Oh internet, how we love you. When the midday slump strikes, we can always rely on the web to deliver you a day brightener – whether it be a video of a micropig or a story of a random act of kindness.
You know the one: the infuriatingly common scenario involving a man taking on a ‘nice guy’ persona as a manipulation tactic to sleep with a woman – essentially pretending to be her friend to gain her trust before acting inappropriately (see also: the ever-tiresome ‘friendzone’ idea). This, to be clear, is really not OK.
The thread, started by Reddit user Stanzin7, prompted over 6,000 comments.
But, as Bored Panda points out, among the woeful stories of misogyny there’s one shining ray of light.
One Reddit user, ThrowAwayForPancakes, has shared a truly epic tale of how an older gentleman offered to help a woman in a difficult situation on a date.
The lengthy post starts by explaining that our narrator was having dinner in a restaurant with his girlfriend when he overheard a date on a nearby table.
“I'm having dinner with my girlfriend at the time, and behind us are a couple on a date. It is.. not going well. Guy was being rather creepy and making some pretty inappropriate comments, the girl doesn't look at all comfortable.
“The girl finishes her appetiser really quickly, my guess is she wanted to get it over with. Guy proceeds to comment on it and says ‘well, least I know you can swallow right?’. Loudly.”
Read more: Lucy Mangan on defining misogyny
Degrading, sexualising language – tick. What’s next? Well, according to ThrowAwayForPancakes, the situation turned nasty, with truly disturbing threatening behaviour.
“Girl goes red and tells him that isn't appropriate, he literally waves his hand in a ‘shoo’ type motion and says ‘oh calm down I was going to find out in a few hours anyway’.”
The poster continues: “I missed her exact reply as she moved to a hushed tone, but it was fairly obvious what was being said – f*** no, f*** off, f*** this. He responded with ‘sweetheart I picked you up, I know where you live’. She lost the colour in her face and said nothing.
“No. No. F*** no. I'm one of those ‘get involved’ type of people and there is no way I'm sitting here watching this go down. I get up. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm 23, fighting fit and happy to put that motherfucker through a wall. I may have had a slight temper in my youth. But anyway.”
But before our Reddit story-teller had chance to step in, he was beaten to it by someone who we consider to be a complete legend.
“I was halfway out of my chair when a hand came down on my shoulder and I look up to this mid 50s but super fit guy who says ‘Easy.. I've got this one son’. Absolute, total confidence in his voice.. so seeing as my current plan amounted to ‘stab him in the neck’ and I'm already thinking maybe that's not the best idea, I sit down.
“He walks over, grabs a nearby chair, flips it around and sits down with the couple. Then.. he pulls out his police ID and puts it on the table. Now the guy doesn't have any colour in his face.
“Cop: ‘So, I'm quietly celebrating my daughter’s birthday with my family when I distinctly hear you threaten this young lady, would you care to explain yourself?’
“Guy: ‘I, ah, well, um, you see..’
“Cop: ‘That's what I thought. Now see, we take a very dim view of that kind of thing, so right now I'm deciding if I want to have some of my buddies come pick you up.’
“Guy: ‘oh no well that...’
“Cop: ‘But that would disrupt everyone's dinner, so how about you hand me your ID, because I wouldn't want you running off on me, then you go see one of the staff here and settle your bill.. the full bill now, this young lady shouldn't go hungry on account of your poor behaviour. Or we can go with the first option, I'll leave it up to you.’”
The poster reports that the man hands over his ID and gets up to pay the bill, while the policeman notes his details and assures the woman that she can “take this further” if she wishes.
Describing the story’s hero as shifting “from hard-arse cop to comforting father figure in about half a second”, the Redditors says she was then invited to finish her meal at his table with his daughter.
After paying the bill and collecting his ID, the man “pretty much fled the restaurant, the girl went and sat with the cop and his family and by the time we left they were still sitting around talking and laughing about random crap.
“It was hands down the best way I have ever seen anybody handle any situation, ever. That cop is my hero.”
Now, we have to admit this story does seem slightly too-good-to-be-true, but we’re willing to put our cynicism aside along with the many Redditers that have been praising the saga.
Reddit user Insanetwit clearly felt very invested in the story, commenting, “A part of me kind of hopes that his daughter and the girl became friends, and they stayed in each other's lives.”
User Featherdino said, “Being a girl, this makes me so happy!!!! Thank you (for being prepared to intervene) and cop guy!!!!!”
However, CakeDayisaLie made the vital point that more often than not people don’t intervene when witnessing a woman receiving sexist or threatening behaviour: “That's awesome that he intervened. As well, props to you for trying to. Too often people see stuff like that and don't want to get involved. We need to stand up for each other when possible when we see something bad happening.”
Whether this story is true or not, we hope it reinforces the message that objectifying or bullying a woman with sexual language is never OK and it will encourage more people to act if they see a situation when a woman is obviously uncomfortable.
Images: iStock / Giphy