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Just Ask, Don’t Beg

Just Ask, Don’t Beg

In romantic movies and bodice-ripping novels, having a suitor falling at your feet, pledging their troth and undying devotion makes for great drama. In real life, it’s just kind of creepy. Yes, I know that sounds somewhat cynical, but asking someone for their heart—or even for just a date—should not turn into a mission tantamount to the invasion of Normandy. To paraphrase an offensive piece of legislation: “Just Ask, Don’t Beg”.

Recently, I was out at a sports bar (!) having a beer and watching a guy watching 4 different games simultaneously. It was mind-boggling. The fellow sitting on the other side of the remote-jockey was also laughing at this fellow’s obsession with sports and his determination not to miss a single play in any of the games being broadcast. Eventually, he developed a near-fatal case of carpal tunnel syndrome and had to be rushed to a rehabilitation facility by EMS. Just kidding, he eventually wandered off to watch the games with some other die-hard ‘sporties’.

That left me and the other bemused guy sitting at the bar together. We struck up a conversation and had a great chat throughout the evening. I then began to notice him noticing the bartender. She was a pretty, buxom brunette whom he found irresistible. Turns out he was a regular there and had an on-going flirtation with the aforementioned bartender.

She wanted to let him down easy. He just kept on begging.

Over the course of the evening, he kept asking her out to a movie and dinner and she kept rather sheepishly and deftly throwing down excuses as to why she wasn’t available this night or that day. I just figured this was his routine until he told me what was behind it. Evidently, he had made her a bet about something, and if she lost, she would have to go out with him. She lost.

After watching this ill-fated dating pas de deux take place for an hour or two, I finally said to my bar buddy, “you’re now begging her to go out with you.” He looked at me and laughed and said that he was going to make sure she honoured the bet. This made me squirm a little as she was clearly not interested and was gently throwing up dodges and parries to avoid his advances (it must be said he was not being aggressive or offensive in any way). She wanted to let him down easy. He just kept on begging.

I left before I saw any resolution to this little doomed romantic tête-à-tête, but I can assume he’s probably still trying to get her to the movies. Too bad, he was a nice guy and if he had taken a different stance, he may have had a chance to charm her and then maybe she would acquiesce and he would have gotten his longed-for date.

It started to get on my nerves and, quite frankly, freak me out just a little.

Begging is not the way to go. It diminishes the beggar and makes the beggee’s skin crawl. I have never heard of anyone begging their way into a romance or any other kind of healthy relationship. I have had the odd beggar in my life and I can tell you it did nothing but turn me off.

Not too long ago I met a guy and he seemed nice and fun and I thought it would be harmless to get to know him a bit. We got along and had a couple of ‘dates’ and then—for me—things cooled off. However, any time I spoke with him, he would almost immediately start asking if he could come over to my place, meet somewhere, get together for something, under any pretense. I have been down this road before and know it’s a non-starter when you just don’t have those kinds of feelings for someone. The more I said no, the more he would beg. Not only was it a turn off, it started to get on my nerves and, quite frankly, freak me out just a little.

Begging is the harbour of the desperate

While some folks may think this type of behaviour is a great romantic gesture, or a way to break down their target’s wall of resistance and get in, it’s not. The wall goes higher with each beg. In really extreme situations, it can turn from sublime to ridiculous and become dangerous. Those are what you call stalkers.

The rule of thumb is this: Ask someone for a date, don’t beg. If they give you a no, it means no. If they close the door on you, they don’t want you to keep knocking. The same goes for apologies. Apologize for your transgression and leave it at that. Don’t beg for forgiveness as it just throws acid on the wound. Begging is the harbour of the desperate. Desperation scares people away.

photo credit: Jenn and Tony Bot


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