Do You Think I’m SCARY?

Saturday evening, I was at a party, and a man told me that I’m scary.

Not just that he finds me scary, but that ‘all men do’! I said, ‘Fancy you being the only one who’s brave enough to tell me.’

But I thought about it, afterwards, and wondered why a 49-year-old man, 6’4″, sound of body, would say that. Does he genuinely find me scary? Did he think it was a good chat up line? (It’s not.) Did he think it was an amazingly witty thing to say? Did he think I’d like to consider this guy, more than a foot taller than me, scared of me? Did he think it would put him in a good light, in some mysterious way? (It doesn’t.)

I asked the question on Facebook and received an interesting selection of replies. All from women.

Out of twenty:

Nine said that they have been told they’re scary, too. Wow! Now I’ve gone to the thread and established that ratio – nearly half of us are considered scary. NowΒ that’s scary.

Seven were pretty scathing of a man who’d say it. (So, guys, it really isn’t a good chat up line.)

Two said that I’m not scary, I’m supportive and assertive (thanks!).

One said I’m terrifying. (Hmm. Thanks.)

Two thought it was plain rude/rubbish.

And just about everyone interpreted ‘scary’ as a strong/confident woman. I’m not going to go all coy and say, ‘Who? Me?’ Β And I don’t see why I should. All kinds of less admirable traits like impatience and impetuousness, go with it, of course, but, yes, basically, I’m confident, outgoing etc.

So, what I’d really like to know is: does that make me scary?


And please do tell me. I won’t bite. πŸ™‚


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19 responses to “Do You Think I’m SCARY?

  1. I was told the same and i probed… apparently being scary to the males of this world is because your confident and strong and it basically makes most males feel less manly! It all goes back to the caveman thing and they wouldn’t like it at all if we got out clubs and hit them on the head. Personally i find it an insult and usually tell any bloke that say’s i’m scary to go and find some balls. xxxx


  2. I don’t think it makes you scary Sue. It’s more to do with the other person and how they feel about themselves and dealing with confident, assertive women.
    There’s also the aspect of awe at meeting someone who has a number of books to their name- now that can be scary…:-)


  3. My daughter and I have both been called scary too. As you say, we are both strong, intelligent and confident women who are not afraid to voice their opinions. I LIKE it now. Men may say scary, I choose to hear formidable and if a man was scared of me he is obviously not the man for me. Oh, and I’ve been married for 19 years to a man who finds me challenging!


  4. I think this says more about the man at the party than you. It’s such a strange thing to say to someone and just makes me think that he has insecurities and feels threatened by your confidence or success or ability – probably all three!

    I’ve only met you once in person but I didn’t find you scary at all. You were open, friendly and confident and none of those things scare me.


  5. Oh yes, very scary indeed… not. What is wrong with people? Confidence and assertiveness does not equal scary. In fact, I feel much more comfortable around such people because you know they’ll say what they think and won’t revert to passive aggressive tactics.


  6. Sharon Birch (@EffieMerryl)

    I’ve been called scary a number of times. I often thought it was because I was a police officer – I guess they can be scary to some – but it often came from colleagues. Over the years I have asked and had a number of replies.
    Apparently, it’s because –

    I appear confident and don’t need a man to support or help or advice me because I can do it alone

    I know more than they do and it makes them feel less

    I’m taller/bigger (even stronger sometimes ; ) ) than they are and it makes them feel less

    I make them feel intimidated because I can hold my own in their company

    I am independent

    I can drink as much as they can and stay standing

    I laugh loudly

    I dance like nobody is watching

    My husband sometimes says I’m scary but that’s a totally different matter. He knows me ; )

    I now own a business, employ quite a few people, win awards, and apparently that puts some men off and makes me a scary woman.
    Oh and I write. Some men don’t understand the words. And having written some published erotica, that is off-putting too. I think it’s the perception of being a woman who is better than a man and some men find that off-putting.

    I have to keep telling myself that I’m a strong and beautiful woman and if any man finds that scary it’s really not my intention, or my fault. Take the time to get to know me and tell me it again in six months.

    Inside I’m still that weak, vulnerable, little seven year old shy girl.


  7. I think people find me scary too, because I won’t be pushed around, and I like to take control if I can see something losing control… if that makes sense? Is that confidence and assertiveness? Probably. I do have a strong personality, and I am not shy.

    You’re not scary, Sue. At the RNA conference I was thrilled to me you. I was nervous initially, only because I’ve read your books, you’re an author, and I was worried I’d look like a stalker like fan πŸ˜€

    Only a weak man finds us scary πŸ˜›


  8. Will you show me how to be scary too, so I can avoid plonkers like that one accosting me too!


  9. I’m apparently scary too… but women also tell me that so maybe everyone is right !


  10. nick stone

    Sue- wanted to THANK YOU. Over the summer I learned about The Harry Bowling Prize for new writers from a post on your blog. I entered my first novel – Sweeping up the Village – and it’s made the longlist. I have only recently finished my novel and am currently trawling for an agent ( three refusals and two awaiting a response so far!)…no one explained that the hard slog of writing and actually completing a first novel would be followed by another slog! So getting on the long list for this prize has given me a welcome boost.

    Bren Gosling


    • Congratulations! That’s brilliant. I know a former HB winner and she got an agent when she won and has been successfully published by Orion ever since. So I have my fingers crossed for you.

      Re the slog – yup. ‘Fraid so …


  11. Ahh, I remember the days when guys used to call me ‘scary’… but that was because I had an eye disease that meant my eyes protruded and stared all of the time. About a dozen operations later, my scary face has gone. Now I get called cute, even when out in fancy dress wearing fake blood and a hockey mask as a serial killer from Friday 13th.

    Because mine was a medical condition, I’ve learned how quickly the contrast occurs when you stop ‘staring’ at people, either voluntarily or involuntarily. I didn’t want to stare at people – Just that if my eyes were on anyone, they assumed I was staring. I even got challenged to fights, or told I must be on drugs. And a lot of comments that I was a ‘scary’ woman.

    Once the condition was fixed, literally overnight, nobody made comments like that anymore, nobody challenged me – even when I was working as a nightclub bouncer, suddenly I was ‘the nice one’ instead of the scary one πŸ™‚

    But it made me realise that people can mistake social confidence, and eye contact, as a challenge or a threat. As a psychology experiment, it was a fascinating experience – but a bit devasting to suddenly have everyone I knew, even family members, suddenly respond to me differently because I no longer triggered their fight-or-flight mechanism. It took a lot of getting used to, not to be treated as a threat anymore just due to the way I ‘looked at’ others. But in a good way. I wouldn’t go back to being viewed that way, not even if I was paid to look scary!

    And yes, guys who use it as a chat-up line are basically using it as a way of announcing they’re lazy, don’t want to do the chasing, and would rather you made all the effort… πŸ˜‰

    As for eye contact, it’s over-rated. I got judged so harshly on the way my eyes functioned when I had no control over how they appeared, I’m not going to invest in being placed in that pigeonhole again. I’m not in a relationship, so I’ll save gazing into someone’s eyes until I am. Until then, I’d much rather look at other women’s shoes if I go out at all πŸ™‚ xxx


  12. Smab

    For the last two years I have been called scary! I can’t say like most of you that I feel very good about this. It has cost me a good friendship???, my church life, my work colleagues, and today my son comes home and tells me that two of his school teachers who I recently had a parent teacher interview with have told my 12 year old son that I am scary and asking him if he is okay at home? Now I didn’t yell or scream or do anything but tried to show my support to teachers who both complained that my son misbehaved regularly in their class. I didn’t yell at my son when we got home, I talked to him about how his behaviour affected others and grounded him. How is that scary! When I am called scary I feel it is an insult. I am so sad that people see me like this. My son says he told me this in case I wanted to talk to these teachers about their statement or maybe I would want to change. When I asked him what I would change, he didn’t have an answer. When I asked him whether another teacher said anything similar he said, no way, she fully supports you. I don’t know what to do or what to believe. It really does suck to have people think this way when in actual fact all of these people terrified me, but this is because of my low self esteem and thinking crap about myself. I wouldn’t dare make my problem theirs by calling them scary. It is my issue not theirs.


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