What makes a guy (or girl) look "creepy"? Appearance only, no behavior!

In this post, Zsofia said somthing we all know, but we can’t quite put a finger on; what, exactly, makes a guy look “creepy” at first glance? I’m not talking the behavior or the looks he throws us: a guy can sit somewhere in the sunny public labrary, and read a decent book, not even have noticed us, and still look “creepy”.

So girls, what sets of your creep-o-meter in a guys appearance? Is it the lack of grooming? The look on his face that shows the guy is in his own world?

Or is it the “trying too hard” in his grooming (the open shirt with bling necklace), that tells us he wants us to believe he is something he isn’t?
And guys, what is the female creepy equivalent of the “trying to be something she isn’t” ? I’m not talking about the woman who is inappropriately dressed for her figure or her age, as I suspect that looks just awkward and a bit pathethic. But how can a girl appear creepy to you in her looks?

Last question: is it possible for an attractive guy to look creepy? Can Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, or Brad Pitt look creepy? I’m not talking Brad Pitt in Kalifornia; there the evil of his character wasn’t apparent at first glance. And however terribly dressed Brad’s character Tyler Durden was in the movie Fight Club, he never got creepy, just weird.

You can see creepy in someone’s state of mind, which they show in their facial expression. For example, at one bookstore job I kept noticing a guy hanging around the magazine aisles who looked creepy. His clothes were cheap but in good condition and clean-looking; his facial hair was substantial but well-kept. His facial expression betrayed a “trying to stay cool” paranoia, and he looked on-edge; like the slightest little thing was going to throw him into fight-or-flight. I thought he just reminded me of my ex-roommate’s asshole BF and I was just extrapolating that onto him.

Then I went into the bathroom one day to see him hurrying out of a stall. What did I find in that stall? A neat stack of pornos with the protective plastic ripped off, which meant we now couldn’t sell them and–more importantly, I guess–that he could “enjoy” them in the privacy of a public stall. Yup, creepo.

Well-put observation. My manager has this stare that is just very uncomfortably creepy, and makes you feel like he is just looking for something wrong with you to call you on. He does it a lot without saying anything, and then when he finally does open his mouth it confirms the aforementioned feeling completely.

To be fair though, he did this a lot more when he started as manager (he is relatively new) and after a lot of people commented on it, that must have somehow got to him, because he has been a lot better about not doing it so much lately.

And as for a female example of creepy, I encountered one just today.

I walk into a Boston Market and there is an older lady in line in front of me staring pretty intensely at this young woman with her two kids. She (the young one) is just sitting at a table talking on a hands-free cell phone unit, and the kids are just, well, being kids. Then smack out of the blue she (the one in front of me) says, “Obnoxious, rude, bitch women have no compassion.” I was a little startled and suddenly uncomfortable, I didn’t say anything or acknowledge her. How did she come to that conclusion, I wonder? Because the lady is talking on her cell phone instead of talking to her kids? Now I know that cell phone users these days can get kind of obnoxious in certain situations, but this was a really laid back setting and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her behavior.

The creepy part though was after she paid for her order she just stood there clutching the change in her hand, still staring at that woman, who was now picking up her own order. After a solid 10 seconds of this the cashier asks her, “Are you OK?” (to which she didn’t respond) and I, having already decided that she was a nutcase, stepped up beside her and started placing my order. But it was that very steady, deliberate, judgemental stare that really registered on the creep-o-meter.

So based on this and my other post I guess the moral is that long, stern stares are creepy regardless of the gender doing the staring.

I once saw this guy on the train who was looking at these two girls who were several seats in front of him. They were having their own quiet conversation about something, but he was looking at them with this weird anxious smile on his face as though he was interested in what they were doing.

After about fifteen minutes of this, when the train stopped at a station, he suddenly stood up, screamed abuse at them, and stormed off the train. His abusive rant seemed to imply that he was angry at them for not realising that, even though he was behind them and out of their field of view, and was a complete stranger, he wanted them to come over and talk to him (and I presume he also wanted them to sleep with him). As they didn’t have this psychic ability to notice creepy guys who sit five seats behind them, nor wish to approach them, he proclaimed them “stupid fucking selfish bitches”.

Fidgety nervous behaviour like that seems to me to be enough to make someone appear creepy.

Thanks, but all these guys (and old ladies) are creepy for the looks they gave others. Looks count as behavior.

Was there anything in their appearance in itself that gave away the creepiness?

People seem to find things related to gaze and focus to be creepy. Anyone with a lazy eye or pronounced astygmatism will be considered creepy (by at least some people) on that basis alone.

Also, anybody who seems “twitchy” will give many people creepy-vibes. Fidgeting, facial tics, etc.

Okay, everyone is going to think I’m the shallowest bitch alive after reading this. Regardless of my initial impressions of people I’m always friendly and polite and often I’ve found them uncreepy once I get to know them. Still, these are my visceral reactions.

Unkempt is creepy. I’m not talking about an untucked t-shirt or five o’clock shadow, but rather stuff that suggests self-neglect. Long nails on men. Unwashed, uncombed hair. That sort of stuff.

Pit stains when it’s not hot? Creepy.

Eyes that are close together. Moustaches. Excessive facial sweating. Giant nose blackheads.

Dressing in a very old-fashioned way. Short-sleeved plaid shirt. Horn-rimmed glasses (in fact I remember in Heroes, the actor who plays Mr Bennett said he chose the horn-rimmed glasses specifically because nobody wears them anymore, which made them seem more sinister). Bow tie instead of a tie. Short shorts, especially on old men. Also, wearing the same outfit all the time is creepy.

My fiance wants to add that he finds people with long strands of cultivated hair growing from facial moles extraordinarily creepy.

Yes! Yes! Yes! I don’t know why, but this creeps me out every single time I see it, even when I know the person. I have a guy friend who keeps his nails long and doesn’t keep them clean. The just look creepy.

A couple of days ago driving to work I saw a guy walking down the street who looked creepy and I was thinking about how some people have bad posture and a stompy gait that throws off everything else about them and makes them look creepy. I think that should count as looks because slouching and stomping are habits that people don’t really choose and probably aren’t even aware of.

It’s sort of that way of walking that says, “I spend most of my waking hours alone and hunched over something with nobody looking at me.” I think even if Johnny Depp walked around like that you’d assume he was kind of creepy. It throws everything else off. All the clothing looks like it’s fitting wrong and even if the hair was meant to be stylishly disheveled, if a person’s walking like that you’ll just read it as genuinely messy hair. I was really thinking about this and how when a person walks like that even if they have a nice face I will kind of read it as being a fluke and not really counting.

After I thought about all that I really got it in my head that good posture is a big key to everything and tried to stand up straighter and be more graceful all day. Then someone told me, “your neck looks good today” which I found very strange. So that was disturbing. I really think there are a lot of people out there who don’t know why they give a bad vibe who overlook their posture and gait. I don’t think most people who shuffle around like weird animals would ever dream that they’re doing that. It’s easy enough to fix up. If Johnny Depp wanted to play a creep his posture would probably be the first thing he’d change to look creepy.

Blackknight, **Kayeby,**pokey, those were exactly the things I was looking for. Especially the old fashioned looking clothes-thing on young guys.

The combination of long hair, facial hair and glasses (no offence to all the nice guys out there befitting that description) gives me personally a creepy vibe.

Punk hairstyle and clothes don’t, oddly enough. If I see a movie where the hero is beaten up by a couple of mohawk wearing guys, I always feel the thugs have been miscast. There is NO way someone will spend an hour in the morning getting his hair to stand up in neat 6 inch spikes only to enter a fight that might break the 'do later. :slight_smile:

Keep them coming !

We have a player that is an older man. Everyone knows him. Heck, most people try to sit at his table. He knows everyone. He creeps me the hell out. There is something about him I find unsettling. Can’t put my finger on it.

I think creepiness for the most part is someone that looks just a little off. Like they spend a little too much time in their head in a bad way. I deal with mostly men and while their are some I definitely feel comfortable with, there are some I just avoid like the plague. While thinking about this a bit, maybe it is a feeling of lechery. Like if you gave them an inch they would take a mile and a half. That they aren’t quite able to hide what is inside. And what is inside is rotten.


For me, I’ve noticed that people (men and women both) that I consider inexplicably creepy all tend to have a particular quality to their skin that I characterize as ‘mealy.’

Their skin is pale and there’s something about it, lots of pores or something. Creeps me right out. And I’m not claiming that I’ve ever been right about a creep or that there’s any actual correlation.

I’m not sure if these fall under “appearance” or “behavior,” since the person is making a choice to cultivate a certain appearance whether they realize it or not…

Any time I see someone conspicuously dressed in a questionable fashion that’s either only just emerging or is very clearly not going to catch on, I get a creeped-out vibe; it’s kind of like seeing a really embarrassing “eighties fashion!” picture, but seeing it in realtime. You know that if the person could see a picture of themselves looking the way they do right now in five years, they’d be humiliated, but there they stand, blithely dressed in a manner that looks ridiculous.

The only example I can think of right now is that there was an attempt to bring about “side-zipping” collars a couple years ago - think of a regular men’s crewneck collar, except with a zipper on one side extending down toward the shoulder. (shudder)

Another insta-creepout is someone wearing something ostentatious or particularly meant to be stylish that’s completely out of wack with everything else on their apperance or their general cool level. In other words, they tried to do “one thing” without going all the way - like the overweight, middle-aged black woman in sweats and a disney t-shirt but wearing a bluetooth earpiece as jewelry (worn for status, not for use). Or the schlubby, bespectacled “office nerd” white guy wearing a pink polo shirt with the collar popped, but it’s tucked into pleated dockers. Or the grandfatherly old guy wearing (i’m not making this up) ice creams to complete his otherwise normal Old Guy Outfit of elastic-waisted pants, Elk’s club t-shirt, and WWII baseball hat.

There are some people who just are creepy. Nothing specific about the way they look or their mannerisms or something, nothing you can put your finger on, they’re just off. There was this guy in grad school with me that everybody seemed to like, but if I’d heard on the news that they’d dug a bunch of half-eaten children out of his basement I wouldn’t have been in the least surprised. Just something about the guy.

Sometimes I’ve noticed that guys seem creepy who are trying a little too hard, too.

I get this from girls often, but never guys. Maybe I’m trying too hard and just not aware of it. I’m getting it less and less often now after I cut my hair and am exercising more, so maybe it was just a physical thing. Whatever.

As for me, creepiness has a lot to do with posture. If I see somebody standing stiff as a board or slumping over strangely, I get very weirded out. A lot of this now goes back in my mind to an ex-roommate who was seriously creepy. The stories I could share with that guy…

Wasn’t there a Far Side cartoon showing how you know to stay away from someone? I think it showed an old lady dressed inappropriately for the weather, wearing a coat in summer maybe.

Dirty teeth creep me out. Teeth can be crooked or missing or gapped or tobacco and coffee stained, and that’s fine, but if there’s a layer of tartar or green moss or food particles, it makes me shudder. If someone looks in the mirror and sees that and doesn’t grab a toothbrush, something’s wrong.

This is right on for both men and women. Heaven knows I don’t expect everyone to be a fashion plate, but if you look like you don’t take basic care of yourself, that’s creepy. If you smell like you haven’t bathed in a long time or if your clothes have that sour smell, that’s creepy.

Clown makeup.