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Monday, September 19, 2011

Troll Cooties

I'm in a  McRanty mood today. Not to fear. My rants are like 'I Love Lucy' reruns. You know what's going to happen but you watch anyway.

Trolls: There's such a big wide world of trolls. They come in all sizes, sexes, and degrees. I normally don't suffer from troll cooties. I think it's because when I catch their scent I put on my mean face.

Most of the time I end up with the needy troll. They're harmless for the most part, but holy moley, can they suck the joy out of a room. And if you don't stroke their ego or tell them what a speshul snowflake they are, they get as pouty as a blowfish. 

Needy trolls are like duct tape. You can't break free unless you cut them off. They're generally not mean-spirited, but they have no clue that while they're whining about how nobody understands them, you're daydreaming of having your teeth pulled without Novacaine.

At the other end of the spectrum is the creepy troll. These make my skin crawl. There was an old guy on a writing forum I used to visit that had pedophile written all over him.

My friends thought I was overreacting, but seriously, he gave me the creeps. Every time he appeared on the forum, his specious humor and double entendres raised all sorts of flags in my mind.

Last week, I had another guy email me and tell me how cute I was, and could we meet sometime. Yeah, buddy. See my husband first and then the rottweilers.

Some people have no clue whatsoever. Who falls for lines like that? 

Maybe I've become jaded over the years. Maybe they're harmless old goats with delusions of manliness. But why take the chance?

What do you think? Do you trust your gut even when your friends tell you otherwise?

How do you handle trolls? 

And because guessing the title to my upcoming book is harder than I thought, I will add a clue every time I post. Go here to enter the contest.

Today's clue: There are two 'Os' in the title.

Previous clues: 
• Something in cover art is integral to the title.
• There are two S's in the third word of the title.


Stacy McKitrick said...

I found in the past if I don't trust my gut, I pay for it later. So yeah, I trust my gut NOW!

Here's to a week with no trolls!

Renee Miller said...

I trust my gut on people. Maybe it's unfair, but so far my gut has never been wrong. Before moderating OFW on Goodreads, I would ignore my gut feeling, believing maybe I was being a little judgemental. Ask Carlos how accurate my gut reactions have been. It scares me sometimes.

If it feels creepy, they ARE creepy. Go with it. If you're wrong, no big deal. If you're right, then your caution just saved you a whole lot of trouble.

Emailed to tell you that you were cute? WTF? Weirdo.

I once had this guy who used to appear wherever I happened to be. (I was about 22 at the time, he was in his 60's with a pornstache) He'd come into my work about 20 times a day, show up at the post office, the grocery store, the laundromat, etc. Then one day he's like "I'm having a New Year's Eve party and wondered if you'd come by?" I'm like, "Um...where and how many people? Do I know anyone you've invited?" He replies "Oh, it's just a party for two." Shudder. No thanks. Finally I told him if I saw him within fifty feet of me I'd call the cops. Took a while and lots of nasty words from me, and a threat from my dad, but he finally stopped hanging around.

My point is, the first time he said hello to me on the street I had a creepy feeling and walked away fast. I was right. You probably are too every time.

Angelina Rain said...

Sorry to hear about your trolls. I ignore them and they usually go away. When I was in high school I had this one teacher who had molester written all over him. No one else seemed to see it, but it creeped me out and I changed my classes so I wouldn't have to deal with him. A few years later he was fired because of an 'incident' with a female student. So yeah, I trust my gut.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: This seems to be a week of spammers. Several people on Twitter got hacked and now many of us are getting bogus emails from our friends.

Renee: It does seem to be unfair to judge people without getting to know them better but if someone gives me negative vibes, I have to listen to my gut.

Ref: stalker-dudes
I have to wonder how often they're successful. Like spam, someone must take them up on their spiel or why would they continue. That in itself is a sad commentary on their prey.

Angelina: I think we're all born with survival instincts, but not all of us choose to listen. Good for you for getting away from the creep.

Renee Miller said...

I think they're successful far too often, otherwise why would they continue? In my opinion, a lot of it comes from teaching our kids extreme politeness. There's a point where we need to encourage them to be assertive, even if they offend someone. I don't know that it's a problem nowadays as much as it was maybe ten or fifteen years ago, but when I see a mom or a dad in a store forcing their kid to say hello to someone or to be "nice" to another adult, I want to smack them. I don't make my kids speak to anyone they don't want to.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: I never thought of that before but you might have a point. I come from a generation where my mother instilled in me that men wanted only one thing--and some men were worse than others.

Even when my hormones started to spike, I always remembered that and put the brakes on. It saved me from more than one creep.

On the flip side, it also made me aware of true gentlemen and good human beings. I married one of those.

Angela Brown said...

I currently maintain a semi-permanant "Grrrr!" face. It acts well as a troll repellent. No troll issues for moi.

But you're right to run with your gut. That's that instinct kicking in with bells and whistles warning you about things.

Anonymous said...

I generally just ignore them. FB has been the worst. I've clearly noted I'm married yet every few months I get a message from someone who likes my picture and wants to connect up. I always wonder if the dude is copying and pasting the message and to how many people, LOL. Delete. (Of course, I really laugh when I get this on my personal account...maybe the guy has a foot fetish?) Anyway, sorry to hear about your trolls.

Renee brings up an excellent point with parents "forcing" their kids to be nice or speak to someone. I don't make my kids speak with anyone they aren't comfortable with. On the other hand I also don't let them talk to anyone I'm not comfortable with. My gut hasn't been wrong yet.

Renee Miller said...

You're lucky. I don't know that I have a gentleman...but he's still a keeper. He tolerates my awful cooking disasters (usually caused by me getting distracted by writing while making dinner) with minimal bitching.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I need to learn how to growl more. Maybe it'll scare them off.

Raelyn: That's where the last loser came from, Facebook. I think it was a copy and paste job too. He's just playing the odds, I guess. Creep.

Renee: LOL. I kept Greg waiting over a year and he still wanted me. I had to reward such patience.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

oh i always trust my gut. It's not that i don't trust my friends, it's just better to be safe than sorry

Cate Masters said...

Trolls can definitely ruin an experience, and make you wonder what drives them! One of the online classes I took had a baffling person who pretended to be someone completely different, then admitted it at the end of the class. Why? More importantly, who cared? I was there to learn, not experience his/her drama.
FB's another challenge sometimes. I unfriend and block annoying people who immediately pop up to "chat" when I log on. Again, I'm there to hang with people I care about and who I can learn from, nothing more.
Block the troll however you can.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I often wonder what it is I see that my friends don't. Maybe I'm just naturally suspicious.

Cate: That person in your online class was REALLY strange. Why would s/he think anyone would care? That's fine if he wanted to pretend to be someone else, but don't tell on yourself. I know I'd be crossing him off my list after a stunt like that.

I've learned to be more ruthless in blocking and unfriending people on FB. I'm not chatty even with people I know. I just have too much to do to sit and talk all day.

Carrie Butler said...

Always trust your gut. Always.

As for the trolls, well, I'm sure they make great character inspiration. ;)

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should change our FB pictures to a growling dog with the caption "You want my mom you have to get through me!" LOL

Maria Zannini said...

Carrie: Ha! There you go. Making lemonade out of lemons.

Raelyn: Now you're talkin'. Roxy would be enough to deter anyone.

LD Masterson said...

I tend to be a little clueless with trolls. Never see them coming until it's too late.

Hey, Maria - I left you a little present on my blog. Stop by and pick up up when you can.

Jenny Schwartz said...

I just don't understand the troll mentality. Is it something about not wanting a real relationship (you know, the whole thing about it being two-way and not just about them)? Or do they actually get a kick out of people's negative emotional response? Or are they just clueless?

Who knows. *shrug* Disinterest is probably a troll's version of hell.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: After getting sucked into their drama a few times, I learned to spot them quicker.

Jenny: I wonder if it's not a control thing on their part. Which is why ignoring them works so well. They can't stand not having an audience.

Charlie said...

Troll cooties? Isn't there a powder for that? ;)

Sorry you've been pestered by trolls. Always trust your gut, I say. Sadly, the truly creepy aren't always the obvious ones. Have had the misfortune to be in close proximity to two truly troubled people and when there misdeeds were uncovered I was shocked and dismayed. You never know what evil lurkes in the hearts of men.

Wishing you many happy, helpful, and creep-free days ahead.

Maria Zannini said...

Charlie: It scares me how many unstable people there are. Since they can hide behind the internet, it makes them even bolder. That means we have to be even more vigilant.

Sorry you had to deal with creeps too.

Doreen McGettigan said...

As a former sexual assault forensic counselor I can tell you that at least 90% of the victims I dealt with had some kind of ut-oh feeling prior to beeing attacked. I really believe our bodies are capable of sensing danger...always listen to your gut.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I usually tell trolls to leave and if they won't, I try and piss them off enough to leave. If that doesn't work, I ban them (if I'm in control). If I don't have control, I leave the group or list if they're upsetting me too much. Life's too short.

I think the old pedophile was a member of one of my groups too. He told us one time that there was a pretty young girl who lived in his neighborhood and every time he saw her, he wanted to "get out his chains and have her stay awhile." *shudder*

Mike Keyton said...

I wear a silly cowboy hat online. Haven't been visited by trolls yet. I don't know whether there's a connection...or worse - I'm missing out! No one's called me cute online - Time for my pouty blowfish expression :)

Maria Zannini said...

Doreen: That's fascinating to know! Now I feel better about it. I thought I was just paranoid. Thanks.

Barbara: Sometimes I get angry that my gut tells me someone is dangerous or criminal, but I have no concrete proof to put him away.

Mike: Anyone who wears a cowboy hat is automatically cute. --At least in Texas. :)

Marianne Arkins said...

Anyone who wears a cowboy hat is automatically cute. --At least in Texas. :)

Heck, yeah! *G* I have a soft spot for cowboys...

And, though I'm late to the party (that should be my theme song) I agree with the rest: go with your gut. If that fails, see if your dogs like them.

My last dog, Bailey, loved EVERYONE. She never met a stranger. One day, though, we were heading into Petsmart and this guy walked by. He didn't say hi, he didn't even try to pet her, but she backed into me and growled. I know that guy had to be up to no good.... still makes me shiver.

Intincts are there for a reason.

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: Sometimes dogs are set off by strange smells. I know my dogs are wary around people who smoke. It's the smell that makes them defensive.

But I never discount that the stranger could also be dangerous. I trust my pooches.