Friday, October 4, 2019

Tales from the Inbox

By: Kat Stratford

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a keyboard must be in want of dat assss.

With this in mind, we womenfolk can often look forward to an inbox full of…. surprises. They’re generally not terribly impressive, but there they are, at 3am, arriving just after a 2:45, “u up?”

Many articles have been written about the psychology behind dick pics and odious DMs; intelligent people have speculated about what drives men to send them, often to complete strangers, in the middle of the night. I’ve listened to people declare that it MUST work at least occasionally, or it wouldn’t be such a common occurrence (I have never encountered a person who has responded favorably to one, but okay). But for the purposes of this short listicle, I’d rather not waste too much time speculating on the thoughts of the guys sending these messages. I feel confident there’s not a lot of brainpower motivating their activities, anyway.

Instead, I invite you all to join me in simply having a laugh (or a cringe!) or two at some of the most outrageous messages I’ve received in the last year.

Welcome to my inbox; enter at your own risk:


Ah, the ole, say-hello-at-girl-a-thousand-times strategy. Never heard of it? Probably because it’s literally never worked. Best-case scenario, the dudes that do this sat on their phone and it just auto-selected, “hey,” or butt-dialed twelve times in a half-hour span.

But we know that’s not what happened. Please don’t do this at people. Someone ignoring you or saying “no” does not translate in any language to “convince me.”

Im NoT aN iNcEl ThO

Please visit my TED talk above. You are not entitled to a response from women on the internet. Or anyone, actually. Some lucky (and hopefully nonexistent) woman gets to come home to this every night! My thoughts and prayers are with what I sincerely hope is just a bottle of Jergen’s in his room.

Pls Halp

“Hello person I have never met. Please give me a handjob.” What a normal thing to say!

You know what pissed me off the most about these totally unsolicited messages from complete fucking strangers?? When I showed them to people I knew, the response was often, “at least he asked first,” or, “at least he was polite!”

Women of the world rejoice! There may exist in the universe a stranger who will ask you politely for a handjob before he calls you a bitch!

Surely, there might be more to hope

I honestly don’t even know what to call this one

Ok. So… this was pretty insane even for my inbox. I’d never met this person, but he pulled pictures of me off of social media and zoomed in on a part of my mouth that he obsessed over. Dozens of texts, calls, and messages on numerous platforms poured in before I even had a chance to block him.

This dude is an adult in his damn fifties. He’s presumably still employed. He interacts with the world on a daily basis. And he also thinks this is normal and acceptable behavior.


I did Nazi this coming...

Some context here: A while back, a group called Patriot Movement AZ/AZ Patriots (AKA #biggulpnazis) started holding rallies in a popular family park. They marched on the playground with handguns, rifles, and hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric. I, being really just kind of an okayish human being, thought that sucked.

So, I organized several colorful counter-protests: I hired mariachis, I invited circus performers, and in the end, a LOT of amazing people from all over Tucson came out to voice their displeasure at the Big Gulp Nazis. But before and even long after they packed up their Trump flags and bad music, they lived on my social media accounts and in my inbox. They even called establishments they knew I was at and threatened to come to my place of work. Shockingly, most of them were from men, who would send selfies after they sent the death threats. #swoon

And FINALLY, This Champion of Women’s Rights:

Before I dissect this, lemme get some Frequently Asked Questions out of the way:

-No, I do not know this guy, nor am I connected to him through any social media or mutual friends

- Yes, he said, “hi” 5 times before he sent this without prompting.

- The canines he’s referring to are my teeth, not dogs

-Yes, that is a random image of a battered woman.

-Why? He was presumably fapping to said image on Tumblr.


-Yes. He sent more. It was worse. So I have chosen not to share it.

Actually, that’s just about all I have to say about this.

I said in the beginning that I didn’t want to dive into the reasons men send these messages. That’s because I honestly don’t give a flying fuck.

I’ve seen the articles pondering what’s going on in these men’s minds, but I haven’t seen anyone exploring how it’s affecting the people being targeted. Are they frightened; upset? Does it weigh on them to receive these every day? Does it make them think twice before stating a non offensive opinion on any online forum?

When Elliot Rogers decided to plow his vehicle into a crowd in an act of vengeance against women who wouldn’t bone down with his worthless ass, he pulled back the curtain to reveal a dangerous trend: incels. Men who believe they are entitled to women’s bodies, time, thoughts, and ultimately, their lives.

Obviously, this is an extreme case, but on display are many folks who live on that same spectrum of entitlement. But let me make one thing clear to those who range from Elliot Rogers to the guy who interrupts me when I have my headphones in to tell me I’m pretty: I don’t care why you think you are owed.

I care that the costs of this epidemic are women’s senses of self, safety, and far too often their lives. I care that women have to constantly analyze what they wear, say, and post, based on this type of attention. I care that people still aren’t acknowledging this behavior as a serious problem.

So no, I don’t care what the bullet was thinking; I only care about unloading the gun.

Kat Stratford is a single mother to two ferocious girls in Tucson. She dabbles in political activism and writing. She is also #justawaitress. You can slide into her DMs (but don’t) on IG @whiskyandyoga

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