Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Networking or punking?

I’ve never been entirely comfortable in our evolving world of social networking. It seems rather odd to me that so many people have access to our lives, can contact us in any of a dozen different ways, but I’m trying to adjust. Yesterday, however, I received an email that still surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Here’s the note with the names changed to protect the…unexpected.

My name is Brian and while my specific issue is in the realm of dating, it is also romance related. While googling for advice I discovered that you were a romance author. Not sure if you can offer advice on my situation, but I thought I'd give it a try since I was too embarrassed to tell my friends about it. If you have the time and the interest, I describe the incident below. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago. It was a public event at an art gallery. She was a high school teacher in her early thirties. We had been talking for about a half hour and really seemed to develop a great rapport. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime. Then, things suddenly went downhill. I commented that she had a “really nice, hourglass figure”. I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended. I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things. She told me I was being "inappropriate" and with a look of complete disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed. As I stood there alone rubbing my cheek, I was trying to figure out why she was so upset. It seemed like a harmless comment to me but maybe I don't understand women as well I should. I do have her email address. Do you think I should send her an apology note or should I interpret the slap in the face as a definitive way of saying she wants no further contact? Brian

I’m not entirely sure whether this note is a prank or an honest attempt to gain some insight into a weird situation. Either way, I wrote back, saying my only qualification was the fact that I myself am female.

He followed up saying he had already sent an apology and received this comment in return:

Hi Brain and thank you for the apology but I do think it is best that we not see each other again. Perhaps you meant well, but as you learned firsthand, it is very inappopriate and highly offensive to "size up" a woman the first time you meet her. I like to be appreciated for who I am, and not how well I can fill out a skirt. Hopefully you've learned from this, and the next time you meet a woman you like things will end on a positive note and not with another red cheek ;-) Emily

Intriquing, no? So what do you think? Is this just a hoax perpetrated by someone who was really bored? And regardless, what do you think of the situation? Should he have apologized? Should she have slapped him? What would you have done in the same situation?

14 comments:

Michele Hauf said...

Christie and I both got that email too! So weird. Sounds like a mentally unstable dude. I wrote back and said 'Just because i am a romance writer does not make me an advice columnist'.

Would be interesting to learn how many he sent that to.

lois greiman said...

Really??? Weird!!

KylieBrant said...

Hmmm. Sounds like a hoax or a really weird guy. Knowing the sense of humor most romance writers have, we could really screw this guy up!

IMO, she was out of line to slap him. There was no need for physical violence. And when push comes to shove (haha)a drink in the face works nicely. But that too would have been over the top in this situation.

ForestJane said...

If you google the keyword phrase "had a really nice hourglass figure" you see that same letter has been posted a lot of different places.

Leanne said...

If he's sending this letter around to a ton of people, then he's a jerk.:/ When people ask me for romantic advice (and it's rare), I say, "I have a B.S. in Psychology. That means I'm only qualified to treat fictional characters.":)

Helen Brenna said...

Wow, I got the same letter from a "Kevin" and didn't respond. It seemed odd. Too bad it's a hoax. I think the guy deserves a slap! lol

krisgils33 said...

Sounds like a hoax with it being sent ot multiple people. I think the slap was way out of line; I probably would have just wrapped up the conversation, departed, and never spoken to the guy again. But, there are definitely people out there taking a less passive approach to offending comments.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I'm with you on the creep-out part, Lois. I'm such a soft touch for people who seem to just need a friend. I hate it that strangers can't afford to be kind anymore. (Poor Blanche.)

I guess I would worry about the virus befuddled Brian might have slapped on my computer.

If the story were true, should she have slapped him? Would a normal person slap the guy in the circumstances described and leave him with her contact information? I don't think so. Bad script.

We're not psychologists, we're writers, ie lifelong students of human behavior. So let's look at it from a professional standpoint. IMO the guy is artless, but the woman is looking for the spotlight. (Get it? Art gallery.) Silly on its face. Put this in a novel and there had better be something compelling about the writing or I'll close the book.

lois greiman said...

Yeah, the slapping thing struck me (another pun) as too cliche, not to mention violent.

Also, I find that the older I get the less offended I am by compliments of any sort. :)

Michele Hauf said...

What I don't get, is if it is a hoax, to what end purpose? What does this person hope to get out of sending this out to tons of authors? A new friend? A penpal? It baffles me.

lois greiman said...

I know a guy, a friend of a friend, who will just make up lies, outrageous, carefully out up lies for no apparent purpose. Just for attention maybe??

Kathleen Eagle said...

To see how many responses he gets? It's the old power play, the control issue.

Grist for the mill, Lois. The writer's mill, of course.

Amy J. Fetzer said...

Ya know... I once had a man email saying a woman he adored wasn't getting that he wanted to restart an old relationship. She was a fan of mine and he asked me, for help. he gave her number, I thought it was a hoax and yes, I called. Turned out, it was true, he was THE lost love of her life and they'd lived in different parts of the county. The woman was lovely and stunned he went to such lengths, and that I'd participated. They've been together ever since. Nice ending to weird story. But the one you recieved is a hoax, since its been posted everywhere. the slap was over the top, imo.
I'm with you Lois on the 'too much access' to my life. It doesn't make me comfortable.

lois greiman said...

Wonderful story, Amy. And really nice of you to call her for him.