How NOT To Pick Up A Woman

My 11-year-old nephew Zay got stood up by a 21 year old guy who was supposed to take him out on a jet ski on the lake at my mother’s house, where I was visiting with my daughter. Zay was so heartbroken, I offered to go down to the dock, do my yoga practice, and let him kayak around the cove (which he’s not allowed to do without adult supervision).

So he scooted out in his kayak, and I rolled out my yoga mat and started doing Sun Salutations, Plank poses, and Downward Dog.

It wasn’t long before I noticed a guy about my age standing on a dock across the cove checking me out. I tried to ignore him. I closed my eyes. But I could feel his gaze peering through me as I balanced in Eagle pose. I had to periodically open my eyes to check on my nephew, and every time I did, I could see him leering from across the cove, checking out my Triangle pose, inspecting my Warrior II, gaping at my Happy Baby. I was engaging in what, for me, is a spiritual practice, and yet, with my legs spread wide, I felt dirty. I got pissed.

It was 94 degrees, but because yoga poses can be revealing in a swimsuit, I was wearing gym clothes. But they left me feeling naked. I wished I could build an invisible wall around myself. I would have gone inside to finish my yoga practice, except my heartbroken nephew was happily paddling around, and I had promised him I would keep an eye on him outside. Plus, I wasn’t about to let some creepy dude keep me from my yoga practice.

So I chose to ignore him. I did Pigeon pose. I did Goddess pose. I nailed Warrior I.

Then Creepy Dude disappeared. I breathed a sigh of relief. Until 10 minutes later, when he appeared on my dock, saying, “Mind if I check out your landscaping?” (Worst pick up line ever.)

Creepy Dude wandered around my mother’s beautifully landscaped lawn, then he ambled out onto my dock when I had my eyes closed, deep in Bridge pose (which doesn’t lend itself to talking to begin with.)

“So, where ya from, gorgeous?”

I breathed. In. Out. No response.

“You married?”

I flashed my ring.

“That your kid?” He nodded to my nephew.

I said, “No, but my daughter will be home from camp soon.”

“You married?” he asked again.

“Yes. Happily.”

“Nice flexibility,” he oozed. “And wow. Those muscles. Strength, balance, and flexibility. Haaaaaahhhht. By the way, I brought you a water. You look thirsty.” He handed me a water bottle. I pointed to my cup of tea and declined it.

“Wow. Beautiful – and prepared.”

My stomach turned while I was upside down in a handstand.

“Sir,” I said, with a formality atypical for me. “I’m doing yoga, and this is a spiritual practice for me. I’d prefer not to be interrupted.”

“Sorry. Sorry. No offense.” He left my dock and trespassed onto our neighbor Tina’s dock next door, where he proceeded to watch me for another 10 minutes, while I tried to breathe through the discomfort. Then he started talking again when I was doing Dolphin pose. I ignored him, repeating a mantra to myself to try to drown him out.

He kept going. “Your husband is a lucky man.”

I started getting weirded out. I melted into Chair pose.

He said, “You have the hottest ass.”

I said, “Thank you. Now I’m not going to talk anymore.” And I breathed deeply and sank into Extended Side Angle pose.

“Mind if I just stay and enjoy the view?” he asked, as I noticed his bathing suit poking out right where Mr. Friendly lives.

“Yes, I said. I do. Please leave. I don’t mean to be rude. But I’ve asked you nicely. I’m doing my yoga practice. And I’d prefer some privacy.”

“Oh, sorry. Sorry. Right. My name’s Marcus, by the way. What’s yours?”

SERIOUSLY, DUDE?

My sweet nephew came up to me in his kayak and said, “Aunt Lissa, want me to take care of this?”

I shook my head. No 11-year-old should have to protect his aunt, but I was frankly glad he was there. I was already thinking about how I was going to lock the doors I never lock (what if he followed me inside?) I was worrying about how I would protect myself with only my nephew for my defense?

Then the Gremlin in my head started spouting off. What if this guy sneaks into the house at night and tries to hurt me? Was all the attention my fault because I was out here in public doing a Forward Bend in gym clothes? Should I have avoided letting strangers see my ass sticking up in Downward Dog? If he came for me, would someone argue that I was asking for it, even though I had very clearly expressed that I wasn’t interested? Would my brush off inflame him even more? Don’t they say rape is about control, about domination? Might he want to teach my sorry ass a lesson about submission?

My heart raced.

Then I heard him behind me again.

“Looks like you’re almost done,” he said, seeing me in the lotus position, eyes closed in meditation. I ignored him. “My name’s Marcus,” he said again. I stayed silent. “Nice ass,” he repeated.

I wanted to puke. I prayed for comfort. I could hear my nephew paddling up. Marcus must have disappeared, because when I opened my tear-laden eyes, he was gone. I said to my nephew, “Let’s go upstairs.”

He said, “I didn’t like him, Aunt Lissa.”

I said, “Me neither.” And I gave him a 30 minute lecture about how not to pick up a woman.

When I got upstairs, my mother and daughter were just arriving home from camp. It was getting dark. I was feeling vulnerable, with three generations of women in one house, protected only by an 11-year-old boy. I felt pissed that this thought even had to cross my mind. I was temporarily angry at mankind for making women feel unsafe when we’re just minding our own business. I hated that this thought even flashed into my consciousness, because I love men, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful versions of the gender that I haven’t felt triggered in this way for a long time. Somehow, I’ve been isolated from the Marcuses of the world for so long that I let my guard down and felt violated when he stomped right into my space uninvited.

I Won’t Let Fear Stop Me

I’ve been in situations like this before, but I forget every single time how icky it makes me feel. My husband, when I told him, said, “At least it’s probably good for your ego to know young men still find you attractive.” I grimaced. No. It felt disgusting, like the sacred safety of my mother’s home had been destroyed.

But I refuse to let some Creepy Dude keep me from doing yoga on my mother’s dock. I will go back out tomorrow in my gym clothes and do yoga on the dock – just because. It’s my right. My body. My mother’s home. My choice. And if he so much as breathes on me wrong, I’ll call 911 this time. No hesitation.

But hopefully, I won’t need to call for help because I’ve asked The Universe to protect me. I can only imagine that this young man must have some wounds of his own that lead him to behave the way he did. I sent prayers, love, and light to his soul so he wouldn’t need to put some other woman through what I went through. I’ve also practiced pulling in my energy field so I’m essentially invisible to him. I’ve called upon my angels to keep me safe. And I’m just going to keep on keeping on.

Have You Ever Felt Unsafe?

I know I’m not the only person who has been made to feel unsafe by another person. Has anything like this every happened to you? How did you deal with it? Tell us your story.

Knowing in my heart I am safe,

Lissa

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.

190 comments

Dawn E.
Dawn E.7 months ago

I've been in similar situations several times. I can relate to how creeped out and unsafe you felt. :-(

Magdalena J.
Past Memberabout a year ago

Thank you!

Dale O.

No, Joe R, you have the attitude that is more than very strange - people can still be attentive while doing Yoga. Just how in the world was her confrontation 'weird', she was on private property minding her own business unlike that male who overstepped boundaries.

Yes, eleven years old is young but unless she was in another kayak with him all she needed to do was watch while doing Yoga as there are various poses one can do that still allows one to keep an eye peeled.

Of course with your logic maybe she should wear a burka before taking part in yoga so not to cause lust in the male populace.You find no offence in a man wandering onto private property and harassing a woman minding her own business. Instead you nitpick about what the woman 'should have been doing'...and you found her self defence of her right to be herself on private property as 'weird.' I hope that you never have sons to teach them that kind of attitude.

A jungle pit would have come in handy for this primate wandering onto private property and not leaving when asked to.

Sorry to hear that Kathy P.

Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K.2 years ago

Well, I do have to say the title was the understatement of the year, as this was more about sexual harassment than flirting. The lines can get blurry, but this one was obviously more ominous than some guy asking, "hey babe, what's your sign". A lot of times so-called flirting comes off as presumptuous to begin with, maybe because it can so quickly escalate to what the author experienced. All communication should be marked by boundaries. Thanks.

Econ Geeks
2 years ago

Shud've glowered him in first instance

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

I was carjacked, forced into my trunk at gun point, then sexually assaulted. So yes, I have felt unsafe. Men can be scum, and they think it is hot to make us feel like objects rather than people. He was too persistent, too over bearing. Creep.

Joe R.
Joe R.3 years ago

... or "How NOT to Supervise Your Nephew."

Weren't you supposed to be watching your nephew? A lot can happen to children on water in a very short period of time. He deserved your full attention. (No yoga, no weird confrontations with the local men.) And then you gave your nephew a 30 minute lecture about how not to pick up a woman (?) Very strange.

Susan A.
Susan A.3 years ago

Thanks for the depth of your sharing in this article, Lissa. Brings up a lot for a lot of us. Continue Being well.

bb s.
bb s.3 years ago

Hey, Kevin C., what happened to your psychology friend, David Harrison? You know, the 53 year old that managed to befriend two under aged girls in the first month he was a member here.

Dale Overall

The man is a creep, he is on private property and is given the clear message that this woman is not interested and wants to do yoga in peace and in private.

Of course some men do not care if someone states that they are not interested, if some men announce their interest that is supposed to woo a woman right then and there and to them a no really means yes, a chance to pursue until they get their yes.

Sadly some men just don't get it and believe that if they can see a leg the woman is fair game. Perhaps they would like women to walk around covered from head to toe because some men cannot get away from their hormones. It may be the nature of man to be visually stimulated but they also have a mind and are not totally animals dependent upon their testosterone for survival. It won't kill a man if a woman says no. It is then time to move on, if not, he is a ignoramus, not a stud.