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July 2014

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criminal minds fate

This is just to say:

To everybody who has opined recently that sexual harassment policies at conventions mean an end to flirtation, dating, and romance at cons--

I'm involved in a relationship with somebody I met, befriended, and grew to love largely at conventions. He never once felt the need to grope me, make an inappropriate comment on my body or dress, or ask if anything I was wearing was meant as a coded sexual message before the moment when we figured out that we were each interested in one another in a romantic sense.

Neither flirting nor building emotional connection is harassment, folks--and harassment is not flirting.

It's not actually all that complicated.

Comments

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Here here! My husband of 25 years (this October) and I met at a convention.
Your husband is an excellent copyeditor, by the way.
Cheered and seconded.
Word.
Yes, this. If you can't flirt without groping, you're doing it wrong.
True.
We met in a long flirtation, in a comment thread on my Lj. Shocking.
aw, I'm spam. =( I posted a link to spork theory, maybe that's why.
Aw. Boo, Livejournal.
Yes, THIS. (Us too.) :-)
harassment is not flirting

"Email is dead" is a running joke in the email industry. "Chivalry is dead" is a trope with the MRAs. I'm a firm believer that trolling is a lost art- a good troll, like "It's a little-known fact that Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk's middle name was actually 'Timmy'" is now lost in the noise from people who think "STFU HOMOFAG LOL" is a comment worth posting.

But if nitwits are genuinely concerned that flirting is under threat by anti-harassment policies, then I'm calling it: flirting is dead.

And years from now, I will make a killing, giving expensive seminars where I instruct people to repeat these words: "That's very interesting. I have to go now, but I'd love to continue this conversation later. Some friends of mine are meeting in the bar at six, if you're free, love to see you there". And perhaps add useful tips like 'have friends, and also have them in the bar at 6' and 'no touching' and "don't be creepy" and 'showering is good' and stuff. Oh, and "don't open with 'I like to have sex while dressed up as a leopard', because that's kinda something you want to ease into, maybe a third- or fourth-date topic".

...y'know, if we do this right, we can be a positive force in shaping the dating habits of the knuckleheads AND eliminate some harassment. Ugol's law! There's somebody out there for you! And not being creepy INCREASES YOUR CHANCES!

It's so crazy, it just might work.
That's all good advice exc that 'don't be creepy' isn't really specific. It would be useful (esp as I suspect guys don't actually _want_ to be creepy) to know what behaviour came across as creepy. The 'have friends...' bit is good.
Thank you for the uplift, folks. Been rather grumpy about this topic, from a This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things p.o.v, for most of the weekend.
Preach it!
Nicely put. And a splendid example...
If you (general) can't do what you think of as flirting or dating without being dinged for harassment, maybe you (general) should reconsider your flirting/dating techniques.
This.
That is very useful re the dividing lines which I suspect some people don't understand -- nobody wants to come across as harassing (or I hope not). The No Touching rule sounds like a good place to start (I am squicked by people I don't know touching me (personal issues in my past there) but I suspect others may not be and so don't realise it's an issue when they start pawing strangers). Also Not making sexual comments.
There are people who make mistakes, or who behave in a compulsive manner, or who have bad social skills--and there are those who very carefully orchestrate their attacks in order to hide them from people in a position to stop them.

One is being a jerk, and one is being a predator, and they are different.

But, yeah--it's not THAT HARD to obtain consent for a hug. You (general) make eye contact (preferably with somebody you've known for at least fifteen minutes), open your arms slightly, and wait to see if they make a similar gesture. If they don't, or if they say, "I'm sorry, hugging makes me uncomfortable," you say, "Oh, sorry, thanks for letting me know.

Yes, but with a caveat of Having Said That...

I've taken a particular interest in this topic because of the experience of some many of my friends and my time helping run conventions; I wrote the code of conduct for this year's UK Eastercon, where I chaired a panel on the topic.

Whilst it's certainly true that flirting is not harassment, I have heard accounts of how tiresome and at times intimidating it can be to have it assumed that just because you are female and not obviously in the presence of a partner that you have come to a convention to meet men. (It seems that a lot of supposedly enlightened male con-goers forget that (a) not everyone is heterosexual, and (b) just because you are single does not mean that you are necessarily after a partner, short or long-term.) I think that there is a case for trying to get the message across that a convention is not a singles bar and that and that hooking up with someone is a nice possible outcome rather than an expected feature of the event.

Edited at 2013-07-01 07:08 am (UTC)
Indeed. And to me, what you are describing is not flirting, but harassment. Flirting takes "no" for an answer, accepts that women are not in fact a modern convenience but people, and backs off.
Well said indeed.

Whenever I read posts by other men on that particular topic my first thought is to wonder whether they are both ignorant and lacking in anything like proper social skills or simply utterly vile, because those are the only two options that occur to me as to why someone would make such a statement. Of course, when reading further in comments by people who make statements like this, I'm often find that they are both ignorant and vile. I'd love to see someone compile a list of men who have made such statements that could perhaps serve as a warning to others to avoid them.
Precisely.
Thank you.
I've heard people worry that if they were really boring and someone felt trapped, they could get "in trouble".
Well, if I feel trapped because someone has backed me against a wall then, yes, they might get in trouble.

Neither flirting nor building emotional connection is harassment, folks--and harassment is not flirting.


Hear freakin' hear.

Why the fuck would I want to date someone who doesn't respect my boundaries in the most platonic possible sense? If you see romance as the conquest of another person's space and bodily autonomy then there's something seriously wrong with you.
Blogging this. Thanx.
Married to my ex PhD supervisor. All managed without anything that could be construed as harrasment.
Amen to that. I met the spouse at two conventions; awkward geek flirting was involved both times. I had someone hit on me in an exceedingly clumsy and mildly offensive manner, and even that managed to stay on the flirting side of the line. The harassment I've heard about (and sometimes been present for) was Not The Same Thing, every time.
My definition of "harassment" would include the word "predatory" near the word "intent." Harassment is about gaining, or demonstrating power over someone. Flirting is about indicating that you would like to get to know someone better. Big difference.
This.
Off topic, but congrats on winning the Locus Award for "Shoggoths in Bloom!" "Tideline" is my all time favorite story of yours. It chokes me up every time.
Thank you for this. That's all.
Yeah, I've had people flirt with me. (Which can't possibly be fun since I tend not to react.)

And I've had people blow right past my openly stated personal boundaries with nothing but a smirk.

Not the same thing at all.
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