Oh, the dying art of a simple introduction.

"Hi, my name is..."

I am proud to say that I am an independent, 34 year-old woman.

While it's true that oftentimes when strangers find out my age in addition to the fact that I am not married, nor am I in a relationship, they tend to look at me as if something is wrong with me. However, in spite of these instances, I rather enjoy being single.

As any out-going woman is ought to do here in the city of Chicago, I love to go out and have a good time, meet new people and explore new places. Yet, as each day passes, I realize more and more that it seems that a lot of people have forgotten the simple art of an introduction. What I find (and frighteningly so) is that there are some people who have either lost all common sense (another form of cultural etiquette that is slowly dying...but that's a blog for another day) or,they have lost the ability to understand how important first impressions are.

Okay, let's just be brutally honest....some of these people can be offensive or downright creepy! Most often, I find myself sprinting toward the nearest exit.

There are many times that after the offense has taken place (or, after I have darted off toward the nearest police officer) I am left wondering..."Has that ever actually...worked?!"

I'm sure you have your own tale of disgust and/or horror. All women do. Heck, I know that some of my guy friends out there have had their own strange encounters that made them wonder if they should arm themselves with their own bottle of pepper spray. I mean, I can't be the only one this is happening to, can I?

This  past week has been particularly brutal.

Monday I decided to take my lunch at a beautiful park out here in the South Loop. I was promptly approached by a man who said to me, "Nice day for a walk in the park, right?"

I agreed that it was and as I walked past the man he said to me, "Can I follow you?"

Obviously, I told him "no."

For real, buddy?

"Can I follow you?"

"CAN I FOLLOW YOU??"

What woman wants to hear that from a stranger?!

Then of course was the guy from this afternoon, hanging out at the corner of Jackson and State who said to me simply, "C'mere little girl."

Yup. You read that right..."C'mere little girl."

What woman actually responds to that kind of approach?

Not the kind you'd want to take home to meet mom and dad, that's for sure!

Needless to say, I reacted with a firm, "Ummm...No!"

Please don't misunderstand, I love meeting new people, but honest to God, there's a "right way" to do it and a "wrong way." Whatever happened to a simple "Hi, my name is...?"

So guys and gals, when going out into public and you see someone you might want to strike up a conversation with, please remember the 5 "D's":

 

DON'T just yell random things at your object-de-interest. You'll get a better reaction out of "Excuse me..."

DO introduce yourself. Use your proper name too, please. Handshakes help...

DON'T assume the person finds you attractive. It's great to have confidence...but the phrase, "different strokes for different folks" exists for a reason. So telling said person that "all of their dreams just came true" (or something to a similar effect) will in all likelihood, end badly for you.

DO think before you speak. Is it possible that the words that will come out of your mouth may be interpreted as a tad...oh, I dunno....stalker-ish? Creepy? Then you probably   shouldn't speak them.

DO know and respect someone's personal space. Seriously! I can't tell you how many times I've encountered a guy who put his hands on me as if I wanted them there. There is nothing that will aggravate a person (and get you arrested) faster than invasion of space from a person they just met.

 

I'm sorry if some of you were offended. But the fact of the matter is, along with common courtesy biting the big one, it seems that "proper introductions" are becoming a lost art as well.  First impressions are huge people. Please remember that. The person you are stalking may be offended by your overtures...so you may want to put your best face forward. You never know. They may know martial arts, like myself, and kick the crap out of you.

 

 

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  • Misty -

    I lived in Washington, D.C., for 30 years before my wife and I moved to Chicago almost exactly a year ago (though this is her hometown and we had lots of experiences here over the years). DC was always pretty type-A intense -- I've described it as the world's capital of self-infatuation -- but I did feel that common courtesy sharply declined to the point at which it no longer was common. And while I'm not apt to be the target of the kind of creepiness you describe, I am absolutely certain it exists.

    At least the concept of "Midwestern Nice" is not a myth, at least in my mind. Most people I've met here are considerate, seem to enjoy meeting other people, and don't tend to ask what you do for a living as their introductory question. I guess you just need finely tuned Creepy People radar wherever you go anymore.

    Best of luck with your blog.

    Bob Benenson

  • Congratulations Chicago NOW. Looks like you've got a fabulous new blogger!!!

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