There’s a man I know, a former co-worker, who has a small child with his wife. He posted on FB requesting a babysitter for tomorrow night. My first reaction was, “Can I do that? I can babysit!” immediately followed by this sinking realization that I cannot babysit for this man.
I was relieved when I moved to NY and wasn’t in the same state as him, so that when he said uncomfortable sexual things there was no chance I’d have to see him at work. This is a man that I’m not interested in, not at all. He seems to know that but he keeps up semi-random contact and in my experience they only do that when they want to develop a rapport in which they can possibly make additional sexual comments and then suggest that you sext or do something in real life. I wish I weren’t so jaded.
If I babysit his child, I put myself in his home and become available to him in a way I’m not comfortable with, knowing what his interest in me includes. I’m afraid to even wish him a happy birthday. And it’s not necessarily to do with what he has said and done, but with what I’m concerned he might do or say.
There have been real conversations about mutual interests and work and such. But there have also been conversations like this:
If he really feels that it never hurts to try even though I’ve told him I’m not interested, and even though we have conversations like this where I gently reject him, I just have some concerns that I might end up in a conversation where I can’t just deflect him.
I wish this weren’t an issue. I wish we could be friends and I could babysit his adorable kid. But I’ve been burned before. There’s a man in my life who I’ve known for probably 6 years now. We sometimes have great conversations. But usually when he starts up a conversation out of nowhere, it’s because he’s horny or he’s going to be in my area of town and wants to lead into, “Hey, want to hook up?” No.
The worst part is that I really like both these men. I really would like to be their friend but I can’t be just that. There’s always this little push they have to do. There’s always this concern that the conversation is going to take a turn into a place where I don’t want to be. Some people would say, just be clear about it and end their advances. Those people have clearly never been women pursued by somebody they genuinely like but aren’t interested in. I have been SO CLEAR in the past with a man that I was done. And he reached out again and again anyway. This is the same instinct that makes men continue to try and get up under your shirt or convince you that you want sex even after you’ve rebuffed them more than once.
And you know what? Their persistence pays off. Because we give in. Because at some point the constant rebuffing gets tiring, or they catch us in a moment of weakness. And that one moment teaches them that everything else we ever did or said is meaningless and clearly we lied or changed our minds and every moment from now on where we try to rebuff them again gets set against that one moment in which we failed.
So I can’t babysit his child.