If you want to get technical about it, I first became creepy in the 7th grade. I was getting my slow dance on with Becky Sampson, who was, and still is, according to her Facebook profile that I check like, monthly or daily or whatever, super hot. As K-Ci & JoJo serenaded us, I held Becky with my arms completely outstretched, forcing her to Frankenstein her arms onto my shoulders. She seemed displeased about the void between us, probably because she wanted to get closer to my Abercrombie cologne, which smelled tremendous. So I explained, “Becky, I need ten inches of space, and it isn’t for the Holy Ghost, if you know what I mean!” I then ; )-ed at her. And she was all >:(

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It’s easy to forget that there’s a small but devastating difference between “Liking” an Instagram of a woman holding an ice cream cone and “Liking” an Instagram of a woman licking an ice cream cone.

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I was creepy growing up, and I didn’t mind. Oh, the girls certainly did—a zit-bespattered guy breathing on the back of their necks as he awkwardly stood on the periphery of their conversation circles—but how could I be embarrassed about a trait shared by so many of my brethren?

When I reached high school, I realized creeping on girls is simply hardwired into the male system. We have a biological need for sex, a task so vital that we will pursue all manners of courtship—suavity be damned—to achieve it. So of course we get a little overzealous and creepy. I know this is tough to hear, girls, but creeping is just science. So how about we grab some coffee and then head back to my place, you know, for the sake of humanity?

Creeping, while frowned upon, is somewhat expected and accepted in high school and college.  But I’m 27 now. An adult. A man. I wear sweaters and shit. The creeping, as my therapist likes to say, has to stop.

The problem is that these days, it’s almost impossible for a man not to be creepy.

Instincts don’t change, but resources do. And oh, how wonderfully creepy are our resources now! It’s an exciting time, this social media era, for men. And while we would love to embrace our maturity and say goodbye to Becky Sampson and hello to c-span.org, we just can’t do it when her glory is always a mere click away.

Social media creeping is now embedded in our DNA, and it’s inescapable for even the most reputable of dudes. I guarantee that some of you, maybe as early as the second sentence, thought to yourself: Maybe I should check out this Becky Sampson on Facebook. Naw, her name was probably changed. But maybe not? Even so, her profile is definitely limited. But a friend of a friend, perhaps? Profile pictures open to the public? CaNCuN SB 2009? Bikini pics? BIKINI PICS!!!

What the Internet plus social media has reduced us to, basically.

This is the type of shit that goes through our heads. It happens in a nanosecond. It’s almost subconscious at this point.

But it gets worse, for we creeps don’t always confine our creepy thoughts inside our creepy little heads. Actions are taken. Pokes are made. Shame is felt.

The most dangerous part is that even well-meaning men, those with an average amount of inherent creeping instinct, fall victim to what women (and my therapist) call “line-crossing.” It’s particularly easy with social media because there’s such a fine line between normal and creepy interaction.

Take a friend of mine whom we’ll call Eric, because he is me. It was his friend Ashley’s birthday, and he wanted to write Happy B-day on her Wall. Problem? Of course not! But wait, look at the time stamp: 12:02 A.M.

Creepy. She wrote that herself, under Eric’s post.

In earlier days when our only social interaction with women came in the form of actual conversations, the line between creepy and normal was clear. Unsolicited shoulder rub for a female friend? Not okay. Two quick squirts of mouth spray as you approach a girl at a bar? Creeper.

But now we have to make a greater effort to be self-aware because it’s so easy to lose sight of our actions while we sit alone in a room with a computer screen that doubles as a window through which we can watch the lives of dozens of our crushes. It’s easy to forget that there’s a small but devastating difference between “Liking” an Instagram of a woman holding an ice cream cone and “Liking” an Instagram of a woman licking an ice cream cone.

Okay, maybe some of you know better. Maybe all of you do. We’ve established I’m excessively creepy. But ask yourself: How would you feel if Facebook published your browsing history? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Really, willpower is your only hope if you want to stop creeping. Saying no to your primal instincts. I recently have taken this step myself, and I haven’t checked Becky Sampson’s page in two weeks. Partially because I’m an adult and it’s time to hold myself to a higher standard, but mostly because she’s blocked me.