July 23, 2007

No Offense, But…

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It’s been said that at Cornell you’re one of three things: (1) practically living together and acting married, (2) sloozing around and hooking up with everyone or (3) holed up in your room with textbooks and video games. Listen, I don’t want to give readers the impression that I’ve been at number two forever or that I’m some Girls Gone Wild face who is naïve enough to believe that lasting relationships are the products of drunken hookups. I’m smart enough to know that a clumsy booze-soaked introduction will probably never end up a story fondly retold to the grandchildren.

Guess what? I’ve been in love. Here at Cornell. I was in a relationship for half of freshman year, all of sophomore year and a little bit of junior year. It was one of those situations where I’d lost my ambition, energy, friends and identity in the hurricane of what I thought to be an epic romance. As it turned out, he’d thought of me as his first love while I was certain he’d be my last. Totally healthy and not at all unreasonable on my part. Anyway, I could talk a lot of crap here and try to tell the truth about why the relationship fell apart in the best words I could come up with; but really, nobody cares and also it’d be hard to tell the truth without making me and my ex look like nutjobs. Because, uh, we are (you and your ex probably are too). So trust me, I am not qualified to give anyone relationship advice and I’m just going to stick to talking about sex and casual dating. That is, of course, unless someone wants to know how to turn a cute romance into a “toxic entanglement” overnight. I can help you out there.

Good. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I have a particular secret that I have never before aired in this space: I have a standard strategy to land dudes I’m interested in. If I have the slightest interest in a guy, I put feelers out in the form of a harmless Facebook message. Original and groundbreaking, right? If three messages are exchanged, he had better give me some sort of signal that he’s interested by number three (I call it “the bite”) and if not, then no dice — I’m done with it and I move on. I’ve got other shit to do and I don’t have time to obsess. The strategy has had a 75 percent rate of return this year, so it must be somewhat effective.

Now, there is a certain camp (me) that believes if a guy or girl is confident enough to make a bold move and make his or her intentions clear with someone, whether it’s to get laid or get into a relationship, that shutting this person down cold or blowing them off will not shatter the self-esteem. Hey, he put himself out there in the first place—don’t worry too much about crushing the kid; he knew he was taking the risk. The worst thing you can do is lead someone on in an effort to spare their feelings.

And yet. One thing I failed to mention is that in my Facebook-message scheme, there is one major flaw: I don’t make any intentions clear. I guess I’ve just been lucky so far and guys have been bold. I message him with, say, some question to which I clearly know the answer. If his reply ends with a question or something else that prompts a response from me, then we’re getting somewhere. If his message ends with “have a great summer” then I close his file and chalk it up to him just being intimidated by my awesomeness. But last week, I had quite a jarring experience with a Facebook message exchange that turned semi-disastrous (and ended in my blocking him on Facebook due to sheer embarrassment. Mature.)

Message One went off without a hitch. But by Message Two, he says to me—and I shit you not—“no offense, but I’m sort of dating someone.” Pardon me, sir? Listen, I have no problem with straightforwardness and as I said before, if I were to have said something like “hey, want to grab a drink this weekend?” I would have absolutely appreciated the honesty. But the message was in response to a question about some orientation crap that semi-relates to one of the organizations I am involved in! This is total crap.

First of all, nothing pisses me off more than a guy that assumes I’m interested when I’m not. I mean, I was interested, but how the hell would he have known that? Number two, “no offense?” Perhaps the only thing that gets me more upset than giant egos (and leggings) is when someone prefaces an insult with “no offense.” It’s always in a really offensive sentence too, like, “no offense, but I think you need to get over yourself immediately.”

Remember how your mom always told you to walk away when you’re angry so you don’t say something you’ll regret? Well, I should have slammed my computer shut and listened to a little Norah Jones or something. Instead, I freaked out and sent him a not-so-nice message back. I was so embarrassed the next day that I blocked him on Facebook—who even does that?

I need to stop with the games, the “strategies.” You do too—stop it, all of you! If I walk around expecting guys to be honest and direct with me, it’s totally unfair of me to have gotten angry at this dude. Maybe the reason I was so pissy is because he saw through my game and sort of called me out before I’d even swung the bat. Whatever the case, I’m sorry, Facebook message dude. I’m sure you’re a really good boyfriend and I’m sorry that the only part of you I was able to stroke was your ego.

P.S.: Just for the future: most girls who Facebook message you aren’t interested in touching you. No offense.