Beware Of Creeps

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make: there are perverts in our midst. Well, not our midst---I don't think this site has any shady weirdos in tattered trench coats and dark glasses reading it, although, come to think of it, I am finding that I need to block at least one perv on Flickr every day---but rather the more.....general midst. Would you like examples? Here are examples.

A few months ago, a friend who lives in Texas told me a story about being in Marshalls and trying on a dress. Sounds fairly innocuous, right? I mean, I myself can often be found in Marshalls trying on dresses. But when this friend happened to glance to the left of her in the dressing room, she saw---out of the corner of her eye---a cell phone poking under the bottom of the dressing room door. AND THE CELL PHONE WAS TAKING PICTURES OF HER. TRYING ON THE DRESS.

(Then there is a rather cute part of the story, where she said---in her very strong Texas accent---"well, I sure hope my booty ain't all over the Internet!" And that was funny and all, but still! Seriously! What if her booty is all over the Internet? Because while she flung the door open and confronted the perpetrator---personally, I like to think I might have reached down and wrenched the cell phone out of his hand and stomped on it, but hell, don't we all like to assume we'd kick some serious ass in those kind of situations? Kind of like when you're watching Jeopardy at home and screaming the answer at the TV and not realizing that it's a whole lot harder to think clearly in the studio with the cameras pointed in your face---the dude ran away as soon as she did it, taking with him the pictures of her aforementioned booty.)

And then, while my little sister was here in San Francisco last week, she was just minding her own business in Forever 21---I don't know, checking out the sequined tunics or whatever the kids are wearing these days---when a woman tapped her on the shoulder.

"That man just bent down and took a picture of you," she whispered, gesturing in the direction of a middle-aged man, A MIDDLE-AGED MAN IN A TEENYBOPPER CLOTHING STORE, I MEAN WHAT WAS HE DOING THERE ANYWAY. Alarmed, Susie wasn't quite sure what to do---again, I imagine myself KICKING SOMEONE SWIFTLY IN THE NUTS, but then that's just me---and when she turned around again, the man was gone.

(PS: According to Susie, he'd had longish sort of crimped-looking hair and was wearing a fringed jacket over a tie-dyed t-shirt. If that doesn't scream Creepy Man Who Takes Pictures Of Teenage Girls In Forever 21, I don't know what does. It's like they got him straight from Central Casting, Pervert Division.)

I suppose what I am saying here is be careful, ladies! (And gentlemen, of course, because perhaps there are some women in this world who sneak into the dressing rooms at Men's Wearhouse and snap pictures with their iPhones of chaps in their madras boxer shorts. Anything's possible, I guess. I wouldn't like to discriminate.)

And hey, if you do ever happen to see my friend's booty on the Internet---and I don't even want to know how you might stumble across that sort of thing---you should totally alert the authorities or something. Also, feel free to admire her dress, because she ended up buying it in the end. What, you thought a disturbing encounter in the dressing room could dissuade a girl from buying a $29.99 dress that makes her look taller? Pah. You have so much to learn.

1
Anne in SC
Nov 07, 2008

Kooks are everywhere. My college apartment was broken into once. Know what was stolen? Pictures of us (you remember the pictures from "Flash" at parties in college?) and some of our underwear. From both the drawers and the dirty laundry hampers!

Long story to tell you how we figured out who it was, but he had done this kind of thing before. Bwah!
Never a safe time to let your guard down.

2
Teej
Nov 07, 2008

Eeewwwwww.

I feel quite confident in my ability to go ballistic on someone taking such photos of me. But if I ever have a daughter, she will wander the world in a full-length parka.

3
Jennifer R
Nov 07, 2008

Ok, so I guess I know what I will do from now one
Never try anything on.
That's just super duper creepy!!!!!!
I guess I should also practice my thumbing in the eye moves and how to break a camera phone and/or someone's balls.

4
Chelsea
Nov 07, 2008

How creepy! I was creeped out on Halloween when someone kept their camera sort of close to their chest as they were walking by me and took a picture (I heard the shutter), but at least I was dressed! And it's Halloween, I guess it's to be expected.

I've been reading for a while and just started following you on Flickr, by the way. So ChelseaJones is not a creep or perv, just an interested blog reader. :)

5
A'Dell
Nov 07, 2008

Shopping online has never been more appealing. Yucky.

6
auntie
Nov 07, 2008

OMG - both of those stories are like Level Orange Creepiness. Or Level 10. Or whatever the Highest Level is.

just ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

7
Lois
Nov 07, 2008

That is so scary! Gross! Creepy! It sure makes me want to stand guard outside the dressing rooms when my daughters are trying things on instead of finding more possible outfits.

Yikes!

8
NGS
Nov 07, 2008

I used to answer phones for a sexual assault hotline and at least once, every shift, some perv would call. There was the guy getting off while he told us how much he liked to play with his mother's underwear, and the guy who wanted us to know how he spied on his neighbor's bathroom window, among others. I would always get really upset - they were using resources other people might NEED - and tell the creep callers not to call again. But I certainly learned that creepy folks are everywhere taking advantage of everything.

9
Gretchen
Nov 07, 2008

Ick. It's not a new thing, either. It had to be about 1974 when I was in a fitting room with my mom at a department store and overhead two teenagey male voices saying "Look at that girl and her mother!" Even before phone cameras, there were department store security cameras. And always some pervo lurking on the other side.

10
Sadie
Nov 07, 2008

Oh my God, I feel totally confident that I would have broken some guy's hand off cleanly at the wrist, were I to discover his cell phone camera lurking under my dressing room door. On the bright side, your retelling of that story insures that every woman who's read it will now be warily eyeing the perimeter of all fitting rooms before disrobing. So you've performed a valuable service.

11
Rachel
Nov 07, 2008

Something similar totally happened to me in TJ Maxx last year! I was looking at picture frames and this middle aged woman came up to me and whispered, "A man was standing behind you trying to look up your skirt." I was wearing a pretty short skirt, and I should have been more lady-like while bending over but EW! So I went to tell my mom in the housewares aisle and I turned around and THE PERV WAS RIGHT NEXT TO US. So we went around the store, stopping in places no man should go (the ladies underwear) and each time he followed us. Stupidly, we never got security, but did manage to run out to our car undetected.

12
Jerri Ann
Nov 07, 2008

I'm with you, I would stepped on the cell phone and I would chased some crazy man down for taking pictures like that...ugh, sickening

13
Caroline Gutierrez
Nov 07, 2008

I have been having an ongoing and increasingly heated discussion with the management at my gym over their cell phone policy, or more specifically their lack of one. You can not tell the difference between someone text messaging and someone snapping a photo. It is a violation of privacy and a safety issue.

14
Melissa
Nov 07, 2008

Never before have I considered wearing boots (with either a sharp or extremely heavy heel--I'm still deciding) while I'm in a dressing room, but God bless the person who would ever think of doing that to me. Like you, I'd like to think that I'd be super-brave and stomp that phone--and oops, is that your mangled hand dangling at the end of your wrist--into oblivion.

As for people taking pictures out in the universe, someone took a picture of my son, then 8 weeks old, as we waited in line to see Santa. What in the world is THAT??? I asked him if he did, and he said no. I still think he was a fat liar. Next time I'll ask to see, maybe. I wouldn't mind being thought a weirdo by someone who's whacked enough to pretend to take pictures of my kid. What is this world coming to????

15
kaila
Nov 07, 2008

I once was next to someone in a dressing room who was squatting and peeing on the rug. Too bad no one had a camera phone for that!

16
kimblahg
Nov 07, 2008

ewww. now i have an extra reason never to try on clothes in the store again. i prefer the "eh, this looks like it will fit" and taking back when it doesn't approach.

17
Sophie, Inzaburbs
Nov 07, 2008

Usually I am too preoccupied with my toddler and trying to stop him sneaking out through the gap under the door to even think about looking for cameras.
I will have to add that to my list of things to do.
Oh, that and (thanks Kailia!) no more bare feet in carpeted dressing rooms. Ever again.

18
Laura
Nov 08, 2008

I hereby firmly resolve to wrestle any and all cell phones that I see peaking out from underneath dressing room doors. I have a hard time kicking ass in these situations as well...hell, I can't even remember to honk my car horn when people cut me off. But dressing room pervert beware!

19
metalia
Nov 08, 2008

EWWWW. Something similar happened to my friend on the subway last year; she was on a crowded train, and she suddenly felt something brush against her thigh. IT WAS THE CAMERAPHONE OF A PERVERTED WEIRDO, ATTEMPTING TO TAKE A PICTURE UP HER SKIRT. Even grosser, we learned afterwards (when she took her own cameraphone picture of said perverted weirdo and sent it to the cops) that there are groups of perverts devoted to doing just this; like, it's an actual Thing. A thing which devotees call taking "upskirt" shots, and NO I AM NOT KIDDING.

Excuse me while I go shower for eleventy hours, having dredged up this shudder-inducing memory.

20
Three Cent Stamp
Nov 08, 2008

I think you and everyone you know should avoid Marshalls. ;-) I've heard of cell phones being used to take photos in gyms and workout places, but I haven't heard this new one.

21
Jemima
Nov 11, 2008

Ewwwww! Creepypoo! I like your idea of grabbing the phone and stomping it, because THEN you'd have the guy's name and address and could have him arrested, or you know, send your big strapping boyfriend/brother/pimp kick him in the nuts FOR you. GROSS! GROSS! GROSS! Why are people so nasty?

Although I did secretly take a photo of a guy on the bus this past weekend because he was so hot and I fell a little bit in love with him between Union and Oak streets. He was so pretty with such interesting tattoos.