Harassment

meI sometimes blog about video games, but I’ve never been to E3. As a young adolescent, I fantasized about booth babes, without realizing how disgusting and disturbing they would one day get. I, like many gamers, am a man. Unlike many other gamers, (some might roughly say 50% or more) I am not a woman. Complaining about sexual harassment feels like it either comes second hand or it’s all theory. Well you know what? I do know what harassment is like.

While I have certainly been the white knight of at least one under age girl, protecting her from creeps while she hid in the bathroom, I myself have been creeped on in the form of a cat boy stalker. Oh… maybe he thought I was flirting with him, I don’t know.

As a man who goes to anime conventions, I have been known to cosplay. My first costume was The Poison Mushroom, from Mario Bros. II: The Lost Levels. On one particular outing, my mushroom cap/hat was stolen by a girl. Thankfully, this time, I had not safety pinned it to my mask, unlike a different encounter I had had where It yanked on my entire head. Playing it cool, I silently walk over to this person who had taken it, and she asks if she can wear it. I shake my cowled head in a NO.

poisonmushroomAmongst convention goers, there is this greeting that many do to each other called a glomp. For some, it is a giant hug that lasts a little too long, but for others it is a full sprinted run that ends in the roughest full body hug ever. Some get knocked down, others just stand there with a what the hell expression on their face. So this one… person… just full on sprints at me from my side as I was chatting with friends. It could have been a man, but I’m personally hoping it was a teenage girl. So she’s just hugging and hugging, and not letting go. I, not being the violent sort, grapple back, pick this shorter person up, and physically take them to the group that had ejected this molesting missile of misery at me. With their help, I was able to obtain the freedom one craves.

Another time, while once again wearing the poison mushroom cosplay, a guy had asked if he could pose with me for a photo. I shake my head approvingly, and he licks my mushroom cap. I Get It. I’m a big phallic object! But that does not give you the right to put saliva on my clothing!

So, once I stopped cosplaying as a purple tower of :ahem: power, CLEARLY I’m fine, yes? I mean, I was practically asking… nay… BEGGING for all of that attention, yes?

Last December, I was at a convention after hours. Through a mix up, I was room-less, so I was typing away on my computer in the hotel lobby. All of a sudden, my head was literally hugged from behind and was kissed. At first, I figured this was a friend playing a joke or something. As the smell of alcohol on this person’s breath wafts over to my nostrils, I instantly remembered that my roommate wasn’t at the convention, and that no one I knew would be up that early in the morning. This was a stranger, doing strange things to me. By the time I turned around to look at the head fondler, he was already starting to stammer away.

So yes. People are jerks. We shouldn’t try and defend groups of people, or argue that the victims put themselves into the situation somehow.. or maybe they should have reacted “differently.” The thing that sucks is that these are a few incidents over the course of almost ten years. What happens to a good number of women on a regular basis is horrible, uncalled for, and honestly is not them just ‘over reacting.’

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