Science has it all figured out …
It's the worst thing you can call a guy: Creepy.
There's no way to combat it, and there's really way to describe it — but you definitely know it when you see it.
Thanks to the good people of the scientific community, you can take steps to prevent getting called creepy by avoiding what its found as determinants. As per "On the Nature of Creepiness," researchers in Illinois have isolated the 18 ways that people can be perceived as such. An international sample of 1341 individuals responded to an online survey, and what they found makes a lot of sense.
The highlights of the study (and this might qualify as "well, no shit" when it comes to science), are as follows:
People perceived as creepy are more likely to be male than female.
Females are more likely than males to perceive sexual threat from a creepy person.
Unpredictability is an important component of creepiness.
Some occupations and hobbies are more strongly linked with creepiness than others.
But when it came to actionable items, this is what they found as the worst creepfest offenses:
1. Odd/dirty clothes
2. Pale skin
3. Bags under eyes
4. Unkempt hair
5. Steering conversation toward one topic (especially sex)
6. Asking to take a picture of you
7. Greasy hair
8. Standing too close
9. Peculiar smile
10. Bulging eyes
11. Having a mental illness
12. Long fingers
13. Licking lips frequently
14. Laughing at odd times
15. Making it impossible to leave without seeming rude
16. Displaying unwanted sexual interest
17. Being very thin
18. Displaying too much/little emotion
Well, now we know how to be less creepy, and that's half the battle, right?
And if you wanna know the creepiest hobbies and professions, they've got you covered too:
“While they may not be overtly threatening, individuals who display unusual patterns of nonverbal behaviour, odd emotional characteristics or highly distinctive physical characteristics are outside of the norm, and by definition unpredictable. This may activate our ‘creepiness detector’,” the researchers said.
The four most creepy professions, in order, were clown, taxidermist, sex shop owner and funeral director (least creepy was meteorologist). The creepiest hobbies were those that involved collecting (especially body parts like finger nails, or insects) or watching or photographing other people.
Consistent with the researchers’ theory that creepiness stems from ambiguity, participants said the typical creepy person makes them feel uncomfortable because they cannot predict how he or she will behave.