Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Hairy Situation

This afternoon I experienced what could easily be described as the most awkward situations I have ever endured in my life. It all started weeks ago when I received a message from a gentleman on a dating website. He started with a message he probably considered clever and presented his instant messenger screenname (presumably so I could contact him in that venue). Upon inspection of the messenger's profile I found essays that suggested he wouldn't be my type (You should message me if: You are loving, rich, and gorgeous... a close paraphrase) and pictures of a man in which you could never see his face but you could see his extensive facial hair. It was a rather long beard. You could tell he had been growing it for some time and he frequently expressed pride in it. My response prompted about two weeks of emails, IMs, and phone calls about life, love, and everything else.

The Hairy Situation seemed like a nice person but overly concerned with "our" relationship and the fact that I was not currently head over heels for him. Excepting the occasional rant about how I was not truly happy and how being with him would change that he was a source of decent conversation. Because of that I didn't rule out the idea of friendship. However, his stance on intimacy (radical advocate) as well as his penchant for calling me "babe" drastically turned me off to him romantically.

Between work and school I found it difficult to make time to meet HS until this afternoon. Usually, I prefer to get meetings over with before there is opportunity to grow attached via phone and/or email. Unfortunately, I could already tell HS was growing attached by the way he would frequently contact me. He had described himself multiple times early on in our conversations as someone who never called women; he let women chase him, not vice versa. Contrary to this self-description he contacted me first every day for the last week. That, his general disposition, and statements such as "relationships are hard but I'll make it comfortable for you" hinted that HS may have a crush on me.

Finally, we met. On a crowded street halfway between our respective towns we said hello in person. The pictures did not do his beard justice and the rest of his face seemed strangely familiar, though I was never able to place it. While chatting away under the shade of a large tree, HS would periodically point out female passersby that he apparently found attractive. Many of whom were in short-shorts (understandable in the heat) and seemed very young (17 to 25 years old). When I noticed his preference for younger ladies I decided to point it out and poke a little fun. "Go talk to her if you think she's cute, but make sure to check her ID," I quipped. He found this hilarious and we talked about the issues associated with hitting on younger women for longer than I would've liked to.

In attempt to escape the view of wandering jail-bait I suggested we take a walk down the street. It seemed safe enough as I knew he was parked a ways away and there were plenty of pedestrians walking up and down this street. As we walked he talked about pursuing more dates. I hemmed and hawed and sidestepped the issue, always redirecting to scenery or people I saw walking by. He pushed to establish that he thought we should keep spending time together and presumably get more intimate as he said things like, "next time at my place for sure," or "when school's over you're coming over." My reply was always a staunch "we'll see what happens," which has always been my polite way of saying "no thank you." It would appear that I need to develop a stronger, less polite refusal since this one gave him no indication that I was not interested. Or, if it did he paid no attention.

Growing less patient and more uncomfortable with his advances I suggested it was time to go. HS insisted on walking me to my car, which he propped himself against. He then grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him. With an astonished and confused look on my face I complied. He wrapped his arms around my waist pulling me very close to him. I grew more worried and less comfortable and must have looked very stressed.

"So," he said.
"So what??" I responded in a perturbed tone. He smiled in response.
"Why are you holding me? You're way too close to me," I declared.
"You don't like it?" How could he ask that?
"I'm incredibly uncomfortable right now, you're t00 close" I clarified. Like a dear caught in the headlights I couldn't run away. I pushed against him slightly to keep some distance but was so distracted by the thoughts running through my head--what is he doing? How can he think this is a good thing? I told him I'm uncomfortable, who wouldn't find that unappealing?
My worst fears came true as he held onto the back of my head and slowly pulled his face towards mine. He tried to kiss my tightly closed lips. As I pulled back, he moved forward until he let go. It had to be a full 20 seconds. That may not seem like much to you now but when someone's face is on yours and you don't want it there 20 seconds may as well be forever. He pulled away and looked very pleased with himself. He also looked as if he expected me to be pleased as well. I imagine I looked horrified because that's how I felt.

"I'd really like to see you again," he stated so matter-of-factly.
"I know. I can tell," was all that I could say.
"You're supposed to say you want to see me again too," he replied with feigned offense.
"I can't say that because it's not true."
"Why not?" Now he actually seemed confused.
"I didn't want you to kiss me. I don't like being this close to you. You're trying to push intimacy on me that I just don't feel." Now he really seemed offended. He spoke about how much we've talked and how close we actually are. I explained that we see our interaction differently and he can't convince me to feel intimacy that I don't. If I'm not comfortable he needs to respect that. He claimed to understand and for a moment I believed him. That was until he opened the car door for me, allowed me to sit in the seat, and sat himself next to me on the edge of the car. As he moved in for another kiss I tried to move back but the seat was in the way so I had to push him away with my hands. Again, he looked offended.

At this point, HS's intense sense of entitlement and arrogance became clear to me. He could not or would not comprehend that I did not want him to touch me. Still under the assumption that the interaction had gone well, he removed himself from my car doorway and told me to call him and once again suggested we should get together again very soon. I shut my door, started the car, and drove away quickly. I could not get away from this man fast enough.

On many occasions I've considered what I would do in a situation such as this one. Sadly, I did not live up to my own expectations. However, I can pat myself on the back knowing I will never speak to HS again. He is one of many men who only consider their own feelings, desires, and intentions. Of course it must be recognized he is not representative of all men. None of the men I write about are. The Hairy Situation was just an example of someone who perhaps couldn't see beyond his own beard.

XO Jane

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