She frequently organizes after-work events and parties for her co-workers to attend, and recently met a fellow employee named Nate at one of these events.
Nate seemed like a nice enough guy, so Dana took down his information and added him to her Evite list, which she regularly sends around the office to notify fellow employees of upcoming events. The list is hardly exclusive; each Evite goes out to well over 50 people in her department alone.
Nate subsequently declined every invitation to Dana's employee events, yet would mysteriously show up anyway. Although Dana found his behavior peculiar, she didn't think much of it. After all, she barely knew the guy aside from a few casual conversations.
"No big deal," she thought.
But then things began to take a strange turn.
Nate began sending private texts and emails to Dana, asking her if she'd like to go out for a round of drinks or perhaps a nice dinner. Dana politely declined Nate's requests, explaining that she had a long-term boyfriend with whom she was quite happy. She felt she made it quite clear to Nate that she wasn't interested. At all.
Or so she thought.
Halloween came around, and Dana decided to organize a huge Halloween Pub Crawl for her friends and co-workers. Nate declined the initial group invitation as usual, but sure enough halfway through the evening Nate appeared, dressed up in a Hershey's T-shirt covered in fake lipstick kisses.
A more appropriate costume would have been 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer however, because Nate spent the entire evening conducting ruthless interrogation sessions with Dana's non-work friends, trying desperately to find out more information about her. Dana wasn't aware of the commotion; she was too busy hosting the pub crawl and having a great time with her boyfriend.
The party ended up at Dana's apartment later that night, and everybody was having a great time. Everyone, that is, except for Nate.
Nate suddenly pulled Dana into the living room, and inexplicably began screaming at her for "ignoring him" throughout the course of the evening. He tossed a stuffed animal gift at her, followed by the impromptu delivery of a speech intended to qualify the muted symbolism of his chosen attire for the evening.
"I'm dressed as a piece of chocolate because you're allergic to chocolate. But I'm a piece of chocolate you can have!" screamed Nate.
I'm not saying the room suddenly grew silent, but a well-timed gnat fart reverberated like a close-range thunderclap.
After thoroughly embarrassing himself, Nate stormed out the door into the night.
Oddly, he didn't stick around to enjoy cake.
"Then the emails and texts started coming," says Dana, adding, "I should say hate texts and emails."
Dana attempted to smooth out any misunderstandings with Nate by explaining, once again, that she had a long-term boyfriend, and had no interest whatsoever in dating Nate.
She didn't hear from him again until late November, when Dana's uncle died. Nate once again began texting Dana repeatedly, asking her out for drinks so she could have an opportunity to "vent" her feelings about her uncle's death.
Dana completely ignored his texts, and, cautious of his bizarre behavior, quickly removed his name from the employee Evite list.
The texts slowly began to die off until December, when Dana came into work one day to find a Christmas gift on her desk.
Nate had purchased Dana a set of "Bow Biters," essentially small plastic neon Muppet heads designed to permanently fasten shoelaces. Bow Biters primarily appeal to three year-olds, as the packaging clearly warns "CHOKING HAZARD-Small Parts." (Insert your own joke here.) She initially thought of them as a gag gift, but Nate's ensuing email proves otherwise.
Nate wrapped the Bow Biters in a Cherry Pie box, and left a really creepy card on top of the ensemble.
Dana ignored Nate's overture, hoping he would simply get the hint and go away.
In January, Dana began to fire up the employee social schedule again by organizing a Roller Derby event amongst her closest friends at work. Nate somehow found out about the event, and arrived uninvited. Dana was disturbed at Nate's behavior up to this point, so she left the function early to avoid any further confrontations with Nate.
Which of course led to another barrage of texts and emails.
Sick of his unwelcome missives, Dana decided to issue one last text, again attempting the courteous route:
"It's no big deal, but you make me feel uncomfortable. I will NOT meet you for drinks."
Now, remember folks, Dana barely even knows this guy.
Yet here is Nate's email response to her text:
Uncomfortable, not sure what I can do to help you with that other than the passage of time. Without knowing more from you, I’m not even sure what aspect of Halloween has you feeling uncomfortable.
(1) You could be angry, disgusted, and offended all wrapped up into a cute little 5’5-8ish”( In heels?) just below my chin, ball of fiery wrath.
(2) You could feel uncomfortable, because you feel bad or think I resent you in some way.
- The truth is, I only think about Halloween when I begin to feel awkward after I sense you are feeling weird or I get lost in thoughts of past miss-steps on my behalf, turning my cheeks red with embarrassment within the confines of my car, nothing you did.
- It wasn’t as an enormous deal in a relationship sense. We weren’t a couple, I wasn’t getting cheated on. The only thing that upset me was what I felt was a gross disrespect toward me as a person and friend. Everyone is a loser in love throughout their life, I accept that side of the coin on face value.
- I was already broken, I had "betrayal" tattooed on my chest earlier that summer by someone I’d been seeing for over a year, who had another boyfriend that whole time as well.
(3) You could feel weird because you think I am still pursuing you romantically and have chosen the path of cold resistance to throw me off your trail,. Your patience definitely seemed to run out shortly after you received those glamorous bowbiters (A girls true best friend forever).
First let me say, any gentleman would consider himself “once in a life time lucky” to be immersed in you everything that is you. You are exceptionally beautiful, great smile (the real one that occasionally escapes unchecked, although I know you have a real knockout you’ve rehearsed since highschool for potential photo-ops), a glint in your eye, infectious laugh, just an incredible person with a real spark and enthusiasm for life in you. What more does a guy need?!?
- The answer is no, I have not been pursuing you. I have been on hiatus since Halloween. I realized I needed a break from women in general to get my shit together and rebuild my confidence in the integrity of the better half of our species. It was long overdue. I haven’t been going out of my way to pursue you or anyone else.
Dana responded with an email of her own, simply requesting that Nate no longer contact her, something she had been trying to get him to understand for months by completely ignoring him.
Would that explanation suffice?
Of course not.
Go ahead, Nate:
I appreciate all the effort you put into "trying." If you have a problem with me, I deserve to hear what it is. None of this glossing over it as just being uncomfortable. People fight all the time over dumb shit and life isn't awkward 3 months later.
It is weird situation to be the one who had to do the forgiving instead of walking away.
I can't even tell you how disheartening it is to see you are still friends with that douchebag. I will go to my grave seething over that fella, but his comments were no fault of your own. On the flip side, as far as I can tell, you never stuck up for me at all.
I was done with halloween and had moved on. I'll respect the decision if thats what you want, but I will not respect the process nor you for making it 3 months after the fact w/o saying anything. Ignoring a problem isn't trying and hoping I eventually go away isn't trying.
I'm finding the more I ramble the whinier, bizarre, and greater the bleeding heart gets. You aren't going to get over anything if you've been doing the opposite of trying though.
In most instances I am a man of my word except when it comes to unfiltered streams of panic'd thought and mixed emotions I guess. I am going to earn a cry baby title fairly soon and should probably butch up a bit ;)
Yeah, Nate, you might want to butch up just a bit. I've seen bigger balls sprinkled on the frosting of my morning cupcake.
Dana realized that providing Nate any sort of response simply added fuel to the fire, so she kept quiet. She only had a few more weeks to go before she transferred to a different department anyhow, and Nate would be out of her hair forever.
But of course, her lack of response brought yet another email from Nate:
A fourth grader can hold her breath in silent protest. It doesn't resolve or prove anything, nor make her any more mature.
I genuinely tried to do a nice thing and offer to sit down over drinks and discuss what ever is obviously bothering you. Up till now, I hadn't brought up Halloween once, and I literally sat down and brain stormed what the problem may be.
My circle is all about peace love and lollipops. If someone is in that circle struggling, I want to do what I can to help. This is also about me just as much as you. Your discomfort is my discomfort. So I did it for myself just as much as you. I came up with a few things, some of which you saw and others you didnt where there was no nice way to put it so I left them off.
1. maybe something has you mad, I was harsh and perhaps your feelings are still sore. it was a lot nicer than saying, get that sand out of your ass.. don't you think?
2. Maybe you thought I secretly loathe you. Not the case. I even made light of a past relationship and due to that maybe overreacted to some degree on Halloween.
3. Finally, I considered that despite everything I still have a romantic interest.
This came to mind because, I have actually been in your seat with three other people who have worked for XXXXXXX that wanted to date me and it made things weird. So I have empathy for your position, if that is where you are sitting.
It was easier to date every hot waitress I worked with when I was 20, not so much now as an adult. I genuinely tried to be nice about this point. I tried to give you a shot of confidence in the arm, tell you about some of your great qualities and go get 'em tiger there is a stud out there for you! but I'm personally not interested.
It is a lot nicer of a gesture Dana, than to say you fell so far down the list, you do not even make my top 100 anymore. Not that its any of your business, but of the people I've been seeing casually, I have one in particular who I've been growing extremely fond of, and when I'm ready, I think I'd really like to see on a more formal basis. She isn't you.
I'm done ranting endlessly. Its pointless, and your senseless actions have only flustered me to the point where everything seems childish. I'm going to leave it be for a couple weeks to let us both cool down, but I will not let this go.
You pretty much came out of the blue and are behaving.. stupid. I'm not a boyfriend you dump and forget, I am your friend and I deserve better than this.
I'm sorry if I've upset you over the last few days, but we had an opportunity to take the high road on this, and you chose to steer us in the ditch.
One final attempt made it into Dana's inbox:
If you'd like to get together over a milk shake or burrito and air your grievances before partying this evening, I'll make myself available. I still deserve an answer how we went from being the best gift giver, nettle soup, and nip/tuck banter in December to you doing a 180.
Dana finally escaped Nate's confused affections once she left his department, but it wasn't quite the last she heard of him.
A few weeks later, two co-workers pulled Dana aside and informed her Nate had been sending them emails about her.
Not only that, but Nate had also written the women emails about the newfound "friendship" he felt with them, and how it had begun to "affect him professionally."
They took notes, and promptly told him to go fuck himself sideways.
Dana hasn't heard from him since.
Now, a couple weeks ago we ran a similar story dealing with slimy customers rather than slimy co-workers, and that entry alone had racked up over 600 comments the last time I checked.
Though we probably won't beat that, feel free to put your experiences with your own fucked-up co-workers, male or female, in the comments.
And if you have incriminating letters or emails, screw the comments and send them directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll print them up for the world to see.
Because I'm an asshole like that.