I’m a blogger, and because my email address is open to the public, I occasionally get messages from readers. Usually they’re fellow teenage girls tagging me for something or asking to be my pen pal. Occasionally, though, it’s some creepy old man that “hope[s] we can become friends” or is “researching culture” for his job. I’ve realized I don’t know how to react to these messages.
A few days ago, a 37-year-old married man (he decided to let me know in his email) told me I appear to have pretty feet, and asked for pictures of them to “prove it.” Ewww. Also: feet?!
A while before that a guy told me he wants to be my friend. He had a unisex name and didn’t mention his age, so I assumed everything was fine, until I googled him and discovered he was middle-aged and had Mary-Kate and Ashley DVDs in his Amazon cart. Preeetty sketchy.
Then there was this guy who said he was studying my blog for his job as a designer of something and he needed to do cultural research. He didn’t even ask me anything or request a response; he just thought it would be a good idea to tell me something that didn’t even make sense. Why would he go on some random teenager’s fairly unpopular and very specific WordPress blog for cultural research? It was just really weird.
Oh, and another one likes to comment on my blog all the time, and I never thought anything of it. Firstly, boys can like fashion and read fashion blogs and comment on them. Secondly, maybe it’s a girl anyways. But it turns out this person is a grown man with a history of internet-stalking teenage girls and now all of a sudden he’s started commenting on every post I make.
A part of me wants to strike back against these men somehow—but how? I don’t want to reply and give them my IP address (or the satisfaction of getting to me), but I hate to ignore them. It makes me feel defeated. I like to have closure. And you can’t report someone to the police for being creepy, can you? Pictures of feet aren’t illegal or anything, and neither is asking for them. So I guess all I can do is ignore these creeps, whether I like it or not, because it’s the only safe reaction I can think of. I just delete their emails and hope to never hear from them again. ♦