Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Don't Try to Trick Me Into Dating You BLOW OFF

I am sensitive to the pressure put on men in our society to make the first move. I know that it must be hard to have to feel like you must always be the initiator in romantic relationships. But that's no excuse to try to trick someone into going on a date with you.

For a time, I was a regular practitioner of yoga. I could faithfully be found, five to six mornings a week at my neighborhood yoga studio. New people came and went, but I usually recognized most, if not all of the faces in my yoga classes. One day in class I noticed a new addition. He was basically non-descript, a bit on the scrawny side. What was most notable about him was that he took off his shirt and went bare-chested throughout class. This was a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but I let it slide. A couple of days later he's back in class, shirtless, and this time late. And while there was plenty of room in the back of the class, he came and put his mat next to mine in the front row, causing me and the person next to me to shift ours to make room for him. This is another pet peeve of mine.

A couple of days later, the same thing happens again. He is late, shirtless, and insists on setting his mat next to mine. By now he's introduced himself to me. His name is Dan. OK Dan, whatever. Wear a shirt and come to class on time, OK? I've also noticed that Dan has taken to staring at me throughout class. This makes me very uncomfortable and Dan might have seen it on my face, because he very craftily comments "I'm sorry I keep looking at you. But you're so good and I'm so bad and I like to watch you to see how it's done. " Call it my yoga ego, or my general like of flattery, but this softens me a bit to Shirtless Dan. And while my guard is down, he asks me if I live in the neighborhood. Yes, I tell him. I don't tell him where and he doesn't ask, but unfortunately he catches up with me on my walk home and strikes up a conversation. He lives down the block, and for once I am cursing the fact that I do, too. "Oh, we're neighbors!" Shirtless Dan proclaims. "We should go get a cup of coffee sometime."  

Now, this is very, very crafty of Shirtless Dan. How could I turn down my neighbor and fellow yoga student for a harmless cup of coffee? It's not like he asked me to dinner or anything. So I reluctantly say "Yeah, sure." Now this is a huge pet peeve - the stealth date attack. He proceeds to ask me for my phone number. I tell him I don't have anything to write with, suspecting he doesn't have a phone on him, so I think I'm off the hook. But he replies "It's OK, just tell it to me and I'll remember it." So I tell him, hoping he won't actually remember. But wouldn't you know it - he remembers. He remembers and calls me the following day leaving a long, rambling, and above all presumptuous message in which he tells me that he has a day off coming up and rambles on about all the things we can do together on his day off. What the downward dog? Shirtless Dan was clearly a crazy person, and the coffee suggestion was obviously a ruse.

There were so many things I wanted to say to him - what in the hell makes you think I would want to spend an entire day with you? And what makes you think I'm going to make myself available on your day off? And what are you smoking to make you think that I am even remotely interested in you to begin with??? I was just horrified, and then angry, because now I have to see him at yoga? At my sanctuary? I'm the regular, he's the newbie! I don't need this stress!

I don't return Dan's call. And I switch my usual class schedule to take an earlier class than the one he had been attending. About a week goes by and then one day the receptionist at the studio tells me someone left something for me. It was a note from Shirtless Dan, with his phone number and his email address. He instantly goes from being Shirtless to Clueless. But at least I now have his email, and I decide that will be the blow off format. So I send him an email that basically says I got his message, and that when I agreed to have coffee with him, it was as a friendly, neighborly gesture. However, I now see that he was actually looking for more and that I was not interested. Straightforward, right? Clueless Dan responds to say that we can still get coffee as friends. I don't reply, and eventually I venture back to my usual class. It takes a few weeks of dreading seeing him for the memory of Clueless Dan to fade. I never saw him in class again. Maybe he wasn't so Clueless after all.

Though I never saw him again, I did hear from him one last time. It was many months later, and I get an email from him with a blank subject line that says in its entirety: "I still think you're beautiful". There wasn't even a period on the end of the sentence (this is actually another peeve - you're in such a hurry you can't punctuate? Give me a break!)! It was so creepy and it made me feel like he was potentially stalking me, but blessedly that was years ago and I never heard from Shirtless/Clueless/Creepy Dan again. And lesson learned about being neighborly - there's always at least one creepy guy in the neighborhood. When you see him, just nod and keep on walking.


  1. why do some guys think they can break us down and persuade us to like them? I think it's a symptom of them being too full of themselves to realize they're getting blown off. i also love how they sometimes mistake things for romantic when they are really just creepy stalkerish.

  2. i wouldn't be surprised if he's got a pretty good batting average with that approach. "chester the aggressor" i like to call that type.

  3. oooh, Chester the Aggressor, anonymous-- i think you just gave us a new glossary of a blow off post.

  4. I agree- Chester the Aggressor is brilliant!