With my class schedule, keeping up with my friends can be really difficult. If I'm not in class, I'm doing homework; when I'm not doing homework, I'm sleeping; and if I'm not doing either of those things, I'm either working or siting up in bed at 1 A.M. After about eight weeks of this, I decided I needed to make a change and find some friends who were awake at the same times I was. After a few minutes on the Google Play Store, I found an app called "MeetMe."
Unlike Tinder, MeetMe was specifically advertised as a friend-making app, not unlike a reverse Facebook. People fill out their profiles, mark what they're looking for, participate in "discussions," and send messages to other users. It's pretty simplistic, but as a woman on the site, I was sure to both mark that I was in a relationship and mention that I was only looking for friends in my bio. I thought that I might be safe from sexual advances, but I couldn't be more wrong.
I mean, my profile picture was pretty simplistic!
Well, maybe that photo confused some people. The red lipstick could be misinterpreted by someone with the wrong idea. What about my bio? Maybe I wasn't clear enough with my intentions.
...Well, maybe I didn't mean that? Maybe I put in my profile that I was looking to date as well?
No. No I didn't. Seems like a pretty simple profile if you ask me. I should be getting pretty platonic conversations, hopefully making some friendships, even meeting up with some people with a sleep schedule as odd as mine, right?
I wish. I got worse messages from men and women through MeetMe than I ever received from Tinder. Every third message was a comment on my looks.
A request for sex.
A comment on my breasts (because my showing even a half inch of cleavage is obviously an invitation to comment on them).
A request for other sexual acts.
Or a man one-and-a-half times older than me throwing around insults whenever I make a public post reminding others to love and care for themselves. God forbid I post something reminding people to reach out to their loved ones if they need support, right?
To put it bluntly, it was both surprising and horrifying. What in the world drove these people to act like this? Even if my profile was raunchy, even if it was filled with scantly-clad pictures of me and my friends, it is not an invitation to comment on my body in a sexual manner without my consent. Even if my cleavage may have been visible in a picture, a person has no right to say they want to have "fun" with my body. It's disgusting, and it needs to stop.
But maybe it was just me. Maybe I'm just doing something wrong. With this in mind, I asked my fellow Odyssey creators to see if they had any stories.
One person responded almost immediately. "Before I went to freshman orientation, a boy from [Boise State University] found me on Instagram through the Class of 2020 Facebook page and messaged me asking if I wanted to hook up at orientation. Terrifying."
Another writer remembers two experiences of people being... less than appropriate.
"A guys sent me [this] last night. The first part of the message was him saying 'you don't seem very interested in me but maybe it'll change your mind if you know I have a big c***.'" To be honest, her response was far nicer than what mine would have been.
He even goes on to acknowledge that his actions were inappropriate, but hey! Social media, right?
Her second story is four words long, but every woman (and some men) on social media knows this pain.
So seriously people, stop being so f*cking creepy. Stop commenting on the way we look, stop making crude jokes about our bodies, stop being rude, and just act like a civil human being. It's really not that hard.