Miss Pearl (a very good friend of mine) just posted something about an online dating horror story she had.
Granted, "Horror story" is a bit of a strong word here, but it's what she used and I am nothing if not open to being told what to call things.
This is of interest to me for a couple of reasons, the biggest one being I personally know everyone who was involved in the whole thing. Eyeballs, as she calls the gent, is someone I consider to be generally unpleasant to be around as a guy who is into the same things he's into, and I've seen evidence of him being... Well, lets generously call it "socially awkward" (and not generously call it fuckin' creephatish) around the female of my geek (and non-geek) species.
"Eyeballs has an actual name, but was made most distinct by the fact that he was trying to bore a hole through me with the aforementioned gaze capacity all night. I did not particularly find him attractive, through no fault of his other than the staring and lack of talking. Wistful leering is not my thing."
This, in general, is how he did things. He doesn't talk much, he just stares and leers. Now, I can understand why he did this. Pearl is a rather attrative woman, and has a pretty striking personality even when she's not flailing around on a dance floor. Heck, she is a person who has packaged her boobs up to be more visible and attractive as a plot for the Vampire LARP she plays in (and I run). While she does have limits for things, she is often comfortable enough in her own skin to, at the very least, not mind being eye-candy.
So what did Eyeballs do wrong? Well, for one thing, the *only* thing he did was leer. He never did walk up to Pearl and actually try to open up a conversation. Considering who it was, it may very well not have changed anything, but it certainly would not have hurt. It would have demonstrated, at the least, that he considered Pearl a person to be talked with, and not just an object to lust after from a distance.
Speaking from experience, I can understand being shy and uncertain, and having low self-esteme. I've myself longingly looked at attractive women and not quite had the courage to step up and talk to them. Luckily, I got better at it. However, I also never just... Laser-leered at them constantly.
How can you avoid being like Eyeballs?
It's pretty simple. I'm not even asking you to stop staring at sexy women! (though there is obviously a line you shouldn't cross when you do). It all comes down to attitudes. If you stare at a woman like an object, it comes through in how you do it. Women are, as a rule, fairly keyed to this kind of thing. They unfortunately have to be, considering SCHRÖDINGER’S RAPIST (you should all read that if you never have), and giving that kind of leering stare tends to be an alarm bell.
The next step is obviously just going to talk to them. Even if you're awkward and nerdy and bumbling. Just say something like "Hi, I think you're pretty and I was wondering if you would like to talk a bit". Or, in Eyeballs case, "Hey, I think you're pretty, how'd you meet [mutual friends A and B]".
i lost where i was going with this goddamnit
but, in short; staring, leering and not approaching for even a polite "hello" is generally a good bet for being labeled as a creeper. So, like, don't do it.