Jewish Journal

Take the Hint!

by Tamara Shayne Kagel

February 1, 2011 | 10:00 am

I hate having to reject someone I’ve already rejected.  Rejecting someone is so uncomfortable already.  Whether or not you’re trying to gently let down someone you actually care about or you’re telling this weirdo to his face, that every time he leans in closer, your skin involuntarily shudders, it’s not fun. 

So when you think you’ve already done the job once, there’s nothing more irritating then having to do it a second time.  Maybe you’ll want to blame me for the lame excuse I gave him, the first time.  But if he understood it well enough to stay away the first time, why does he randomly text or call to ask again a few months later.  The answer is still no.  If it’s not, I’ll call you.  I know I said I was too busy last month to get together, and this is a different month, but in addition to seeing I was too busy, I added that I would get in touch with you when things ease up.  And guess what?  I haven’t gotten in touch with you for a reason.  Why are you back asking how I am?  And that after my non-response did you really need to inquire as to how I was celebrating Martin Luther King Day?

There was this one guy I met at a First Fridays on Abbot Kinney who was just the worst – he literally tried to argue me into saying yes to a date.  He thought because he was Jewish and I was Jewish we had some special connection.  His breath reeked, and he had food on his shirt, and he was a close talker - he was so offensively creepy that every time he brought his face closer, he made my spine tingle.  My girlfriends and I had just ordered a bottle of wine.  He asked if he could join us and I gave the most reluctant I guess so I could.  His socially-challenged questions were immediately off putting and we gave one word questions hoping he’d leave.  He didn’t.  He helped himself to a glass of our wine.  HE DIDN’T OFFER TO PAY!  And then he followed us out as we left trying to ask more questions.

During this time he had asked for my number and I had acquiesced and gave it to him – just out of pure desperation that he might leave us alone if I did.  We finally shook him by saying we were going to a private party where strangers weren’t allowed.  Anyway, this is all to say that when I returned his voicemail by texting him to say I was too busy to get together in the foreseeable future, I thought that would be the end of it.  Wrong!

He called again, left messages, texted almost daily.  There was no civility left in me.  After saying no three different ways, I stopped responding.  He continued to call – from different numbers which was a clear attempt to trick me into answering.  Anyway, after weeks of this harassment, he finally stopped contacting me.  I erased his do not answer number from my phone and forgot about it.

Then about a month later, he called and unfortunately I didn’t recognize the number and I answered.  Although he recited his name for me twice, I had forgotten about him and had no idea whom it was, so I carried on a brief conversation until I could finally place him.

I immediately realized who he was when he informed me he was calling to invite me to some black tie Holocaust Fundraising Gala (how fun!).  I was in the car on my way to a concert so I was really distracted, caught off guard, and without a surefire excuse on the ready.  I was racking my brain, but nothing came out but the lamest excuse in everyone’s excuse repertoire – too busy.

No I can’t go with you to this gala cause I’m busy but thank you for offering to buy me a dress (and assuming I would need you to buy me one).

Well, what about next weekend then?  Or during the week?

No, things won’t ease up for me for a long long time.  Actually, things will probably never ease up for me.

I can come to you for coffee?  Or breakfast?  Oh, do you have Skype?

Look, I’m not interested in you.  I don’t ever want to talk to you again!

I cringed as I said it.  I felt bad for him, but I didn’t regret it.  I should have just said, I’m seeing someone instead, but I guess he had harassed me to the point of forgetting my manners.  He was shocked.  Truly shocked and said something like well it’s your loss

Yes!  I said.  Yes it is, my loss! He finally gets it, I think to myself.  No.  He tells me it’s not possible for me to be uninterested in him, because I don’t know anything about him yet.  He is sure that if I give him one date, I will see how much we have in common.  He tells me he felt a special connection with me. 

NO!  No you didn’t, I tell him.  He goes on, explaining that I’ll be missing out on possibly the best thing to ever happen to me.  And then he goes further than anyone should ever go.  He says I would be denying what God wanted for us.  He says people like me will end up alone.

I’m ok with that, I tell him.

This is your loss
, he repeats and finally hangs up the phone.  The experience was so unnerving, I find myself going over what he just said to me -  his threat that I will end up alone.

But if not being alone means ending up with someone like him, I can’t tell you how good alone is looking.

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Tamara Shayne Kagel is a twenty-something fixture on the Los Angeles scene currently living in Santa Monica.  Currently, Tamara is a successful freelance writer (just ask her...

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