part of what I tried to do is to keep the happy drunk from becoming a mean drunk while not violating my own boundaries in the process.

As things are now, I’d guess he thinks of me as attractive but also strong and assertive with boundaries that he respects. That’s probably as good as it gets.

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