In June I printed a letter from a young woman criticizing my assumption that creepy guys are turned off by chaste and modest girls. She wrote,
I dress very modestly — some would even call it too conservative — and I am pretty average-looking. But for some reason I draw creepy guys like a magnet! I’m sick to death of guys hitting on me, especially the ones my dad’s age. It’s disgusting. Any advice at all? Someone told me it was because girls like me tend to be a little sheltered and naive. I feel like I’ve got the word VIRGIN seared on my forehead — virginity being a good thing, of course, but not the attention it draws.
I answered, “I hadn’t thought of that. All you Christian virgins out there, what do you think? Do creepy guys hit on you because they think you’ll be easier prey? And what do you use for creep repellant?”
So many answers poured in that we had to shut off the tap. One reader remarked,
Wouldn’t it be lovely if Focus on the Family could bottle some creep repellant, call it Creepaway, and offer it at the website with a suggested donation $5.00 a bottle? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way.
Naturally, most of those who wrote in were female — but not all. One guy wrote,
My freshman year at a CHRISTIAN college was a real eye-opener. All of a sudden girls of the sleazier description wanted to “be friends.” Then they wanted to be more than friends. I felt like my stand on morals made me a target for women to see if they could make my hormones fry my conscience.
Another guy — chaste, single throughout his twenties, engaged to be married in a few months — explained that he used to be hit on by girls who’d had lots of sexual relationships already, and who didn’t know how to form healthy relationships with men. He wrote,
I found that I had to be more selective in the company I kept, avoiding girls who spent all their energy healing from their previous sexual relationships.
Among both men and women, opinion varied as to what it is about virginity that draws these creepy guys, not to mention how to keep them away. Here’s a sampling of your theories about just what it is that draws creepy guys to virtuous women in the first place. Never having attracted creepy guys myself — well, I’ve just listened.
(1) Not that this will surprise anyone, but creepy guys hit on virgins because the payoff is greater. What Christian husband would deny that on his wedding night, he was psyched to be the first guy to have sex with his wife? I know I was.
(2) I think we Christian virgin gals are nurturing, safe, compassionate — guys of all ages want to confide in us. It’s so hard to keep those boundaries — to be a listening ear while not giving the impression of sexual interest. Requires lots of prayer.
(3) I’ve been a Christian for about two years, but before that I was caught up in the sexual debauchery of our age. Young innocent virgins appealed to me because of their “newness,” but really I think it’s a power issue. I told myself that they didn’t know what sex is about, but I did.
(4) Some guys hit on ANYTHING female — it isn’t you, it’s them.
(5) Some guys say sexually inappropriate things in an effort to make conversation — hard as that is to believe. Remember, not everyone thinks on things that are true, good, right, pure, lovely, excellent or praiseworthy.
(6) On a spiritual level, men are attracted to purity in a woman. I’ve heard it said they like to do their own thing in college but when they are ready to settle down, they appear at church. Those men may be reacting the only way they know how by hitting on you when they want a relationship with someone untarnished by the world. Jesus attracted sinners and tax collectors because they wanted to be cleansed.
(7) A lot of men are searching to fill that God-shaped void in their hearts through sex. Only the Savior can fill that empty place.
(8) What man DOESN’T want a virtuous and loyal girlfriend or wife? Though men may still check out sexually active women, deep down we all desire to marry someone who has NOT been sexually active, and our interest is piqued when we meet such a person.
(9) Some creepy guys seem to like the “naive little girl” look, but there’s more to it than that. I think they can tell when we’re “pleasers” — when we hate to say no, and compromise to please people. They like to exploit girls who don’t see their worth as God does.
And here is an assortment of your answers to the question, “What do you use for creep repellant?”
(1) Some women don’t make any effort to let their friends know what kind of partner they ARE looking for. Reliable friends can be a real asset in keeping an eye out for “the one.”
(2) If I don’t place myself in situations where men like that feel free to hit on me, not only are they less likely to bother me but I find it easier to look them confidently in the eye and tell them what I think.
(3) I ask these guys to check with Jesus first. That gets rid of them.
(4) Confront them with their sin and direct them to the Savior.
(5) To avoid creep attacks, I place boundaries on conversations — not to mention dating, friendships, and all other areas of life.
(6) As I’ve learned to stop being a “pleaser” and to project the fact that I know who I am in Christ, the creepy guys have become less interested and the Christian guys have become more. THEY like girls who know God and who know their value in His eyes.
My favorite letter echoed many of these themes, but put them in broader perspective. Asked what attracts creepy guys, my correspondent writes,
The scent of “niceness” is what draws them. Of course, there are many varieties of creepy guys. The young woman who wrote to you had to fight off older men of the species Creepius Pervertus. I’ve seen a couple of those. Then there are the less dangerous species, like Creepius Sociallyawkardus, Creepius Immaturus, and Creepius Emotionallydamagedicus, which I run into more often among my college-age acquaintances. All species of creepy guys are used to rejection, so they look for the women least likely to reject them and most likely to affirm them — nice, vulnerable, naive or sheltered girls. Another defining characteristic of the genus Creepius is a radar that infallibly detects Codependant/Mommy/Rescuer types. Such women have good characteristics like compassion and kindness, mixed with bad ones like poor boundaries and low self esteem. Not all woman that attract creepy guys are like that, but creepy guys follow them like sharks follow a trail of blood.
And how does she keep these creepy guys away? Her answer:
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! There is such a thing as being too nice. When a guy asks for a phone number or a date, many young woman don’t say “No” because they don’t want to hurt his feelings. Say it anyway. Most guys will respect that and back off. Occasionally someone won’t. Tell him you’re not interested, won’t change your mind, and don’t appreciate his attentions — and if he still doesn’t get it, block his phone number. You’re not responsible for his emotional health. Finally, check what signals you’re transmitting. I used to set off the Codependant/Mommy/Rescuer radar myself, until I realized that I had a lot of hurt that needed to be healed by God. When He began changing things in my heart, then other things changed too — the way I thought about myself, the type of guy I was attracted to, and the kind of message I transmitted. I still attract some creepy guys (though now I attract nice ones too!), but I know how to deal with them a lot better.
Taken from: J. Budziszewski, “Creepy Guys ‒ Classified, Analyzed, & Explained,” Boundless, 2000, 22 June 2002.