TROLL ALERT: Did I overreact?

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 14, 2008 1:46 AM GMT
    Not sure if I feel good or a little embarassed about an event this afternoon at my gym:

    An encounter with a troll person in the locker room.

    To begin with, this person (who I'll call "Bill" since I don't remember or care to remember his name) had called me 2 years ago regarding a supposid interest in my professional services (recommended by a gay client).
    We chatted at a restaurant and spent about 10 minutes about his "consideration", then he launched into a broad discussion about his vast sexual experiences prior to moving to Wichita. This man is about 6'2", 300+, gray hair and had a disgusting attitude. I was pleasant enough. No business ever transpired and when I saw him once later, he told me he wanted "another date" to tell me more. I was kind of appauled.
    Nothing happened and I never saw him.

    So today I walk into the YMCA lockerroom and here is this person. He starts talking to me as I get changed into my gym clothes and asks me about the men at the Y.
    I remind him "I'm in a relationship, remember". His response, "I bet you get plenty on the side whenever you want it". My response: "I'm here to work out" and he said "Yeah right".

    At that point I slammed my locker (leaving my IPOD in the locker, but I just wanted out) and as I left the locker room I told the YMCA director (who had just come in). "I'd watch the sauna if I were you" and looked back at "Bill".

    The startled director later asked me what had happened back there and I just said that that person probably wasn't interested in fitness, but something else.

    So was I a little over the top?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:48 AM GMT
    no man.... merv the fuckin perv.
  • cowboyupnorth

    Posts: 264

    Jan 14, 2008 2:30 AM GMT
    I am not sure I would have said the comment "I'd watch the sauna if I were you" and looked back at "Bill".

    I think that stereotyped Bill and gays in general. He had not checked you out in the sauna, he offended you and you attacked back. You also attacked by making statements to someone other then him. I would not call that fair. Your confrontation should have been to him directly.

    On the other hand I am sure he will leave you alone now.
    My concern is I want to keep my anger, stereotypes and resentment in check. Also stand taller then your opponent at all times. JMO.
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    Jan 14, 2008 2:55 AM GMT
    I don't know...I think it should have mostly been handled between you two until you knew that he was playing around in the sauna or even on gym property. It was wise to tell the director but I would have done it more judiciously...such as just explaining that he was making unwanted advances as opposed to casting suspicion that he might be a public sex troll.
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    Jan 14, 2008 2:58 AM GMT
    I understand why you reacted that way. Were I in that situation, my knee-jerk reaction might have been the same... especially if I was angry.

    However, I tend to agree with Cowboy... even though this guy is an obviously clueless troll... taking the high road is always the best way to go. Don't stoop to his level... you're better than that... confront him head-on, put him firmly in his place and extract yourself from the situation with dignity.

    Of course, if that didn't work and he continued to bother you, I'd probably consider him a stalker and act accordingly (ie... restraining order, for starters). I know that sounds drastic, but your description of this guy and his actions reminds me of a troll I encountered in Tennessee years ago... and that guy was definitely unstable.

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    Jan 14, 2008 3:11 AM GMT
    Six of one, half dozen of another. I dont think which way you went with this makes much difference.

    Is there a reason you use the Y?
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    Jan 14, 2008 3:15 AM GMT
    I would say with the comments that he made I would say you didn't over react. The YMCA in Wichita is marketed as a family place and what was on his mind was anything but fitness and family friendly. Even if he didn't do anything you could never be to careful.

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    Jan 14, 2008 3:16 AM GMT
    The guy is a creep.

    Tell him you'll pound him down if he talks to you again.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 14, 2008 3:22 AM GMT
    Thanks Chucky... I love it.
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    Jan 14, 2008 3:45 AM GMT
    well chucky, surprisingly, has a bit of point. though not necessarily the one he wanted to get across. it's possible had you stood there talking to him things might have escalated in a worse way. i dunno what your temper is like though. had the manager not been there right then, you likely wouldnt've said anything. so circumstance played a bit of a role.
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    Jan 14, 2008 7:39 AM GMT
    Ah,yes...this reminds me of the day the little boy in the locker room at 24 Hour was following me around with his cell cam. I told him, "You put that fucking down before I take it away from you."

    And, the other time, I had some weird plummer guy stalker at 24 Hour Fitness. The guy would follow me and give me this fucking "gay" look. He followed me in the parking lot one afternoon. I jumped out of the Chuck Truck, walked over and told him, "Knock it off, Creep, or I'm gonna' report you for stalking me." That was the last time he every followed me. I rarely, rarely, rarely, am anything but passive, but that shits gets me torqued el pronto.

    Had another punk steal my lifting gloves while I went pee pee one night. I confronted him, and he denied it. They were obviously my gloves. I went to the front desk, and, of course, that guy was a complete fucking weasel. I told the kid, "If you need the gloves that bad, keep 'em, but, you know what, you're a thief, and one of these days, it's going to catch up with you."

    24 Hour is really a cesspool of creeps.
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    Jan 14, 2008 8:13 AM GMT
    I've had something similar happen to me. There was guy at Gold's years ago that would follow me around trying to work in on every piece of equipment I was using when the gym was next to empty. He was greasy, creepy, had stanky halitosis, some seriously fucked up body odor and no sense of personal space. I finally had to tell him that I didn't come to the gym to socialize and asked that he would leave me to work out in peace. I thought he had taken the hint until the front desk guy told me he had asked him for my personal information and what times I was normally at the gym. Evidently, the guy had been bugging other people and asking for their information from the front desk people. I never found out exactly what happened between him and the gym managment, but he stopped showing up a week or so after that. It might have been paranoia on my part, but I varied my route home from the gym every day for about month afterward.icon_eek.gif
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    Jan 14, 2008 8:59 AM GMT
    I don't think you were wrong in anyway. You had a prior run-in with the guy 2 years ago and apparently things didn't go the way he would've liked them to. You gave him obvious hints that you weren't interested so that should've been a clue.

    2 years go by and you meet him again in a locker room where he initiates the conversation and the topic isn't something you feel comfortable discussing with him and least of all in a locker room. The guy then oversteps a boundary by assuming you have "guys on the side" after you told him you were in a relationship. As you leave in a hurry (who wouldn't) you see the director and tactfully inform him that someone is at the YMCA and they're there not for it's intended purpose.

    I say kudos to you. When I go the gym I see people there exclusively for sexual hunts and it pisses me off because they make going to the gym uncomforable. I hate "Lockerroom Lurkers."

    As for your response I say you did fine since you really didn't cause a scene and were nice enough to walk anyway without stooping to this creeps level. You left leaving the guy some dignity because I'm sure it couldn've been much worse.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jan 14, 2008 11:28 AM GMT
    You handled it fine
    The comment to the YMCA director really didn't do anything because he'll just watch the guy
    but it should have been handled through you two guys
    and you could have been more direct
    by telling him in no uncertain terms that you don't fool around and definitely not with him
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Jan 14, 2008 12:45 PM GMT
    dillonsguy4400 saidI would say with the comments that he made I would say you didn't over react. The YMCA in Wichita is marketed as a family place and what was on his mind was anything but fitness and family friendly. Even if he didn't do anything you could never be to careful.


    Agreed.
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    Jan 14, 2008 12:54 PM GMT
    Would you have reacted the same way if the guy was hot? I'm not questioning your commitment to your relationship but whether you would have been more restrained if he was good looking.
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Jan 14, 2008 1:19 PM GMT
    Some people are jerks, and you basically have two legitimate reactions when one behaves inappropriately (as "Bill" certainly did in the gym.)

    One is to ignore it, and walk away. Seems like you did this the first time over the supposed business dinner 2 years ago.

    The second is to call them on it. Had it been me, I would have confronted him directly and told him you did not appreciate his inappropriate behavior. Had he persisted after that time, then you would certainly have been in your rights to notify management.
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:21 PM GMT
    I think you acted in a very responsible way. If you had hit the man or said something rude to him than I think your actions would have been irresponsible and counter productive. However, you did what you're supposed to do. Just because you're attracted to men doesn't mean you have to have some "extra" tolerance towards that kind of behavior or talk at the gym. If that man had said that to a Heterosexual guy, you'd be sure that nobody would argue the validity of him reporting the event. If anything you were far more cool headed than I think allot of men would be.

    I can't stand when gay men have cynical opinions about cruising in gyms. They act like it should be expected and accepted, and counter any complaint by a fellow gay/bi man with remarks such as “would you have reacted the same way if the guy was hot?” My response to that...who knows? The fact is, the man’s comments were offensive and personal, even to the point of invalidating the status of the poster’s relationship. HndsmKansan reacted just as any man should, regardless of sexual preference. He reported it to the director.
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:37 PM GMT
    Our Downtown Y is pretty much a "cruise" gym anyway - the reason I'm a member elsewhere. (Not that I, in any way, have a slew of stalker's lined up.)

    Good on ya' Kansas. I don't blame you.
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:40 PM GMT
    Would you have reacted the same way if the guy was hot?

    But then, he wouldn't be shouting TROLL ALERT, now would he? And, besides, such an offensive creep would have to be stupendously hot to offset his "bad attitude" and "gay hair".

    Kansas, I'd've reacted in much the same way in that situation, especially if I'd been polite and "pleasant" during the first two encounters. But –knowing me– I'd've capped my retort with a "cocksucker!"; some guys are incredibly thick and don't get the message unless it's delivered with a sledgehammer.

    If your concern is mostly for your reputation––professional, social, whathaveyou––I don't think there's much to worry about; his ilk is notorious for being "discreet" when not slithering in the shadows.
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:48 PM GMT
    I think you should have screamed like a woman in a horror movie.
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:58 PM GMT
    I think it's sweet that you are so concerned, Kansas. I'd be most annoyed by his sexualizing a business meeting.

    My favorite similar story occurred when I first went into practice. A man came in for an initial session. When I asked him what brought him to see me, he said, "My penis is too large."

    I laughed. He said, "Seriously, it's too large."

    Then, of course, he spent the next hour telling me stories about his sex life and repeatedly offering to show me his penis so I'd know what he was talking about.

    I spent the entire session with my gaze glued to his forehead. He sent me email for weeks asking to have sex.

    During the years I worked fulltime in media, I had some serious stalkers -- the kind that you end up having to involve the police. (This wasn't necessarily because they found me attractive.) This taught me to be very circumspect around vocal admirers and detractors alike.
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    Jan 14, 2008 2:02 PM GMT
    So, you agree with my recommendation?
  • roadbike

    Posts: 84

    Jan 14, 2008 2:12 PM GMT
    I don't think that you overracted. One of the positive things about getting older and being average is that those kind of things don't happen to me. I've dealt with getting hit on years ago, and it's annoying when someone won't get the message that we're not interested.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 14, 2008 2:13 PM GMT
    Well let me say, I appreciate all the responses as I think about what happened.

    A couple of points:

    First, I was wrong to characterize this man in my initial post as a "troll", then gave his height and weight. His physical appearance does not make him a troll in any way. Its his attitude. Someone can be a little guy and attractive and be a troll.

    This man is a troll. Sometimes I have wondered with some of the comments on here if the word is being overused. For me, this man was repugnant.

    Secondly, the post by "Timo", he asked if I would have reacted the same way if the guy was physically attractive. If the guy had the same attitude, but was physically attractive, he would still be a troll.
    If he was cocky and made those comments. I would have done the same thing.icon_evil.gif