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Are Helpful Men Creepy?

By Jen at PIWTPITT |

Don't just assume I'm creepy. Give me a chance.

The other day I was talking to my friend, Lisette, and she said, “Do you want to hear something really creepy?”

“Of course!” I replied. Who wouldn’t say yes?

She went on to tell me about her experience at the local library with her kids. After a long morning of story hour and checking out books, they were leaving and her 4-year-old was fussing for a drink from the water fountain. My friend had her hands full with her baby and library books. She told Mabel she would have to wait until they got home since she couldn’t help her reach the water fountain. A middle-aged man was walking by just then and he stopped and offered to lift Mabel up to the water fountain to get a drink.

“How nice,” I said.

“Nice? Are you kidding me?” Lisette exclaimed. “More like creepy! Jen, that’s the creepy part of my story!”

“Huh?”

“Of course it is! I told him, ‘Stay away from me and my daughter. I find your offer very creepy.’”

“Wow. You said that to him? What did he do that was so creepy?” I asked, thinking she must have left off the part of the story where he was wearing a hockey mask and carrying a machete.

“It’s creepy that he wanted to touch Mabel! He wanted to lift her up to the water fountain and feel her little body pressed against his.”

“Uhhh…I didn’t get that from the story at all. What did he say when you called him creepy?”

“He was very offended. He stepped back and apologized for scaring me. He said he was a father himself with small children and that he hoped that if his wife ever needed a hand someone would stop and help her too.”

“See? That’s nice. He’s a dad. He was just trying to be helpful.”

“Jen, don’t be naive. He’s creepy.”

This got me thinking about my kids and my Hubs. I know the Hubs would never offer to lift up anyone’s kid to a water fountain. Not because he’s afraid of being  called “creepy,” but just because he barely wants to touch his own grubby kids let alone someone else’s kid. When Gomer was a baby, the Hubs would go with us to the park sometimes on a weekday.  We work from home and our schedules are flexible, so he could take an hour and hang out with us at the park. Even though he said he could take the time, he was worried he was missing important business, so he would usually sit on a bench and check his email and watch Gomer and I play. After a couple of times of doing this, I realized the other moms at the park were freaked out by the Hubs. He’s Asian and I’m not.  Because of this, most people don’t necessarily realize we go together so he looks like he’s sitting there alone staring at some strange baby. I finally had to tell the Hubs that he needed to push Gomer on the swing or at least talk to us and let the other moms know he was not a weirdo.

It’s sad that I had to have that conversation with the Hubs, although I must admit if I had been one of the other moms my “creep-dar” would have been going wild too. We’ve all become so paranoid.

It’s sad that every man who takes an interest in helping children is “creepy.” It’s sad that so many people automatically assume a man who wants to help has ulterior motives. Just the other day a grandfather was asked to leave a Barnes & Noble bookstore because he was shopping in the children’s section alone and it was deemed suspicious. Come on! This is ridiculous! Men are important role models in children’s lives and we shouldn’t be teaching kids to be afraid of all of them. We have to use some common sense. I want my son to grow up to be a man who offers to help anyone he sees (man, woman or child) who looks like they could use a hand without the fear of being labeled “creepy.” I want him to be able to shop for a child without people assuming he’s a pervert.

Maybe the guy at the library was a creep. I don’t know. Maybe he was just a man trying to be nice to a lady who looked like she had her hands full. It’s so rare that I get an offer for help from anyone, so I am always happy to take the help. As long as the guy doesn’t look like an ax murderer I’d accept his help to get my kid a drink of water. I wouldn’t send him into the bathroom alone with Gomer and ask him to wipe his butt for him, but a drink of water seems OK to me.

What do you think? Am I too naive?

Be sure to read my daily rants at People I Want to Punch in the Throat where you’re sure to laugh and/or might be offended (it’s where you can find my R-rated rants).

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Read more of Jen at PIWTPITT – Why I Never Say Never and Open Letter to Silly Celebrity Moms and Are You Raising Free-Range Kids?

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About Jen at PIWTPITT

jenatpiwtpitt

Jen at PIWTPITT

Jen is a blogger and author who recently published the book Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She started her humorous blog, People I Want To Punch In The Throat, in April 2011. She has written for Babble, and has also been published in The Huffington Post. She resides in Kansas with her family.

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61 thoughts on “Are Helpful Men Creepy?

  1. Rebeccca says:

    I don’t think you’re naive, i DO think that other people are just way too paranoid. I feel sorry for men sometimes, b/c nowadays ppl so easily think “pedophile” when they see one w/ a kid by himself or wanting to be w/ kids or help kids. My reaction to her story would’ve been the same as yours.

  2. bunnytwenty says:

    I think your friend is the creep, for accusing a perfectly nice person trying to help her out of being creepy.

  3. Miriam Christina says:

    This is actually very sad. Poor guy. You should be protective of your child, but that’s a bit over the top? No?

  4. Denise Schipani says:

    Wowza. All men are creeps, kids! Watch out! It’s like that “advice” that we’re supposed to give our children — if you get separated from mommy at the store FIND ANOTHER MOMMY,preferably one with a stroller, to ask for help. Because everyone knows that if a man in a store is asked by a preschooler for help, he’s instantly TRANSFORM into a pedophile. And what we miss when we assume all men are gross/creepy, or that all people generally present danger, is teaching our children how to trust fellow humans, and to hone their own, personal sense of when something is creepy and when it’s not.

    Just wrote about this on my blog, Mean Moms Rule:

    http://bit.ly/KQVzBO

    And by the way, Jen, one of my readers recently told me that your blog, and mine, are what keep her sane and laughing as a new mom. Thought I’d share that!

    Denise

  5. Susan says:

    No you are not naive, your friend is paranoid. She was right there watching, in a public place. Unless the person had some other mannerism that made him creepy, I wouldn’t think anything of the offer. My ex husband was a SAHD some of the time we were married and he encountered paranoid moms often. Oh and he’s not an ex for being a creepy person with kids, I 100% trust him with the kids.

  6. Christie says:

    I would do the same thing. Sorry to say it, but I would rather my daughter think every strange man is a creep than to be so naive and something happen. Some may think its rude, maybe it is but I am not taking any chances. She has male role models in the form of Daddy, Grandpa, uncles, cousins, etc. The few times I have given strange men the shadow of doubt, they end up being CREEPY.

  7. Toni says:

    I think Lisette went a little too far!

  8. Leila says:

    I’m with you on this one Jen. I think your friend completely overreacted to the offer. While I haven’t had any kids yet, when I may be in a similar situation in the future, I would be grateful for the offer. From her description, the guy was just a normal looking one.

  9. Kelly says:

    She overreacted. That is nuts.

  10. Melissa says:

    I always worry my husband will come across this way. We always joke that he should have been the Mom and I should be the Dad. He’s much more hands on with our kids and a lot more social than me. When we go to the park he’s usually striking up conversation with someone before I do. He’s just a friendly guy and I always wonder if people think he’s “creepy” when he is just a genuinely a nice guy.

  11. Melanie B. says:

    There are a lot of Sandusky’s out there (just sayin’).

    That said – she may have just said “no thank you, we’re fine.” That would have been sufficient.

  12. Melissa says:

    On the other hand I’m like your friend and would probably run screaming if someone (man) offered to pick my kid up. I’m a total double standard.

  13. Pat says:

    I think your friend is the creep. She was RIGHT THERE. Not like she wouldn’t notice if the guy tried something. Dear God have we lost all common sense?

    My husband is just this type of guy – he would offer to help anyone. He’s a straight arrow and the most wonderful father one could imagine. But because of this type of woman and others, I’ve cautioned him about helping kids and women. He (and I) are deeply saddened by this rampant paranoia and wonder if it will ever change.

    I’m glad I live in the Midwest where kindness and helpfulness are still the norm rather than “creep” factor.

  14. joanne says:

    I can’t believe your friend had the nerve to say that to the poor guy. He must have felt awful and may have second thoughts to ever offer to help anyone again. I have twins, and ALWAYS had my hands full. Whenever I was lucky enough for someone to help me with a door or an escalator or with my stroller, I’d always joke, in my best Blanche duBois, “Why thank you. I always rely on the kindness of strangers!”

    I mean for pete’s sake, she’s standing right there! he offered to help her kid right in front of her, what does she think he’s going to do?

    meanwhile, never mind strangers, I wish my own hubs would have helped me more!

  15. Mishka says:

    Sad sate of affairs. My husband is one of those guys that is very helpful and I am always scared Moms are going to think he is a creep.

  16. Adrianne says:

    I agree your friend was the offending one in this situation. If she felt uncomfortable with the offer, instead of insulting him she could have been more tactful saying thank you but she prefer her children not use public fountains.
    As far as men being creepy, I think you just have to use common sense. Unfortunately that seems to be in short supply these days…

  17. Carter says:

    Really who you should be worried about is the people who touch kids when you are NOT looking.

    I think she’s over-reacting, big time.

  18. Another Melissa says:

    When my son was around 18 months we switched pediatricians and loved our new doctor, he was young and had kids similar ages to us and could relate. One Saturday we were shopping the grocery store near our house and a this young guy with glasses comes up and starts talking to my son in the grocery cart. All I could think was what is wrong with this guy, how creepy! So Monday my son got an ear infection and we went to the pediatrician, yep you guessed it! The guy from the grocery, without glasses! He totally called me on it and said it happens to him all the time when he wears his glasses. I felt terrible, but we laughed about it. If he had been a lady talking to my child I wouldn’t have thought anything of it and obviously this guy is a pediatrician, so he loves kids!

  19. TLB says:

    I think your friend is a little too freaked out by the idea of a pedophile hiding behind every bush. I see nothing wrong with this guy offering to help her. Now, would it have been much more comfortable all the way around if he’d said, “Here, let me hold those books so you can get Little Miss Fussbudget a drink”? Sure. But, I think the guy acted on instinct and was truly doing a nice thing for someone. The appropriate response is, “Thanks so much, sir. That was really nice. But, it’s a little weird when a stranger picks up my kid. Next time, maybe ask me first? I would LOVE that, and it was cool you stopped to help. More people should be so friendly.”

  20. caseyf6 says:

    I think you are the one in the right, here. Don’t see bogeymen where they aren’t. It’s sad that the world has gotten to such a place– Free Range Parenting blog calls this worst-first thinking.

    If I were the guy, I’d have been more than offended.

  21. Matt says:

    Spot on! I would be very offended if someone called me creepy for trying to be helpful. I’m southern and was raised to be a gentlemen, to hold the door or help someone who needed it, even if it is just helping them put their groceries in their vehicle, cross the street, or helping a child get a drink of water.

  22. Bob says:

    Our society as a whole goes overboard on the protection thing. Stranger danger and germ danger are two of my pet peeves (yeah, I banned my girls from using hand sanitizer). Even if the guy appeared to be a creeper and she was actually worried about him fondling her child right in front of you (it never happens that way) the appropriate response would have been a simple “No thank you, we’re going to wait until we get home”. Raising kids to be suspicious and afraid of everyone is the real harm here. Moreover, people who sexually abuse or molest children are usually people that the family is familiar and comfortable with…not a “creeper” offering to help a struggling parent’s kid reach a drink of water. I think the mom is the real danger here…she’s raising her kids to be afraid of society.

  23. Kayla says:

    i’m a woman and people look at me like i’m nuts when i try to do anything nice. maybe i should blame the digital age? no one knows what to make of anyone who is a) a real person and b) who doesn’t type out a response but rather speaks in a human voice to your face.

  24. Vito says:

    I am the father of 4 young children (both boys and girls 13, 10, 7, and 4), I run a soccer program for kids as young as 4 and old as 19, and I can tell you first hand what the “creepy guy” was thinking before and after the incident.

    When someone like me sees a mom with their kids and more things to hold onto than hands, all I can think of is my poor wife trying to navagate through the grocery store, library, department store, etc. Even if you are able to throw a kid (or two) into the cart or stroller, it is very hard for one person (mom or dad) to keep everyone together. That guy was thinking what 90% of dads with young kids would think “I’ll help” because we would all HOPE that if our wives/kids needed help someone would step forward.

    My story is a bit different. While shopping in the mall for my wife’s Christmas gift (probably on the 24th… yes …. I know… but I DID say I’m a guy) a mother with two young girls was going on the escallator. She had multiple bags of stuff and one young girl (probably 2 years old) on her hip. When she got on the escallator, her other daughter (probably 5 years old) did not get on because she was too scared. Now Mom is looking back at her other daughter standing at the bottom while she continues to go up… She starts to try and walk back down, but that wasn’t going to happen with everything she was carrying. Now is when the 5 year old starts crying “MOM! DON’T LEAVE ME… MOM! DON’T LEAVE!!”.

    Me thinking “let me help” I walk over to the girl and ask her if she wants me to help her go up the escallator to get to her mom. She nod yes. I reach out to hold her hand and she says “can’t you carry me? I don’t want to stand on that thing!” I say sure, pick her up (as I would my own daughter who was 3 at the time) and bring her up the escallator.

    I was thinking mom would be appreciative…. boy was I wrong! She grabbed her daughter from me, screamed at her for not following her, and then turned her rage on me. I was ripped up and down for having touched her daugher … phrases like “who the **** do you think you are? Are you some kind of child molester? Do you get your kicks by picking up little girls?” All I could do is stand there with my jaw on the floor….

    Mall security then showed up and I had to explain for the next 20 minutes what happened. FORTUNATELY a young woman who saw the whole thing supported my version of the story and I was able to leave (without having purchased a gift for my wife….)

    So what was the guy thinking after? …. a few things…. would he have a police officer show up as his door later that night? Was there going to be some story on the local news about a near abduction? And now EVERY TIME he sees a mom/young child in need of help…. he is going to think “sorry…. I’ve learned my lesson…. good luck lady….” And I think most moms are going to look a that guy perfectly capable of helping and think “What an ***hole… couldn’t he take 2 seconds out of his day to help?”.

  25. Robyn says:

    Great. Now I’m going to worry about my husband being labeled as creepy. He’s very social, friendly, and helpful, and I guarantee you that he’d be the first to help in a situation like Lisette’s. It would kill me to find out someone told him he’s creepy when he has nothing but good intentions. I also think Lisette overreacted. She could have politely declined if she thought he had ulterior motives, but to call him creepy right in front of her kids is teaching them rude behavior and also to be wary of everyone. Stranger danger is one thing, but alienating everyone you come in contact with is a sad way to live. If everyone reacted like she did, the world would be a much more paranoid and unfriendly place. I really hope her perspective is the minority.

  26. Paige says:

    My husband has this problem a lot. He tries to be helpful but frequently does not offer help for fear of appearing creepy, even though he is polite and well-spoken and completely non-threatening. As a parent I think it’s nice to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I also think you need to trust your gut.

  27. LoveNotes says:

    Your friend is way out of line, as are all women who act this way. It has been shown, over and over and over again, that children are far, far more likely to be abused by a family member or friend who is accepted and trusted by the child and his/her parents. And yet, women continue to behave like this, starting witch hunts against every man who takes an interest in children.

    You know what pedophiles do? They obsess over thoughts of children and inappropriate touching and/or sex. Hm, Lisette and her ilk fit the bill.

    You are definitely not naive. The best defense we have is to teach our kids about good/bad touch and to let them know they can tell us anything, anytime. All this rampant paranoia does is make kids LESS safe because we feel we can’t ever trust other adults so we teach our kids to fear everyone instead of understanding true risk.

  28. mick says:

    Im a 43c yr.old married man with 4 kids..2 little girls…had a gathering at my house..when I sent my girls to bed a friend of mine who gets his kids every other weekend asked if he could go up and read my daughter a bedtime story cause he misses out in that with his kids….my answer….No! Im sorry if any man is offended when they are very kind or show an interest in them for any reason…I care about others feelings but not when it comes to protecting my children…furthermore, any grown man showing an interest in little kids that aren’t theirs is extremely suspect..too many bad outcomes..no reason for it…its not natural

  29. Sarah says:

    By no means do I think you are naive! I teach small children, and there are fathers and uncles and grandfathers that creep me out! I think we have to be aware of who and what is around us!

  30. Pam says:

    I believe people are far too paranoid these days. I think your friend over-reacted. I would have let him help my child get a drink. I would have stood there a foot away and not taken my eye off of them as I would have if it had been a woman extending the helpful offer rather than a man, but I would have let him help. Sad that our society has come to this.

  31. Luke says:

    My Mother would have beat my ass if I had not offered to help. But do worry about those who have significant stranger danger.

  32. Poker says:

    I know I speak for many men when I say that I will not even ask anymore. I also stay away from kids because we have been completely demonized by women. It’s sad that we cannot even be polite without being viewed as a pedobear.

  33. Fraya says:

    Totally over-reacted. Even if she felt uncomfortable with letting him do that, a simple “No, thank you” would have sufficed. No need to be rude or offend him.

  34. Megan says:

    I prosecute sex offenders for a living. Everyone is always so scared of “stranger danger” when it comes to their kids, but most people who abuse children are known to them and are people they and the kids trust. Sad but true.

  35. Karri-Lynn says:

    I’m with you Jen! I would have been happy for a hand. I have a friend who sounds a lot like your friend though and I am always amazed at her constant paranoia about men. Every msn . Honestly I prefer to live in my head where sometimes people still help each other just to be helpful :)

  36. LoveNotes says:

    I know you aren’t a big fan of FreeRangeKids, but this post dovetails well with yours. “If You Are Male, You Are Under Suspicion.”:

    http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/if-you-are-male-you-are-under-suspicion/

  37. Shannon says:

    There’s nothing creepy at all about that man kind offer. It’s sad that she thought it was. More men should be helpful and we should accept that help. All I can imagine is that your friend has had an awful “bad touch” experience in her past. Otherwise, if she’s standing right there watching, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like he offered the kid a ride home in his van with blacked out windows.

  38. Sanriobaby =^.^= says:

    I can see both sides of the issue and as a mom, I’m hyper aware of how a man’s offer to help can be taken the wrong way. My husband is always willing to help out a mom, so long as he doesn’t have to touch a child just to avoid being called a perv. It’s sad, but that’s just how it is and men shouldn’t take it too personal.

  39. ArrogantSOB says:

    WIth all due respect, Jenn. Your friend is a real jackass. So many of you sit around and complain about how the world has gone to shit and things like chivalry and common courtesy are dead. This is why those things are true. Women: You don’t get to bitch about the lack of true gentleman in the world when you react to situations like this. Instead of politely declining the mans offer, which is absolutely her right, she decided to insult the man. So now a decent guy will think twice before he offers a helping hand to any woman ever again, out of fear of, once again, being publicly accused of being a pedophile. Your friend is exactly why people are cold-hearted assholes. I dealt with this exact topic a few weeks ago. Here is the link, if you are interested: http://arrogant-sob.com/2012/05/28/menace-to-society/
    ArrogantSOB
    Arrogant-sob.com

  40. heather says:

    She could have simply asked him to hold the books while she helped her daughter and then thanked him for the kind offer. it’s ok to be aware but her response is a but overboard.

  41. JESS says:

    I don’t think you can ever be too paranoid when it comes to your kids. Being overly cautious prevents the shoulda..woulda..couldas.. of course there are things out of our control but this is not one of them.

  42. Lindsay says:

    I do not think this man was being Creepy. However, I wouldn’t have let him pick up my daughter. We need to teach our children never to let strangers touch them. If the mother let the man pick her up she might not understand that boundary and she might be more susceptible to the real creep. The mother should have said, “Thank you for your kindness but we will be O.K. until we get home”.

  43. Dee Dee Leger says:

    Your friend over reacted a lot. I am not saying don’t be paranoid….But to just say someone is a creep for wanting to help is wrong. I am aware of my surroundings at all times and have had strangers male and female ask if I needed their help. If I thought they were creepy I tell them thank you but no thanks. Its all about manners (which most now a days have forgotten). I am a married mother of 2 wonderful children and I have a gentleman for a husband that will help others regardless of their age or gender. What is really sad is people judge him for his tattoos (which are all family related…no bad stuff). We were going through a store one day with our oldest daughter (which was like 1 at the time) and a child was looking at his tattoos…the childs mother yelled at him and said for him to stay away from my husband cause he was a bad man, which really made us mad and I told her not to judge a book by its cover that just because someone has tattoos does not make them a bad person. She stuck up her nose and walked away…my husband was hurt cause he is not a bad person at all….he is Southern raised where its normal to open doors for women and the elderly and he actually has manners (says yes sir or yes ma’am) and so do our kids (daughter at moment is 6 and we have been praised by cops at the fair saying we were doing a good job with showing her how to use manners that its a dying act now a days and our son is only 9 months but he will be taught the same way)…..my husband will and has pushed strangers kids in the park (mostly for single mothers with more kids then they can handle….offered and has helped people put groceries in their vehicles and do a goofy dance in the middle of God and everyone just to put a smile on a childs face. He has even stopped a child (younger then 6) run into traffic, while the parents were busy not paying attention to what their kid was doing then get yelled at by same parents for touching their child (they were strangers) and in return Husband would yell at them to be better parents and watch their kids better. I get praised by other women because I have a awesome husband that will carry the heavy things in a store……Granted I get why so many people are uptight about strangers….but not all strangers are bad and they don’t want to hurt anyone…much less a child…..I am wary of all around my children but that does not mean I am going to cuss someone out and make a public scene. I want to thank you for what you wrote. Its the truth and SOME people need to understand that what you say about someone can and is very hurtfull and you can get someone in BIG trouble if its not true.

  44. Amy says:

    I think people are way way too paranoid these days. Men in general are not pedophiles. A lot of them are kind though. I often have to take a city bus with my four small children (2,3,4,&5 yrs.) and both men and women help me at times to get the children, on or off the bus and to get them to be happier sitting on the bus for a bit. I appreciate and accept all offers of assistance. People should be more appreciative and less suspicious.

  45. Jenn says:

    I think your friend was incredibly rude. If she didn’t want the guy to help her daughter, all she had to say was something like “oh, that’s OK. She has some water in the car. Thanks, though.”. She didn’t have to be so incredibly nasty to the guy. And, I consider myself to be a total worrier when it omes to creeps getting anywhere near my kids. Also, I pray my kids don’t grow up to be so rude and nasty. I hope they will be kind and gracious. The later are two things we need more of in this increasingly paranoid and rude world. I feel terrible for that poor guy!

    Carter, you are totally right!

  46. RC says:

    Statistically it is more likely for a child to be harmed by a trusted friend or family member. Those are the people we need to worry most about.

  47. Qflux says:

    I’d rather be seen as a jerk than a pedophile. That’s the simple reality of society today. If someone is literally about to die, I’ll help… Otherwise they’re on their own. The risk of psychos like the friend in this article, or the stories above, or of lawsuits over the slightest thing simply massively outweigh being a good guy.

    To the women saying their husbands are like this, I’d urge them not to be honestly. I have some friends who are naturally mega helpful and without fail they have all run into really awkward situations. The irony is that there simply *are not* that many pedophiles and their victims *are* generally relatives, but there *are* a TON of really dangerously paranoid, hair trigger folks. Not worth the risk.

  48. n says:

    your friend’s simple and more appropriate response would’ve been “no thank you, we’ll be fine.” or “thank you, can you please hold these for me so i can lift her up.” snapping at the man was a little overboard.

    it’s a sad reality, even i (as a 30-something woman) am careful in touching or having slight physical contact with children other than mine. i am just being careful about invading personal space, and it’s my personal choice… so to avoid any misunderstanding like that, i just speak to the child or offer any help where i dont have to lay my hand on the child in any way. it can be done, seriously!

  49. London says:

    Reading this story and reading Vito’s story just makes me feel so sad. The media have created a terrible fearful prejudice against all those lovely men in our society who are kind and chivalrous towards women and children. Let’s not get taken in folks. As Megan rightly points out those are not the people to worry about with your kids.

  50. Kristen says:

    I was raised in a family that did not have a lot of physical contact. Dad was the one who told the jokes but wouldn’t hug or kiss anyone; my mom also wasn’t very affectionate with either us kids or Dad. I took that standard into everyday life and I get a little creeped out by people I know touching me, like a female colleague giving me a hug. So it strikes me as strange when people want to touch other people for any reason if it can be avoided. HOWEVER, I realize that that’s my issue and I have to accept that the rest of the world works on a different standard, especially people who grew up in families that are affectionate – kids sitting on adults’ laps, hugs and kisses hello and goodbye – while they strike me as bizarre I have to tell myself that it’s perfectly normal for other people.

    That said, if I were the mom, and my instinct was that it was creepy because of my life experience, I’d check myself and remember that it might not seem that way to other people. If I REALLY felt uncomfortable with it, I’d say, “thanks so much for the offer. Would you mind holding these books so that I can lift her?” Someone who truly wanted to be helpful would not mind being told HOW to be helpful. That child will probably grow up afraid of people and need her mom around for every interaction well into adulthood, which may be exactly what that mom wants. I see more and more women who are afraid of putting themselves out of jobs in the mothering department, which is kind of crippling for their kids.

  51. Tracey says:

    Vito. So sorry that happened to you. I just want to say that if you HAD been an actual scary pedophile creep, that mom (or I’d like to think, ANY mom) would turn into an instant ninja and screw the bags, I’M GETTIN MY KID BACK! We should all watch our children closely as parents, but there’s no need to accuse or assume that someone is “bad.” Don’t give up…there are rational moms out there!

  52. D says:

    Agree it is sad that helpful people can sometimes feel disrespected, however I would rather be rude to 50 helpful people than be polite to one “creep”. Sadly it only takes one to destroy innocence.

  53. Lisa says:

    It’s sad really. This sort of thing would have never been labeled creepy 30 years ago. Most people are helpful in the world and not out to cause harm. It would make anyone think twice about helping anyone out ever again!

  54. beth says:

    I think you’re right – it was a nice offer. I think your friend went way over the line and should be ashamed of herself. It’s never right to treat someone in the way she treated him, it’s unnecessary, mean and offensive. A simple “no thank you” would have been fine if she had to assume the negative about him. I’m always a little wary of people who assume sick, twisted stuff about people with no reason. A helpful man wants to “feel her little body against his?” That’s graphic and a little disturbed. Who knows, maybe something happened to her as a child and that’s why her mind went there. Still, there’s no reason to treat another person in such a hideous manner.

  55. Ali says:

    I think she overreacted unless the guy had been following her family around watching for a moment. A simple, “No thank you.” would have been sufficient. What if a woman had stepped in to help? We don’t like to think about it, but there are more and more child molesters, who are in fact, women. While shopping with my hubs and young son, I stopped a toddler from getting on an elevator and looked around for a frantic mom. No one appeared or came running. I started to walk with him up the aisle and asked him to point out his mommy. He did. She was very busy, looking at a clearance rack. When I brought him to her, she gave ME a dirty look and pulled him close. She said, “What were YOU doing with MY son?” I replied, “Apparently YOUR job, like keeping him from going on an elevator ALONE!” Sheesh! I realize that she was projecting her guilt, but egads.lol

  56. As a guy, I will admit that I sometimes don’t offer to help women with their kids, and it’s for fear of being made to feel like a creep. It’s happened before and it SO sucks! As a single man, it makes it even harder. Anytime I take my niece somewhere I always make sure that she is in my general near vicinity… and it’s not just for her safety because sometimes it’s at places where I know she’s safe and there are friends there… I just don’t want to be the creepy guy at a kid’s place. I believe in being careful, but not to the point where we forget that we are all human, and that we’re all in this together. And, truth be told, most of the time I still offer to help because I just react without thinking. It’s the “thinking” that gets us, perhaps.

  57. Emily says:

    I’m sorry, but she completely overreacted. This man offered to help right in front of her face and in a public place. The fact is that approximately 75% of all child sexual abuse is committed by a member of the family or someone in the family’s “circle of trust”. She was downright rude and is instilling unnecessary fear into her children. What she should do is educate her children about appropriate vs. inappropriate touching, herself about the facts of child sexual abuse, and learn how to speak to people courteously. I agree that if she was that uncomfortable with a stranger touching her child, she could have asked him to hold the books instead. I was raised to treat others the way I would like to be treated…apparently this was lost on her (as it has been lost on much of today’s society). It always amazes me to hear what tiny things set off some people’s alarm bells, we need to use common sense (Mick’s situation described above definitely set my bells off for example) but helping a child at a water fountain? Come on people!

  58. AJ says:

    I’m a guy and I make it a point to steer clear of any situation where I might be deemed creepy. I go so far as to avert eye contact as a result of society’s paranoia about all single guys being creepy. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t think I could ever feel justified in ever lending a hand to someone in genuine need. I feel creepy for even holding a door open for someone whether male or female. The liability is just too great.

  59. Mommi of 3 says:

    I agree with your friend, I call it Mother’s instinct. Something sent the warning bells off and it was more than his “friendliness.” Just because an individual is being nice, and looks clean does not mean they are safe. Pedophiles aren’t usually the creepy looking people with ski masks and an advertisement stating they want to touch children. It’s the helpful neighbor, the role model coach, the funny relative and yes, sometimes the friendly stranger.

  60. New Mom says:

    I’m so sick of this “mama bear” mentality. Being a mother does make you responsible for a person who cannot speak for him or herself, but that does NOT give you carte blanche to be a complete jerk. Your friend will get her payback in 30+ years when her kids are picking her nursing home.

    My mother would not have been as overtly rude as your friend, but she raised me to be terrified of ALL strangers. I’m 26 now and am still painfully shy and distrustful of most people. That being said, I’ll echo most of the comments here, a polite, “thanks, but we’re fine” would have sufficed. It would have kept her children “safe” while also not teaching them to distrust every person they come in contact with.

  61. Keith says:

    I totally agree with AJ’s comment. I try and stay away from all the kids at my apartment complex that try and talk to me when I walk my dogs
    Most of them are running around unsupervised, so they all come running when they see my dogs and I have to shoo them away or I’ll be labeled the local pervert…being single, I probably am already …

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