The Creepy Guys We Knew (Who Made Us Think Worse of Men)

In my post What I Truly Believe about Men, reader Lynn commented:

“I think there are a couple of reasons why women ‘bash’ men . . . first of all, we women, every one of us, have had experience with the worst of male behavior (catcalling, unwanted touch, etc.).

Oh so true.

The Creepy Guys We Knew (Who Made Us Think Worse of Men)

For example, my family moved into a new house when I was in 8th grade, and it was one of the first built on the street. The school bus dropped us off at the corner, and my sister and I had to walk a few blocks past houses under construction to reach our residence. Almost every afternoon, we were greeted by construction workers ogling as we passed, whistling at us, and making inappropriate comments. It was a whole group of men, and they were ill-behaved in the extreme — especially to under-aged girls.

Did this make me feel good about men? Nope, not so much. But what bothered me most was how powerless I felt in that moment. I couldn’t stop what was happening! They were adults, we were minors. They were bigger, we were smaller. We were two, they were many. And if we said anything, it only seemed to egg them on. But we had to walk that route. So we kept our eyes forward, ignored them as best we could, and walked home.

Looking back, I think if my father had known what was happening, he might have approached them or complained to the company. But at that time, we were teenagers wanting to be adults and handle things ourselves. I don’t recall ever bothering to tell my parents about our walk home, and as the construction areas slowly became built houses, the problem went away.

Yet other men in my life have certainly been inappropriate — everything from that weird up-and-down-your-body eye scan from a complete stranger, to creepy pick-up lines, to a guy getting grabby on the first date. After seeing those behaviors — and hearing from older, well-meaning women such stupid phrases as “guys only want one thing” — a girl can have more than one moment when she wonders if the whole male species is simply a pack of barely civilized wolves.

Thankfully, I didn’t buy that.

I had too many conflicting examples of guys being polite, proper, and protective! I had frank conversations with guy friends in which I asked what they really thought and discovered sex was not the only thing on their minds. Plenty of them had deep thoughts and emotional longings and honorable intentions.

I had male teachers in school, from elementary through high school, who demonstrated class and caring. And I got to know Bible teachers and youth ministers and church camp counselors who modeled what it means to be a godly man.

I’ve seen good family men in workplaces, churches, and volunteer organizations who love actively their wives and their children. And I have the intimate example of my husband, whose ethics are beyond question.

Then, there’s Jesus. Who, while being all God, was all man. If being male destines you to be a primal jerk, then how can I explain Jesus? Apparently, it’s not destiny.

Ladies, the creepy guys we know were just that: creepy guys. Not a statement about the whole male race, and certainly not confirmation that your husband is somehow a jerk underneath his smooth exterior.

This matters because it colors how we view our husband’s approach to us and our marriage bed. If he wants sex far more often than you, that’s doesn’t make him a sleezeball. He isn’t treating you like that creep you dated fifteen years ago who expected you to “put out” because he bought you dinner. Your husband wants to make love to his wife . . . because he loves his wife.

And if your husband has rejected your sexual advances, that doesn’t mean he’s a jerk far more interested in ogling other women. Sure, affairs and porn use will dampen his interest in you, but that’s a fairly small percentage of lower-drive husbands. It’s just as or more likely that he’s extra stressed at work and it’s taken a toll on his libido. Or that there’s another cause.

Most of you ladies did not marry a creep.

But do you sometimes treat him like one? Do you judge him based on those creepy guys we used to know? Do you secretly harbor fears about men and erect walls to keep yourself safe?

With the beloved man who chose and adores you, please let go of that. Consider him in the best possible light. If you’re not sure what he’s thinking or feeling, ask. (He might surprise you!) And even if his behavior in the past included ogling and whistling at women, he’s grown up since then, fallen in love, become a family man, learned what it means to be committed. See him as the man God intended him to be.

Let’s leave our memories of those creeps behind. They didn’t deserve our attention then, and they don’t deserve it now.

18 thoughts on “The Creepy Guys We Knew (Who Made Us Think Worse of Men)

  1. libl

    One thing I am trying to do is realize that one once in a while behavior doesn’t define an entire human’s character. Yes, there have been times my husband has acted like a total jerk and creeper, inappropriate, sinful. Key words are “acted like.”

    My kids are wonderful much of the time, but sometimes they act like brats. Are they brats? Nope! They are loving, caring, creative, smart, fun, generous, young….and sometimes they get selfish and moody.

    I consider myself a good wife, and so does my hubby, but there are times I can act really *itchy.

    My husband isnt a sexual predator. My kids are not out of control rebels, and I am not an impossible *itch.

    I think what hurts though is that anything of a sexual nature or connotation is rather cutting and severe. It breaks intimacies between spouses, families, ministries, credibilities, and ultimately with God. It is to be deeply respected, not toyed with.

    A child who is occasionally snipped at by a cranky mommy isn’t going to have as much baggage as a child who finds daddy’s occasional porn use. A child who throws a tantrum once in a while isn’t going to hurt a family like a husband (or wife) who flirts heavily with a waitress, lets a female aquaintence sit on his lap, or inappropriately hugs and kisses on the forehead the babysitter.

    Reply
  2. Saddness seems overwhelming

    I apparently need to change my sphere of men as I only seem to to notice the creepers. Or maybe I just need to look deeper to see if there’s anything else there.
    Right now, I feel very discouraged- attending & running support groups for wives/partners of sex addicts & seeing a couple of them – mine included – choose their addiction over their families. Even my non addict friend’s share struggles with their marriages and I seriously struggle to know if there are good & decent men out there.
    Please hear my heart … I want to see these good, Trustworthy & honorable men. I really do. I know they are out there.
    I want to see other, strong men, grab someone like my ex and smack him up side the head and shake some reality into him. Instead, the church says, I’m so sorry and we’ll pray for you. Is that what we’re supposed to do for sinners, pray & walk away, or are we supposed to put our hands and feet into action? For almost 2 decades, I have withstood the storm but his addiction continued to escalate putting myself & my kids at risk, so I chose to end it. In his “drunken” state, he didn’t care and didn’t apologize.
    I guess in the end, my cry is to the good men: grab a brother in need and pull him up, don’t just walk on by.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Some wives are were horribly mistreated by their husbands, and I agree that these men should be confronted. Jesus was gracious to the repentant, but did not shy away from holding arrogant people responsible for blatant sin. Yes, we should pray for one another. But if a man is being a creep to his wife, I would hope other men in the congregation would go to bat for that wife.

      Yet, I personally know of situations where godly men confronted a fellow sinner and others where the sin was ignored. I’m sorry for your hardship. I pray that you really can find and value those wonderful men out there, because they do exist.

      Reply
  3. Keelie Reason

    I totally get where you are coming from. What you described is what they now call street harassment. I dealt with it every growing up day of my life. We had this breakthrough moment in our marriage, because my husband would stare me down, and it made me feel so weird. I said something to him about it one day that him looking at me that way was kind of creepy. It totally crushed him. In that moment, I knew I had put those things on him that were simply not fair. There were a lot of creeps that said nasty things to me, and there were a lot of nice guys that said good things to me. Unfortunately, in certain instances, I put my husband in the creep category when he was feeling excited and pleased by my body. I had to make myself stop being that way and making him feel that way. It took a long time for the healing to take place in his mind after I said that. Oh…what one comment can do to destroy your spouse’s self-esteem.

    Reply
      1. Eric Wiggin

        I think what J and others have described is pretty much a generational sin. For instance, I grew up with two grandfathers and a strong Christian father. None of these three men hooted at young women or told “dirty” stories. I set the same example for the three sons the Lord gave us. And my sons have likewise set set examples for our three grandsons.

        Sadly, I was treated to sometimes having to listen to the lewd comments of kids in school, and later, when I was in college, to the obscene remarks of the men who worked on the construction crews and canning factories where I had summer jobs. I have been in the homes of such people, and let me tell you, they talk that way at home, too. “Like father, like son.”

        To moms and dads reading this comment: keep your words clean at home. Men, especially, set an example by being a gentleman with your wife and around other women. And wives, show appreciation when you’re treated properly–especially so when your kids are watching. IOW, don’t throw gasoline on the fire by giving their daddy a dressing-down in front of the kids. What we teach by example is the way they’ll behave toward the other sex in public.

        Sorry,ladies–I know of no way to prevent crude creeps from being jerks. Dogs really do eat their own vomit. But we can deal with our own families. Simply “dressing up” your language for church on Sunday is no more effective than making a boy wear a necktie to try to make him holy.

        And here’s a PS: Not all comments men make to girls are hurtful. As a former public school teacher, I would sometimes notice a girl who dressed nicely and comment on it, but only if I was sure she understood I wasn’t setting her up for something sexual. Even a proper compliment can be misunderstood.
        Eric Wiggin

        Reply
  4. El Fury

    It’s also worth pointing out that teenage boys often DO have one thing at the front of their minds. Not the ONLY thing, always, ever, but wow… when your hormones are raging during puberty it can drive you girl crazy.

    From what I gather, it doesn’t SEEM to be the same for teenage girls. They can be boy crazy, but they don’t think about sex 24/7.

    Reply
  5. alchemist

    Well we needn’t pretend that women are saints either. There are plenty of catty, nasty, backstabbing, shallow, superficial, manipulative, heartless, *itches out there.
    Women can be incredibly nasty to other women. And to men. I know women in my family whose husbands are decent, hardworking, patient men who really love their kids. Their wives on the other hand are so incredibly demeaning, belittling and nasty to them. I have no idea how they put up with it. The fact that they stay with these women is nothing short of heroic.

    So yeah. Some men are creeps. But the devil wears Prada. Maybe I’ve just been really lucky to have known mostly decent men. It probably helps that I’m so oblivious that I honestly don’t even notice catcalls and whistles. But rarely will a man deliberately seduce a woman so he can rip his heart out and eat it. Or lay false sexual assault charges because a woman turned him down (Potiphar’s wife anyone?) Or demand that his wife bring him the heads of his enemies on a platter because they offended him. Or literally bathe in the blood of virgins to stay young. Women can be truly vicious.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      This article was written for wives and is pretty male-positive. So while I agree that there are issues with plenty of women, that’s simply not the focus here.

      Reply
  6. B

    I just feel a need to point out that not all construction workers are creeps, nor are all creeps construction workers. That is a stereotype.

    My husband runs construction, and he does not treat women that way, nor does he tolerate it from his crew. I’m not saying they don’t do it when he’s not around, there’s no way to know. But I’ve met many of them and they are not all creeps.

    Also, I have had many white collar men act in a creepy way, often much more crass and condescending than blue color guys. I think the problem is more an issue of the heart of the individual, than what profession they belong to.

    No one here has said anything pointed, but I just felt like construction workers were starting to get a bad rap in the comments, and I wanted to point out they’re not all bad.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Oh, absolutely! I certainly hope I didn’t leave that impression. I believe it was this particular construction crew, and I was only give this as an example — not a statement about that profession. I’ve met fabulous guys in most every profession and creepy guys in a bunch of professions. It’s not the job, it’s the guy.

      Thank you for speaking up and letting me clarify!!!

      Reply
  7. libl

    Today, a news article showed up in my newsfeed about a woman who went on a date and ended up dead in a dumpster leaving her 3 daughters without a mommy. Horrible story! In the comments of this story and similar stories, women are beginning to say things like they don’t date. Too many bad things happen. It is too dangerous out there.

    Men can complain about *itchy, back stabbing women, and there are plenty out there, but no man fears his date for the night could kill him and throw him in the dumpster. He might form an exit plan if she is dull or unattractive to him, but he isn’t forming an escape plan in case he fears for his well being.

    Women are frightened and fed up and giving up.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yes, but to be fair: This is a news story because it’s so out there. I wonder what most of those women consider “bad things,” because there are definitely more jerks than killers. Still, I believe the strong majority of husbands are good guys at their core. And the same for women — a few backstabbers, absolutely, but most wives are good-hearted.

      Reply
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  9. Greg

    Having been in two all-boys’ high schools–even back when physical discipline was thankfully enforced (I/we needed it!)–there were sadly guys who fit this bill. I graduated from both high school and college feeling rather nauseous from the memories of a few guys who did and said things too/about women that I wish had never happened. It’s not easy living in a day and age where, as a guy, you feel that stigma of being a potential predator or constantly under suspicion. That lack of trust is often needed, but it stings like you wouldn’t believe.

    But certainly not all guys/men are that way. Admittedly, fifteen times the level of testosterone and the beautiful way in which God designed women doesn’t make it easy, but there’s absolutely no excuse to not watch what we say and do (and, more importantly, how we think of, and view them).

    Pornography is a serious problem, but I still think most men–deep down–want to respect women and express their admiration and fascination for them in affiriming, appropriate ways. Whenever we can, we need to challenge them to do just that.

    Reply

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