How to diffuse a street harassment situation peacefully and get out unscathed

Ok, so this just happened. I walk out of the subway station and briefly catch eyes with a guy who’s standing on the corner trying to catch people’s eyes for some reason. I look away and keep going. He comes toward me and we have the following exchange:

Guy: I like you!

Me: Thanks! (I keep walking.)

Guy: (following me) I like you!

Me: Ok. (I keep walking)

Guy: (walking beside me) I LIKE you!

Me: Ok, thanks. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (Getting slightly in front of me) I LIKE you!!!!

Me: Ok. I’m trying to get home. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (still walking right near me, trying to get me to stop or turn to him) I LIKE you! I think he likes you, too! (points to another, bigger guy, who’s also standing on the street doing nothing)

Me: Ok, I appreciate that. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (Touching my elbow) I LIKE you!

Me: Ok. (I take a step back and go around him and keep walking)

Guy: (Touching my other elbow and walking with me) I LIKE you! (He gets a look in his eye like he’s starting to get offended that I’m not giving him whatever he wants.)

Me: (getting really fucking pissed that this fuckface thinks he can not only insist on talking to a stranger in a hurry in New York fucking City but also fucking TOUCH me and then TOUCH me again and just assume that I’m not gonna fucking annihilate him, but also trying to figure out how to get out of this situation without starting a fight, while also standing up for myself and not taking this shit) You’re invading my personal space. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (starting to look like a sad little puppy) I LIKE you!

Me: You’re invading my personal space. (I keep walking.)

Finally, he gives up. I walk away, checking behind me every few steps to see if he’s following me or what he’s doing. I can’t see him anymore. I get home and watch the door of my lobby to see if he’s followed me until I get in the elevator. I have a couple of things to say about this:

1. Fuck that guy.

2. What the fuck was that about? Is saying “I like you” over and over again the new way to start an abduction, rape, murder, or sale of an indie rap CD?

3. If I hadn’t been afraid of something bad happening, I would have liked to have said, “Dude, do you know how many people I’ve fucking “liked” that haven’t liked me back?! People aren’t gonna like you just cuz you say you like them! Life is shitty and unfair and nobody owes you shit and nobody you like will ever like you back because there’s a design flaw in the way attraction works, but we have to just make peace with that and find other ways to be happy! Also, I’m not some dumb tourist who’s gonna talk to you! I’ve lived in this fucking city in this fucking neighborhood all my life and I know how this shit works! I don’t talk to fucking strange men who harass me on the street! I don’t stop walking, I don’t give you my number, and I’m never gonna see you again! And you’re not gonna kill me, rape me, sell me something or get me to go anywhere! You’re gonna FUCK OFF. I’ve lived in this city my whole fucking life and I’m not gonna die on these streets because of some idiot like you! I’m gonna die on my own terms, probably of cancer, when I’m old as shit! So get the fuck out of my face and find effective ways to get whatever the fuck it is you’re missing in your life. And learn the #1 rule of New York City, which is leave other people the FUCK alone!!!”

4. I am so grateful that I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I can just diffuse these situations and get out of them unscathed. I can do it without upsetting or hurting anyone, without getting emotional, without escalating, and while still standing up for myself and making the bad behavior stop. I wish everyone knew how to do this.

5. Guys like this really, really have to fucking stop doing this shit.

Fuck. Shit. Diffuse. Victory. New York life.

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