How are you doing? Just trying to keep things casual and upbeat [and polite, because I am Canadian, after all] before we move on to a subject I’m trying to form an opinion on. You can be sure that if I was even 23% sure of myself this would be a post that confidently projected my opinions as being truths, but alas, here we are.
Last week I came across an article on the AV Club on what you probably know to be one of my favourite shows: Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It concerned one character in particular, Detective Charles Boyle, and how much of the season followed his attempts at wooing fellow officer Rosa Diaz. Now they weren’t, and I’m not, making any comments about workplace romances- the focus was instead on the fact that she was clearly not interested in him.
That’s just a single exchange from a short montage that includes three, the last of which has her holding his face in one hand and telling him “Listen to me! The healthy thing for you to do is move on.” His behaviour does not stop there, however.
The article, which bears the subtitle “The day of the Nice Guy is over”, goes on to say that playing this sort of thing off as comedy is inherently problematic because:
“A generation of romantic comedies rewarding men for diligently pursuing a woman until she caves has normalized a behavior that has direct and unwelcome corollaries in real life. “
It’s all fun and games until it borders on actual harassment. I mean, arguably it stops being fun and games before that, because it must be frustrating to tell someone “no” only to have them persist.
Here’s the thing for me personally, which is that it’s not even just TV shows and movies that has caused this idea to stick with me [though they’ve done the majority of the heavy lifting]. When I was in high school one of my best friends told me that his brother-in-law asked his sister to marry him three times before she said yes. I never asked for him to specify any sort of context, but I can remember being in awe of the guy. “Yes,” I thought, “Hard work pays off.”
With those four words in mind women of potential interest become either dikes [no puns here, just keep reading] or foxes. In the first scenario all of the unrelenting attention eventually serves to erode and break down the barrier, flooding the farmlands, villages, etc. with the seawater of your love. In the latter she’s just “hard to get”, and after putting in enough effort you’re sure to catch her because, after all, she’s just playing games. Release the hounds, etc.
I guess what I’m asking here, la- women I would like to maybe date one day, what do I do? To be completely honest I am terrified of being just another guy out there bothering women. I realize how difficult even being female and on a dating site can be, and the last thing I want is to make people feel uncomfortable or, heaven forbid, unsafe. If I send a message and don’t get a reply should I try again, is the first one left unanswered a resounding “No”?
Perseverance and tenacity are both words that I’ve heard upheld by both sexes. “Be confident, if you give up too easily it’ll make it seem like you don’t care.” I don’t think I have any danger of turning into an actual full-fledged Charles Boyle [or the wounded friend zone detainee], I just want more solid guidelines. It’s not going to take someone telling me to my face to move on to send the message, but what about less extreme cases?
The AV Club’s review of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s 13th episode applauds Boyle’s parting lines to Diaz as he explains why he took a bullet for her:
“I did what every good cop would do. And when you finally go out with me, and you will, it’ll be because of things only Charles Boyle would do.”
I chalk it up to the sincere tone of Lo Truglio’s delivery that made it so that viewers didn’t immediately balk at his character straight-up telling another that she would inevitably date him. Personally, I’d rather say the right thing instead of saying it right way.
So, women who are reading this both on the market and off, what advice do you have for me? Is the line between “cute” and “creepy” really that narrow, or is it better to be safe than sorry [about making people feel uncomfortable]?
Anyway, thanks for reading this message meant for a few hundred million people all over the planet. Don’t all respond at once, but it’d be rad if some of you did.