Dear Jody: Leave me alone!


Q: I was sitting in my class and this guy behind me started whispering something that I couldn't initially understand. It was distracting, and I couldn't hear the professor. Finally, I figured out what the guy (I'll call him "George") was saying - or at least the gist of it. He was sort of asking me out and being sexually explicit at the same time.

I'm no prude, but this was neither the time nor the place for doing what he did. There are bars, cafes and parties for things like that. I was trying to listen to the professor so that I could pass my next exam! I suppose I'm not cool, but given the job market out there, I need to get good grades. And, as I said, it just really wasn't the time or place for it.

Hell, George could have even done this after we left, but in class when I'm trying to listen to what's going on! Give me a break! Anyway, I tried to ignore him, and when that didn't work I turned to him and gave him a crusty look. You know, the leave-me-alone-because-I'm-not-interested look. Believe me, at that time, I wasn't interested. Period. From that point on, I made sure that I wasn't sitting next to George in class by coming at the last minute and finding a seat away from him and in a place that he couldn't find an empty seat next to me. (I really resented having to do that, but it was the only way I could make sure he wasn't going to be able to sit next to me.)

Then, a few weeks later, I encounter George at an LGBT function at the college. He comes up to me while I'm talking to some friends and he starts bad-mouthing me. He basically is saying to me and my friends that I'm a snob and hard to get. I mean, he was really being an ass, once again. He finally left, and my friends told me that George was "cute and sexy" and wondered why was I turning away a guy like him. (They all think - and have for some time - that I need a boyfriend.) One guy told me that he would give his right arm to get in bed with that guy. There were other remarks of that nature by the three friends there, but they're not safe for print.

Believe me, Jody, it's not that I wouldn't be open to a boyfriend if someone I was attracted to came along, but right now finding "Mr. Right" is not a priority - and this guy is not, or never would be, a possibility. I do go out. I do have sex, now and then (protected, just in case you're wondering). And I'm not actively looking, but wouldn't turn away someone if "he" was the one.

My question to you is: How do I get this jerk, George, to leave me alone? How do I get my friends to understand that I'm not Mr. Desperate looking for Mr. Right, and I have other priorities right now?

Not Mr. Desperate

A: In reference to George, it appears that you are mostly trying to ignore him and not confront him. I suggest that you catch him when he's alone or make a time to talk to him, and be frank with him since he can't get subtleties - not that I think you've been all that subtle. Regarding your friends, you apparently need to be frank as well. I'm guessing that you tend to just ignore or deflect things instead of addressing them straight-on. However, you certainly explained yourself well to me in your e-mail, so I'm confident you can get your point across to them too if you're as clear with them as you have been with me.

Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The Dear Jody column appears weekly. Read Jody at DearJodyValley@hotmail.com. Letters may be edited.
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