Borders Creeper

posted in: Silver Spring | 14

About a week and a half ago, I decided to go hang out downtown so I could get out of my apartment. I headed into Borders to do some browsing. I went to the little catalog search kiosk and was typing in some keywords when a guy (early twenties, around my age) passed by me and went into a section nearby. He was nicely dressed and just looked like a normal guy hanging out in the bookstore. I glanced up for a second and saw him look at me but didn’t think too much of it and continued to search.

I headed to a section to browse and after a few minutes noticed the same guy walk again and look at me. I had a feeling that he was just trying to check me out, but I wasn’t interested, so I ignored him.

I went to a part of the section where there were some chairs. I was standing next to an empty chair with my back facing outwards and browsing when I felt someone walk behind me and sit down in the chair. I looked down and realized it was the same guy. I don’t remember if he was looking at me again or just pretending to sit there out of all the empty chairs in the area.

At this point I started to get uncomfortable and a little annoyed, so I quickly left and went to a different part of the bookstore. I didn’t see him for five or so minutes so I relaxed and continued to browse. But then he came back. He was wandering around the section I was in, up and down the aisles and looking at me when he passed by. At one point he got really close to me and was pretending to look at books, but out of the corner of my eye I could see that he kept looking up and over at me. He was kind of just hovering around. So I moved yet again. I was starting to feel anxious but there were other people in the section with us, so I wasn’t scared that he would physically hurt me or anything.

He kept slowly wandering away and then behind me and “looking at books.” So I got exasperated and looked up at him for the first time and just stared with a “what is your problem?” look. He looked surprised that I had noticed him and then walked away. I didn’t see him for ten or so minutes and was relieved, but then after that he came back yet again.

So I made a big deal out of slamming my book down and walking out of the store. He didn’t follow me out or anything, but I walked home really quickly.

I should have called him out on it. Afterwards I kept thinking of things I should have said… “Can I help you with something?” or “If you continue to follow me around I will call for security!” I was so upset about it but for some reason at the time I felt powerless. I told some friends about it afterwards and some of them said that I could have just said “hello” because he was “obviously just nervous”, but I don’t see how anyone could think a someone following around a girl who’s alone, regardless of where she is, is okay.

Submitted by Ashley on 7/14/2011

Location: In Borders bookstore (Silver Spring)

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

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14 Responses

  1. Golden Silence

    “I told some friends about it afterwards and some of them said that I could have just said “hello” because he was “obviously just nervous”, but I don’t see how anyone could think a someone following around a girl who’s alone, regardless of where she is, is okay.”

    You do not have to tell someone you’re not interested in “hello.” People need to stop giving bad advice to placate these men, and start giving advice that empowers the women who deal with this nonsense.

    • Nigerian Sista

      As always you hit the nail right in the head with the manner. Many women have allowed themselves to be conditioned to go by the ‘guys rules’. If he knew HE didn’t have the courage to say hello he should’ve just left it alone. Why should she feel uncomfortable becuase the guy was ‘shy’. He was being creepy and I would find that kind of hovering predatory.

  2. Omega

    Always amazes me how some ‘well meaning’ friends seem to place the blame on you. Its not his fault he was probably nervous. Wow, a nervous stalker.

  3. cathy

    yeah, you’re not obliged to be nice to a creeper. no need for you to break the ice for him. also, you’ve been conditioned not to confront people, so don’t beat yourself up for your silence. as long as you are safe, you’re doing the right thing. if the next time you want to speak up, you will. there’s never just one way to react.

  4. Anonymous

    I know all rational comments on this site are deleted, asap, but your “chilling tale,” like most others on this site, is but BS. Sounds like some perfectly normal guy was walking around in a public space, far less interested in you than you imagine. And then out of the blue, you start acting bat-shit crazy – bitching out a total stranger.

    Sure the nut jobs on this site all “support you,” but that’s because they’re all a few fries short of a happy meal too.

    You have a couple screws loose, but you’re in good company. I bet 90 percent of the “horror” stories on here wouldn’t have “happened” if the lady’s in question had access to meds that helped relieve schizophrenic tendencies before they became full-blown episodes.

    • Golden Silence

      “Sounds like some perfectly normal guy was walking around in a public space, far less interested in you than you imagine. And then out of the blue, you start acting bat-shit crazy – bitching out a total stranger.”

      Of course, an anonymous comment telling us we’re all crazy! Laughing at that, and laughing at the idea that you think your comment fits in with “rational.” I think your comment is unnecessary and rude.

      I wonder if you’re the Borders stalker, here to defend your honor against us “nut job” commenters.

    • Have a nice day

      Dear Anonymous:

      You obviously don’t have any idea what it is like to be stalked, threatened or harassed. You also need to work on the proper use of grammar. It is “ladies,” rather than “lady’s.” You have a nice day.

    • Ashley

      Lol – whatever, Anon. How did I in anyway “bitch out a total stranger” when I didn’t say a word to him? Why are you even on this site, since you think all of us are making up these experiences, are a few fries short of a happy meal (original!) and have schizophrenic tendencies?

  5. C

    I had a startlingly similar experience in a Borders a few years ago, in the city where I used to live. I held the door for a guy and he then followed me around the entire store, and wasn’t remotely subtle about it. At first I thought it might have been my imagination, so I ducked into the ladies’ room. After about 5 minutes I came out and he was standing right next to the door. I booked it the hell out of there but he actually followed me all the way to the subway station, I took the wrong train with a few transfers so I could lose him.

  6. Ashley

    Anyway, thanks to everyone else for the supportive responses.

  7. Christina

    I am sorry for your experience. However, I am inclined to agree in part with Anonymous. While I can understand your discomfort with the situation I dont htink any harm was meant by the guys actions. Have you never been out somewhere, seen a guy you thought was attractive but not had the courage to initiate a conversation so you just placed yoruself in areas where he was, hoping he would say something? I have and in no way did I think my actions were over-the-top or being a “creeper.” In your account the guy never once made any inappropriate comments or gestures or indicated he was trying to be inapprpriate with you.
    I find often times on this site that women take a harmless situation and blow it out of proportion because they read so many stories on here that are legitimate instances of sexual harrassment. I am not trying to minimalize any guys behavior and defintely think they should be called out…WHEN APPROPRIATE and not because someone feels “victimized” by catching a someone giving them the once over…it happens and unless they are making inappropriate and lewd, comments or gestures, refusing to take no for an answer and being overly aggressive then just take it for what it is, a look. There is no need to call the person out and make a big scene about something that is quite honestly harmless. If everyone woman that has share a story on here can with 100% honesty saw they never checked out a guy or girl they found to be attractive, then I will eat every single one of my words.

    • Hope

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. Chances are, this guy wasn’t trying to be “creepy” and didn’t even realize he was bothering you – he was just trying to get the nerve to say hello. People who are legitimately trying to do something decent, like ask a pretty girl out on a date, don’t tend consider that their actions may also been seen as “creepy”, because that’s not their mindset.

  8. LAW31

    Anyone who thinks silently following someone around a bookstore hoping they’ll talk to you isn’t creepy or inappropriate needs to learn better social skills. (A blog forum is probably not the place to do it, either)

    • Christina

      Maybe YOU need to learn some social (and reading) skills. In no way was I hoping to learn something from “the blog forum” on hoe to pick up a guy (I’m happily married thank you) but simply reflecting on my days when I was younger and still trying to figure out way to approach the opposite sex. Judging from the posters story my guess is she and the “creeper” are younger they probably don’t have the social skills or know how to approach someone. My only point is that we are sometimes too quick to judge the actions or intentions of others and always assume the worse. I try to approach things with a balance, yes I have (legitimately) been harassed before but I refuse to walk into every situation with a negative and accusatory predisposition. I find all too often that people make mountains out of mole hills and instead of having a reality check by posting experiences like this on blogs they are coddled and told how “awful” that must have been when in reality they should see the situation for what it was, harmless. This is not to take away from any legitimate experiences of harassment but stories like this seem to cause the “boy who cried wolf experience” when serious stories are no played by the public and authorities because so many claims of so-called street harassment are being made. Replying every cat-call strewn your way takes the attention And necessary presence away from those that are legitimate and life-threatening. We all need to support each other while Aldo teaching one another of the difference. But you may be right…maybe I just need to work on my “social skills” and play the victim rather than the advocate, thanks for the advice.