Only Perverts Talk to Kids

Hi Readers! Just got this wonderful little clip from The Big Bang Theory (which happens to be my older son’s favorite show. Yes, even Free-Rangers end up watching some TV.) It’s all about what happens when a stranger talks to a kid. Sheldon, the main character, is — as you will soon see — socially awkward. Enjoy! — Lenore (who thanks Lin for sending this in!)

25 Responses

  1. While Sheldon is a somewhat extended version of my own geeky kids, I do understand why the average mom might be just a *tad* concerned about him hanging around with an eightish year old girl.

    He is sorta creepy, you gotta admit.

  2. My husband recently came with us to our son’s swim class, and he brought our camera with a zoom lens and was taking pictures… but he said he didn’t take as many as he would have liked b/c he felt really awkward, waiting at any moment for a mom to jump out at him and scream at him for trying to take pictures of *her* kids (and I do believe part of that was b./c he’s a male taking pictures at a kids event).

    He also vividly remembers one time when he was walking down a street and a mom was walking towards him with a couple of young kids. He smiled at the mom and kids– the mom pulled the kids in closer to her.

    Clearly, men who take any interest in kids are creeps as far as society is concerned…

  3. This is what distinctions are for. Talking to or smiling at kids is not creepy. Saying to a little girl you just met “Maybe we could got to a movie sometime” is creepy.

    But making distinctions takes EFFORT. It’s far easier just to treat all pleasant men like creeps.

  4. Yeah. The most unfortunate thing is just how something so hilariously funny will translate in the minds of the paranoid that their fears are justified.

  5. Agreed, pentamom/

    Although, if we really get right down to it, as much effort can go in to treating all pleasant men like creeps as there is in making the distinctions. It’s exhausting to fret that much.

  6. 1. Oooh, Turkish, right? That’s the subtitles, right?

    2. Curious George is not a monkey, I don’t know why people say that. Monkeys have tails. Apes, however, do not have tails.

    3. The whole beginning exchange is so weird. I find the best part of being an adult is that when I go in the kid’s section of the bookstore, people assume I’m picking out books for my kids! So I can read what I like, and people just figure it’s for the kidlets.

    4. And yes, Sheldon does twig as not-normal, probably because he is NOT normal in some very important social ways.

  7. suzannevery — that’s the way laziness is. You wind up putting in more effort than you would if just used a sensible amount of effort up front. It even extends to mental laziness.

    Uly — it’s H.A. Rey the author’s fault. He’s always saying Curious George is “a naughty little monkey.” Maybe he met with an accident?

    I was wondering what the subtitles were.

  8. I really like “Big Bang Theory,” and this segment was very funny. AND, as a parent, I would definitely be more than a little creeped out if someone like Sheldon approached my daughter in a bookstore and suggested they go to the zoo together!

    BTW, did you notice that Sheldon never pays for the book?

  9. Curious George: And Margret Rey. It was a team effort. And fascinating story about how they escaped from Paris by bicycle as Paris fell to the Nazis.

    But I really do wish they had addressed George’s taxonomy somewhere. Or at least that the current PBS version would.

  10. OMG, I laughed until I cried. This is such a great show. I especially loved the bit about how anthropomorphized Curious George was…lol!

    It drives me crazy when people freak out over someone saying ‘hi’ to their kid. It’s one thing to smile and say hello, as opposed to try to take my kid on a date to the zoo. My two year old randomly waves at lots of people and I can see that a lot of men are hesitant to wave back. I usually smile and them and say hi too, so that they don’t feel like I’m judging them. My sympathies for all the dads/uncles/grandfathers out there who try to take their little ones out for fun and end up getting weird looks and nasty comments.

  11. I love that show. Sheldon is hilarious.

  12. Quoting Marcy:
    “He also vividly remembers one time when he was walking down a street and a mom was walking towards him with a couple of young kids. He smiled at the mom and kids– the mom pulled the kids in closer to her.”

    Sometimes I wonder if people get this impression from me when I try to corral my toddler so there is space on the sidewalk for others to pass. I try to smile and gesture to indicate that my toddler has yet to learn social spacial awareness but between maneuvering the child and a large brimmed hat I’m not sure that always comes across.

  13. Hey, where was that girl’s mother? What a neglectlful parent – not only does she her child unattended in a bookstore, but fails to teach her to run in terror when approached by a stranger!😉

  14. Sorry for the gibberish!

  15. As a preschool teacher I often find myself talking to children in public, although I always make sure to make eye contact with their adult first to get a sort of non-verbal OK. It’s a piece of self-defense I’ve learned. As sad as it is, even a suspicion or unfounded accusation can be the end of my career.

    And yes, as a father, Sheldon’s approach here would cause me concern.

  16. One of my (single adult) sons was showing some interest in a single mother. Although I felt bad about it for the sake of all the single mothers out there, I told him to run a mile because there was always the chance, especially if there was a breakup, of him being tarred with the brush of unfounded allegations.

    For the same reason he cant bring himself to go back as a leader in the Scouts he loved so much as a kid, until he is married and has kids of his own.

    It is a sad state of affairs but the risk to men by going anywhere near unrelated children is too great. There is no coming back from an allegation, no matter how untrue it is proven to be. This is despite the reality the majority of abuse occurs within family or its affiliates.

  17. Sandra: What’s even crazier is that most of the Scout leaders who were involved in child sexual abuse were in fact married with children. The old parable about the drunk and the lamppost comes to mind. We fear that which is easiest to fear, not that which is the most dangerous.

  18. I live in a small town. I enjoy going for long walks around town, but as a single man in my fifties, I try to walk at times when it’s unlikely children will be around. If I do see a child, I know to look straight ahead and keep walking. Sometimes a small child will try to talk to me. “Hi . . . hi! . . . HELLO!” I know I can’t look at him or respond. If children are playing directly on the sidewalk, I usually cross the street to walk on the other side. That’s just the reality of the world we live in today.

  19. Marcy,
    Count me as another person who pulls kids “into line” when we pass people on the sidewalk – because I want them to be polite and give the person room to walk. I also smile, say hello and encourage the kids to do the same.

  20. It’s a shame simple friendly human contact is suspected by many to be something more than what it is. Most people are “normal”. It’s the relatively few creeps who ruin it for everyone else.

    http://tinyurl.com/faithful-friend

  21. “Count me as another person who pulls kids “into line” when we pass people on the sidewalk – because I want them to be polite and give the person room to walk. I also smile, say hello and encourage the kids to do the same.”

    I’m paranoid about stuff like this, too. Like grabbing my kid’s hand to keep him from wandering toward the traffic just before someone walks by. Or just happening to shoot the remote locks on my car when a person from a different race is just at that moment coincidentally walking by. I’m always thinking, “Gee, they’re going to think I’m assuming they’re dangerous,” when really it’s just a matter of timing. So I just try to flash a quick smile toward the person at the same time.

  22. OK, I would be creeped out if some random guy asked my daughter to “see monkeys together.”

    The Reys began drawing George in 1939, perhaps before the distinction between apes and monkeys was widely known? (while there are monkey species with no tails, George has other Ape-like features not seen on monkeys — arms longer than legs, lack of hair on face )

    The story of the Reys escape from Nazis is very interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/arts/design/26curious.html?pagewanted=all

  23. Yes, he’s being creepy by popular assumption. That’s the whole point. Sheldon is a total brainiac but can’t for the life of him figure out common social signals. That’s why he’s looking for friendship books in the kids department. It’s an ongoing theme for his character.

    So the secondary point is that just because someone is doing what we have come to see as creepy doesn’t mean that guy is a creep.

    I am right on board with Sheldon through this. Love toy trains, how the heck DO you make friends, lets go to the zoo to see monkeys! but I happen to be a mom of 3 kids so when I’m hanging out in the kids’ department I’m usually herding them as well as looking for a book for me. (OK, right now I’m reading “Stick Up For Yourself: Every Kid’s Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem.” It’s for the kids…. really. So is my Artemis Fowl comic book.) So I don’t look suspicious.

    But I can completely understand what it’s like to feel like human social signals are some kind of incomprehensible foreign language.

    I believe, or to be more corny I have FAITH that being more generous-minded, to trust in our fellow human beings, rather than to treat them all like potential child molesters is the pathway to a safer society. And I can afford to indulge that faith, based on facts and statistics about actual risk.

  24. Some months ago…I was in the ladies room of a large store. When I was washing my hands and touching up my makeup a girl of about 9 or 10 came in. She started to go into the last stall – which I had first gone into – but didn’t – because I realized there was not a speck of toilet paper in there. I said, “Oh – there is no toilet paper in that one.” The girl didn’t say a word, slammed the stall door shut – used the facilities – then almost left at a full run – out the door – back to mommy! No toilet paper and didn’t wash her hands either – GROSS! What type of moron is she going to be when she grows up??????

    Since when is telling someone of any age there is no toilet paper a scary thing????????????????

  25. Ok – How about when kids talk to an adult???
    I think this website is a must read for everyone!!!
    I wonder if helicopter-parents that give people dirty looks for even looking in their direction realize that they can’t have it both ways? It used to be smiling at someone that had a really cute baby was not a bad thing – but now it is? When I was in the grocery story a few months ago – some lady’s kid came up behind me and said a very loud “HI!”. I said hi back and smiled at her mother who was right next to me. Then she said to us, “Oh sorry – Stranger Danger – she shouldn’t have said hello to you.” I looked at her and said don’t worry – I used to work in the ER – and I wouldn’t help if help was needed. The obnoxious parents that want to view everyone as potential criminals – don’t expect help from the decent people you falsely condemn! Law of unintended consequences!

    Did you read about the story in the UK years ago where a work man driving a van saw a toddler girl wandering along a village roadway? He thought about picking her up and bringing her to the police station – but then didn’t – rightfully fearing that he would have been accused of abducting her in the first place (which we ALL know he would have been!!!!) – – – – so he just kept driving. About 2 hours later – the toddler was found drowned in a pond. The parents tried to pin the drowning on the workman – but the courts said no they couldn’t. Again – law of inintended consequences and these militant-helicopter-parents are responsible.

    If more parents had their sanity, like this lady – then society would be more normal, I think….

    Did you know there is actually a science museum that you cannot enter if you do not have a child with you – unless you leave your drivers license at the front desk so they can run a check on you!!!! Binghamton, NY – yes it’s true! Also – no one in their right mind would want to – but it’s Chucky Cheese’s corporate policy that you cannot visit one of their restaurants without any kids with you…but it’s illegal for a $200 a plate French restaurant to say no kids….no sense anywhere!

    Keep up the good work trying to keep society sane!!!

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