This co-worker guy, who I hardly know, has been stalking me at work. I don't want to cause trouble for him, but...he's creepy. He's been asking co-workers about me and finding me on my breaks. Today, as I was leaving for lunch, he said, "I haven't stopped thinking about you." The hairs on my neck stood up. The shower music from "Psycho" came into my head!! I (like an idiot) said, "Shoot me an e-mail." (I don't have the guts to tell him, "Screw off, you ugly, creepy, uh, expletive.") Of course, he e-mails me -- inviting me to lunch or dinner, saying he wants to get to know me better. Since I love your "tact," I'd love to respond using your words. Something that says: 1. You're creepy. 2. You obviously live with your mother. 3. Never in your lifetime.
Alfred Hitchcock might've retired to some sleepy town in England after a career as an elementary school filmstrip operator -- save for his wise decisions while directing "Psycho." Imagine Hitch weighing the dramatic possibilities: "Let's see, shall we have a shadowy figure slipping into a motel bathroom, opening the shower curtain and raising a big knife to stab a terrified naked woman -- or should some lad drop in at the woman's office to tell her 'I haven't stopped thinking about you' as a lead-up to asking when she might be free for lunch?"
Come on, a guy at work gives you reason to believe he has a crush on you and the shower music from "Psycho" comes into your head? When you see sheep nibbling on grass in a pasture, do you hear the theme from "Jaws"? Your complaint that this guy is "stalking" you reminds me of the old joke: It's only sexual harassment when the guy asking you out is ugly, broke, and works in the mailroom. Actual stalking is a willful and malicious form of intimidation -- persistent unwanted pursuit after the pursuer has been informed that his or her attentions are unwanted. Stalkingvictims.com reports that most U.S. states define stalking as behavior that would instill fear in a reasonable person. Sorry, but what are you afraid of, getting cooties by association? The stench of loserhood lingering in your hair?
You take the post-modern approach to saying no, ditching "No means no" for "'Shoot me an e-mail' means no." Unfortunately, most people, including Dorky Boy, are probably working off the old definition. To make matters worse, if a guy really likes you, when one door fails to close, another 10 doors open. So, while you're waiting for him to read your mind about what a "creepy, uh, expletive" you think he is, he's probably laying out his dinner clothes, researching fine wine, and wondering whether you should name the children after his late grandma or yours.
It didn't have to get to this point. All you had to do was be kind enough to say something the first time he expressed interest -- nothing cutting about his looks or living arrangements -- just "Thanks for asking, but I'm not interested." You might also try squeezing out a little respect for guys who get up the nerve to go after what they want -- especially as a girl who doesn't have the guts to speak up about what she doesn't. If you "No, thanks!" a guy a few times, and he fails to back off, sure, call for reinforcements. Until then, do your best to avoid crying wolf while being pursued down the halls of your office by a quivering, three-legged Chihuahua.