Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Too Friendly Friend?

I need some advice, from all you married folks out there. Especially Omanis.

See I have a Male, Omani Acquaintance who is being weird. He's barely even an acquaintance, and has so far done nothing... Except be really creepy, but in a way so benign that I feel a little bad for questioning his intentions, and trying to avoid his increasingly persistent intrusions into my life. I really want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think the time has come to tell him to fuck off and stop harassing me.

I should point out that I made it VERY VERY clear from the first time we met that I am happily married. Crystal clear. I have been totally, totally correct with him, handshake only, attired in a very conservative manner. I've been standoffish to the point of being rude. I've given him absolutely no indication that I am interested in discussing anything other than cars.
  • I met Mr. Biscuit six months ago in a parking lot. MR. Biscuit had followed me from the highway and wanted to ask about my car. This is not unusual because almost daily I get stopped by men, women, and the occasional police officer enquiring about my car.
  • Though I am not a huge fan of total strangers following me around and then bugging me about my car in a parking lot, it turns out, Mr. Biscuit is not a stranger. Mr. Biscuit is the husband of a lady with whom I once worked on a small project. Indeed, I can clearly recall his lovely wife.
  • Cut to two weeks later. My phone has been ringing incessantly with a number I don't recognize. Annoyed, I answer, and it's him. (How he got my number I will never know.) He needs help sourcing a part for his car, something I had mentioned I could do. Can he come over? I'm thinking of excuses... Too busy, Baby is sick, Flood troubles, on vacation, I put him off for months, thinking he'll move on. No Dice.
  • So finally I have him over for coffee and a look at the spare parts catalogue, which he only glances at. Send him on his way having ordered a copy of the book sent to his address.
  • He keeps calling, and calling, and calling. Then I loose my phone. He shows up at the door while I'm out, hassles my maid, somehow gets her number through the missed call ploy. He calls her repeatedly asking if she's given his number to me or if she has my new number. When I finally have a new number and handset sorted out for myself I call him and tell him to stop bugging my maid.
  • So for the last two weeks he's been calling and calling me again. Because I am a coward I am avoiding answering his calls. He's sent two text messages "hi sweet, how r u & kids. i miss u take care my lovely one" and this one this morning--- "hi how are you dear i miss u be in touch honey"
  • What the fuck? Even my very best male friends, Omani guys with whom I have traveled the world, and known for umpteen years don't send texts like that.

So Here's the question; Do I

A) Keep ignoring his calls. He'll get the message eventually.

B) Call him myself and explain that his persistent attention is making me feel uncomfortable. Ask him to leave me alone.

C) Ask my husband and brothers to have a word* with him

D) Cut the poor guy some slack. He's only trying to be friendly.

E) None of the above.

And for a bonus point: Am I being totally stuck up, or totally oblivious?

6 comments:

Egnaby said...

Ah, Suburban - you've left us hanging! What is the import of the "*" next to the "word" your husband might have?

Actually, you've identified an interesting problem, and it's not just a man/woman or (potentially) sexual harrassment one; it's something I've encountered in terms of social expectations as a foreign man here. I'm a social person, and I like meeting people. It would never occur to me, however, to just keep ringing people until they answer - which seems to happen a fair amount in Oman - or to persist after two or three tries when someone is generally noncommittal or even mildly dismissive.

Living in Europe or the States, I think we recognize, for example, that "oh, we must have lunch sometime," unless it's followed up by a call with an invitation in a day or two, is a nice way of saying, "well, it's been lovely meeting you, and have a nice life."

I met a very pleasant Omani man in the course of business a few months ago, and then endured weeks of calls at all hours of the day and night; he finally wore me down and we met for coffee. The calls have nearly ceased, and when I mentioned this to a closer local friend, his response was along the lines of "well, he thinks you might be able to do him a favour someday, and now he's had you for coffee so you will owe him." I think he may be being a little brutal, but more or less on point.

In this case, though - I think I'd recomment your either going the husband route, or perhaps very ostentatiously taking your friend's wife out for lunch - if nothing else, he'll die a little while he imagines what you're telling her!

Suburban said...

Egnaby,

Thanks for your insight, and for stopping by.

You hit the nail on the head when you said that most Americans or euros would recognise the hints and go off and have a nice life, whereas here the hints seem to go unheeded. And indeed, I'm not entirely certain that this is an issue where he's hitting on me, or if he wants to borrow some "wasta" from me or my husband.

I Looooove Your suggestion about taking his wife to lunch. Freaking brilliant. I can mantion how lovely it is that her husband stops by so often in the middle of the day but what a shame it is that they never stop by together. I would hate to involve her in any unnecciarry drama, So I'll keep that for a last resort.

THe Word* is the same word* my Brothers and former Boss had with my husband when I first started dating him. They took him camping, got him drunk, and then shot at him with a rifle (dance! White Boy!) and threatened to run him through a wood chipper if he so much as thought about breaking my heart.

Sweet, Huh?

Thanks again for stopping by, your comments are always excellent.

sythe said...

I married a Canadian, and got the same Word* from her dad too ;)

But it was a lot more subtle... "You hurt my daughter and I'll kill you" was how he put it! ;)

Stupid people only understand basic concepts. It's clear your Omani man is practically stalking you - time to have someone have a word with him. OR lots of words! But seriously - tell him to stop calling you the next time your phone rings and it's him - tell him to stop harrassing you. If he doesnt, well, then have your husband and scarier friends drop by for a little visit with him. It's amazing what a little show of force can do.

Balqis said...

Hmmm this is man to man stuff
Send your hubby with helmet and gun
But I wouldn't expect this from Omani guy
Usually if you let them understand that there's no way, they dnt insist
That's the good side of Arab personality, no way they beg

JP said...

Suburban,

Sounds like he's just suffering from watching too much porn, plus thinking that your behaviour is some kind of invitation.

I'd suggest a combination.
B) to start with, but don't be shy about making yourself very clear. Too many problems - and this is possibly one of them - start with 2 adults seeming unable to have a grown-up conversation about the moose on the table. He's being creepy and waaaay too forward. State that in no uncertain terms.

Preferably do not meet him face to face to discuss further, for I predict that is what he will suggest...

E) Suggest to him a better option: rather than stalking white women he things he can take things a little further than they might want, might be to follow up on that excellent Hi! article, avertising the prolific opportunities there are in Muscat to hook up with prostitutes. A good vigorous Russian 'massage' might take care of his clearly aching muscles.

Failing the above, send your home boys round to demonstrate in person the stereotypical Western male response for such behaviour...and let his poor wife know she's married to a sleeze ball.

Obviously, we'll be expecting an update!

JP

Devilish said...

Being an Omani myself, I agree with the majority here. Nothing is gonna stop that guy unless your husband is gonna intervene.