i spent my first days in spain, the madrid days. rediscovering my single self. keeping my head up, when i really just wanted to slouch. looking cute, when sweats more fit my somber, post-hellish-break up mood, saying 'yes' and learning what dating in spain would require of me. needless to say, i attracted more than my fair share of freaks. remember this guy? the italian stalker i thought i'd left in madrid when i moved to barcelona? he had zero contact information for me. but somehow, a month into being here, i was strolling down las ramblas and guess who's tapping me on the shoulder from? at first i thought it was just a coincidence. later that week, again. there he was, acting all surprised to see me. then the deluge of phone calls and the pleading (please, have a drink with me. let me talk to you! it's not like before!) and the lying (i missed my plane. i'm still in barcelona... please, just one drink!!) then the anger (i've never met an evil chick like you! have a nice life!).
perhaps it's my own fault; i did kiss him once. but it seemed that from the minute i decided that we weren't a match, he became more and more convinced that we could be a match. and from the minute i saw him again in barcelona, i was on fire. i complained to my friends and my mom, for hours about being stalked. and when i couldn't get anyone else to listen, i kept the conversation up with myself. i obsessed about his obsession for at least 5 days. meanwhile, he called and texted and texted some more. sure enough, i held one end, he held the other and we maintained the tension over 2 months and 2 cities. somewhere between his pleading and my blogging about it, i realized what i had to do: forget about him. i pressed 'publish', and got the tale out onto this blog and into the world, i dropped it completely. ignored every text. did not engage. and you know what? he disappeared.
not to get all the secret on you, but i find what carl jung once said to be true: what you resist, persists, and what you fight, you strengthen. it's like those people who try and try to get pregnant, and the minute they stop trying, they get drunk one night and voilá! they're knocked up. or when you're waiting at the supermarket for the line to move, cursing the slow ass cashier. you engage your fellow shoppers in a gripe about the lethargy with which the cashier approaches the job she's being paid to do. then you start to talk about the weather, or how expensive milk is right now. and then you're in a full blown conversation. and before you know it, you're bagging your shit. i don't know how it works. i don't know why it works, but it does. every single time.
i apply this principle to dealing with men who won't leave me the fuck alone. here are some tips: 4 ways to handle persistent men.
let them know you get it. freaks are like the rest of us. we all just wanna feel understood. if someone's harassing you, there are two possible reasons that fall under the auspices of 'comprehension'. first, there's the language barrier. perhaps he thinks you just don't understand what he's trying to say, so he repeats it. ad nauseum. 'you're so beautiful, you're so beautiful, you're so beautiful.' you need to reassure him that you got it. second, he may just feel like you don't understand the depth of his emotion. whatever it is he's said, paraphrase and repeat it. more than once if need be. make him understand that you understand: 'thank you for saying that i'm beautiful and that you want to take me home to your mom,' or whatever.
take control. be the one to suggest the next step. ask for his number. tell him you'll call him tomorrow for a cup of coffee when you have an hour or so. i find guys who don't like to leave you alone, need some reassurance. what will it cost you to give him that? not much. because it's that, or continue the annoying dance that the italian and i did for 2 months. who needs it, when you can just soften up, and find a way to give him what he wants (without sacrificing any principals or body parts in the process?).
take this guy, for example. a commenter asked how i got rid of him. the answer is that i took control. when i saw he had every intention of commandeering my little seat by the seine, i suggested an alternative. 'look,' i said, 'i'm supposed to meet friends tonight but we haven't made concrete plans yet. give me your number, and if i don't meet up with my homies, i'll call you and we'll get a drink or something. sound good?' he bit. gave me his number, completely confident i'd call and walked away. of course, i didn't call, and my suggestion had deniability: i could always say that i did, indeed, meet up with friends, which was true. and even if it wasn't, isn't all fair in love and war??
ask him to leave you alone. i find that sometimes the direct approach does work. especially when my patience is wearing thin. let him know he's harassing you and that furthermore, that's just not sexy. if he cares at all about appearing attractive to you, he may respond to this one. a simple, 'you're ruining your chances with me right now. you should go,' has worked for me in the past.
walk him to the police station. if all else fails. this is for extreme cases and especially if you're feeling threatened. i've fallen back on this one only twice in life, with men in the street who were following me or harassing me. nowadays, i make it a point to know where the police stations nearest me are. and i'll stay polite, all the while walking that sucker/stalker straight to the precinct. they're normally off your tail before you can get the 'off' in officer out of your mouth. even if you're not feeling threatened, but just not in the mood to be nice (happens to all of us) just head in the direction of the nearest precinct.
above all, stay calm. try not to be defensive or resistant. think about what he may need to hear in order to walk away. then you're learning not only how to handle persistent men, but how to communicate effectively with human beings. just remember jung's 'what you resist, persists.' this goes for anything you don't want in life including annoying men.
as usual, experiment! tell me what works for you! but most of all, remain open!