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Creepy Bookstore Stranger

October 18, 2010

I feel I should note that the guy in the photo above is much cuter, probably much smarter and a lot less frightening that the guy from the bookstore yesterday. I might have enjoyed talking to the guy in the photo above if he had any social graces. Maybe.

Sunday after church I headed to Borders to study for an hour or so. I had my purse, my books and I even managed to smuggle in my huge Route 44 Dr. Pepper from Sonic under the sweatshirt I was carrying.

I meandered back to where a study table had been set up the last time I was in the store.

There was an odd fellow perched near the tables I was heading to. Time to turn on the nonverbal cues. Closed body language, no eye contact, a brusque manner of walking.

As I walked down the aisle, this guy — with an unfortunate mustache, I might add (the older I get the more convinced I am that Tom Selleck it the only man on earth who can pull off a mustache and still be hot to me) — stared at me gape-mouthed as I walked the length of the store.

Even with all that attention, I managed to avoid eye-contact and as I was about to pass I felt relieved. Until he said, “Uh, hi.” I was taken aback. He should have known that I didn’t want to interact with him!

Well, I’m not good at ignoring people — I just automatically respond. I’m sweet like that. Or conditioned, whatever.

So, I said, “hi.” I did say it with a funny look on my face and a tone that clearly implied that I felt annoyed that he was talking to me.

Unfortunately, once I got back to the table I had been headed for I found it covered with a book display. “Damn merchandizing,” I thought and turned back in the direction I had come.

Oh crap, I’m going to have to walk past the creepy guy again. Game face, Crystal. You can do this.

I walked quickly and took a position in the aisle as far away from him as I could without knocking travel books off the shelves. And even though I was in escape mode, I still managed to see a merchandise-free table and chairs nearby.

Target in sight.

I managed to avoid eye-contact again as I passed him and he didn’t say anything this time.

What a relief.

In moments I was safely at the study table but I could see with my peripheral vision that creepy guy was still staring at me. I think his mouth was still open too.


I quickly maneuvered a chair at the table so that I wasn’t in the creepy guy’s eye-line. Okay, safely out of view. Sort of comfortable. Dr. Pepper stowed in inconspicuous place that I won’t knock over…out come the study materials and I’m ready to go.

Pen, paper, prompt…Argument Task Essay — let’s do this.

After a few pages I was in full-on study mode doing some essay assessment and pretty engrossed, so I didn’t really noticing much about the people milling around me. And then I got that weird “I think someone is looking at me” feeling. So I stopped and looked up. Creepy Guy was standing at the other end of the study table staring at me. (Still with his mouth open.)

“What are you reading,” he asked from his hunch-backed perch across from me.

Oh crap.

Why hadn’t it occurred to me that he might be the person who had been staring at me. Ten minutes of homework and I had almost forgotten he existed.

“I’m studying for a test,” I said as I slouched down further over my work and propped my head up with my hand in an effort to cover my face from his grody gaze.

Yeah, I said grody. You should have seen this guy. A hair do that made me think he might not smell too nice if one were to get very close to him — please, God don’t let him get close enough to me that I can smell him; Ill-fitting, rumbled clothes, and his hat…ew, it was grody too.

“Yeah,” he said in response to my comment about the test. Then he started circling.

He was looking at the books around me a bit, and he kept talking. I don’t remember everything he said because I was really trying to ignore him at this point. Then he stepped closer.

“I have a hard time picking out books sometimes.”

Ah! Don’t get any closer!

“Those books are both good,” I said pointing to the part of the book-case that was furthest away from me and on the other side of the table from me.

“Oh,” he said. But he didn’t move.


“What kind of test are you taking?”

“A test to get into graduate school,” I said hiding part of my face by propping my head up in my hand again.

“Oh, my sister went to all that stuff. But I didn’t. I don’t do that stuff.”

Oh, my…aaaah…crap! Don’t talk. Don’t move. Don’t look up. Maybe he will forget I had spoken and just wander away. Or he’ll get the hint that I want to be left alone.

Or he will just keep standing there staring…with his mouth open.


At this point I’ve tried to read the same sentence like 20 times.

“I think I’ll go to the bathroom now,” he finally said. “I’ll be right back.”

Don’t move. Wait till he’s gone.

As soon as he was out of sight I made a break for it. I don’t think I’ve ever packed up my purse so quickly. I still needed to study, so I moved to another part of the store and opted for one of the deep armchairs in a corner. It felt safer and more hidden than a table.

I guess I’m not going to write practice essays today after all. Okay, where was I?

I got back into studying and I was making a lot of progress. Two chapters down. Whoo Hoo! I don’t know how long it took, but I was thinking I only had about 5 pages left when all of a sudden I heard behind me, “You’re still here.”

It was Creepy Guy’s voice.

Super-double crap!

He started talking to me. I tried to ignore him, but I answered a couple of his questions when I could think of something that might clue him in to the fact that I wanted him to go away.

“Do you have a boyfriend,” he asked.

“No, I broke up with him because I needed to study,” I said.

“Oh,” he said…and then another long pause. During which I read the same sentence 15 times.

“Do you wanna hang out later?”

Son of a…

“No, and I would actually appreciate it if you would leave me alone so that I can study, please.”

“We could go do something.”

Are you deaf as well as creepy and kind of dumb?

“As flattered as I am by the offer, I’m going to have to say no and ask you to go away.”

“I thought we could hook up maybe.”

Oh, I just threw up in my mouth a little…


With that he sighed deeply and…well he just kept standing there staring at me. I started thinking I might need to find the manager and tell her that this guy was bothering me. After about five minutes,  I was on the verge of either tears or violence. And the moment before I was going to burst out crying or swinging, he started to amble away.

Thank goodness.

It took me a while to concentrate on my studying again, but I got back into it. Once I was done and walking out, I started thinking about Creepy Guy again.

I wonder if he’s still here bugging some other woman. I wonder how people get to being full-grown adults and are still unable to pick up on the 80-90 percent of communication that is nonverbal. I wonder if he was reading a misguided book by some idiot about how to pick up chicks before he saw me.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob permalink
    October 18, 2010 3:38 pm

    The little throw up in the mouth got me. Whew. Glad I wasn’t experiencing that in person.


  2. October 18, 2010 7:49 pm

    That guy sounds awful. I like the “No, I broke up with him because I needed to study.” Too funny.

    Wonder if this approach has ever worked and someone felt badly enough for him that they just gave in and went out with him?


    • October 19, 2010 8:10 am

      I dunno. I did feel a little sorry for him. But my first instinct really was to run. If I hadn’t needed to study I would have just gone home.


  3. October 19, 2010 6:06 am

    “No, I broke up with him because I needed to study,” I said.

    Very funny line!

    There are always people out there who don’t know how to see/hear/get/comprehend body language and boundaries.

    Be strong!


  4. Jamie (edoutsider) permalink
    October 19, 2010 11:22 am

    omg that is SO creepy. I would have been so incredibly freaked out. Reading about what you said to him is slightly funny though… lol. 😀


  5. Matt79 permalink
    October 19, 2010 1:57 pm

    Wow, that is creepy – and pretty weird to say “I think I’ll go to the bathroom now” to someone he’s trying to hit on! Like you really needed to know that! Glad you got the message through to him eventually.


  6. October 21, 2010 5:39 am

    Ewwww…that story just gave me the shivers.

    I have a Borders addiction, so I have to ask this: Why smuggle in Sonic when you can get s Borders cocoa trio? =)

    I may also be totally jealous that you live close to a Sonic. The closest one we have is about 3 hours away.


    • October 21, 2010 8:28 am

      The reason I smuggled Sonic in is because I am a Dr. Pepper addict. And I don’t like coffee. In fact, there is something even in the flavored sugary stuff that my body rejects almost immediately.


  7. epeterson88 permalink
    October 21, 2010 9:57 am

    I just laughed out loud reading this post! I know exactly the feeling you are talking about, as a frequent coffee-shop studier, I feel your pain! I commend you for being polite (and not just ignoring him), you probably made his day by responding… but he should’ve gotten the message with the PERFECT response “I broke up with him because I needed to study.”
    Hope you have recovered from the trauma!


    • October 21, 2010 10:36 am

      I thought that was the perfect response too! And I’m recovering pretty well. To be honest, the entire thing was really surreal. I couldn’t believe it was happening and even now I’m in a bit of denial.

      Once upon a time my friend Tristan said that my life should be a movie. And then quickly took it back because, “even as a movie it would be too unbelievable.” I think this incident could easily become a part of that unbelievable movie.


  8. girlfromclapham permalink
    October 30, 2010 11:00 am

    Returning the compliment of your visit to my blog. This post is hilarious – I’ve so been in this kind of situation! Very funny.


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