Friend Zones

by admin on April 25, 2017

Last year I started to to reacquaint myself with an old colleague (lets call him Nathan) after seeing some rather depressing statuses on his Facebook account. Rather than let them go unnoticed like so many people do I had messaged him and let him know that if he did ever wish to talk then I was available. We had gotten on very well when we worked together so it didn’t feel odd or strange at all to offer my support.

We started to go for coffees semi regularly, every month or so where we would just chat about all sorts, essentially just two friends hanging out, where I would ask how his relationship was going as he’d often said he was having difficulties. Eventually I found out that his girlfriend had called things off. Nathan seemed to take it well and we continued to see each other for coffees.

I’ll admit that every now and then I felt an inkling that he might have become attracted to me, but put this down to the fact that I was a rare female figure in his life who was happy to spend time with him. He started to ask me to go for coffees more regularly or to go over to his house to watch movies. I was determined to nip this in the bud and always politely declined, and whenever the subject of relationships came up I would always comment that it was something I’d not even contemplated for quite a while and that I was very happy being single.

Alarm bells really should have started ringing when I mentioned how much fun he would have at a theme park in Orlando as I now he was a fan of comic books and rides, he jokingly said we should go together and I smiled and carried on talking about the other attractions the park had to offer.

Cut to three weeks later and he texts me to let me know his visa has been approved for travel to the US. I am, understandably, quite shocked as I don’t actually recall finalising any agreement to actually plan a holiday together. I then had the unpleasant honour of advising him that we would not be going to America as I had already planned out the next several holidays with other friends.

Nathan takes this in stride as he is suddenly overcome with helping to plan a mutual friend’s wedding (again, both bride and groom were people we used to work with and have been on friendly terms for a while).

I hear all about the plans on the run up and then suddenly three days before the wedding I get an email from Nathan asking if I would be able to go as his plus one as his other friend had let him down. I am a little taken aback by the last minute nature of this request and only agree with the express permission of the groom in lieu of an actual invitation.

I spend the next three days worrying about what to wear and finding a gift etc. The day before I’m still not sure exactly what the plan is as Nathan is one of the ushers and I understand he will be busy in the morning helping the groom get ready. Nathan texts me to say he would pick me up in the morning as I was joining him with the groom and ushers and we would all walk to the church together, (I put my foot down at going along to the Groom’s breakfast).

Cue a very awkward morning as I attempt conversation with the grooms grandmother and relatives whilst the boys get ready and they’re no doubt wondering who this strange girl in their living room was. There were no other ‘plus ones’ there and I found out pretty quickly that none of the other ushers had actually invited anyone as their dates so I’m now a little on edge as to why Nathan made this out to be such an emergency on his part.

The day went off without a hitch, everyone was lovely and kind and despite not knowing many people there and Nathan always being called away to fulfil his usher duties I had a wonderful time and congratulated the parents of bride and groom on such a lovely couple.

But then the evening winds down and the slow songs start to play and Nathan keeps asking me to dance which I keep declining (I should probably say at this point that I have a disability that requires me to walk with a stick and braces, being on my feet all day has naturally left me quite exhausted). I finally relent uncomfortably when he and his friends all start cajoling me so I agree to one dance which is intensely awkward to me as I become increasingly aware that this entire charade has been some sort of attempt at seduction, which I concede might been seen as romantic by someone who actually had interest in the other party.

We break away as the song finishes and the bride and groom announce their departure so I take the chance to congratulate them and thank them again for the last minute invite and that I’ve had a lovely day and wish them well in their marriage. They start to make conversation about Nathan, saying that they were lucky to have his help throughout the planning process and I agree, stating that he is a genuinely nice guy, to which both bride and groom start telling me that I should ‘remember that’. I ask what they mean by that and they reply that I ‘know what they’re talking about, he’s really gone out of his way to make sure you have a nice day, it’s only right you show him you’re grateful’.

The implication was clear. I was pretty horrified that these people who I thought were my friends were quite happy to insinuate that I offer myself in return for ‘a date’.

‘A date’ that I had agreed to as a favour for a friend who I thought was in real need.

Needless to say I excused myself quietly not long afterwards, completely unsure of what to say as I said goodbye to Nathan.

He continued to text me after that day for more increasingly ‘date like’ endeavors (Movies, dinner, picnics in the park etc) all of which I declined until one day I finally had enough and casually mentioned that I had started seeing someone at work.

Nathan has not text me since, and worse than that all mutual friends that have contact with him have deleted me from social media, including bride and groom.

From what I understand now I have done the unthinkable by ‘friendzoning’ him, although to my knowledge I had never lead him on, had never implied that we were anything more than friends. But it seems that by agreeing to attend the wedding of a mutual friend at short notice was enough to ‘seal the deal’. I’m quite upset that by trying to be a good friend to someone I have gone on to lose friends. I’m also very upset that I’ve been thought of as someone that should happily ‘put out’ just because someone shows an interest/makes an effort to be nice to me, to the point where I’ve even received comments about how I should have ‘just gone out with him, it’s only fair’.

I’m not certain what I could have done to make it clearer to him that I was not interested in pursuing a relationship.  1029-14

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I recently attended a small, impromptu wedding. The bride’s mother was visiting from overseas, so the couple decided to quickly plan a small wedding. The couple created a Facebook event and sent out invites through that. In the description, they started off saying it was a NO HOST dinner/reception. I didn’t know what that was, so I googled what a no host dinner was: essentially it’s every person paying for their own meals and drinks (going dutch). I’ve never encountered such a wedding, but okay, my SO and I would go anyways, celebrate, we’ll just stick to a budget.

A week later the bride announces, also on Facebook, that they’d like monetary gifts and will be setting up a money tree. I was shocked by that, since the guests essentially were paying for the reception.  My SO and I already RSVP’d so it’d be rude not to show up. This made us discuss that we’ll order small and give a monetary gift. Note: in my culture monetary gifts are a norm, but we also never expect the guests to pay for their own meals. If the gifts help offset the costs paid, great, but we don’t expect others to pay for our weddings.

When we get to the restaurant, the tables are still being set up, and quite a few people are looking over the menu, and I could hear some discuss splitting meals as this was a steak restaurant.

Once the tables are set up, we all find out that each place setting has a prix fixe menu: each table gets a calamari and beef tenderloin over rice starters, then each person chooses a soup or salad, and one of four entrees. Soft drinks are included. I asked if the waitress can bring me and SO a separate check, and I was informed of the following: the set menu is about $40/ person, with all the guests being added to a main bill for the party, and every bottle of wine opened will also be added to the main bill. Then, it’d be split evenly by the number of guests. I was beyond shocked. My SO stepped outside to calm down.

I then see some of the family starting to order wine and talking about refills. I wasn’t about to subsidize their drinking. I asked the waitress to put $40 on the bill for me as my contribution and gift to this wedding, told my SO to stay outside, and once I signed my receipt I left.

The bride sent me a text about 10 minutes later asking if we left. I told her yes because I didn’t expect for this arrangement nor for a bill I had no control over. I congratulated them on their wedding and wished them the best.    0113-15

 

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My Hair Is Off Limits

by admin on April 18, 2017

Reading the stories about people touching pregnant bellies reminds me of some unwanted touching that is rather common for me to experience.

I’ve never been pregnant so never experienced unwanted belly rubs but I have been blessed with thick healthy hair and that results in people wanting to touch my hair. Some will come up and state, “Your hair is so pretty, mind if I touch it?” Others will just come up and start petting my hair or twirling it in their fingers. And these are complete strangers!

Usually my response is an indignant sounding, “May I help you?!”. To which they’ll say something along the lines of, “Oh your hair is just so pretty I had to find out is it’s as soft as it looks.” At that point, I’m not really certain what to say. I usually just pull away from them. But it still mystifies me that someone would want to touch a random stranger’s hair, especially without asking permission. Usually I’m a big and imposing enough of a figure that people stay away from me, but something about my hair makes every other thought leave them.

One occasion I remember off hand involved me being in a audience at a nice, elegant theater location (for plays, not movies). We were doing a lot of sitting and standing (up and down). At one point, a young lady behind me started stroking my hair. I turned and looked (glared really) at her and she said, “Oh, there is gum on the back of the chair and I didn’t want your beautiful hair to get into it.” As I said, this was a high quality location, and not a place where you’d expect gum stuck to the back of chairs. Also, my friend looked and there was no gum in sight. And, my hair was not hanging over the back of the chair and she didn’t brush my hair aside, she stroked it five or six times.

I suppose a, “Please don’t touch me,” might work but that seems rather light for someone who thinks intimately touching a stranger is totally fine. Any thoughts on responses? 0113-15

I think the first time the response should be a firm but polite, “Please do not touch me.”   The second time, it’s OK to get stern and take more deliberate actions to stop the touching.   I had a situation in the swimming pool of the fitness center while water walking in the designated lane.   While there is posted etiquette rules for sharing lanes, for some it appears to not apply to them.   As the first person in the lane, others who came later are supposed to ask me if they can share the lane with me and as the first person in the lane, my choice of which side of the lane to travel along takes precedence.   I happily share the lane with many people as we dodge each but in this case, one woman wasn’t yielding right of way. She blocked my path and placed both her hands on my upper arms and turned me 360 degrees during which I responded, “Stop. Please don’t. ”    I reported the incident to management because it was evident the woman was invading my personal space and ignoring my rather obvious statements to stop doing what she was doing.    The second incident happened a few months later when the same woman repeated the previous action only this time I forcibly broke free, stepped away from her and very firmly (and loudly) said, “Don’t touch me. Don’t ever touch me again.  That is rude.”    I reported that incident to management as well and the result was that the woman was restricted to sitting on the pool deck until I exited the pool.

Other forms of touching, in my opinion, deserve an immediate and strong reaction.  Goose my rear end and I will (and have) slap you so hard I’ll think I broke me hand and you’ll have a hand print on your face.   In the Victorian era, women used their rather long hat pins to jab men who got too fresh.   I confess to using a corsage pin years ago to fend off a creep.

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Movie Your Butt To A Different Seat

by admin on April 17, 2017

While I don’t often go to the movies anymore now that I have young kids, a previous post (and its comments) about theater behavior got me thinking about the many, many movies I attended in my younger years and a situation that arose often that aggravated me.

Being a “follow the rules” person, I knew, even as a teen, that if I was seeing a very popular movie on a weekend night I needed to arrive extra early to make sure I could procure seats together with my friends.  Often I would arrive 30 minutes before showtime and pick the “perfect” spot with my movie mates before the theater filled up.   Inevitably, a group of 2 or 3 people would walk in at the end of the previews and see a nearly-full theater.  The problem arose when they’d notice 3 empty seats in my row (not together as groups would keep a seat between them as “buffers”), and ask everyone in the row to move over so they could slide in on the end.  Because I hate confrontation I’d always comply and end up behind a very tall person or in a suspiciously stained/broken seat, and end up straining my neck to see around them for the movie or hearing my chair squeak with every shift of body weight.

What should be the etiquette when something like this happens?  Technically there are 3 open seats and 3 people who need them.  To deny their request would seem really rude and petty.  But at the same time why should I, who arrived significantly early to obtain a “good” seat, have to be inconvenienced for their lack of proper planning and arriving 30 seconds before (or sometimes right after) the start of a movie? 0115-15

Note to readers, I needed to reread the second paragraph a few times before I realized the writer is describing a situation where a theater row has several unclaimed seats that are scattered in the row as opposed to being clustered together. The late arrivals are requesting people move towards the middle of the row to consolidate all the empty seats into a few on the end of the row.

The answer is simple. Repeat after me,  “I’m sorry but I cannot accommodate that request. You are free to use this empty seat though.”   It has always been my understanding that if you arrive late to the theater, you take whatever seats you can find even if that means your party is split among several rows.   One of the benefits of arriving early is that you do not have to resort to that but can choose to seat yourselves as a group.

Thankfully, American theaters are finally selling tickets for specific seats so this may be less of a problem.

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Feel Good Friday

by admin on April 14, 2017

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Banking On Foot

by admin on April 11, 2017

Very recently I needed to conduct bank business over lunch hour. Our fairly small town has two banks and both close the lobby for ‘noon hour’ (as does most businesses) but they have drive through that’s manned. Also their ATM’s are on the same wall near the window. So even if you just want to play with plastic you have to go there to do it. I am not the only walk up, there are quite a few that don’t even use a motorcycle or bicycle but merely walk up to the teller window.

This day it was going to break 100 degrees, I walk up and there are two pickups in line. That’s fine, I go stand behind pickup #2 in the sun, and at least the exhaust is blowing that way. #1  has just started transaction. Another pickup shows up, pulls in, and the guy rolls down window to tell me to move. I politely tell him I’m in line. He honks for me to move. #4 pulls up behind him. I don’t move, I am in place behind #2 where I would be IF I was sitting in a vehicle. #1 finishes, #2 rolls up, and I walk up in place. #3 is sitting back there and honking. #2 takes a while. #5 vehicle joins line. #2 leaves and I step up, and I thought #3 was going to run me over.

I was supposed to move my body parts as he was in a HURRY and I wasn’t in a car. Mind you on any weekday a walk up is a common thing. So many in line isn’t but, walk ups are. At least I am in the shade, and the gal is managing despite Mr. Horn  & Profanity back there to do my transaction. Then I step off and #3 almost runs me over to get up there. I went around corner as she told him he was being refused service.  Both banks have a posted policy that they can refuse you teller drive through service and require you to come into the lobby during lobby hours.

My question is, am I that in the wrong? I probably do walk up at either bank two or three times a week; and I am far from the only one.  I took my place in line, didn’t try to cut, and dealt with exhaust (wind was going other way thankfully) and standing in the sun until everyone advanced far enough. Each bank has just one teller window for drive through so there’s no other option during noon hour. One bank has ATM before the window, one after, and this was the before  bank so even if I had wanted to do ATM I would have had to wait until I got up to the ATM (they left no space at all next to it to stand) if I’d wanted to use that instead. Like I said, am I that wrong? 0807-15

I’m not sure why you need me to validate you when the bank teller served you and then refused to service the rude driver behind you.  The bank has told you via actions that it does not consider you to have done anything wrong.  I will note, however, that every bank in my locale does not allow walk ups, bicycles or horse driven vehicles to use the drive-through banking windows.

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Tipping On The Bill Total Or What You Think The Value Of The Food Is

April 6, 2017

I am a middle aged American woman and I took my daughter off for a short vacation during her college break. On recommendation, one night we went to a live dinner performance that was themed around the medieval period. We ate at tables surrounding an arena where “knights” jousted and engaged in sword fights, complete […]

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Wedding Wednesday – What Wedding Hell Looks Like From Start To Finish

April 5, 2017

There hasn’t been a good “Wedding From Hell” submission in a long time.  Read and cringe. This is the story of my wedding. My Husband I dated for 2.5 years before getting engaged, and for most of that time my best friend wasn’t speaking to me. She desperately wanted to get married and was intensely […]

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