Advicereality check

Reality Check

I wrote you a couple weeks ago about a girl from work with whom I went out on a date. It was a total disaster, and it cost me a small fortune, and because of it, I was really broke and barely eating by the time the next pay day rolled around. So, I took your advice, and when she asked me to go out again after that, I went. I was at least hoping she would buy me a drink and stay sober long enough for some more good conversation.

If you remember, the first date started out really great and then tanked when she did. Well, that didn’t happen. She told me to “come by†her place, which I assumed meant I was picking her up and she would take me out, or at least that we would be having dinner there. Not so much. I got there and she was talking about watching the debate, which was cool because I kind of wanted to watch it, too, and so the plan was then hanging out at her place. Again, this would have been fine if she was even slightly prepared for entertaining. She had a six pack of some really, really shitty beer, which was super annoying because she knows that I am a total beer geek, and we talked about the fact that I would pretty much rather drink water than a nasty, cheap beer, because for me it isn’t about drinking to get drunk. I like to drink good beer because I like the way it tastes, too. But it shouldn’t have surprised me that she either didn’t remember that or completely ignored it, because as I also mentioned, she’s more of a talker than a listener once she has a buzz on. It seemed like she was already drinking before I got there, tipsy but not shitfaced.

She didn’t really have any food or snacks, and as soon as the debate came on (the one she was talking about incessantly for the half hour leading up to it), she continued to talk through the entire thing, only louder. Keep in mind that the last date was incredibly expensive, paid for by me, with her swearing over and over again that she would “get me back†when we got paid again. Now, I don’t know what to do because she seems to have no idea that the night was a disaster again, and now she thinks we have something going on, because in her mind, this was our second date.

I have a very hard time saying no to people, and she asked me if I wanted to do something again next weekend. Luckily, I am actually going to be out of town, so I could say no without feeling bad. But she keeps going out of her way to run into me at work, dropping by my desk, taking lunch at the same time that I do and chatting me up all the time, and I keep feeling worse and worse, which also makes me feel more and more annoyed.

What should I say to her? I can’t possibly say that I think she’s an annoying, self-centered alcoholic, even though I really do. I want things to be neutral at work because she is new and I don’t want to make her feel bad, but I really can’t imagine going through another social situation with her. Please help me.

Mr. Nice Guy

You know I am all about straightforward, get-to-the-fucking-point honesty, MNG, but in this case, maybe not. You don’t want to hurt her feelings, and being honest and straightforward only works if the person you’re talking to is actually listening to the words that are coming out of your mouth—a skill that she seems to lack. Maybe your best bet is simply to be nice but keep her at arm’s length at work, and when she asks you out just keep saying no until she stops asking. Don’t make excuses or tell lies, just tell her you can’t or don’t feel like it if she invites you to do anything. That way you’re not stringing her along but you’re not making her feel bad, either.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: On a final note, I hope all of you are going to vote or, better yet, have already voted by the time you read this. The kind of folks who read this column (or at least those of you who generally respond) are exactly the ones whose voices seem to be ignored in the Great Red State of Georgia. This year, more than ever, the agenda of many who are running for elected office is about controlling women and their bodies, restricting the civil rights of the LGBT community as well as health care access for the poor, and legislating morality, all in the name of Sweet Baby Jesus—and, ironically, freedom. Even if you don’t think it matters, even if you are vastly outnumbered, you have to make your voices heard. This is especially important in local elections, where decisions are made that effect all of us individually. I know many people think it’s a pain in the ass, or that it doesn’t matter, but it does.

Take a few minutes to read over Flagpole’s coverage of the local races (Binders Full of Ballots, in the Oct. 24 issue, is particularly useful), pay attention to what is happening locally, and write letters or, better yet, make phone calls to your local reps. The homefront is the real battleground, people. You have to know what’s going on in your own backyard, in your own schools, and tell these folks what you want. If we forget that they work for us, then we make it that much easier for them to forget, too. Please, please vote. And make a habit of respectful communication with politicians. I especially urge you to write letters to the ones who are doing things that you like. Can you imagine how few letters of support and thanks the average politician receives? Unless you’re independently wealthy, your words are all you have. Use them.