Vegas + Solo + Female = No?

I had a pretty bad day here in Vegas on Thursday, but I didn’t tell you the main reason why.  I actually left out a big chunk of the story.

Why? Well, to be completely honest, it’s not an easy topic to write about. However, as I considered my post from yesterday, then read through all of the comments that were left on that post, I realized that I hadn’t done justice to what was really upsetting me – the problem I really had here in Vegas.

Creepy guys.

Yep. Creepy guys are EVERYWHERE in Vegas. That’s certainly not a surprise or a shock, but it definitely makes it difficult to enjoy a nice day by yourself when you are a female traveling solo.

I had strange guys physically block my path FIVE times yesterday. Two other weird guys touched my hair (on separate occasions), three followed me down the street, one put his hands in front of my phone so I couldn’t see the screen, and another sat right next to me in a restaurant booth where I was sitting by myself.

Yes, really.

I’ve learned that the best way to detract and deflect this kind of attention is to walk quickly and purposefully, without smiling or making eye contact. When I have to sit still, I’ve learned that acting slightly robotic and completely walled-off is best. No laughing. No friendly nods. Certainly no pleasant chit-chat.

The problem is that I don’t like experiencing my life like this. I’d like to stop and take a photo just as much as anyone else. I want to be able to sit on a bench and feel the sun on my face. I want to walk slowly down the street, noticing and appreciating details. But when I’m alone, all of that freedom evaporates.

And I SO I hate that, but what I hate more is the feeling that I get when a stranger physically invades my space. It’s like a clutch in my chest. A badly skipped heartbeat. A sinking feeling.

I’m not asking for this. I don’t deserve it. Is being hassled and harassed just part of traveling alone as a female? Even writing that sentence makes me feel angry, because I can’t and won’t settle for that reality.

And yet clearly, I have, and I do.

I’d love to hear your experiences here. What’s been your experience traveling solo in Vegas? What about in other cities? How do you handle unwelcome attention?

And guys – I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

Comments

  1. Vegas is were people go to behave badly. And everyone’s definition of that is different. Luckily, you are a strong enough woman to deal with these jerks.

  2. This is so true these days people do not care nor respect each other’s privacy your experience is annoying and is what prevents good guys to start friendly conversations with pure friendly intentions but the fact is that women have to be careful these days specially alone

  3. Honestly though, there are creepy guys (and gals) everywhere. I never met you but from your profile photo here, I’d say your hair would attract initial attraction from most people, no?
    I rarely ever get attention and would want to live in your shoes at least once just to experience what all that attention must feel like. I have a forgettable face and I can easily blend in the background (think of the song “mr cellophane” from the Chicago musical.) Trust me, you wouldn’t want to be ms.cellophane, or do ya? 😉

    • Points Pixie says:

      Joey – I guess it is a double-edged sword. You’re right, my hair attracts a lot of attention, both positive and negative. I wonder the opposite – what it would be like to blend in? I imagine that it might be relaxing. Wish we could swap for a day. 😉

      • Vegas, alcohol, anonymity, lots of people from out of town. Not sure how you had your hair or how you were dressed but from your profile pic you look like you might be open to some freaky stuff and approachable. So my guess is part of it is the Vegas vibe and part of it is your look including your age. As an experiment next time in Vegas try to look as nondescript as possible and see if that makes any difference.

  4. My wife had the same feeling yesterday. She was back at the room while I was at the conference. She said that she went into the casino and just couldn’t stay long because it was too creepy. Probably not to the extent that you had but it is definitely not cool

  5. I’ve developed zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense. Most of my life my policy has been “ignore them” but you know what? Bad behavior like this needs to be addressed or it will continue. I once had a man make a crass comment to my sister as we walked into a book store. She ignored him and I lost it. I turned to him and said he needed to learn some manners along with a few below the belt insults. He smiled and said, “What?” like I was overreacting. I told him obviously he was either raised in a barn or the women in his family were worthy of the type of behavior he exhibited towards us, because those are the only two explanations for why a grown man would behave the way he would. He stood frozen in the doorway, with an awkward smile on his face until I told him to leave.

    Another time I told off a guy on Market Street in front of a crowd and I’d like to think he’ll think twice before disrespecting a woman again. These guys need to be reprimanded because their behavior won’t stop until women stand up for themselves and humiliate them a bit. I definitely get your sentiment about getting angrier with every word. I just have no patience for this type of disrespect.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Ariana – I’m inspired by your comment. I agree that these guys need to be called out. I am honestly so conditioned and frankly kind of scared to stand up for myself. I need a verbal bodyguard.

      • One day you’ll get really angry and it will overshadow your fear. Keep in mind that guys who do this actually have pretty low self esteem, so if you let them get away with it, it encourages them. Put them in their place and it destroys their confidence and they won’t do it again.

  6. This will stop happening when you are or look older. You become invisible.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Claire – Thanks for the comment. I think this is an interesting topic.

      • I used to work in NYC when I was in my 20`s. Every time I walked past a construction site it was horrible… And I have always been a conservative-looking type. Then I got married and was almost always with my husband when I traveled so that was just fine. I felt safe. Now I sometimes travel by myself and it’s so easy, this is just not an issue anymore.
        There are some people who will do more to help you (without asking for anything in return) if you are a young attractive female than they would bother doing if you are an older woman, so there are benefits and detriments depending on which you are. Just have a tough outer shell when you are by yourself. It is just the way it is and when it no longer is a problem you will be relieved but will also feel some regrets about your lost youth.

        • Points Pixie says:

          Claire – Insightful comment. I agree that appearances definitely affect perceptions. I appreciate you sharing this.

  7. I lived in Las Vegas for 8 years and cannot say this enough — GET OFF THE STRIP! Go check out Red Rock Canyon, go shopping (which is great in Vegas), rent a car and check out the locals casinos like Green Valley Ranch or the South Point. BTW — Most of those creeps on The Strip are from out of town. Locals only go there when forced to by visiting family/friends, for work, or to see a show. And then we drive in the back way to the parking garage. Also, if a casino seems creepy, move on to a different one.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Geri J – Great advice. Especially about locals casinos. And I totally believe that it’s mostly folks from out of town who are here to behave badly.

  8. Just last week I was traveling for work alone and has literally a 2 second chat with a guy in lobby who said ” hey I’m in room 101 if you want to stop in for a night cap”
    I was floored, and I am older….I was so shocked and felt so disrespected I said” how do I feel about that? We don’t even know each other’s names, you see I’m wearing a wedding band, and I think you’re an idiot- and since when does hampton inn have mini bars?”
    He was not happy lol. My theory is if he tries enough eventually he will get a yes- I think it goes I a lot- and vegas- people come there especially thinking they can misbehave

    • Points Pixie says:

      Nance – The same thing happened to me recently at another conference. Ew! And yes – I think with some of these guys it is a “numbers game” – eventually they will get a positive response.

  9. While the behaviour is inexcusable, you knew or should have known this sort of thing happens in this town.

  10. Kendra,
    I’m really sorry that these things happened to you. They sound truly dreadful and yucky. And wrong. Not feeling safe or not having the liberties to just do normal stuff without a barrage of unwanted, bad behavior can zap energy in a flash and leave an icky residue on one’s mood.

    I’ve traveled quite a bit on my own and, like you, I rely on systems for reducing opportunities for such things to happen – like the determined posture or aloof vibe. They don’t always work when I’m far from home and the norms for things like personal space are different than what’s familiar to me. I try knowing they will fail me at least some of the time and I try adapt them for where I am based on what seems to work best.

    15-20 years ago I was working in a place where my straight, blonde hair was a subject of intense fascination. It was freaky to have people walk up to me and look at it / me like I was from outer space, or to touch it. One person asked me for some of my hair – like to cut off and keep. Yikes.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope nothing of the sort happens today.

  11. Everything you had happen to you was completely inappropriate. As a man I find it reprehensible that some guys just can’t behave. One thing I would suggest is that if you are in a hotel or casino and anyone touches you in any way including putting their hand over your phone, just scream, “Security” and point out the guy. For anyone to put their hand over your phone or sit next to you uninvited in a booth or touch you in any way is just plain wrong and they are not going to stop until someone embarrasses them and points them out to security.

    As a man, I even had to do this once myself in an airport. Some guy thought it was ok to shove me in the back and to get ahead of me in a line. Any place where there is a heavy security presence this works. The only problem I had that time was that I yelled, “Call security” to the Delta employees and they just kept asking, “Why?”. Their manager later informed them that when someone screams for security, call security first, then check what is happening instead of not calling security at all. Despite this problem, the guy who shoved me did turn and run away and we didn’t see him again.

  12. All of the obnoxious creepiness I have experienced in vegas has been on the strip. We usually stay off strip at The M Resort or Red Rock. The creepy guys dont seem to make it out there.

  13. Chester White says:

    How do you react when you think the guy is cute? Examine this and you may figure out what is join on.

  14. I’m so sorry this happened to you. There’s no excuse for it. Contrary to some of the opinions expressed upthread, your hair is not a tacit invitation for strangers to touch you without permission. Your looks are not an invitation to harassment. The fact that you’re on the Vegas Strip does not make it remotely OK for creeps to creep on you. We call all of that victim-blaming where I’m from (i.e. Sanity World).

    I was drugged and raped last time I went to Vegas solo (and I’m not eager to go back anytime soon, obviously). That can and does happen anywhere, but the way I was treated by hotel security after the fact (apparently, while obviously drugged out of my mind and barely able to walk, I refused medical treatment and they JUST SAID OK and dumped me back in my room! It took me a week to ascertain most of what had happened, because I didn’t and still don’t remember it, and that’s terrifying) was out of the ordinary. Vegas hotels will protect themselves from liability at any cost. By the time I filed a police report and got checked out at a hospital, it was far too late. I’m extremely lucky I didn’t get an STD or end up pregnant.

    But hey, I was asking for it. I was playing video poker in a casino on the Strip, by myself, and wearing my sluttiest outfit (black slacks and a loose-fitting button-down shirt buttoned up to the collar). Clearly I had it coming, right? This is what creep culture (and the widespread acceptance of it) inexorably leads to, wherever it happens to exist.

    I hate to post and run, but I’m not going to stick around for the pile-on that countless years on the Internet have taught me is about to ensue. Stay safe, and SLAP THE CRAP out of the next person who touches you without your permission!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Liz,

      I just wanted to thank you for your comment on my blog. Tears are running down my face right now as I write this to you. I am just horrified to hear your story, and I am so, so sorry that this happened to you.

      You clearly do come from Sanity World. Welcome, sister. 🙂

      I decided to post about my experiences in Vegas because I know that there are many people who STILL THINK that women are “asking for it” by the way they look or what they are doing. Even, as both of us know, if that just means the woman is simply existing in the world. I wanted to start a small conversation that would hopefully cause a few people to think.

      I received several emails (not public comments, but emails) on this post. Mostly from men who were shocked, saddened, and very supportive. I think it’s a shame that the internet is full of bullies and trolls, and that these guys didn’t feel comfortable posting their comments publicly.

      While my blog is mostly focused on traveling and style and deals, I try to keep it real. I get a lot of flak for that, but I try not to care. So I will keep posting my real-life stories. And I hope that great people like you will keep reading and connecting and commenting.

      I’m sending this to you in an email as well, because I want you to know that your comment matters to me. I so appreciate that you took the time to write what you wrote.

      I’m standing with you, in Sanity World.

      Much love and respect.

      xo
      Kendra

Trackbacks

  1. […] Kendra over and Points and Pixie Dust published a post about experiencing harassment during her trip to Vegas. Some of her experiences were pretty appalling (blocking someone’s way, really? Are we in […]

  2. […] about the abhorrent trend of ‘mamading’. The recent experiences shared in blog posts by Kendra and Keri on Las Vegas kind of inspire me to write a post about guys who are dicks and the women […]

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