Case File #02
Type: Socially Awkward Creeper/Nice Guy/Stalker
“Toshiba” was a guy I met back in college. Like myself, he was a regular inhabitant of the student lounge so it was pretty inevitable that we’d interact somehow. I call him “Toshiba” here because much of his social life revolved around his laptop which he had with him at all times. He could always be counted on to find amusing content from the internet and share it with everyone. Unfortunately, many of his jokes also came straight from the internet and he rarely came up with anything original but it was all very amusing nonetheless. He had the sort of body that he described as “scrawny” and “made of goop” which he attributed to his sitting on his laptop coding all day. He seemed fine with this and overall he wasn’t hideous. If at any point he learned how not to be the kind of creep he was in the story I’m about to tell, there’s absolutely no reason why his dating life should be hopeless. But that hope was not to be found with me.
I am gay. I had been out for as long as anyone from there knew me and had actively chased girls in that environment. In fact, having somewhat more in common with a college guy, some of my best known stories were about pursuing girls for naughty purposes. My exclusive desire for poon was most definitely no secret.
I ended up hanging out with Toshiba regularly after I brought a bunch of the student lounge crew with me to a coffee shop I frequented. Toshiba kept coming back and we ended up hanging out in a gang of three with my friend ‘Ralph’. We’d spend our time drinking coffee, and amusing ourselves with things Toshiba found on the internet. Often times when the shop closed up for the night, we weren’t ready to just call it a night and go home. That was when we started the routine of going over to Toshiba’s apartment, usually to watch MST3K or Rifftrax. This was a fun time and I had some of my best laughs there. Then stuff got weird.
We started doing other activities during the day like going out to lunch or to the movies. Now back then, I was far broke-er than the average college student and would often say up front when I couldn’t afford to do something. Toshiba routinely insisted that he’d cover me. It felt nice to be included despite my lack of funds but it was still embarrassing for me to have someone pay for me all the time. When I could pay, I did, and I often had to do it quickly so he wouldn’t beat me to the punch and pick up the whole tab. When I couldn’t afford something, I would frequently suggest cheaper things so that I could pay or try to sit this one out. Toshiba would hear none of it. He insisted his job paid him plenty of money and he “wouldn’t miss it.”
I couldn’t help but suspect that he expected something in return but I couldn’t figure out what. Odds of him ever needing that same favor returned seemed pretty slim. I had a hard time believing he was trying to get me to date him. It just didn’t seem logical to me.
The pimple of awkward came to a head one night when Ralph couldn’t make it. The same routine happened with just me and Toshiba. Alone. After the movie was over he very awkwardly asked if I’d go out with him. My response was “You’re fun to hang out with and it’s not anything about you specifically. I just don’t date guys.” This wasn’t letting him down easy. It was the truth. And he seemed to take it gracefully at the time.
To make matters even worse, as I was leaving I found my car door open a crack and my backpack missing. Just to check, I decided to go back and see if it was simply me who was careless about closing my car door and whether I had also left my backpack at Toshiba’s apartment by mistake. Sure enough, somebody broke into my car and stole it. Fortunately there wasn’t anything valuable in there. The thief was actually probably extremely displeased with his goods for the night. It consisted entirely of the very sweaty work clothes I changed out of. It was the middle of summer and my job involved unloading trucks that were well over 100 degrees inside. That bag’s contents were frigging gross. I openly joked about this when I explained it to Toshiba. (More on why stolen dirty laundry is somehow important later.) Toshiba asked if I wanted to use his phone to report it to the police. Despite only losing a few pieces of smelly clothes, this wasn’t the first time my car or someone else’s had been broken into in this area so I reported it in the hopes that the police might patrol the area a tad more. Thus awkwardly ended that night.
Things were mostly normal in the weeks following this which seemed promising for the situation. Toshiba, Ralph and I did everything we normally did. But after a while, something seemed off. In the student lounge, he would now sit next to and talk to only me. He also spent a lot more time at the coffee shop. I was there pretty reliably every night after work right before closing time. Weekend afternoons, I’d be there to take advantage of having more time. Having only gone there on weeknights after class, he started showing up on weekends too. I had to strain to arrange social time without him and he had his schedule set to never have social time without me. My friend the shop-owner noted that on nights when I didn’t show up, he’d sit there, not buy anything and not talk to anyone. Not even Ralph. When I had a nasty flu and didn’t show up for over a week, he did that for the whole week-plus straight.
This was starting to become creepy-ish, but I didn’t quite yet acknowledge it as creepy. I really wanted to believe he’d stopped pursuing me but I found the fact that his social schedule revolved completely around where he expected me to be both uncomfortable and sad. I started paying more attention to this. I didn’t have to do it for long to reach a conclusion.
You see, I had some ideas of my own at the time. One night, I got out of work pretty early and headed for the coffee shop knowing that this girl I’d been talking to would be there. This was someone who I’d had my own enormous, awkward crush on and back then, my own awkward self could barely fathom a beautiful lady wanting to talk to me for any reason whatsoever. Imagine my joy when for whatever reason, this one actually did! She sat at a table near the window and I sat on a couch facing the table’s side. Things seemed to be going surprisingly okay….
…and then I remembered that Toshiba was probably going to show up any minute now.
So I took my book-bag, my bag of work clothes and ALL of the personal belongings I had on hand and piled them up on the couch next to me to make sure nobody sat there and interrupted this. We had been talking for a little over a half hour when Toshiba came in.
Did he go order coffee?
Did he go sit with Ralph?
Of course not.
Instead he chose to squeeze his skinny butt into the 6 inches of space on the far end of the couch which all my earthly possessions didn’t manage to occupy. There he awkwardly plopped himself, lying on my stuff like I made him a bed; his head resting right near my lap in all too convenient backhanding distance looking up at me saying “How’s it goin?”
TIME TO DIE!!!!!
Perhaps suddenly realizing that this was probably the worst way to interrupt this conversation, he got off my belongings to go find other ways to interrupt this conversation. Mostly he’d awkwardly interject by asking if I had seen a Youtube video he’d already showed me several times or if I’d read an online article we already discussed and referenced repeatedly. Getting desperate, he started shoving his laptop directly in my face trying to block my view of the hotness in the window and distract me with more things I’d invariably seen before.
This went on for another 45 minutes until closing time. Having become close enough friends with the owner, I wasn’t kicked out like all the other customers and was allowed to stick around during cleanup. The beautiful lady was also friends with the owner and thus also exempt. Toshiba was not. Perfect. I told Toshiba I’d be hanging back for a while and he left. Or so I thought.
I used what little time I had to continue to get to know this girl and as I was talking to her, I noticed a certain familiar scrawny, goopy silhouette nervously pacing back and forth in front of the shop window. I tried to ignore it to try to make up for my time that was wasted being beaver-dammed by an intrusive goop.
About 20 minutes later, it was time for Beautiful Lady to leave. However, after she was gone, Toshiba was still out there pacing back and forth, presumably waiting for me.
“Oh goddamnit.” I said
“Excuse me, guys, I have to take care of something outside.”
This had gone more than far enough. I confronted Toshiba on what just happened, reminded him that I wasn’t interested in dating him and told him to get a social life and quit following me around.
He then began sobbing and quivering rambling about how he “understands” that I “have emotional issues” and repeatedly screaming “I’m not that guy! I’m not that guy!”.
I do not know who “that guy” is.
I dismissed him saying I was done discussing it for now.
I went back inside and apparently I hadn’t been the only one to notice all that awkwardness. Having seen this progress to what it was, the owner said she’d ban Toshiba if I wanted. Noticing my particular predicament, many of the male staff were even angry on my behalf and given all the other info, actually offered to kick Toshiba’s ass. I said “I think I took care of it.”
Even at this point I wasn’t intending to completely cut him off. Unrequited love sucks. I understood that well and creepy though it had become, I didn’t want to go as far as to “creep-shame” a friend. I told him I was still willing to be friends if he’d go take some time to get over me and hang out with other people as I knew that to be the best remedy for this sort of thing. And he went to go hang out with other people in the student lounge again.
He was back in one day.
“You mean to tell me that you got yourself a social life and got over me in one day?” I said, not buying it in the least.
“I have other friends!”
“Ralph!…..and people online! Is there a quota? How much time do you want me to take?”
“As much as it takes for you to stop pursuing me.”
There he rambled on about why I need to date him. He had an apartment and a solid career! He’d done so much for me! He bought me lunch and movie tickets! He comforted me when my car got broken into!!!
“Look,” I said ” I don’t want to have to quit being friends but this has got to stop.”
“But you’re giving me hope!”
“Hope? HOPE?!?!?! I’M GAY!! WHERE IS THERE HOPE???”
“I took it with a grain of salt!”
*blank stare* “Fine! Go fuck yourself and don’t talk to me again!”
We’ll examine this in Part 2.