There’s a fine line between “flirting” and “being a huge fucking creep”, isn’t there? One errantly-raised eyebrow or unfortunately-timed, definitely-accidental wink can turn a perfectly pleasant conversation into...well, into you being a huge fucking creep, tbh. There’s so much to consider: how nice can you be before you’re being too nice? Are you standing slightly too close to them? What...what’s that you’re doing with your arm there, mate? Trying to do the yawn and stretch is it, mate? Minefield. Absolute minefield.
Luckily for you, the women of Reddit have produced what might be the definitive list of all the creepy things men do when they think they’re being smooth and I’m sorry to tell you that it’s really long and pretty exhaustive.
Some are pretty obvious: “unsolicited shoulder massages” being an early contender for most obviously creepy thing you can do to a woman you’re not already dating. There’s more where that comes from: a man who “looked me over slowly... head to toe... while sloppily licking his lips”, which is obviously gross; “violating personal space”; claiming to be able to tell a bra size just by looking. If you are doing any of these things then probably just close this article, shut your computer, take a long hard look in the mirror and never speak to a woman again.
But being too keen to express how much you Definitely Respect Women is also a problem.
“Making a point of talking about how respectful/safe/feminist you are,” writes the user rawketscience. “Do it once, and OK, maybe you're just shy or nervous. Do it twice or more, and it gets progressively creepier. Believe me, if you're really a quality guy, I'll be able to tell without being told.”
“This is my roommate. He sees himself as the quintessential ladies man, and at the slightest joke that is based on gender, ironic or not, he will start an unwanted discussion about gender roles and why the joke was horribly sexist, regardless of whether or not it was self-deprecating or harmless. He then pats himself on the back about how much of a good "equal rights activist" he is while everyone rolls their eyes at him.”
And the worst? The most appalling words that can fall out of a man’s mouth?
“Wheres my hug?".
Don’t do it, lads. Don’t do it.