One of the consultants my company works with is super hot, and all of my colleagues know I think so. I don’t want to date him and have no plans to pursue him; I just like looking at him. However, my colleagues continue to imply that all I really want is a “private meeting” with this guy. How can I get them to see that I’m not the office slut?
I Don’t Even Want to Do It on my Desk
My dear madam,
There is nothing wrong with liking to look at a well-set-up man, especially one who dresses the part. Does this gentleman wear a blue coat? Or a great coat (those do enhance the breadth of the shoulders, you know)? Why some among us—I’m looking at you, Sir Walter, put the mirror down!—think that looks are simply everything. Does this gentleman parade the halls of your workplace in a well-fitting suit? Does he talk condescendingly of his fondness for cottages in the country? These are good signs that he is a mere popinjay, and can be ignored out of hand, even if he is cute.
Of course, your question did not concern the eligibility of the gentleman; in fact you expressed desire for other people to stop speculating on his eligibility and character. Miss Austen apologizes (and turns a blind eye on your more explicit references, even if as much of that does go on in the country as in the town!). I doubt very much that your coworkers really do think you are the office slut, if this is all they have attacked you with. But the rampant desire to speculate about any possible relationship for any young lady has not changed in 1,000 years or more, and is not likely too, either. This gentleman is provoking exactly the reaction in your neighborhood that Mr. Bingley did when he turned up (It is a truth universally acknowledged, etc, etc). You recall how much Miss Bennet enjoyed being teased about him and how tactless, nay, oblivious, most of her relations were in this regard. It is indeed a friend of great delicacy and discernment who can repress his or her natural instincts and treat your feelings with respect. Cherish these people. Regarding the others, I advise philosophy: they will never change. Though a biting remark is tempting it does tend to, uh, come back and bite you. You might also attempt to divert their interest into other channels. Miss Austen leaves it to you as to how scrupulous or honest you wish to be in this endeavor.
For what do we live but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?
pp Jane Austen, signed in her absence
I’ve enjoyed connecting with old friends on Facebook (and keeping up with my children). The trouble started when an old boyfriend friended me. At first I was flattered—we dated when I was in my thirties, which was, ahem, awhile ago! However, he seemed rather obsessed with me, always phoning, chatting, etc. And when I agreed to visit him (which I admit was a mistake) he not only posted status updates about how excited he was that I was coming, but berated me for not doing the same! Even before I went, I was remembering why I broke up with him, but now that I’ve seen him in person. . . ! He’s pompous, arrogant, he never lets me finish a sentence, and he simply doesn’t believe me when I tell him it can’t work between us. Please tell me how to convince this knuckleheaded “gentleman,” once and for all, that it’s OVER!
Reconnecting with gentlemen you’ve been attached to and quarreled with can be done, but it’s tricky work. There generally must be some change of mind on one side or the other to overcome the reason for the separation (such as the acquisition of a large sum of money by at least one party.) This can be true even though he may be using you as a standard which no woman, not even yourself, can reach.
When the gentleman has not overcome his faults, and you are no more willing to put up with them than you were, it’s a different story. You now have to re-crush his hopes, and this can be difficult. Many gentleman are knuckleheaded, and so full of their own importance that they can believe a woman to be accepting them even when she is refusing them in the plainest language. My first advice would be to refer the matter to your father, whose refusal may not be mistaken for the delicacy of an elegant female. However, if you don’t have a father or brother who can tell him to get lost, your best recourse is to ensure that he fancies himself in love with someone else. Have you no friends panting for such obsessive attention, who wouldn’t mind the annoyances you describe? Hook him up with an eligible spinster of your acquaintance. I promise you, if she is amiability itself, he will soon forget about you, or at least only remember you enough to constantly remind you what you have lost, and I’m sure you can bear that very well!
pp Jane Austen (signed in her absence)
P.S. A further piece of advice: renewing old acquaintances is all very well, but you don’t know what these people have become, and their rapacious children may try to marry yours for their fortunes. Light chat and status updates can be deceiving. So, be careful!
I recently met a young man at a party, and I think I’d like to date him. He’s very cute, and I think he likes me. But I’m shy, and we don’t live near each other. How should I proceed?
Beware! Before you embark on any journey of affection, it would be wise to discover the man’s history with as much veracity as possible. Good-looking and personable men are, as we all know, typically cads and liars. Prepare yourself.
What do you know about this gentleman’s family? Has he any cherished siblings whom you might engage in conversation? Seek out handsome, true-hearted childhood friends from whom you may learn the truth, and remember: handsome, true-hearted childhood friends must always make superior lovers. Were it not for the smiling, beguiling leeches of our honor and decency, many an honest match would never have been made, and thank the heavens for them!
If you have any sisters, be sure to spread the news about this treacherous young man as quickly as possible; the more attractive and honorable his manner, the more likely it is that he will soon make off with the first silly, naive creature to cross his crooked path. Save your family the expense and the trouble of a midnight search party. It is your duty to report the future misdeeds of this young scoundrel-to-be.
You must now congratulate yourself, Adoring, on preventing such scandal from approaching your door. Better to attach yourself to this lout’s sworn enemy, and save yourself the trouble of a charming, good-looking husband.