Lunch used to be simple

The Flirtation

"The Flirtation" - Image via Wikipedia

I remember fondly a time when lunch was a simple enough affair.

I eat in the cafeteria more often than I go out, both for convenience and for budgetary reasons. It’s usually a 10-minute swing through the cafeteria line, debating what, if anything, I actually want and … usually not having found something I want, exactly… deciding what I will settle upon for my midday meal. Then I take my mildly to moderately satisfying lunch back to my desk to eat while I work. Or, you know, while I check my personal email or whatever.

This already-disappointing process got a little more complicated when the new guy started in the cafeteria.

Complicated because CafeMan flirts with me. Which is already uncomfortable for me, because I am such a flirting failure.

And then he started asking me out. Like, all the time. By midweek of every week, he needs to know if I’m free that weekend.

Um.

(1) I am at the office. I am not mentally or emotionally prepared for there to be flirting. Even less so for there to be requests for dating. I am already stressed out from work, dude, I can’t be stressing out over this too!

(2) He is also at work. He is going to get himself fired by flirting with me. Today he blew off a phone call from his boss to talk to me, even while both I and his colleague gestured frantically for him to Take the call!

(3) Not to mention the sulky thing he does when disappointed. He wears his heart on his sleeve. If I did date him, then when it ends badly (and unfortunately it will more likely than not end badly – I am, after all, me) then I will have to live in fear that he’ll “accidentally” poison me. Or he’ll have to work in another location. Or it will be painfully awkward, for us and everyone around us. (Can you say, “hostile workplace”?)

(4) Technically, I am not dating the boy. The boy and I have no official dating-related status. (If we did have an official dating status, CafeMan would have been made to know about it, and that, I assume, would be that.) But we don’t. And because we haven’t had a clear and defining conversation in Quite Some Time… I can’t quite say I’m otherwise involved, nor do I feel like I should see anyone else without some kind of explicit mutual understanding that I am, in fact, free to do that. Unfortunately, defining conversations have been hard to come by while he deals with life-and-death issues in Miami. In light of the fact that the boy and I are on each other’s short list of people-who-can-be-trusted, and trust is a thing to be highly prized in any relationship, I just don’t feel all that available to be dating until that’s resolved.

And that’s even if there weren’t those other significant weirdness issues to overcome.

Which there are.

Meanwhile CafeMan is persistent. Today I really tried to explain that as much as I think he’s a nice person, and I appreciate him, and I’m flattered… we need to be able to interact normally at work, and I don’t think it’s a good idea. (I didn’t explain about what a flirting disaster I am. If he hasn’t noticed it yet, I’m sure eventually he will.)

His response to what I thought was a clear No?

We can work it out. I like you, I’ll wait for you. It’s not just that I think you’re cute, even though you are very pretty. But I think you’re a kind person, too. You are… I can tell… you’re a nice person, you don’t think you’re more than other people, you’re not loud or angry to people. So, yes, I like you, and I want to go out with you. No, that’s not right. I don’t want to go out with you. I like you, and I want you to be my girlfriend.

OK, that is all very nice and quite flattering.

It just doesn’t make anything any easier.

Remember when lunch was an uncomplicated event, geared simply around fueling the body in hopefully palate-pleasing and ideally healthy ways?

Those were good days.

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About aka gringita
Flotsam generator. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Christ follower.

3 Responses to Lunch used to be simple

  1. He seems a little overly eager to me…wanting to skip ahead to boyfriend/girlfriend before you’ve even gone out on a date. Still, that’s gotta be somewhat flattering, at least! Ask him if he can whip up something with portobello mushrooms. 🙂

    Like

    • aka gringita says:

      Normally I would be feeling a little weird and alarmed by someone jumping to that point. But experience tells me that when someone is ESL, you should both make allowances for and be alert for (1) gaps between what they say in English and what they meant to say, and (2) gaps in cultural nuances. For instance: Anglo men (in my very limited experience) are usually very cautious about applying labels (watch an otherwise reasonable man break into a sweat over the difference between “girl friend” and “girlfriend”) and watchful of the clock/calendar (“uh oh, we’re coming up on three months… if I’m not Really Serious, I better break if off with her now or she’ll think I am”), etc. Latino men (in my very limited experience) don’t necessarily know these “rules” and don’t play by them. The important thing is to be paying attention to the gaps, and not making assumptions about what either side means by anything. (Probably good advice for any relationship, with anyone, actually.)

      All that to say, I’m way less “bunchy” about the word “girlfriend” being bandied about already, just like I didn’t attach a lot of unintended meaning when the boy and I passed the three-month mark, once upon a time.

      Doesn’t matter… flattering or alarming, I’m still not dating him…

      Like

  2. Pingback: Well, I handled that badly « aka Gringita

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