How to Deal with a Man Who Tries to Talk to You While You’re Wearing Headphones

There is no animal more ridiculous than a man who feels he may very well not be the center of the universe. Being ignored is a sad state for many of these fickle creatures – for when you aren’t paying them attention they are left to ponder existential questions like, “Who am I?”, “What sexually-charged insults should I yell at 12-year-olds?”, and “What’s the best way to explain a woman’s opinion to her?”

Here is advice to help you better deal with this wounded beast.

First, a man may try to get your attention by waving. This is his way of taking your attention off your music, podcast, educational lecture, audiobook, or whatever thing that brings you joy and putting it back on him. For why should you have joy if he can’t ruin it?

There are several responses to this gesturing. The first, which I have learned can be misconstrued as an invitation for him to TRY HARDER is ignoring him. This is an ineffective tool in your arsenal, as these types of men will not be satisfied until all attention is paid.

The second, and I find most effective, way to respond to this gesturing is to take it is an invitation to show him your mad breakdancing skills. If waving furiously in front of your face is not the universal sign for a breakdancing competition, then this world has gone mad and there is no sense in it.


If you are not graced with dancing skills, then the alternative is to twirl in relentless circles, hands raised like a prima ballerina so that he can see you are both feminine and not at all interested in listening to anything he has to say.


The man in question should be so awed by your skills that his natural fear of anything different will either make him speechless or send him running. Once he is silenced, you may then celebrate your returned interest to thing you are listening to that actually brings you happiness – you know, the thing you ACTUALLY care about?

There are times when the man, stupid, stubborn, disrespectful and clearly unable to appreciate sweet dance moves, is bold enough to keep insisting that you remove your headphones. These are the alpha males, consumed with the beautiful sanctity of knowing that there is no human who can best them in ignorance or unwanted persistence. They are the top of the pack – determined to seek a mate, bash her over the head, and show her off to their moms, even as their mates in question lie unconscious and bleeding on the kitchen floor from the open head wound.

Should the man snatch the headphones from you, I sincerely invite you to be prepared. Here is a link to Lexi Alexander’s videos, which show how to get out of such situations and leave the man whimpering as he promises himself that no woman could dare overcome his alpha male wiles and that the pain he is feeling is a trick of the imagination.
(Though this link is for hijab self-defense, is a good beginning for anyone looking to fend of someone trying to snatch anything off your head.)

Mostly, though, these alpha males will continue waving and standing in your way until you comply with what he sees is a very reasonable demand for you to drop everything and look at him, as though he were a five year old showing a distant, unloving parent the dive he can do into the swimming pool the parent only got in the first place in order to get the kid out of the house.

Alpha males in the wild do not appreciate being embarrassed. Should your embarrassment transfer to them in social settings, they slink like mold back into the darkness. So, once he has your attention and you know that escape is not an option, calmly take off your headphones and start screaming, “NO!” at the top of your lungs. Only pause for breath, and then only briefly. Should the man get the opportunity to speak, he may very well decide that you are interested in what he has to say. This is simply something that cannot be allowed to happen.

If you are too flustered or intimidated to form coherent words in the moment, I direct you to Dumb and Dumber, a fine cinematic masterpiece, which has the most irritating sound in the world and may be added to your arsenal. Make this sound until you can no longer hear him, yourself, and you have reached the potential for breaking the sound barrier. Shattered glass is a small price to pay for the man in question to understand that you are not interested.

The persistent male may find this yelling as invitation to try harder. He is convinced that your dancing skills, persistent no, and decided disinterest are ways that you test him, ways in which he believes he should take control.


At this point, if possible, moonwalk away from him. If this is not possible, meet him on his level by throwing a tantrum the likes of a child who is hungry, sleepy, and has just been told Disney Land is cancelled forever. If there is one thing that an alpha man is incurably weak to, it is the sight of any creature showing any emotion outside of awe. Producing snot on command whilst throwing the tantrum automatically secures you two points in the secret women’s agenda book that all women have etched into their livers at birth. For the uninitiated this agenda book provides us the strong constitution to deal with men who don’t respect boundaries and see no as a challenge. It also allows us to better process all the consequent alcohol that we consume in an effort not burn the patriarchy down with our flaming bras and our thinky thoughts that so intimidate any foolish, weak man.

The man should now either be scared, hurting, or so confused that you are now able to return to your headphones and the bliss they provide to you. Any incidental people you scare in the immediate vicinity will learn that a woman with headphones should be respected and feared, like the glorious goddesses you all are.

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