A Frightening Transformation
I was falling in love with an amazing man. We shared stories, confidences, laughs and sleepovers. We took long walks, bared our biggest life challenges and asked each other for advice. He was a solid, loving human being.
One evening on a walk, he told me that he wanted to create informational videos for his business but felt really uncomfortable on camera. I was thrilled – coaching people for the camera was in my wheelhouse. I’d taught presentation skills professionally and had a lot of experience in front of the camera. I was excited to get started.
I asked him to create and send me a short video so I could get a baseline understanding of what his challenges were. He felt frightened to do it but pushed through his discomfort like a champ. The link arrived in my inbox. I couldn’t wait to review it.
I was shocked and transfixed. The man on my laptop screen could have passed for a serial killer. He looked pale and shifty and spoke in a monotone. I watched the video again and again. I couldn’t believe that my loving boyfriend could look like such a creepy man.
Questioning my Judgment
I hadn’t thought much about creepy men before. But this experience made me think about my own prejudice. I thought that a creepy man was creepy all of the time. What I learned is that a person can come off as creepy because in that moment he feels awkward.
I googled “I’m afraid she’ll think I’m creepy” and got over 19 million results. Here are a few:
In Jon Anthony’s article, Why Girls Think You’re Creepy, he explains that creepiness is “much more of a ‘vibe,’ than it is a look.” It comes from a lack of confidence and the need for validation from others.
But wait. A lack of confidence? I feel that sometimes. A need for validation from others? I’ve certainly had experience with that, too. I had no idea I had so much in common with creepy men!
A New Definition
I received an email from a fan of Cuddle Sanctuary – a great guy who said he dearly missed cuddling when not in a relationship. He said that he wanted to find a cuddle buddy but feared he’d come off as creepy. I knew that I needed a new definition for that word.
Creepy man – n. a person who wants to connect but doesn’t know how.
Friends, I’m not suggesting that you ignore your internal safety radar when walking alone in a dark parking lot. I am suggesting that when safety is not a concern to pause for a moment before dismissing someone as creepy. There may be a good reason why the human being in front of you feels uncomfortable. Underneath that creepy man’s facade may be a fascinating human being with a great sense of humor who gives amazing hugs.
Jean Franzblau has years of experience as a professional speaker and corporate trainer. Jean is the author of The Real Sex Ed College Course, and the owner of Sexual Esteem with Jean. Jean is the founder of Cuddle Sanctuary, where she trains professional cuddlers and facilitates cuddle workshops (cuddling is the practice of engaging in platonic, non-sexual, nurturing touch).