To the Boys

“Hey there, let’s get to know each other”, he’d say~

You’d have to be someone outside of school or work. You’d have to be a complete stranger, not my colleague, not my peer, not my student, and certainly not my professional clients, for this to work.

You’d meet me somewhere: coffee shop, bank, bus stop, school, clubs, my daytime/midnight workplace, social media, etc. You’d lay eyes on me and somehow found me cute, attractive, good-looking, or whatever adjective that fits your diction, so, you’d approach me to say hi.

I’d answer politely and then you’d start firing questions at me:

“Where are you from?” (A little stereotyping because of my East-Asian ethnicity, but understandable)

“You’re a student? What do you study?” (As if I have not been asked this a million times at school)

“How old are you? Are you legal yet?” (You’re trying to judge to see if you’d be a pedophile should you continue further)

“Are you Japanese/Chinese/Korean?” (Reeking a bit of an Asian-seeker, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt)

I’d reciprocate each one of your inquiries along with a polite smile, which you’d take as encouragement to press on until I tell you I have to cut our conversation, however lovely, short by leaving for school/work.

You’d then ask me for my phone number or some other contact information so you can get a hold of me under some innocuous guise. Some of the reasons you’d give me include: in case you’d ever need a doctoral consultation in the future, just want to make a new friend since you’re new in town, or simply want to keep in touch.

Most of the time it ends there, but sometimes you’d put on your earnest presentation and make a plea to my conscience to not judge a book by its cover. “I’m a good guy. Honest, I just want to meet someone is all. I don’t have any bad intentions.” So, I’d concede and leave you with my number. He couldn’t possibly have an ulterior motive toward little me, I’d thought, so what’s the harm in giving out just my number?

You’d start texting me or messaging me further, just to know me better. Most of the time, you’d be the one asking questions, while I answer politely.

At this point, some of you would start paying me what you perceive to be compliments but are actually unwelcomed creepy comments: “You’re hot”, “I want to do [x] to you,” “Want to be my FWB?”, etc. I’d decline politely and wish you good luck with your search, but sometimes you wouldn’t take it too well and you’d lash out on me. If that’s you, our contact ceases there.

As for the rest of you, soon, you’d gather up your courage and ask if I’d have time this week/upcoming weekend to meet you. You’d feign nonchalance if I could not, but would try again next week until I feel safe enough to consent. Just a meeting, I’d thought, to make a new friend, while in your eyes, you’d think of it as scoring a date with a girl you’ve been talking to for a while.

We’d meet up somewhere and have coffee, a bite to eat, a pleasant walk, or if I was multi-tasking I’d take you to pass out food to the homeless with me. The entire time, I’d keep a respectful distance and mannerism. If you compliment me on my looks, I’d say you’re too generous and that there are other girls more worthy of your attention. If you offer to pay for my half of the meal, I’d resist unless I can somehow pay you back even while on a student budget. If you try to touch me, I’d move away discreetly. But, no matter what I do, somehow you’d be encouraged. Eventually, during our meeting (my thought) / date (your thought), I’d do something unknowingly that you’d find so cute that it makes you want to see me again. Towards the end, you’d open your arms or just outright pull me in for a farewell hug.

Most of you are conservative enough to reserve your compliments to the physical with your bright smiles, opening stance, slight swaying of your body, hands, or eyes that just communicate how much you are suppressing your desire to touch me. I’d pretend not to notice. If you’re a conventional “hottie”, I’d tell myself that maybe I’m thinking too much. Not every guy wants you that way, you know, I’d think to myself. Just wait and see.

We’d continue this for a few weeks, both of us growing happier with each other. We’d have a great time whenever we meet up. We’d laugh, make jokes, and find that we share a lot of similar interests and horror stories about the other sex. I’d think I finally found a new guy friend; you, finally a girl whom you like after your last relationship. One day, though, after our meeting (my thought) / date (your thought), you’d gather up your courage and/or decide that you could no longer continue your gentlemanly inhibitions. So, you’d try to kiss me, place your hands inappropriately on my body, grab me forcefully for an embrace during which you’d linger your touch on me too long for it to be friendly, or push me down so you can position yourself on top of me. The bolder of you would plainly tell me you’ve been wanting me for a while. You’d tell me what you want to do to me in private and offer to take me back to your home or mine for an intimate encounter. The more cunning of you would dismiss your attempt to embrace me as what you are wont to do with a friend only to pull me into the backseat of your car and try to climb on top of me two weeks later. The nicer of you would be more discreet and try to see how I’d react before you advance. Confused and feeling betrayed, I’d push you away, saying that I just want to be friends. At that point, some of you would get mad and resentfully tell me how I should not have led you on by responding to you at all. The more mild-mannered of you would simply become awkward and clumsily apologize before you run off.

Those of you who stayed to talk to me would try your best to be a gentleman. You’d try to act like you didn’t care about what just happened and agree to be friends. You’d wish me goodnight and leave looking like you were “cool” with what happened. Yet, after that night, you’d never initiate contact anymore even though you had always done so before. If I try to reach you by texting/messaging as I do with a (girl)friend/as usual, you’d vanish. Or, if you do reply, you’d somehow become very busy, so busy that you could now never find time to hang out/talk with me anymore. Before, you’d be patient enough to wait until I have time or even re-arrange your whole schedule just to make time to see me. Before, you’d litter your messages with cute emoticons and enthusiasm. Now, you’d reply curtly or simply ignore me.

Sometimes, I would get to ask you why. You’d beat around the bush, shrug awkwardly before you say you needed to dash off somewhere. Some of you bravely stayed and plainly confessed how you could never be friends with me because you’d find me too attractive. Some of you were models and/or actors and have your picking of women, but you still could not see me as just a friend.

So, please, tell me, what should I do to make you only see me as a friend? If I “let things run naturally”, you’d think I lead you on and wasted your time (and money, even though you insisted on overriding my offer to pay for my half every time). You’d get frustrated at me and/or confused as to why I never warned you about my platonic intentions until you made your “move”. If I am honest with you early on about how I can only be friends with you, you’d either still pressure on with hope or drop off from the face of the planet immediately. Running out of options, I even tried once to have a “talk” with one of you. However, I was so scared that I might lose you as a friend and so emotionally distraught by a previous encounter with a guy from another department who became abusive when I declined his invitation to lunch that I overreacted and made you think I’m crazy. It happened one too many times, and I just wanted to finally get it right, so I tried to make amends and tell you I should have left things up to you. I suppose in my attempt to right things I tried too hard and ended up making things worse. You were kind enough to say you can still be friends with me if I want. You said you weren’t scared off and want to give me the benefit of the doubt. Yet, when I invited you to help my friends and I make food for the homeless at the usual time you say you are free, you suddenly became elusive. It was a national holiday, but you still needed to work, in the evening nonetheless. So, I wished you well and let you go with a “Oshigoto ganbatte nee~” (Good luck with your work~)

Tell me, what should I do to be your friend, boy? What should I do to make you not see me as a girl to date?

Should I assume you just want to hit on me whenever one of you approach me? You’d think me conceited and full of myself, I’m sure.

Or, should I assume you really just have honourable intentions and wait until you finally make advances at me? By that time, it’d be too late and you could never see me as a friend any more.

If I say yes, I instantly become the most wonderful girl in the world. You’ll want to spend every waking moment with me, and dream about me in your sleep.

If I say no, suddenly, I’m trash in your eyes. You’d tell yourself you finally saw through me and that I’m too [adjective] to even remain in contact.

I could do nothing at all, or everything, but no matter what, the outcome seems always to be the same – at least so far in my experiences.

I can still believe that you want nothing more from me than just platonic friendship, but when you kiss me, grab me, slide your hand down my thigh/back or start playing with my bra straps should I still believe you only want to be friends?

Tell me, what am I to do? Or will I always be a girl who is good enough to date, but not good enough to be your friend, boy? Untitled