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?