For whatever reason, I seem to draw primarily two types of men.
1. Protectors who want to take care of me
2. Weirdos who want to stalk me
I guess I should be flattered that I inspire devotion of one kind or another. I’m pretty independent by nature, but I’ll admit I really do need someone to look after me. I’ve lived alone, and I don’t mind being alone (in fact, I kind of like it), but I’m useless at day-to-day living. Things like managing bills and making sure there is food in the house . . . For someone so smart, I sure can be stupid.
It’s good, then, that there have been guys willing to take me in like some kind of stray. I’m forever grateful to those who’ve cared for me in that way. But then there are the other types . . .
There were two in elementary school: Andrew and Ryan. Each thoroughly dedicated to me for no reason whatsoever except that I was nice enough to answer them when they spoke to me. I’ve since learned to mostly not talk to people, but it took a few decades. I want to be nice because I do want people to like me. I just don’t want them to like me so much they follow me around all the time. Because that’s weird.
It didn’t get scary until high school. A kid named James was infatuated with me and used to linger around corners and watch me. Then he started turning up outside my house. Since he didn’t live anywhere near me—in fact, he lived on the other side of town—it was more than a little creepy. Added to that was the fact James was a goth type and into vampires, so he always gave me the feeling he was waiting for an opportunity to bite me.
There was also a kid named Scott, but I have to give him a pass because he was seriously mental. He’d find whatever class I was in and burst in and start giving random weather reports on the board and or start a game of Wheel of Fortune . . . without a wheel. He’d write, I dunno, I guess it was fan fiction (All In the Family and Transformers are the ones I most recall) and bring it to me so I could “copyright” it for him (I did this by putting a little “c” inside a circle at the bottoms of the pages). Scott was seriously messed up, and I felt sorry for him. Though when he learned I worked at the public library, he would go there looking for me and I’d have to hide and have Mike shoo him away.
The boyfriends didn’t help. I seemed to land the obsessive/possessive types that called constantly and wanted to know what I was doing every minute of every day.
I went away to uni and had another strange one—Michael—start following me around. He’d hang around outside my [all girls] dorm, linger after classes we had together (we had the same major) in the hopes of catching me. He started taking all his meals in our dorm cafeteria (which was open to all with a meal card) so I felt like I could never eat there unless I had a crowd of friends around me as a buffer.
“He likes you,” my friends would say about James, about Michael, and later about Cecil and Steve. Yes, okay. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with information like that—information that is, btw, patently obvious even to someone as oblivious as I am. Why does he like me? And what am I supposed to do about it exactly?
I must be losing my touch, my allure, though because aside from the occasional Internet stalker I’ve managed to avoid any unwanted hangers on over the past few years. Of course, I stay in a lot these days. Probably just as well.