My best friend from high school got married immediately after college. Three years later, she divorced her husband (no kids, fortunately) and came out as a lesbian. I was her biggest cheerleader during her journey out of the closet. Shortly after she went public, she came on to me, saying that she had always been attracted to me. I did what I usually do when I get sexual offers I don’t want—said thanks, I’m flattered, but I’m really not interested—but instead of going back to the way things were, she has turned up the pressure. In the past six months, I have received chocolates, flowers, poetry, videos, text messages, middle-of-the-night phone calls, and some very embarrassing e-mails. It’s getting really creepy! I have read her the riot act on several occasions, and she immediately stops doing whatever I get mad about, but then she does something else that’s even more outrageous.
Last week she drove in for an overnight visit when she knew I would be alone for a few days and she tried to climb into bed with me that night “just to cuddle” because she said the guest bedroom was too cold! I sent her back to her own bed—sobbing—with an extra blanket. The next day she asked me to watch some lesbian and WWM porn with her on the computer. When I turned her down (AGAIN) she got angry, cried some more, and said I was being homophobic and emotionally unavailable to her. Dan, I’m not homophobic in the least! I’m just not turned on by someone I have always regarded as a sister as much as a friend, plus I am totally disgusted with all of this new craziness of hers! I’m totally flummoxed about why she can’t take “no” for an answer! It’s like an aggressive and not-very-nice alter ego has taken over the body of a woman I thought I knew very well.
Dan, can you give me any advice on how to deflect her advances once and for all, without ending the friendship? I really do love this woman (platonically) and I don’t mean to keep hurting her feelings, but I’m not about to say yes just to stop her from pestering me. I want my friend back.
Too Attractive To Sister
My response after the jump...
Sometimes I write back to people personally. Sometimes on airplanes, usually after I've had a drink or twosies, I'll blast an email back at someone who wrote me at "Savage Love." I don't exactly sweat over these emails—they're not for publication, after all—so, like, they're not my best work. Anyway, here's what I sent to TATS:
it's getting creepy? fuck this friendship. it's over. end it.
she's an asshole and a jerk. just because she's coming out and struggling doesn't give her the right to sexually harass, stalk, and assault you.
you shouldn't have anything to do with this woman. she's a mess and an asshole.
I didn't capitalize anything, I used "asshole" twice in an email of fewer than fifty words, and I didn't take the time unpack the problem. (TATS isn't the first well-meaning straight person who, for fear of seeming homophobic or unsympathetic, put up with this kind of shit from a recently-out asshole. Note to straights: being "supportive" does not require you to tolerate sexual harassment.) Not my best work, I admit. And just to make sure I know it's not my best work, TATS writes back...
Is this really Dan, or an assistant? You are a much better writer in your column.
It's hard for me to think about her bizarre behavior as sexual harassment, stalking, and assault since she is 1. a woman (although it's sexist to think of that behavior as exclusive to men) and 2. someone who clearly means me no harm. I think in her own brain she is convinced that our romance would be the best thing that ever happened to either one of us, and she just has to get me to see the light for this wonderful thing to happen. She's not trying to intimidate me, and to be fair she has stopped immediately whenever I've asked her to... she just starts up with something else along the same lines.
I wrote to ask for your advice and now I'm reluctant to take it. Cutting her out of my life feels too drastic, at least for now. However, I will use your words—"sexual harassment, stalking, assault"—to give her a verbal slap upside the head. Because you're right: I shouldn't have to put up with that behavior from anybody, let alone a friend. If that doesn't snap her out of what I really hope is just temporary insanity, I'll feel much better about ending the friendship.
Thanks, Dan! Or Assistant to Dan!