Author Topic: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?  (Read 8342 times)

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LadyL

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How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« on: November 11, 2011, 08:51:53 AM »
Yesterday there was a department happy hour at a local watering hole. I got there early and pulled out some reading material while I waited for everyone else at a table. A guy walked up to my table and sat down at the seat across from me. I've never had someone so brazenly insert themselves into what I was doing (cat calls and offers to buy drinks while standing at the bar, sure) so I was kind of flustered. Since I'm engaged I wanted to be totally clear up front so when the guy asked "Can I ask you something?" I said "Actually I'm really busy with my reading here." "Just one question?" "I am in the middle of this and really need to get it done, sorry." The whole time I am basically staring at my reading, not making eye contact. I'm sure I came off as a bit brusque and cold.

Then he goes and makes me feel awfully guilty - "Can you just act like I said something and you're responding?" "What?" "Just pretend like I said something - you know, nod and act like you're responding." Confused, I looked up at him and nodded, like he asked. He said "Thanks" and walked away. I realized he probably had friends who were watching his pick up attempt and he was trying to save a small amount of face.

Of course the minute he stood up I realized I should have just flashed my engagement ring and settled it that way. But one time I actually had someone try to argue *that* and tell me I should have dinner with them anyway (lovely!) so I prefer not to engage, at all. However, when he basically pleaded with me to acknowledge him with eye contact and a nod I realized that I wasn't engaging in those basic social niceties and felt a bit guilty. The city where I work has a lot of marginal people (addicts, homeless, etc.) so I mostly operate in "don't engage the crazy" mode, but this guy seemed relatively normal/harmless.

I know that I wasn't rude per se, but there's that grey are that is polite but not very nice either - would you say that's where my behavior falls? And does it matter whether or not you're nice to someone hitting on you?

Morticia

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 09:06:25 AM »
I'm old school. A lady does not have to respond to a gentleman to whom she has not been introduced. (I loved Winona Ryder in Dracula saying "Do I know you, sir?" ). Of course, a lot of this is because I feel very uncomfortable when addressed by strangers anyway. Even if you feel differently, I think he lost any entitlement to civility he might have had when he sat down at your table without asking permission.
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missknowledge

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 09:07:17 AM »
I totally understand what you mean.  You want to at least be pleasant, but maintain your boundaries.   There are some men, though, who take niceness in females as encouragement, when it's so NOT.    I've been in your same shoes.   I will be nice if they will let me, but I will not hesitate to tell someone to GO AWAY if they push me.    I don't think you owe them anything if they push your boundaries.

Venus193

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 09:20:18 AM »
You owe only as much courtesy as it takes to get him to back off.  If he doesn't take the hint, directness is best.

I like Mina's line in Dracula.  Said in the appropriate tone of voice it usually works.

Winterlight

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2011, 09:21:43 AM »
He walked up and sat down at your table uninvited. No, you didn't owe him anything. He was rude, first for that and second for pushing his attentions on someone who clearly wasn't interested.
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WillyNilly

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 09:37:34 AM »
The basic answer is you owe someone who is trying to hit on you as much courtesy as you owe any stranger who approaches you.  Which is to say cool politeness at first and then from there you can swing either towards warming up to them or you can swing towards straight up blunt "go away now".

I think you handled it very well.  And I think its great you didn't "just flash [your] engagement ring and settle it that way." As really that's not settling or dealing with anything, its just a PA move that hurts everyone in the long run.  Men should take "no thanks, not interested" at face value from any woman, not just because a woman has a ring.  Unattached women have just as much right to be left alone as attached and when attached women use their ring as a shield it makes it harder for the women without.  You weren't interested because you weren't interested.  Period.  The specifics of your social life are not relevant.  And if you get too used to hiding behind the ring and then something happens (your ring gets damaged, lost or stolen, later on in life your relationship status changes) you don't have the skills built up to deal with getting a guy to back off.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 10:01:20 AM by WillyNilly »

Surianne

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 09:45:04 AM »
The basic answer is you owe someone who is trying to hit on you as much courtesy as you owe any stranger who approaches you.  Which is to say cool politeness at first and then from there you can swing either towards warming up to them or you can swing towards straight up blunt "go away now".

I think you handled it very well.  And I think its great you didn't "just flash [your] engagement ring and settled it that way." As really that's not settling or dealing with anything, its just a PA move that hurts everyone in the long run.  Men should take "no thanks, not interested" at face value from any woman, not just because a woman has a ring.  Unattached women have just as much right to be left alone as attached and when attached women use their ring as a shield it makes it harder for the women without.  You weren't interested because you weren't interested.  Period.  The specifics of your social life are not relevant.  And if you get too used to hiding behind the ring and then something happens (your ring gets damaged, lot or stolen, later on in life your relationship status changes) you don't have the skills built up to deal with getting a guy to back off.

I agree with all of this, and I too think you handled it quite well, LadyL. 

I've tried explaining this to a few of my friends who think I'm "too mean" to guys because I won't let them buy me drinks.  There's nothing wrong with being a bit curt -- in fact, my view is that I'm saving the guy time.  If I already know I'm not interested in him, the faster I end the conversation means the faster he can move on to a girl who might be interested. 

I think it's actually more cruel to lead a guy on just because you (general you - I'm thinking of a few friends of mine here) enjoy flirting for the sake of flirting.

wheeitsme

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 09:48:46 AM »
The basic answer is you owe someone who is trying to hit on you as much courtesy as you owe any stranger who approaches you.

This is pretty much what I was going to say. 

Flora Louise

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 10:21:25 AM »
According to Miss Manners, a lady does not speak to strange men on the street (or in this case a bar).

And for the record, I hate it when strangers approach me in public with "Can I ask you something?" It's the opening gambit favored by muggers and other criminals so it gets my coiffure in the upright position.
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Yvaine

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 10:22:46 AM »
According to Miss Manners, a lady does not speak to strange men on the street (or in this case a bar).

And for the record, I hate it when strangers approach me in public with "Can I ask you something?" It's the opening gambit favored by muggers and other criminals so it gets my coiffure in the upright position.

Muggers, and those annoying people who sell lotion in the mall!

Hmmmmm

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 10:34:57 AM »
I think not making any eye contact was a little rude.  To me a better scenario is,

He sits down.
You look up and say "Do I know you?"
Him, "no, wondered if I could buy you a drink."
You, "No, not interested.  I'm waiting for friends and that seat is taken."

Talking about being busy and reading just doesn't seem as straight forward as you need to be in these cases.  Your basically saying "I might be interested if I wasn't so busy."  not "I'm not interested at all."

Oh, and if they are persistant, I learned the phrase said with a smile "I will embarrass you if you don't go away" can work wonders.

Surianne

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2011, 10:49:43 AM »
And for the record, I hate it when strangers approach me in public with "Can I ask you something?" It's the opening gambit favored by muggers and other criminals so it gets my coiffure in the upright position.

Ugh, me too -- usually nothing good comes of replying to that question.  Though I recently had a guy say "Can I ask you something?  It might make you mad, so please try to remember not to get mad."  I told him no and kept walking, but now I'm a little annoyed with myself because I'm super curious about what he was going to ask that would make me so angry.

SciFiLeslie

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2011, 11:00:42 AM »
I think not making any eye contact was a little rude.  To me a better scenario is,

He sits down.
You look up and say "Do I know you?"
Him, "no, wondered if I could buy you a drink."
You, "No, not interested.  I'm waiting for friends and that seat is taken."


This.

atirial

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2011, 11:13:22 AM »
According to Miss Manners, a lady does not speak to strange men on the street (or in this case a bar).

And for the record, I hate it when strangers approach me in public with "Can I ask you something?" It's the opening gambit favored by muggers and other criminals so it gets my coiffure in the upright position.

Muggers, and those annoying people who sell lotion in the mall!
And charity muggers. It annoys me: either ask me, or don't. I've finally settled on a brusque, "you just did" and keep walking for the hand-lotion people.

When you're trapped in a booth you can't get away as easily. But since he started by being rude - taking a seat without asking, and then interrupting you - I think you handled it perfectly.

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Re: How much courtesy do you owe someone trying to hit on you?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2011, 11:26:51 AM »
Oh, and if they are persistant, I learned the phrase said with a smile "I will embarrass you if you don't go away" can work wonders.

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