There are a few more-or-less universal symbols that mean “stop.” A red octagon. A “no trespassing” sign. A flat, vertical palm extended away from someone’s body.
Many people believe that headphones fall into this category: Choosing to cover your ears in public is a clear indication that you do not wish to be bothered. But apparently, some people didn’t get the memo—namely a dating blogger named Dan Bacon, who wrote a post called “How to Talk to a Woman Who Is Wearing Headphones” a few years ago that is now blowing up on Twitter.
The post does not appear to be joke. It does contain categorically incorrect declarations such as “if a woman wearing headphones is single and hoping to meet a boyfriend (or even a new lover), she will usually be happy to take off her headphones to give you an opportunity to create a spark with her.” It includes the following advice for breaking down your headphones-wearing prey’s defenses:
When she looks at you, smile, point to her headphones and confidently ask, “Can you take off your headphones for a minute?” as you pretend to be taking headphones off your head, so she fully understands what you mean.
If she doesn’t understand that you want her to briefly take off her headphones, simply gesture that you want to talk to her by pointing back and forth from you to her and say, “I want to talk to you for a minute.”
Originally, that sentence was followed by, “In most cases, you won’t have to go to that extreme, but some girls are shy and will be hesitant to take their headphones off right away because they are feeling nervous or excited about what is happening.” Bacon has since deleted the “nervous or excited” part, having apparently learned that the only excitement women feel when strange men harass them is sympathoadrenal excitement, as their bodies prepare either to run away or stay and fight off the threat.
The essay goes on for 1,500 words, even though it could easily have been edited down to just, “Ignore women’s social cues and body language to try to get what you want.”
Bacon has been rightly excoriated all over social media for his utter and complete lack of insight into the human mind, and for the fact that he actually charges men for advice.