Late 30yr Little Person keep getting hit by Married (fetish) men. Advice
June 17, 2016 1:16 PM   Subscribe

My case is very similar to this woman's story. Otherwise I feel I'm at my wits end regarding this issue. Would appreciate thoughtful answers, as I've asked this in other forums and have gotten some of the jealous lot who say I must be a flirt, I must dress sexy, I'm a hoe, etc. -- which all are not true and are really the opposite. I have strict rules of having male friends to only past work colleagues, classmates and social circles.

I'm a 4' short-statured Little Person and have an average-size torso with shorter arms, legs. I am single, I'm Asian, I've never been married. I'm a pretty serious person and work hard at what I do, altho I'm currently unemployed. I think I'm avg. looking, altho I get compliments often enough. I'm sure I'm past the "prime" age of getting a normal 25-35-yr old man who is looking to settle, get married, and have kids. During those years I was not ready as I was w/ an unavailable alcoholic and have been slowly going through recovery from a very dysfunctional childhood and come-around from self-hatred, changing friends and severing emotional ties from my family. I've posted previously that I'm in the works of filing a restraining order against 2 mentally unwell men, one who is married (former prof) and has been stalking me for 4 years. Unfortunately since him, I've had other married or unavail men outrightly stalk or harass me in person (we're talking various from too young, to addicts, to the past 60+) - to persons following me in stores, to some phishing for my information on *Any social media sites (including uncommon ones like which freaks me out.

I've now since closed, changed all my accts to anonymous and use the block tool quite frequently to avoid them finding me. I've shown being w/ previous bf's and that doesn't work. I've never published, said anything sexual, luid or teasing to any of these men to get these responses. I've in fact, done the opposite and have often rejected these men outright, to running away/changing seats all the time, to publicly shaming them online... but all it does is seem to fuel them more. I've had trouble w/ such men crossing boundaries at work, school, support groups, even the bookstore. Normal men I know do not handle rejection by continuing to pursue. I don't feel beautiful or normal women get this kind of attention.

As a Little Person, and I hate to admit, Disabled person... is it a cold, unhappy truth that I'm always going to attract weirdos, the sociopaths, married cheating men, as well as the unmarried-way-too-old just because they think I'm a reject/and or that I have no options? Oddly, I've noticed when I was 27-33ish, I never got this kind of attention, but it feels the older I'm getting, the more (unwanted) attention I'm getting from men who I know are looking for a fetish, relationship with me to control. I've started becoming more abstinent or resentful of men b/c I just don't like to deal with this, knowing I'm attracting those kinds of people. Is this really just down to stupid human selection and these inept men being rudely clueless? My apologies if I'm sounding rather bitter, angry and powerless... hence why I'm asking for help. Thank you.
posted by sam3cat to Human Relations (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Best answer: Guys who have fetishes are inherently fucked up and unfortunately you're much more likely to attract them. (I am not a Little Person, but I am transgender so I have plenty of experience with being fetishized.)

However! Surely you know Little People who are in happy relationships, so it is not impossible. The transgender people I know are mostly in relationships with each other, or with women, because cis men are frequently horrible, as you've noticed. Is this true of Little People? Are you a member of groups for Little People? I have found it helpful to be around people who have had similar issues.

For me, the antidote to feeling bitter, angry and powerless is to take charge of some facet of my life. Lately, this has been working out, but it could be anything that you can control and you can see tangible progress.

I've struggled with this a lot because there are no easy answers. Lots of people are horrible and there's nothing we can do except keep moving on. I'm not giving up on a relationship - and you shouldn't either - but I've been much happier since I stopped focusing on it.
posted by AFABulous at 2:19 PM on June 17, 2016 [14 favorites]

I'm sorry you've had to deal with this. Have you tried talking about this with other little people? They may have helpful insights into why this happens and how to cope with it.

In terms of my own experiences coping with harassment, I've found that in the long run you're better off if you ignore it as much as possible. Obviously sometimes there's no escaping it, you have to confront it. If somebody is dangerous, you have to do whatever it takes to protect yourself. But usually it's a mistake to engage with creeps at all, you're just adding fuel to the creepy fire and you just get yourself more and more upset and tangled up in the yuck. Don't read their posts or emails, don't answer their calls, pretend they don't exist. No contact ever.

Guys who have fetishes are inherently fucked up

OK, let's please not sweepingly demonize "guys who have fetishes". (BTW, I'm transgender too and I've dealt with my own share of creeps.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:37 PM on June 17, 2016 [15 favorites]

Pretend I said "guys who fetishize people"
posted by AFABulous at 2:41 PM on June 17, 2016 [27 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you both. It is grounding and helpful hearing other minorities struggle with this same issue, altho I'm sure those fettishists have created a lot of problems and headaches for you as well. I will take to heart about focusing on what I can control (I'm going to grad school, so yay) and not to focus so much on finding a relationship. You've totally nailed that down, as I do sense it's my foreboding of turning 40 and still not finding "the one." But... I also know if I had married already, I'd most likely be divorced by now.

Well, you're better than me... I often jump right to any AH (average-height) man who pursues LP (Little People) women is someone who has a fetish. But... it's a contradiction as I personally find tall AH men attractive. However, the AH men I've dated usually were AH men who weren't looking for a LP woman per se, but ended up being open-minded to date a LP like me. So I do feel there is a difference.

I only dated LP men in my teens, mostly through my 20s, as I used to belong to LPA (Little People of America) but left after 20 yrs being tired in that clique. That itself is a whole 'nother thread... For me tho, most of those relationships didn't last b/c most LP men (at least those attracted to me) ended up being too needy/clingy, not working/unemployed or ambitious and/or were also addicts. But it was usually the first two. And there are sadly too few LPs in general, I've had a hard time finding someone who I've had enough in common or right chemistry, connection with. (sorry to pooh-pooh on that) This option is not out the door however; just letting you know my history w/ the group.
posted by sam3cat at 2:53 PM on June 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I did memail you regarding this question. You don't have to reply to it. But sometimes people do not notice memails. Just an FYI.

posted by Michele in California at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

A couple things here. Foremost is the nature of social media in which we use self-images as avatars of identity. If you have a profile pic that exposes the public to a feature, attribute, or esthetic that can be fetishized... yes, you may well be routinely fetishized. It's complicated to sort out how to do this, but some minorities have tended to group together in places where progressive politics make it easier to both avoid unwanted attention and pursue legal measures in instances when it's needed.

A simple approach (not a solution) is to selectively present yourself online. My partner, for instance, has a certain physical characteristic that some people are so profoundly fixated on that they'll do anything to experience him/it. So, he mostly avoids putting pictures that emphasize it to keep the number of unsolicited seekers to a minimum. But, nevertheless, out there in the world people get the full view.

I've had other married or unavail men outrightly stalk or harass me in person (we're talking various from too young, to addicts, to the past 60+)

I'm not sure, but it seems like this is drifting away from the fetishization and into categories that you deem as limiting as a person's marital status. In these situations, you probably just have to tell your pursuers, bluntly, "you're too young/old for me," or what have you.

I don't feel beautiful or normal women get this kind of attention.

This is subjective, and maybe some complicated categorization. I think I can point to a few people who might serve as case studies to the contrary. Cliché, but there are some disturbing stories of the kind of unhinged pursuers that Marilyn Monroe dealt with on a daily basis out there in the many biographies that have been published.

Guys who have fetishes are inherently fucked up and unfortunately you're much more likely to attract them.

This... makes me cringe as much as the thought of repeated, unwanted advances. I live in a fetish-positive social circle, and I can't think of anything nice to say in response to statements like this other than they are patently, demonstrably incorrect.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:45 PM on June 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

I think it was clear that the statement about fetishes was a misstatement!

Personally, the quality of men I attracted went WAY down after I became a single parent. It wasn't that decent guys weren't attracted (although fewer of them were), as much as it was the INTENSE INCREASE IN VOLUME of sleazy guys who solely pursue people who they see as vulnerable/low-status. It is so so creepy to be pursued by someone who clearly is pursuing you because they think you are someone they can treat poorly.

It also really did make me think less of people in general (and men more specifically.)

What has helped is making male friends in a non-sexual/romantic context, including younger guys and guys who are not attracted to my gender/me. Having that balance of men who are decent and respectful is really helpful to not being bitter 24/7. It doesn't change the dating thing, but it does improve my happiness overall.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:52 PM on June 17, 2016 [16 favorites]

I am not a little person (quite the opposite, tall actually), but DO NOT sell yourself short on the age thing. I met my husband when I was 30 and he was 37, never married and plan on kids, so they are out there, just like you are out there!

It could also be online forums too, btw. I noticed that when I got off of online dating and joined a few interest/hobby clubs the quality of men I met went waaay up. These were social situations which I guess require some social skills whereas it's easy to hide creepiness behind a computer.
posted by floweredfish at 7:08 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's unclear if you're actually interested in having a romantic relationship or not.

If not, focus on the friendships you currently have and ask them to join you in some new activities or groups. That way you won't be obviously single and you can enjoy the day with your friends. It sounds like you're doing the right things for handling your previously unhealthy relationships, like going no-contact and working through your abuse and other things. Good work on being sober, too! On days when everything seems to be going wrong, it might help to make a list of things you've done (and are still doing, like staying sober) that you've found difficult but rewarding. You can revisit the list and think things like "yeah, I do deserve to relax, wow, this is all hard work, I'm doing a good job taking care of myself" and so-on.

If you are looking for a romantic relationship I think you have to fight through your crappy experiences and (completely logical!) reticence and get really proactive about approaching other people. When you remain passive and let people come to you, you're allowing them to self-select. But when you're the one picking and choosing, when you're the one who approaches, you're the one in charge. Then if it turns out they're creepy or unattractive to you after you get to know them a little you can withdraw. The weird guys who would hit on you before might still do so, but since you're focusing on your own desires their interference is less relevant to your life.

It'll be hard work. Unfortunately your physical self will cause a lot of otherwise seemingly normal guys to be gross superficial jerks who would write you off before getting to know you. But there are plenty of people who might not see you as an option due to societal nonsense who need only the smallest push to break through that. You can be that push. I'm sure you have experience with this on a friendship level; have you tried it on a romantic one?
posted by Mizu at 8:00 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

This may not be analogous, but there was an OK Cupid blog a while back about how people who were unconventional-looking got much more extreme reactions than middle-of-the-road types. People either really liked them or really didn't, but the ones who liked them bumped up their averages such that those people met or exceeded responses received by conventional-looking types. Which if translatable to your scenario, may well mean that many who are attracted might be really attracted... which, if it's true, and I believe you that it is, is just - it must be hard to deal with, I'm so sorry :/

(Because, I'm pretty average metrics-wise, height etc., and am I mean okay looking, also not in the ideal age-range, and still get the married guys, the whatever whatever approaching in unwanted ways. And I hear that from tons of women, all kinds of women - any woman who's alone. So to some extent, I think there is a bit of the rude cluelessness going on. I can't imagine how awful it might be, intensified :/)

If there is some kind of effect happening related to your height, I don't think you should meld that together with the idea that they're doing that "just because they think I'm a reject/and or that I have no options?", though. They can't read you that way. They don't know your past.

I think it's possible that part of it is that you're maybe noticing it more often given experience, whereas when you're young, you tend to give people more of the benefit of the doubt, read different (and more charitable) intentions into the same kinds of actions, etc. (I know that when I was young, I gave older men a lot of time, thinking they were just nice, being kindly etc. Looking back - not likely.) And/or, maybe you had more protections around you when you were younger, just because of how things are structured at that time (friends nearby, going out in groups more often, etc.), that might have warded some of that off.

The fact that this crap is happening around you doesn't mean you're not going to be able to have a good relationship or attract men who are able to see you for who you are. People have cared for you that way in the past, there are more who will in the future. If you want a good partner, work towards that in the ways you can (online dating, etc.).

(Also, continue to work to ensure your safety. Take some kind of self-defense class. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this harassment.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:56 PM on June 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I am sorry this is happening to you. I once had a friend that was hit on a lot. She would always keep her arms crossed and wore demure clothing. It only helped a little. Also, she was always very upfront about her not looking for a relationship right now. Anything you can think of to signal - "don't talk to me" I would try - maybe sunglasses, headphones, a marriage ring, scarf to cover your face, fake sneezing / coughing, walking with a "purpose" etc. Also, develop lines for questions / come ons you are asked frequently.
posted by xammerboy at 9:48 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Starting a fake conversation on your phone will put some off to...
posted by xammerboy at 9:49 PM on June 17, 2016

I think you also can't discount the part that being an Asian woman plays, especially if you are east-Asian. Even otherwise appropriate men regularly reveal their messed up ideas when they learn I am married to an Asian woman.
posted by Iteki at 2:21 AM on June 18, 2016 [10 favorites]

Can you jump back in to add some context? Describe a typical situation and elaborate on the online piece? How are people speaking to you online?
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:54 AM on June 18, 2016

Response by poster: <>>

@OtherDreaming - Well, I personally feel due to the objectification or fetishism from these men, instigates married men to pursue me moreso... than if I were normal or average. I think it goes back to AFab's response that fetishists are F#cked up... and in my case will disvow their marriages or partnerships to get some sex w/ a Little person. I *could be wrong, but I feel this is the case. And I feel most these guys just want the sex, they don't seem to want to leave their partners or want a real relationship w/ me (which I wouldn't want anyway).

I had to deal w/ 4-5 men this past year (who were either teachers, or industry friends) and it's extremely disheartening, disappointing when I find out their motives and make it clear that's not what I want. Then it usually ends up w/ them disappearing (hardly) but for 4 of them it has ended up them being so inappropriate that I had to report it (did it for 3 partnered teachers, 2 are married), and/or telling them off and going NC. I also have a couple of male straggler friends, who are married, and decent to me... Yet, I feel that they are waiting for me to "do" something w/ them bc they hardly have a decent conversation w/ me anymore (when I say what's up).. yet they are always showing up following/intriguing on my social media sites.

*This does feel more like going to the "Men and women could never be friends b/c the Sex gets in the way," bit.
posted by sam3cat at 9:24 AM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @yammerboy Thanks, really good suggestions w/ the attitude and what to wear bit. Haven't thought of that before, so will def need to try those. Funny I saw a photo recently of Peter Dinklage walking (not smiling) in NY w/ a hoodie, sunglasses and a huge dog... even tho we all recognize its him, he did not look approachable at all. So maybe I'll need to get a Rottweiler sometime. ;)

@Iteki - Yes, I've def thought of that and also feels being Asian (I'm of Chinese descent) absolutely contributes to this problem. It's seriously being a minority in a minority, which sucks since both already have their own stereotypes.

I guess much of this frustration is just not being treated normally by men, or that I feel the behaviors are abnormal. If single men in my age bracket (and not married or losers) I considered dateable were doing these behaviors to me, I probably wouldn't be as pissed off. But I heard recently thinking that others will treat you how you want to be treated is entitled thinking... I don't know. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I just really would like to be treated the same as anyone else. Whatever that is. Sorry, thanks for letting me vent. This is all helping me a lot.
posted by sam3cat at 9:40 AM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: "Personally, the quality of men I attracted went WAY down after I became a single parent. It wasn't that decent guys weren't attracted (although fewer of them were), as much as it was the INTENSE INCREASE IN VOLUME of sleazy guys who solely pursue people who they see as vulnerable/low-status. It is so so creepy to be pursued by someone who clearly is pursuing you because they think you are someone they can treat poorly."

@internetFraud - Thank you SO much for your sharing your experience in your post. Especially the last bit. Altho it wasn't obvious to me before, you reminded me that they are pursuing me to control me like I'm some freak object. Glad that I've recovered and am not around to be around that MFing mess.
posted by sam3cat at 11:18 AM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

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