Relentless Stalking Is Not Romantic

Illustration for article titled Relentless Stalking Is Not Romantic

When one writer asked her parents how they met, the answer was basically "Daddy relentlessly stalked Mommy until she gave in and married him." A charming tale — and one we've heard a few too many times.

Advertisement

According to Juliet Linderman's Nerve interview, her parents Bob and Paula met in 1973, and right away Bob "went home and told the girl I was living with that she had to move out. She asked why, and I said because I had met the woman I was going to marry." However, Paula wasn't at all interested in him: Bob "was very persistent in asking her out, and she was equally persistent in saying no." Why did she finally cave? Says Paula,

He had just bothered me enough. I had to. At this point, we had had enough conversations running into each other at the department where, I liked him well enough and thought he was interesting enough to spend time with him, but I was not interested in him romantically. But he wouldn't leave me alone. We enjoyed each other's company when we went out. At some point though, I had to tell him that I just wanted to be friends. He was spending money on me, and I said, "Look, this is not going anywhere romantically. I really like you and enjoy spending time with you, but I have other boyfriends and I'm not interested."

Then Bob "accepted the relationship completely on my terms," and the two "started spending a lot of time together as friends and talking a lot." Sounds fine — plenty of good friendships have started with romantic interest on one side or another — except that Bob was still trying to get into her pants. He even broke into her building:

She went home for Thanksgiving, in November, and I broke into her apartment building and decorated her door with a big "Welcome Back!" sign.

Bob and Paula both seem to remember this as a cute gesture, and their story has a happy ending — Paula says they've had a healthy marriage for thirty-four years. But what Bob describes as a "storybook romance" and Juliet seems to see as a sweet how-we-met tale also has creepy elements. What turned out to be love for Bob and Paula could just as easily be stalking for another couple, and it's disturbing how often stories of romance — especially in the movies, but in this case also in real life — involve inexorable pursuit against the woman's wishes. Bob's concluding words are particularly telling: Partly this is because "we met, we both really liked each other, we got married" doesn't make a very good story, but partly it's because love's supposed to mean more if dudes have to forcibly wrest it from women. Like him right away? You're easy. Have the gall to actually pursue him yourself? You're desperate. Is it any wonder that men stalk women, or fail to take no for an answer, when we're constantly told that love is a decision a dude makes and a woman eventually, reluctantly agrees to? Bob's concluding words send that message loud and clear:

Plan B was never in my mind. People say that life happens when your plans don't work out. Well, sometimes plans do work out. I committed to it, and I wasn't about to give up. I fought for her!

Advertisement

Things seem to have worked out well for Bob and Paula, but why do we still think it's cute to "fight for her" — against her?

Before You Were Born [Nerve]

DISCUSSION

alterno2k7
alterno2k7

I think this article highlights something quite important in today´s popular culture, that affects plenty of guys.

I can tell I was a victim of this, and although I didn´t quite get to the extremes of John Cusack, I did believe for a long time (probably a up to a couple years after college) that big romantic gestures and persistence could and should win over a girl´s heart.

I fully blame movies for this, and looking back now, I can tell I was a quite naive and borderline delusional young kid. I also used to believe that being nice and polite, with a respectful distance would make some great girl eventually notice me and realize I was the love of her life. Of course this set of behaviours kept me virgin until I was 23 lol, despite being handsome (or so I have been told) and popular in my university because of my academics and sports top performance.

Luckily for me, I found the pick-up artist scene, and although I didnt dive full on into it, I adopted some of its main principles revolving around the idea of not being needy and clingy, and the ability of moving on to a new girl if she makes clear she is not interested, since women dont like being pestered into dating a guy.

Those were two great lessons, along with creating a great happy lifestyle that would bring people to me, instead of me leeching to people with great lives and not bringing any value to them. As a result, being 28 now, I can tell that I have had several happy and life-changing relationships with the type of women I am into.

And of course movies are also to blame for the sense of entitlement many guys have about deserving a bar rafaelli or monica bellucci looking girlfriend, which is ridiculous, but well, that is a different subject.

Just my 2 cents.