Friday, November 18, 2005

Unwanted advances, part deux

Ugh, so my favorite unwanted advancer (affectionately known as UW) is back. See this previous post for my history with will definitely help you understand what I'm writing now. When I last left off with this saga, UW and I were both going to Texas for a business trip. I was worried he would continue his unwanted advances while on said trip, and I didn't know how to act around him.

Well, I never reported in this blog what happened during the trip. Basically, I was my normal, nice self. This is bad. I was supposed to be stand-offish and less than friendly so that I didn't give him the wrong impression for the gazillionth time. That did not happen for a few reasons: (1) He is best buds with my boss, making it impossible for me to avoid him, (2) Besides my boss, he is the closest thing in the office I have to a friend, (3) He is close in age to me and therefore we get along well socially, (5) I am incapable of being even remotely aloof or mean, and (4) I like human companionship, dammit.

What does this all amount to? Well, it amounted to me spending almost every social situation with my boss...and UW. I was also drinking during most of these situations, which made me friendlier and much less guarded than normal. One night we ended up at a bar and I know we were talking about issues that I would normally not talk about with someone like UW. But, having consumed many fuzzy navels, I was feelin' good and talky. Then, at the closing banquet, I danced with him. I know, the humanity.

It was really innocent dancing, but it was still dancing. I thought for sure I'd screwed myself over by that point. But much to my surprise, he didn't act any different when we returned to work. It was weird, actually. On the trip, we had acted like actual friends...much more than our normal work acquaintance status. At one point he even said, "Thanks for being so open," or something like that. It kind of disturbed me, but I guess he meant, "Thanks for letting me get to know you better." That had been exactly what I'd worked so hard to avoid in the first place. Minus 50 points for me.

But as I was saying, back at work, we fell back in to out normal routine of not saying much to each other and having awkward conversations. He didn't even come to my cubicle very much. Until recently. Recently, as you all know, my status went from "in a relationship" to "single." At first, I vowed not to tell UW this fact. And I kept that vow for a few good weeks. But I inherently always need to tell the truth, and I can't conceal huge details of my life from people (even if they are pseudo-stranger/friend advancers). So I told him, and even then he was okay for a week or so. I felt like he had finally gotton the clue.

But this week, after he'd been up at my desk for a visit, I received an e-mail from him with no subject line. Inside, it asked me to go to a movie this weekend. It was just one sentence, a very nonchalant-sounding invite. This was unsettling for many reasons: (1) He asked me to go in the first place, which meant he thought I'd say yes, (2) He aksed me over E-MAIL, which is the worst possible way to ask a girl to go somewhere for the first time, and (3) I've rejected him numerous times already and specified before that I wouldn't like him in that way even if I was single.

So I decided simply to ignore the e-mail. I thought that for sure he would be far too embarassed to bring this up in person. But I should never underestimate his willingness to humiliate himself. Sure enough, today he asked me about it in person. I said I was busy this weekend. What I really wanted to say was that I don't feel comfortable seeing him anywhere other than work because of the way he pursued me before. Of course I couldn't say that. I don't want to start a problem with him. I just want everyone to get along, and I want to spare both of us as much embarassment as possible.

Now, you may be thinking that he just asked me out as a "friend." And maybe he did. But that is irrelevant at this point. The point is...I will never feel comfortable just being friends with him because of how he acted before. I like him as a person. I really do. He's a nice guy and he's fun to talk to and all, I just don't like him in a romantic way. But now this whole thing came up again--it's been over a year now since this all started--and it begs the question: Will he ever stop?

Advice is welcome.


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