Harrass (Not) Meant

Travis Tribble


Some pitfalls to flirting can come from knowing the line between charming and creepy.

Cupid’s arrow claimed many hearts this Valentine’s Day and romance is in the air. While there are people that find flirting easy, many find it awkward or difficult.

King Robert the Bruce once said “If at first you don’t succeed try and try again,” a mantra that could help you get into your college of choice, but using it to get into someones pants could be considered harassment.

According to Geneviève Labelle, a sexologist from the University of Quebec, “Victims of sexual misconduct often talk about repeated behavior. One unwelcome compliment might not go over well, but it’s the recurrence of these unwanted compliments that’s the real issue.”

Repeating unwanted advances isn’t just limited to speech. Smiling at someone all the time or looking them up and down when it’s not reciprocated can be just as creepy.

“It’s okay to smile at someone in the street — once,” Labelle says. “If the person is not receptive, leave it at that.”

Furthermore, in February of last year, a non-profit called Stop Street Harassment conducted an online survey of 2,000 nationwide participants. The result was that 77 percent of women and 34 percent of men reported verbal abuse on the streets.

Also, 51 percent of women and 17 percent of men reported dealing with unwanted touching and groping.

It’s risky business bridging the gap between appropriate and inappropriate forms of body contact.

Scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson recently learned about this phenomena the hard way. Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Bucknell University and a fan of Tyson, was taking a photo with him at a party held by the American Astronomical society.

After the photo, Tyson lifted part of her dress to see if the former planet Pluto was included in her tattoo of the solar system. This behavior led to Allers reporting Tyson for sexual misconduct.

Due to accusations from other women, he will be facing trial for these allegations. But in the court of public opinion, the damage has already been done regardless of his intentions.

The big takeaway here? It’s probably best to keep your hands to yourself — especially without consent.

So, what is the proper form of flirting to get your crush’s attention without warding them off? According to an SCC student who goes by “Peaches,” it’s all about being cool, reading body language and being honest.

“Actually coming up to me, keeping it smooth, asking me my name … I would call that flirting,” she said.

Proper wooing can also boil down to perceived gender roles. A study published in a research journal called Sex Roles shows that men often prefer short and direct approaches while women usually go for more open-ended, innocuous advancements.

This doesn’t mean you have to step on egg shells while you’re peacocking. Just think about what you’re doing, and if it crosses your mind that it might be inappropriate, don’t do it.

Peaches also talks about how most guys in this generation think cat calling and checking out her body is a form of flirting, but according to her, that won’t get you anywhere if you don’t even know her name.

She sums up reading signals with a simple catch phrase: “If I ain’t cheesin’, you ain’t pleasin’.”

All of this ties into knowing your rights as a student. Sexual harassment is outlined in Title IX. You can find this information on SCC’s website.

It’s short and easy to read and could save you a lot of future headaches. It also might let you know how where and when to report inappropriate behavior.