I tend to enjoy the articles by Dr NerdLove, as they speak to men about relationship topics in a straightforward manner. In his recent article about creeper moves and Brad Pitt, however, I think he lost his way.
The gist of the article (and I encourage you to read the entire thing) is that creepy moves are creepy whether or not you look like Brad Pitt. On this I say, “No way!”
Attractive people have an advantage in many areas of society. For instance, according to the American Psychology Association, attractive people have a 10% better chance of receiving a call back after a job interview. They also note that attractive people average 10% greater earnings than unattractive people. There are numerous statistics that bear out this same phenomenon in other areas of our lives.
Dr NerdLove mentions that creepiness is based on boundaries and that we have different boundaries for different people. Ding, ding, ding! Exactly! And many people would have a different boundary for Brad because of his attractiveness. So, yes, Brad can get away with a lot more – not by crossing a boundary safely, but by having a different “over the line” than most of us.
The article does make a great point about entitlement. Just because Brad can do things we mere mortals can’t get away with doesn’t mean diddlysquat. Manute Bol (and I’m showing my age and how long it’s been since I watched NBA basketball) could get away with a lot more than Spud Webb on a basketball court. For those non-basketball fans or people born in the last 20 or so years, that’s a real tall person able to do things on a basketball court that a really short person couldn’t.
Did Spud ever say, “Gee, that’s unfair! How about you lower the basket when I’m in the offensive zone?” Of course not. He played a different style game. And so, my less-attractive-than-Brad friends, you must, too. There’s no crying in baseball (damn, I knew I should have used a baseball reference earlier rather than a basketball reference) and there’s no crying in being creepy.
Just because Brad can do it doesn’t mean you can. Get over it. Come up with a different approach. There are lots of less-than-Brads out there in great relationships. You can be, too. But how, you ask, can you avoid being creepy? Let’s start with intent.
When acting for the camera (such as TV or movies), the good actors are able to get their emotional intent engaged in their scene. The focus of the camera picks up the micro-expressions that we humans can normally read subconsciously. If I’m trying to threaten a person, I have to think and feel, “I threaten” for it to come out in the final product.
If you’re approaching a woman, say to give a hug, and you’re intent is a creepy one – perhaps you’re imagining fondling her, or even just hoping to turn her on – that will come across in those micro-expressions. She won’t know exactly why she felt creeped out but, unless her boundaries with you are such that she’s already into you, she will be. And you’ll need to pick up on that so you can adjust your intent.
It’s fine and normal to be attracted to someone new, even sexually attractive, but you risk being creepy if you try to push too far, too fast before you’ve established the boundaries. Try being friendly and honest and see what happens. You’re still going to get shot down from time to time. We all do. Even Brad. But you won’t get labeled a creeper, and that means you may be ok for her friend to get to know.
We can’t all be Brad. And that’s ok, because Angelina is already taken.
Steve is the founder of Straight Talk Entertainment and currently produces and writes for the audio drama Aural Traditions, recently voted Charleston City Paper’s Best Local Podcast. He’s also an Information Security professional and avid shark tooth hunter.