Dear Persistent Passive-Aggressive Nice Guy

UPDATE – since I wrote this post in June 2014, this man has continued making donations to all causes I post on my blog, including one this week tying my LGBTQ project to Orlando. When I shared that with people, responses varied from how important it is for me to keep writing to rationalizations. Each time, I’ve told my co-fundraisers, they downplay it. Or say nothing because they don’t know what to say, I guess. So in a way, he’s won because this tactic isolated me.  ~ Sue

Dear Persistent Passive-Aggressive Nice Guy,

Just stop. Stop reading my blog after this. Stop following me on Twitter and Pinterest and anywhere. I blocked you for a reason. It wasn’t an invitation to give me even more attention. It wasn’t a cry for help. It wasn’t another hurdle in your crusade to get my attention.

It was a clear message – I don’t want to be your friend, your girlfriend, your online buddy, your anything. I don’t intend to say “hi” if I see you in public. I don’t want to have coffee. I want you to get out of my life.

I must say “well-played” with the approach of donating to every cause I post on my blog. That’s almost mad-genius as a way to make it look like you are such a good guy and I’m crazy for thinking you are inappropriate, overly-focused on me and not just a lovable awkward guy. When I realized what you have been doing while I wasn’t paying any attention to you these past months, I finally realized – you are doing this on purpose. It is not social awkwardness. It is an intentional disregard for my capacity to know what is best for me. You want to control me and make decisions for me even when I clearly say ‘no.’

You know I’m a rape survivor and a survivor of abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church. You know I’m living with mental illness. You know I’m in the dog-house with almost every advocate in the region because I am critical of Bill Peduto’s LGBTQ efforts. You know all of this and yet you still try to take advantage of me. Because I don’t have allies? Because no one will believe me? Because you are far, far smarter with the interwebs than I could ever hope to be?

So, yes you got my attention when I saw the pattern today in my blog stats. The thing is – there are other people who believe me, too. They see the pattern, too. And not just actual people in my life.

Your behavior was soundly called out last month by Arthur Chu in his piece  “Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds”

But the overall problem is one of a culture where instead of seeing women as, you know, people, protagonists of their own stories just like we are of ours, men are taught that women are things to “earn,” to “win.” That if we try hard enough and persist long enough, we’ll get the girl in the end. Like life is a video game and women, like money and status, are just part of the reward we get for doing well.

So what happens to nerdy guys who keep finding out that the princess they were promised is always in another castle? When they “do everything right,” they get good grades, they get a decent job, and that wife they were promised in the package deal doesn’t arrive? When the persistent passive-aggressive Nice Guy act fails, do they step it up to elaborate Steve-Urkel-esque stalking and stunts? Do they try elaborate Revenge of the Nerds-style ruses? Do they tap into their inner John Galt and try blatant, violent rape?

My life is not a sitcom and you are no longer a part of it. You lost your power over me when I realized that I was so afraid of being a jerk to the “persistent passive-aggressive nice guy” that I was behaving like a victim. I’m a human being, not a princess and not a prize.

No more. You need to back the fuck off. I don’t want you in my life. Stop using charitable projects to get my attention or approval. That’s a terrible thing to do. Unfortunately for you, you picked at least one organization that values ME more than your money. Today, I was reading an article in an advice column about a woman who thought people would think she invented her stalker to flatter herself  – I realized that I needed to write this. I’m not flattered that you are behaving this way. I’m repulsed and creeped out. I said “no” and you didn’t listen. If you continue to call yourself a feminist, you are in major denial. But I don’t care because it is not my job to figure out why you do this – just to tell you to stop.

Let’s be clear on that. I don’t owe you anything – no emotion, no explanation, nothing. Using charitable projects as a reason to force me to engage is not going to work. Don’t show up and ask for me. Don’t show up and expect me to make chit-chat, to avoid making a scene. You will not get access to me. Ever.

Go away. I cannot stop you from reading the blog, but I won’t acknowledge you again. I can’t stop you from making charitable donations, but I can make sure the recipients know the scoop and how you treat vulnerable people. I can’t stop you from observing me in the spaces you know I visit, but I can tell the managers what’s going on – I already have – and let them decide how to support me as a valued customer. I can’t stop you from throwing things in my face, but I can stop letting it get under my skin.

You are not a nice guy. A nice guy would have accepted “no” from the get-go.

Decidedly not yours in any way shape or form,

Sue

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  • Fantastic post and letter! You tell him! And more than that, you especially won’t be a part of his life because you are a lesbian. Interesting how that never came up. And he just has to know that coming on here.

  • I feel your pain. The old “if you were the last person on earth, I’d want nothing to do with you” hasn’t even worked for me, nor has completely ignoring them. And just when you think they’re gone for good, they reappear. It’s not funny. Quite frankly, it’s scary, especially when the person is seemingly nice, as you say. What’s even weirder is when the person lives in your neighborhood and his kids go to school with yours.

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