Stalking. I hate it. I love writing about it, though. So much drama, so much conflict to tap. Few things are worse than dealing with a stalker. I’m dealing with one now, a kind of multi-tasking stalker with the talent of creeping out multiple gals. Doesn’t matter if it’s students or faculty, he’ll haunt them all. I have a history of attracting stalkers. Is there something wrong with me? Maybe I shouldn’t be so fucking nice and pleasant. If only I were more of a cantankerous bitch…
This one guy? Last fall, he hung around outside my office about 5 hours a day. He had crushes on multiple professors. But then he fell in love with another student. (Relief for me, bad for her.) He started posting about her on Facebook and Twitter about 20 times a day. None of us know what happened, but one day he vanished. We were told he got arrested for something. Then he posted bail and started sharing pictures of assault rifles and comparing himself to James Bond. Somehow, he found a bunch of his crush’s pictures and started making collages with them, posting them on social media. When he was expelled for reasons I still don’t know, he started calling my office 3-4 times a day asking if I could help him. I ignored the calls and told the police. For some reason he idealized me and thought I was some kind of mentor. Ah, if he only knew. It was flattering, but I had to decline.
Before we go further, let’s understand: there’s a huge difference between stalking and complimenting. Girls love compliments. Girls don’t love having someone else graft their idea of the “perfect woman” onto them. They also don’t like someone trying to “argue” their way into a relationship. Example:
Why are you ignoring my calls all of a sudden? I stopped by the cafe and saw you, and you looked right at me and ignored me. What’s going on with you? I know we had a connection. We had that conversation the other day. I brought you a poem and a flower. You said thanks. Well, I didn’t see you with the flower behind your ear. You said you’d do that. Did someone say something bad about me? I have enemies. Don’t listen to them. They want to keep us apart. You’re so amazing. You could be even more amazing with me. Only I can love and protect you. Everyone else will just hurt you. I’m the one. The one. Why can’t you see that?
History with stalkers, you ask? Why, yes! Two of them. One in my teens, the second in my mid 20s. In high school a friend of mine developed a crush on me and tried to start dating me. I explained I wasn’t interested in making out with him. Instead of backing off, he started calling me five or six times a day. He called my parents too and asked them where I was, what I was doing, could they ask me to please call him?
Fortunately, that was a soft stalker. A soft stalker is the kind that doesn’t follow you or show up at your place unexpectedly. He just bothers you all the time until you do something so disgusting that he finally leaves you alone. So I came up with the line: “You really don’t want to be with me. I’m not a good person. I shoplift, cheat on tests, and worship Satan. I also think you’re boring and spoiled. I actually don’t even like you. I was just bored.”
I didn’t like hurting my soft stalker. Roasting his feelings was the only way to get him to fuck off. He wasn’t interested in real me. Like all stalkers, he had a perception of me in his head. Whenever I did something that didn’t fit that image, such as act like my real self (atheist, coffee-drinking snark basket), he got a little weird and started preaching Jesus at me. Fuck that.
See, stalkers don’t fixate on your actual personality. They fixate on things like your appearance, who you remind them of (their mom but hotter), how you make them feel, how you can take care of them, and so on. They think they’re giving everything to their victims, but they’re really taking everything from them. There’s a book about that. It’s called Lolita. Read it.
Flash forward about a decade to the hard stalker. Hard stalking happens when someone decides you were meant to be. No matter what. That girl was made for you. She’s so awesome. You don’t know much about her, except she’s perfect, and she needs you. Only you. Hard stalkers feel the soul connection, and they see all the happiness you could have together if you would just let them into your heart and ignore all the advice from your friends, coworkers, and family.Hard stalkers don’t really listen to you. You say, “I’m not interested,” and they hear, “I want to marry you, but my friends won’t let me.”Hard stalker was the worst. He convinced himself and most of my friends we were dating for about three months. It was news to me when I found out we were engaged. At the time, I’d just moved to a new state and started a PhD program. I was rebooting my life. Everything and everyone was new. Given all that, I suppose my guard was down. I wanted friends. I was being very social.
Hard Stalker probably didn’t know it, but he swept in and took advantage. Example: He found out where I lived and showed up unexpectedly. It was okay, though. Because he brought me bourbon!And not bottom-shelf bourbon. It was really nice shit.He’d listened to my every word at a party and found out how much I loved bourbon. Smart guy, in some ways. So when he stood at the entrance to my apartment, I wasn’t thinking “this is creepy.” I was thinking OMG Free bourbon. So I invited him in and we drank some of it, and he left.That was a huge mistake.Because he thought his drop-by visit was a date.For all you guys, it wasn’t a date. It was nice for him to bring me my favorite drink of all time, and I was nice to share some. If anything, it was a prelude to a date. But definitely not romantic. Here’s the difference: If a hot guy I was really into brought me bourbon, I would drink it with him and then fuck him. Or, at the least, I’d ask: “Do you have a girlfriend?” If a girl is into you, and your relationship status seems ambiguous, trust me. She’ll ask you that question. That means she wants to fuck you.
For the time being. As long as you don’t turn around and do something creepy, like photoshop yourself into her selfies.Also, a normal guy probably wouldn’t just show up. He would text first.Anyway, things got way out of hand. We inhabited the same social circles, so we saw each other at bars, restaurants, and so on. We saw movies together in groups. The problem is that he saw each and every one of those interactions as a date. After a couple of months, I might show up to a party and someone would say, “Where’s Brad?” I’d look around and say, “Um…I don’t know. I guess he’ll come later?
So finally, some of my new friends sat me down and asked straight up, “Are you two dating?” I said, ahhhh no. Why?They looked at each other and then explained. Apparently Brad had a history of latching onto girls and creating fantasy relationships. They had their suspicions, but recently Brad had been posting lots of romantic stuff and saying things like, “Jessica makes me so happy,” and “Jessica and I are going to the next level.”
Apparently I’d touched his crotch or something, which he interpreted as a subtle hint that I wanted him to fuck me.Then he happened to show up at a club and started an argument with me about why I wasn’t dancing with him. He began backing me into a corner of the dance floor, and I freaked out. I pushed him aside and got out of their as fast as I could. I rushed to my car, drove home, and pretty much hid in my bathroom with my phone. Oh, and I mass-texted everyone something like “FYI I’m not dating Brad never have keep him away from me.
Fortunately, he backed off. He stopped talking to me completely. Still, for days I lived in a constant state of unease. Should I lay low? Should I socialize even more than normal? Was I safe going to the bottom floor of the library alone? Would I see him in the parking lot after my night class ended? Would he break into my house?This guy once joked about sneaking into my bedroom and watching me sleep.I’m a little weird, but I’ll confess. A few nights after we ended contact, I slept in my closet. I know it didn’t make me safer. It was the only way I could fall asleep though.So, after that I thought my stalking days were over. Turns out, one of our students where I work is stalking a girl on campus. Not only that, but he seems to latch onto any woman who will have a five-minute conversation with him. His social media brims with posts about special women in his life.Right now, he’s focused on a graduate student. He’s posting eneric wedding photos, bridal gowns, rings, and explaining how this girl will glide with him into the future or some shit. He’s positive they weren’t to be. There’s just one problem. She has filed a restraining order against him, and he was just expelled.
This guy is a special piece of work. A few weeks ago, he met another girl and immediately started asking her where she lived and what kinds of locks she had on her door. “Because, you know, you look so young and fragile. And you’re so pretty. I just wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to you.”You’re probably thinking, “You made that up. Didn’t you?” No, I didn’t. He really said that to a 20-year-old girl in front of me and three other people.His fascination with me was brief. Thank the gods I already have a serious boyfriend as well as a PhD. As his professor, I’m safely off limits (I think). If I were single, it would be different.Stalkers cause stress they don’t even know about.
This semester, thanks to him and a few other interactions, I’ve wallpapered my windows and bought a stun gun to accompany my pepper spray.Regardless of your gender, having a stalker or even being around a stalker is nerve-wracking. You don’t know if or when the person will snap and hurt you. Aside from the threat they pose to their fixation, stalkers are willing to fight anyone who they see as standing between them and their happiness. They pose a risk to everyone they come into contact with.Here’s what irritates me about stalkers: I understand that there might be something off in their brain chemistry. But look, even I get infatuated with people sometimes. I understand the emotional rush you can feel around someone for no reason except how they look, how they move, the sound of their voice. I’m in a very happy, stable relationship, and yet one I have 2-3 enormous crushes. There’s one guy who works at my gym, for example. I can hardly look at him without feeling my face go all hot. There’s another guy I know at a nearby university. At conferences, part of me wants to fall into his arms. It happens. The difference? I recognize those feelings and put them where they belong: my vibrator. In fact, I’ve learned that when you feel that way toward someone, that kind of sickening earth-halting infatuation, it’s probably not a good idea to pursue them. Who knows? Maybe I’ve got the brain chemistry of a stalker.
It hurts a little when someone you like thinks you’re a little weird. However, I think we’ve all experienced unrequited love. That’s why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s so popular, right?Stalkers are so irritating, above all, because they think they can and should have someone simply by wanting them. But they’ve got it all wrong. Their “love” is really just the eradication of a person’s free will and identity. Guess what? The world doesn’t fucking work like a 1980s romantic comedy. All of us live with unfulfilled desires. That’s what sane people do. Stalkers don’t work through those feelings. They nurture them. I’m watching this guy’s Facebook page hourly, and can literally see his thought process unfold as he convinces himself to keep pursing this girl. It’s fascinating, infuriating, and slightly terrifying. He needs to be stopped.
Update: Everything seems resolved. Nobody got shot or stabbed, and the stalker seems to have moved on. Huge relief for everyone.