The drama with the guy at my work is continuing to unfold. I texted him back clarifying that what I meant by “formal” response was I wanted to give a polite answer in person and outside my department. The only time I see him (outside of the total three times I’ve hung out at his place for game nights with other coworkers) is at work. While I’m working. For me it’s strictly a manners thing. I didn’t want to say “No, because I’m not straight like you obviously think I am” over a text message.
So, in response he texts me saying “okay, will tomorrow work?” and uh, no, because “tomorrow” was Easter Sunday and I had family stuff to do. Common sense?
Also, because of this whole thing I’m no longer comfortable being alone with him. It’s not that I think he’ll do anything, I’m just no longer comfortable because I feel cornered. I realized that I can’t “be polite” about it anymore because that’s leading to some very serious miscommunication.
He texted me four days later saying that he just wanted to make sure that I “didn’t have any feelings that would affect our friendship” and… WOAH! WAIT A MINUTE! SERIOUSLY????
First of all, there is no FREAKING way he was picking up on any “I like you” vibes because there were absolutely none coming from my aromantic ass. I barely even liked this dude as an acquaintance and I was hoping we would end up friends (because I seriously need more friends), but at most I treated him like any other coworker. I’m super friendly to all my coworkers because we’re a team and I do right by my team.
The thing I don’t understand is I said, “no”. The same day he sent the original text asking me out (four weeks ago), he approached me while I was cleaning up my department and asked me what my response was and I said my response was “no”.
I don’t know if my ignorance comes from the fact that I’ve never dated, but how does “no” even remotely translate into “maybe”? Why would you even accept any answer other than an enthusiastic “yes”? Hypothetically, if I asked somebody out on a date and I got an unenthusiastic “yes”, I would take that as a red flag right there that it’s not going to be a good relationship.
The most perfect example I can think of is a short film that I saw two years ago at one of the more artsy theaters in town. Instead of advertisements they showed short films before the main film started. I think the short was called “The Serenade”. I had never been to that theater before so I thought it was a preview for a rom-com at first. The entire short takes place on a woman’s front porch. A guy got a couple of his musically inclined friends together to try and serenade the woman he liked. She opens the door and she is pissed. She asks him what he thinks he doing and he starts pleading with her to just give him a chance. She asks him, “You think you’ll, what, just convince me to like you?” She turns to one of his friends and asks, “Do you like tomatoes?” The friend says uncertainly, “No?” She asks, “Can I convince you to like tomatoes.” “No.” And with that she closes the door on them.
I don’t actually know how the whole dating thing works so when people ask me out, I at least try to be polite about turning them down because I’m still looking to make friends. What I don’t understand is why after I say “no” they try to push the issue. This isn’t the first time it’s happened either. The last time a coworker asked me out I made them try to solve three riddles when they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I only did that because I wasn’t looking to make friends at the time and I wanted him to look stupid as a petty revenge for my boundaries being ignored. I want to think I’ve matured since then, but I might have to bring back the riddle thing because that dude and did end up becoming friends.
Unfortunately for the current dude, I’m done being polite. I sent him a PDF on “10 Ways to be a Good Ally for the LGBT”. The first thing on the list is “Don’t assume everyone is straight”. I don’t know how to be more clear than that. I also said, “For future reference, if someone doesn’t give you an enthusiastic “yes”, you better take the “no” at face value”. This is probably going to ruin any chance we had at being friends, but I already knew there wasn’t much chance for that to begin with.
Before this whole incident he kept asking if I wanted to hang out. “Hang out” seemed to strictly mean his place or going to get food. From from the beginning “hang out” felt too much like “date” behavior so I always said, “no” and offered alternatives like going hiking or to the park where I could bring my dog. Public and dog friendly were my two conditions and those were never met so we never “hung out”.
I just wanted to be able to explain all that in person, not over a text message. I didn’t imply that I liked him romantically and I’m sorry he somehow thought I might.
Most of all, I’m sorry he ever assumed that I was straight.
(P.S. -Whenever people ask me if I’m dating anybody and I say “no” they immediately ask if I’m “talking” to anybody. WTF. What I can’t even just talk to anybody now? Should I just grab my hooded robe and become a mountain hermit?)
3 thoughts on “Rats (Again).”
Hey, you don’t know me and this is like your third post I’ve read (bounced over from carnivaloa) so this is probably not useful…but just in case my “insight” as someone who’s wasted waaaay too much time worrying about boys could actually be useful:
It’s *possible* the “feelings that would affect [your] friendship” he’s worried about ARE the feelings you actually seem to have: annoyance, rage, betrayal, etc. It’s *possible* that he wants to apologize for reading you wrong, for embarrassing you, that he wants to promise to start acting like a decent colleague.
I mean, it doesn’t seem likely, because he so far has acted like a bro-ser, but it’s possible he wants to do better. Possible enough that perhaps this doesn’t have to effect your working relationship?
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Thank you for commenting. If I wasn’t appreciative of outside perspective input I definitely would not have mentioned the situation on my blog, so I’m glad you felt strongly enough to make a response.
We don’t actually work in the same department so our working relationship is virtually nonexistent. My old job position was to give out samples and convince people to buy really expensive cheeses. To do this I have a work persona that is, unfortunately, very friendly and *very* feminine because that’s what sells. I also made sure I was super nice to other staff and gave them samples because they are potential customers too. So, when I first talked to him I was always super friendly and girly because I was working. What I think happened is he mistook my work persona for my actual persona. I like my new job position better because I can be more like myself which is pretty much “one of the guys” as one of my coworkers in my own department put it.
The miscommunication happened because he thought he knew me well enough that he was comfortable enough to ask me out, but I actually have a crap ton of baggage and being aro-ace is like 5th on that list. I’m in the process of coming out to several people in my own department in the sense that I’ve told a couple people that I’m asexual, but I really hate doing it because every-time I come out as asexual I feel like I need info sheets, a flow chart, and a PowerPoint.
The actual incident/thing that I’m hung up on is that he mistook my *ace* ring for a *wedding* ring. Like, how?? I’ve Googled it multiple times and there’s no mainstream culture that wears wedding bands on the middle finger. Also, if you’re going to ask somebody out, shouldn’t you already *know* if they are married or not? That’s what actually irked me the most. I was mad enough that I swapped out my black ring for a set of stackable silicone rings in ace colors. I wear my new ace rings basically 24/7 now (and they are super comfy so, yay) and I bought several aro pride shirts specifically to wear under my work shirts. Now, as soon as I clock out I’ve got my ace and aro colors in everybody’s face.
I can intellectually appreciate that I’m definitely part of, if not the root of, the miscommunication problem. I could pick up my phone, call or text him, and explain the situation from my end and work to repair our potential friendship. I am being my own obstacle and I don’t have *any* legitimate excuses because my B.A. is in Communication Studies. There is no logical reason not to make use of the all tools at my disposal to repair our friendship and, in fact, *not* doing so goes against the Philosophy I’m studying and trying to adopt.
But, honestly? On an emotional level I just want an excuse to be petty. He made an honest mistake thinking I was straight and available. I made a not-so-honest mistake in overreacting emotionally to that. It’s really hard to be mad at the whole world for making the same assumption, but it’s *super* easy to be mad at *one* person. Trying to repair our friendship would require me to open up about that pettiness and, unfortunately, I’m not really sorry about it because I’m still mad at the whole heteronormative world that he represents.
So, at this point I don’t think it’s beneficial to either of us to try and be friends right now.
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