Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I find myself in an awkward position. Today I was at work, minding my own business, writing some story about architecture (after a while they get a bit samey, I mean, how many times can you write "sinuous organic curves" or "bold geometry"?). Anyway, my phone starts to ring and I don't recognise the number. I figure it's my new housemate explaining why my attempt to move house last night was such a cock-up, and I say pleasantly, "Hello, Mel speaking."

And it's this guy who was sleazing onto me at my recent house party. I should add that I was looking fine at that party: was wearing a black singlet top, red ra-ra mini-skirt and black and white striped legwarmers with thongs. This was also the party where I played the booty dancing CD I made to take to the Christchurch CSAA conference (when "Grindin'" came on, one of my friends started howling "Ohhh yeah! listen to that!") and had the Possible Wardrobe Malfunction.

This guy had been making himself so obvious, intruding on all my conversations (including the drunken one where I was bemoaning The Boy who would not love me) and at one point, stroking my bare leg, Harold Bloom-style. Later, I was cleaning my teeth to go to bed and he was standing there watching me, as if imagining my toothbrush was his dick.

Anyway, so it's him on the phone. And he was so sweet; he said "There are only two ways to say this: the American way, and the 12-year-old way, and what have the Americans invented but wrestling, so here's the 12-year-old way: Will you go out with me?"

My awkwardness is this. If I'd found him attractive, this would all have been very exciting, but it was just unpleasant - I'd had to lock my bedroom door from the inside, in case he tried to sneak into my room. But how could I be gracious about it? So I said "Um, in a word, no. But it's so flattering of you to ask." He went, "Oh, okay."

My workmates thought my bluntness was the fairest option in the circumstances, and it's certainly an improvement on "Can I take a raincheck?" and "I just find you really stressful to be around" (neither are my proudest moment). But my awkwardness is this. As you know, I've been agonising over how to tell The Boy that he is my crush, and I really admired the guy who asked me out today for having the guts to do it. But thinking of the horrible position I'll put The Boy in makes me just want to shut up and deal with it myself.

Is there a good way to let someone down gently when you're not interested?

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