By: Darrell W. Butler of Stage 5 Creeper
Attention fellow Gen-Xers; can you please place your session of Angry Birds on pause for a moment? We have a very important warning for you that will require your undivided attention!
You see, at this point in life, you may be under the false impression that you’ve got life and people all figured out. You have already developed your own personal sense of style. You’ve possibly finished college, or are in a graduate or continued education program. You know where to find the best coffee bar or restaurant in town, and you can master any new piece of technology within minutes of its release.
But riddle me this, hotshot; if you’re so smart, then do you know what an S5C is? More importantly, did you know that each and every one of the 46 million Gen-Xers in this country are at risk of becoming the next potential victim? That’s over 17% of the population!
Yes, the S5C syndrome is a rapidly growing worldwide epidemic. According to the Institute of BS Made Up Statistics, one out of every four people could potentially be an S5C. That means that if you’re reading this with three other people, one of you might be a part of the problem. Even worse, if you can’t figure out which one of you that is, it might be Y-O-U!
So how will you know? Your first step toward identifying the problem is to learn what an S5C actually is: because like G.I. Joe said: “Knowing is half the battle.” Right?
The Urban Dictionary of American Slang defines an S5C as a person “one has no desire to talk to, think of or know of…however that person does not get the message. They will continuously text, call, Facebook creep and instant message you about pointless topics…or comment about your life that they have no part of.”
There are two primary classifications of S5C: the Stage 5 Clinger, and the even more extreme stalker, the Stage 5 Creeper.
S5C’s are very difficult to get rid of because they are obsessive by nature and relentless in their pursuit, so if you ever encounter one of these dangerous species, you should proceed with extreme caution.
Although we were the first generation to truly experience this plague, nobody is immune from this plague. S5C’s come in all shapes and sizes regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic status.
Actually, with the advent of social media, even your grandma might be affected! Yeah, that’s right, you read that correctly. And you probably thought that making Nana a Facebook page would be cute, didn’t you? Well right now at this very moment, some Stage 5 Creeper could be pressuring her to meet for a shot of Ensure, followed by a round of bingo, penny slots and slow driving in the fast lane with the right blinker on “All Night Long Baby…” Yeah, it’s not so cute anymore now is it?
So what are some of the warning signs? Well, before you can get to stage 5, you’ll have to get through stages one through four first. So here are several ways to identify whether you or someone you know is a potential S5C. Protect yourself!
Stage 1 (S1C) – Code Green – Not a big deal
An S1C really isn’t much of a creeper at all. Instead this is more of a baseline classification that any one of us could potentially fall in to. This person probably won’t be wearing backless leather chaps or pulling up in a tinted van full of rope and duct tape. Instead, the S1C is just a regular looking admirer.
So as long as their approach is genuine and respectful and they voluntarily leave upon being rejected, there really isn’t much need to elevate them to Stage 2. Remember boys and girls, just because someone isn’t your type doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a creeper.
Stage 2 (S2C) – Code Blue – Lame but Harmless
The S2C is typically one to be pitied more than feared. In most cases the S2C is merely a victim of their own social awkwardness and general lack of game. S2C’s are likely to hit you with an array of cheesy pick-up lines such as “Baby, are you a parking ticket? ‘Cause you’ve got FINE written all over you.”
Or perhaps they might wear an “I wanna stuff your stocking” tee with a mistletoe belt buckle to the office Christmas party. Maybe it’s the drunken old cougar with the whiskey breath winking at you while doing splits on the dance floor, or the weird guy with the crazy eyes who’s been blatantly staring at you for the last two hours, but still hasn’t mustered up enough courage to approach you.
The S2C encounter is typically an isolated incident that occurs in a public venue so more often than not there won’t be many lingering after effects beyond having a great story to tell later.
Stage 3 (S3C) – Code Orange – Somewhat Disturbing
Here’s where things begin to get a bit more serious. Whereas S2C encounters tend to be one time affairs, the S3C is likely to revisit the location where you first met, over and over until they finally see you again. S3C’s also tend to be slightly more aggressive and touchy-feely. Who’s that who just gave your booty a squeeze as you passed by? A Stage 3 Creeper; that’s who!
Another classic Stage 3 move by the male creeper is one that we like to call “the rodeo.” This is where the S3C foregoes asking a girl to dance face to face and risk rejection. Instead he sneaks up from behind and latches on to start grinding away. It’s similar to a rodeo bull rider, as the S3C has to see how long he can hump away until one of the unsuspecting victim’s friends tells her that he’s ugly and he gets elbowed in the sternum.
The S3C is also likely to begin collecting information to help them strategize their plan of attack and confirm that you’re “meant to be together.” So they might start asking other people questions about you, or they’ll try and figure out which car you drive so they can check out your bumper stickers and the items in your back seat to figure out some of your interests.
“Is that an empty Starbucks cup? I LOVE Starbucks too! And you have an EZ pass? So do I! It must be a sign!”
Or perhaps they might be brave enough someday to leave a poorly constructed love poem on your windshield to let you know how “purrrty your eyes are.”
If they met you at your job, they’ll probably read your tag to learn your name, or grab a business card that has your contact information on it. This will allow them to Google you or find you on Facebook so they can go straight to that “Summer 2011” photo gallery of you on the beach with your friends. Maybe they can even make you the screensaver on their computer and cell phone, despite never having an actual conversation with you. Isn’t that SO cute?!
Yes, the S3C playbook is full of passive aggressive tactics to get closer to you and make you theirs. The strange call to your office that quickly hung up or that mysterious random friend request online could all be the first steps toward your full blown S5C encounter.
Stage 4 (S4C) – Code Yellow – Very Disturbing
By the time you’ve elevated someone all the way up to Stage 4, you’ve already got a serious problem on your hands! Moving from Stage 1 to Stage 4 has the potential to be a long and drawn-out process, but the final escalation from stage 4 to stage 5 typically occurs within the blink of an eye! A very thin line separates Stage 4 from Stage 5, so you’re now at a very dangerous crossroads here my friend.
So what makes Stage 4 so different from Stage 3? Well, to sum it up with one word, it all boils down to confidence. See, in Stage 3, your creeper was merely hoping and praying to one day have a shot at being with you. But in Stage 4, they truly believe that they can make that dream a reality.
Whoa, whoa, whoa…”what made them think that” you ask? Well in most cases unfortunately the answer is you!
Whether it was intentional or not, something that you did actually caused the transition from Stage 3 to Stage 4! Maybe you inadvertently wore their favorite color or read the same book, and they took it as a sign from up above. Or perhaps it could have been something as simple as a returned smile or reciprocated small talk about the weather.
Remember, small talk for you might be a deep soul stirring conversation to them, so you have to keep things short and sweet. We’ve all heard of the five-second rule haven’t we? You know, when you drop an item of food on the floor and you have five seconds to pick it up before it’s no longer safe to eat? (What? Don’t judge us, you know you’ve done it too… hypocrite.)
Anyway, during creeper interactions, you have what we like to refer to as the five-minute rule. That means that you have five minutes or less to dismantle that grenade and end the conversation, or you can expect things to blow up in your face later. Yes, any conversation lasting longer than four minutes and 59 seconds will most likely cause that S4C to fall madly in love, instantly propelling them to Stage 5.
So remember, stick and move…then get away! In fact, it might help to carry an egg timer or a stop watch just to ensure that you don’t go over the time limit. Yes, it really is that serious people…
Some of you may not have realized that you had an S4C on your hands, and you actually gave them your number voluntarily. You might have even dated or hooked up with them too! At the time things might have seemed innocent enough, and you thought that they were on the same casual fling page as you. Little did you know that the page that they were actually on was the registry section of Bridal Weekly!
Unfortunately, playing naked peek-a-boo is another way to instantly propel your S4C into S5C territory, so always respect the power of the P. It’s an extremely dangerous weapon, so make sure to choose your casual encounters wisely and be prepared to change your number if necessary.
Why? Because S4C’s are notorious for texting over and over and over again…about nothing in particular! You’ll get a running commentary about every mundane aspect of their day, just to keep the conversation going. You’ll hear about how they brushed their teeth, then how they drank some orange juice…then how they shouldn’t have drank the orange juice so soon after brushing their teeth because it “tasted icky” and other mind numbing topics!
And no, ignoring them won’t make it stop. Actually ignoring them usually results in even more texts about why you’re not returning theirs. It’s kind of a “damned if you do…” situation, so there really is no safe play here. You’ll just have to pick your poison.
You may also start receiving random “special” picture messages, which could be either a good or a bad thing depending on how thick your beer goggles might have been when you gave them your number!
They’ll also begin planning dates well into the future, because they want to lock you in for the long haul. Sure it may only be November but they’re already asking you what you’re doing for Valentine’s Day. And then maybe you could go to their cousin’s wedding in March…and apple picking next spring…oh yeah, and what are you doing on Friday? Their parents would really like to meet you since they’ve heard so much about you already…even though you only started talking to each other yesterday!
The S4C will also begin to follow you everywhere. They’ll show up at your job, drop by your house or they might “just happen to be in the same bar” you said you’d be at with your friends. Therefore, you may need to limit how much information you actually give them.
Remember not to lie though, because S4C’s are also likely to “test your love” by texting you from the other side of the bar or from outside of your house without you knowing they’re there. So their asking what you’re up to could really be a trap since they might actually be watching you ignore their texts or send their calls straight to voicemail. And failing one of these twisted love games could possibly send them spiraling into the deep end!
Stage 5 (S5C) – Code Red – 911
And that downward plunge into the deep end brings us to Stage 5. Only the crème de la crème of creepers get elevated to S5C status, because this is truly as bad as it gets. If your creeper has crossed into Stage 5 territory than you’ll need to prepare yourself for a whole new level of crazy!
What’s that phrase? Possession is nine-tenths of the law? Well your creeper truly believes that they own the entire ten-tenths of you at this point! They’ve either seen or interacted with you enough times now that they already feel a “deep emotional connection” to you. Unfortunately, this means that any conversation between you and any other person deemed as a threat could potentially send them into a jealous rage.
This may cause them to lash out at you for no reason, or to insult you just like a fifth grader would pick on their crush during recess. It won’t matter if this causes you to get angry too, because love and hate are equally satisfying; as long as you’re giving them attention.
This could also renew their sense of urgency to land you before somebody else does. Unfortunately, that means that you’re going to be on the receiving end of every behavior that was exhibited during Stages 1 through 4 only 10 times worse this time! You might catch them harassing anyone else they view as competition, or going through your personal items. They’ll also keep restating how compatible you are so that you might eventually believe it too.
If for some reason you actually agree to go on a first date with an S5C, be prepared for cliché movie lines from The Notebook, Titanic and every sappy romance novel with Fabio on the cover. You may even get a few song lyrics thrown in there too; whatever they think will win you over!
S5C’s typically lack game, so they’ll just throw a bunch of crap out there to see what sticks. More often then not, it’s awkward, inappropriate and designed to make you declare your love for them as quickly as possible. They will literally do or say anything to make that happen so anything goes!
Proposing marriage on the first date? Sure, why not? Dropping the “L” word? No problem! Building a shrine for you next to their bed? Okie dokie! Making a doll out of the hair they pulled from your brush? Getting a lower back tattoo of your name? Shaving your initials into their back hair? Yes, yes and yes! Pride and shame are non-factors. For the S5C, the end always justifies the means.
Of course, it’s not always blatantly obvious, so you might be dating someone on a regular basis before you realize that at some point they transformed into an S5C! Suddenly they went from being really cool and laid back to wanting to know where you are at all times.
Are you getting your hair cut? You’d better tell them. Did you just get to work? You’d better check in! Are you going to the bathroom? They’ll probably want to know that too. And if you take any more than 10 minutes to respond, it will be considered a slap in the face that will send them into a paranoid hissy fit.
They’ll wonder if you’re cheating or if you’re mad at them about something. This might even cause them to get mad at you too or to make up some fake emergency to get you to respond to them faster. Or perhaps they’ll try and perform some over the top grand gesture to make you “forgive them,” even though you didn’t even know that you were fighting in the first place!
By the time that you do actually contact them again, they’re likely to have had at least five imaginary arguments with you in their head already!
Honestly, we could go on for hours listing examples of S5C behavior, because it’s an endless cycle that happens every day. There really are no set rules or restrictions. An S5C can strike at any time and at any place so you should always be prepared!
If you do ever have an encounter with a Stage 5 Creeper however, it’s your civic duty to tell the world about your experience and help prevent others from sharing the same fate! So if you have a situation similar to any of the scenarios listed above, visit Stage5Creeper.com and post your funniest stories immediately!
Are you unsure if you’re actually a creeper yourself? Not a problem! You can confess your sins and let our members tell you what level your behavior deserves on the creeper scale. We also have live support via Twitter and Facebook. Help us stop the spread of this extremely dangerous condition. Remember kids, if you’re not a part of the solution then you’re a part of the problem!
This has been a public service announcement from the good people over at Stage5Creeper.com! And before we go baby, is that a mirror in your pocket? ‘Cause we can definitely see ourselves in your pants…
Visit Stage5Creeper.com for true tales of grenades, stalkers and collateral damage on the battlefield of love!
Darrell W. Butler is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise and The National Federation of Professional Trainers. He holds a wide spectrum of coaching and group instructor credentials, and serves as a fitness and nutritional consultant for several radio programs and media publications.