Thursday, March 30, 2006

Is there a "nice" way to say "no?"

I had my last beginning Chinese class last night. Since it's an evening class at a community college, it's an ecclectic mix of people ranging between 15 and 50 years of age. There are a couple distinct types of people who choose to take the class:

- men with girlfriends/wives who are Chinese
- people who know a little Chinese but want to improve and/or learn to read and write (like me)
- language fanatics who just want to learn to speak to anyone and everyone
- teenagers who are taking this for their language requirement
- Cantonese speakers who want to learn to read/write and but can't find a native language class
- people who need to learn some basic Mandarin for work

Over the 15 weeks together (twice a week for 2+ hours), the class has grown familiar with each other. Our instructor even tried briefly to get us to change seats each class so we could meet new people. I could probably recognize 75% of the class if I were to run into them on the street. The first day I got there, I have to admit I was hoping maybe there'd be a cute guy or two I could get to know, but it didn't really materialize.

On our last day, we had to wait a bit as everyone took their turn privately reciting some Chinese text to our instructor. During the down time, I recall looking around and thinking there were maybe a couple people, that if they were to ask me out, I'd consider going even though I didn't really know them. In particular there was this one Vietnamese guy. I've never talked to him, but I think he just has a particular look and build that I am attracted to. He strangely enough did come up to a group of us during the break, but we were busy practicing for our oral presentation so he walked away. Oh well, I figured it was all wishful thinking.

At the end of the night, one guy caught up with me as I walked to my car. For the midterm, I was paired with this fellow, Pat, to provide an oral presentation. Basically we spent 20 minutes creating a skit lasting about 10 lines each. Otherwise I don't know this guy, and he sits on the other side of the room.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered why he had caught up with me to chat. He asked if I was planning to take the next class for the spring. I told him probably not since I'm going on vacation and would miss several classes. About 500 feet from my car, the question I half expected (but hadn't prepared for) revealed itself. He knew this was his last chance and asked, "hey, I was wondering if you'd like to have coffee sometime?"

With an embarrassed smile I responded without much hesitation, "No thanks... (and quickly added) thanks for asking."

I couldn't look at him. I know he said something like "okay" and "goodbye." I felt awful as I approached my car and unlocked the door. I sat in the driver's seat as I caught a glimpse of his silhouette getting into a car. I should feel flattered I suppose. What could I do? I wondered if I could have handled that any better.

(Tim suggested I could have fibbed a little and mentioned a boyfriend or something to let him down easier.)

I commend guys who have the guts to approach a woman (excluding the creeps who asks out any female with a pulse who comes near them). I don't want to do anything that would cause him to lose confidence in trying again with someone else. I wasn't attracted to him; I'm not going to lead him on. Would it have been better or worse to meet him for coffee knowing that he has virtually no hope of winning me over? This is one time when I don't envy guys.


teahouse said...

Wow, that was gutsy of him! Seems like most men would have waited until farther into the class, when you knew each other better. I commend him for his cajones.

That's how my Boy and I got together. He asked me out. I said no, because I wasn't interested and didn't think he was my type.

But he didn't give up. And eventually, I got to know him better, and liked him more and more!

You never know...

Anna May Won't said...

i think you did the right thing. you were direct and honest, and cushioned it with a "thanks for asking." better to not lead him on.

why is it always the guys we *don't* want who have the guts to ask us out?

papi chino said...

Damn!!! I know how that guy felt. I've been there so many times. Each time it gets better though as self-confidence grows. I now understand how hard it is for the girl to turn down the guy. I must commend you for not leading him on.

Clinton said...

Hey, just enjoying some of your archived posts. I like your writing.

You did the right thing. He's a big boy, he can handle the rejection.