A couple of weeks ago, I met someone who I thought was a really cool guy. He was the ASL interpreter for a student who took my lab section for one week. (I teach 2 sections of an introductory biology course at my university. The university doesn’t have classes on Martin Luther King Day, which was on a Monday. All the students who ordinarily have labs on Monday had to reschedule for that week. This particular student ordinarily had a Monday lab, but my Thursday section fit his schedule for the week of MLK Day.)
The interpreter came in early to scope out the room. I was organizing papers, getting my stuff together to teach the recitation part of the period, etc. We ended up talking, and found out that we had some things in common. I got the impression that he was a really neat person (and he was attractive to boot!) He seemed to be enjoying the conversation and to be interested in me, too. The bell rang, and I went through my usual thing–recitation, running around from bench to bench, helping students, etc. Because the student he was helping finished his lab before the end of the period, the student and the interpreter left early. I couldn’t, of course, ask him for his phone number in front of my students. After a slightly awkward goodbye (he hung around in the doorframe and didn’t seem all that eager to leave), he and the student took off.
A few minutes later, I went out into the hallway to see if I could catch the guy when there were no students around. I found him at the water fountain; everyone who had left the room with him had left the building. I asked him if he’d like to go for coffee some time, and he gave me an enthusiastic “Yes!” I gave him my e-mail and phone number, which he seemed very happy to recieve. He asked me if I would be around during the weekend, and I told him I would. He said he’d call me.
The weekend came and went. No e-mail, no phone call. The next week came and went. No e-mail, no phone call, once again. Today, I had to go into the area where we run labs because I needed to talk to the person in charge of the lab facilities. I ran into the interpreter guy. He went out of his way to not make eye contact with me, and when he did finally look in my direction, the expression on his face told me very clearly that he didn’t even want to recognize me, let alone speak to me. I smiled and tried to give him a quick greeting, but, of course, he pretended not to hear or see me at all, even though I was only a few feet away from him.
What the hell?! Look, I understand that not everyone I like is going to like me back. And I understand that you’re probably cute enough and interesting enough to get a better-looking, younger date. (In the looks department, I’m not all that notable; my face neither launches ships nor stops clocks. It doesn’t help that I’m invariably dressed in old jeans and a loose sweatshirt that looks like it’s been munched upon by pit bulls. But, hell, I’m teaching a biology lab! I’m not going to show up in exquisite Dior silk to help my students dissect worms and make dyed microscope slides!) But that doesn’t mean that you should give me lots of signs that you’re interested when you’re not.
I really don’t understand exactly what happened here. Was it something I said? Did he like me until the weekend came and then changed his mind? Was I too “forward,” as my mother would say? I’d much rather be told honestly that you don’t want to see me than be lied to for the sake of “politeness.”