I’ve heard it from so many Mennonite girls, including, unfortunately, myself. We gather into groups, giggling about boys. “Ugh, Bill just creeps me out,” we say, and then regale our listeners with hilarious tales of poor, uncool Bill and his attempts to flirt.
Let me list the reasons why I think this is destructive behavior that needs to stop.
1. We do it for selfish reasons
We call him creepy, not from an honest intention to warn our friends, but from an insecurity about ourselves and our own attractiveness.
“Creepy” serves two functions. It shows our girl friends that we, too, are desirable enough to have a guy pursue us. But it also clearly indicates that we would never stoop to liking him back.
And it puts the blame of our rejection on his shoulders. We rejected him because he was “creepy.” That’s his fault, not ours.
2. Labeling a guy as “creepy” ruins his chances with every female in the group
Whether it’s a youth group, voluntary service group, or Bible School term, once a guy is labeled as “creepy,” no girl wants to admit that she likes him.
Several times in my youth, I remember thinking a guy was perfectly normal. Maybe I didn’t have a crush on him, but I didn’t think of him as a non-option either.
And then he became “the creepy one” in our girly gossip group. And after that, he was a non-option.
That is just sad and unfair for the guy.
3. If a guy is actually creepy, it’s nothing worth giggling about
In your lifetime, you may encounter guys who are legitimately creepy, touching you or saying things in inappropriate ways.
We HAVE to make a clear distinction between the discomfort we feel because someone is behaving inappropriately, and the discomfort we feel because someone is awkward. The former needs to be dealt with by the appropriate authority figure for the setting it happens in. Depending on the situation, other women should be warned.
With the latter, we just need to give the guy some grace.
Conflating the two is a bad idea all around.
4. It’s okay to not have feelings for a guy, just because
I feel like we are tempted to use the term “creepy” when we don’t like a guy because, as I mentioned earlier, subconsciously we know that it puts the blame of our rejection on his shoulders, not ours.
This begs the question: Why do we feel the need to deflect blame in this scenario?
Do we feel like it’s wrong to tell a guy “no?”
Here is my strongly-held opinion on the subject: Just because a guy is a nice guy who may be a perfect match for someone else, doesn’t mean you have any obligation to date him if he asks. “I don’t have feelings for him” is a legitimate reason to not date him.
The same way that “I don’t have feelings for her” is a legitimate reason for a guy to not ask a girl out.
Don’t deflect the blame, because there should be no blame to deflect. Don’t say you rejected him because he’s “creepy.” Say you rejected him because you weren’t interested.
5. He might not even like you
Often the “he’s so creepy” speech comes when the guy has never even asked the girl out.
“I think he likes me, and it creeps me out!” girls will say.
Listen. Sometimes he’s just trying to be friendly, and he doesn’t know how to talk to girls.
Sometimes he’s just trying to be friendly, and he does know how to talk to girls, but he just happens to be weird.
Or you just happen to not have feelings for him, but you still want to be desirable, so you interpret his friendliness as flirtation and call it “creepy.”
Whatever the reasons, whether he actually likes you or not, this business of calling awkward guys “creepy” is stupid and it should stop.