If you find your enjoyable jog to Beyoncé's Run The World suddenly interrupted by a man demanding your attention, here is some advice.
He will have approached you in a "confident and self-assured way", having read this blog post revealing step-by-step tips to approaching a woman who is wearing headphones, and getting her to go on a date with you.
Notice that he is standing between 1 to 1.5 meters in front of you. An unnervingly precise distance. This is not too bad - after all, we all like personal space. Try to test his commitment by stepping forward and seeing if he moves backwards, like a well-choreographed yet utterly unwanted shadow.
He suspects you are single, and perhaps hoping to meet a boyfriend. This may well be the case, but you don't tend to look for one whilst simultaneously blasting music into both of your ears.
You'll also notice his relaxed, easy-going smile. That's nice, though continuing your run would have been nicer.
Now, he's pointing to your headphones, saying, "Take off your headphones for a minute" (not that you can hear because, as stated before, you've got headphones in your ears).
He really doesn't need to start miming the action of taking headphones off his head, but he does. You get it - you got it a while ago when he stopped you in the street - you just don't want to take them off. Those headphones are the last remaining buffer between your inner happy place of running and music, and the outside world where people inexplicably mistake headphones, the universal symbol for "DO NOT TALK TO ME" for an invitation to talk to you.
I'm afraid that he's read your hesitation to take them off as "nervousness and excitement about what is happening". Yup, this really is a communication malfunction.
You realise this is a man possessed of the irritating belief that if he approaches a woman and asks her to take off her headphones because he has something to say to her, "she usually will". So as a polite human, you take them off.
Unless he's got a voice better than Beyoncé's, I'm pretty sure you're in for disappointment.
He will now try to do something the blog told him is called "Acknowledging the Awkwardness". Fair enough, this is awkward, you want to get running again. Who is this perceptive lothario?
Turns out his name is Dan. He calls you "Jessica". Gently explain to him that this is not your name.
Now comes that important thing he had to interrupt your day to say. He tells you he thought "Wow, she's a cutie," when he saw you. When you've stopped cringing, explain that the word "cutie" would work really well if you were a baby/kitten/cupcake, but as a woman, it ranks up there with "sweetie pie" and "babe" as language that definitely does not make the loins explode.
He tells you that "your big green headphones were just calling out to me". Overlook this. Dealing with a stranger's fetish for electronic equipment is really not what you signed up for today.
He'll also tell you he's "just out doing a bit of shopping at the moment," which is either a lie or shows he's very ineffective at shopping.
"I'm on my way to a store up the street," he says, once again contradicting the obvious facts of what is happening. Pray that he realises this and goes to that store soon.
He'll then ask if you have some free time - perhaps to have a chat or give him your phone number. You did have free time, you were using it to run and listen to some music. (And does he even have free time? What about that shopping?)
Explain that no, you won't give him your number, you don't have a pen. He's got one. Say that actually, you were just being polite, you can't think of anyone you'd rather see again less than the person who just interrupted your leisure time to call you a baby/kitten/cupcake.
But if you are feeling kind, you could take him for a juice or a coffee and give him some advice (why the hell not, he's basically ruined your run anyway).
Suggest that while it's great to approach people at, say, a bar or a party, it's best not to target women who are actively, obviously doing something else. If you have to make someone extract something from their ear just to say 'Hi', they probably weren't that up for it in the first place.
Explain that, unless someone is so devastatingly physically attractive that you have to stop them at all costs and explain that they should be your future wife (which will almost certainly guarantee you a creeped-out response), you're basically a man disturbing a woman who is busy.
Say that while yes, some women like to be chased and approached, perhaps sometimes the reason that women don't approach men is that they actually have other things to do with their time. Maybe they even put the headphones on to discourage people from talking to them, in the vain hope that this signal might be received.
Suggest that he returns to that blog post about approaching women who are wearing headphones, and memorises the one useful line in the entire thing: "Headphones are a great barrier between a person and the rest of the world."
Please, let them stay that way.
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