Please don't flirt with me, sonny
March 23, 2012 7:52 AM Subscribe
How to kindly discourage flirting in a pen-pal context? Military perspectives very welcome.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've been sending care packages to (unknown to me, but not anonymous) deployed troops, as part of a Support Our Soldiers effort. Usually I don't hear back, but sometimes the guy wants a pen-pal. Great, I'm happy to correspond with somebody, if it makes their day a little better. However, though I am old enough to be these guys' mom, sometimes they flirt with me. I don't like that.
I get young men being (a) gallant and/or (b) indiscriminate -- OK, I was a young woman once. But I'm not one now, and flirtation from someone my son's age makes me feel slimy, as if my motives for doing this thing are called into question. Like I'm some would-be cougar preying on these poor lonely 20-year-olds.
Noooo, squick, not me. I just picture my son in a deployment situation, and how much that would suck for him, and I want to do for these guys what I'd do for my boy, in case their parents can't, or won't. Send them movies and candy bars and a nice letter from time to time. Show them they matter to someone. Lay up some good karma for my son, maybe.
So while I know how to discourage flirting in real life, in all its myriad gradations between a puzzled look and pepper spray, I don't know how to strike the right note here. The maternal note. The firmly but kindly maternal note, that doesn't make the guy feel stupid, or like he can't keep emailing me if he feels like it.
Please note: these guys know my age, my adult kids' ages, and have seen my picture. If that didn't do the trick, I really don't know.