Was this an abnormal thing to do?
May 27, 2013 7:16 PM   Subscribe

I asked my piano teacher to get coffee. Slightly after the fact I'm second guessing myself a bit.

I have a sort of long term crush on my piano teacher (we are both grown. he is a graduate student). I think he might know already that I like him, but I thought I might ask him to do something anyway, so I did. I think I did it because I've liked him for a pretty long time (about a year) and I wanted some finality about it and also just because I like spending time with him. He's smart and nice (quite shy and a little dorky in a nice way) and it's fun to talk to him.

I had a piano lesson yesterday (Sunday) and I'd thought to myself that I'd ask him if he wanted to get an ice cream or something after. I sort of missed the boat on that, but I did ask him if he was doing anything for the holiday (today) and he said he couldn't really think of anything he was doing. So I emailed him this morning and told him essentially that I know it's a bit random, but I am going to be on campus returning library books and did he want to get a cup of coffee and I liked talking to him. Well, he didn't reply.

It doesn't feel like the end of the world, but I've been second guessing whether it was perhaps a weird thing to do. Like maybe you're not supposed to be so casual about it, or ask the same day, or something. I had kind of built an escape clause into the email by saying, "You must be super busy with writing your dissertation!" So I wasn't exactly sure why he didn't just reply, "Yes, I am super busy with writing my dissertation" so that everyone could save face.

Is this how normal people go about this?
posted by mermily to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How do you know he saw his email yet? Some of us don't check all that often.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:18 PM on May 27, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: You did great. Ball's in his court now. Just don't overthink things.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 7:18 PM on May 27, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: The worst outcome is that he doesn't want to and doesn't respond; you save everyone's face by going to the next lesson and not alluding to the whole thing.

You acted completely appropriately.

Remember that even if he doesn't want to hang out/like you back, that has far more to do with him than with you - this is something I've realized as I've gotten older and have occasionally recognized that people were interested in me while they still were interested and my own life circumstances - not their allure or lack thereof - led to me not going on dates with them. This seemed so implausible at other times in my life, but it is actually a real thing.
posted by Frowner at 7:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, he might not have seen it yet.

Also keep in mind that even if he didn't see it in time, there are still plenty of things he can write back to communicate that he's interested and would like to hang out.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:26 PM on May 27, 2013

Memorial day and weekend are just funky. I don't think the no-response gives much indication one way or the other.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:02 PM on May 27, 2013

You're good. I don't see anything wrong with it, or any reason why I would feel weird about it if I were in his position.
posted by WhitenoisE at 8:19 PM on May 27, 2013

Don't do a thing but wait, and if he doesn't mention it at/respond to it by the next lesson, that's your answer, and that's totally okay. Of course, if he wants to and he's shy, he'll respond to the mail, and if he's not, he'll say something in person.
posted by davejay at 10:08 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: nthing all of the don't make a big deal out of it responses - if you never hear back just go to your next lesson and if he doesn't bring it up, don't bring it up yourself. Getting crushes on music teachers happens all the time - happened to me many times while teaching, most of which I handled by gracefully 'not noticing' - until I ended up marrying one of my students. I guess it's an occupational hazard :-)
posted by ianhattwick at 12:37 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: ...most of which I handled by gracefully 'not noticing' - until I ended up marrying one of my students...

Indeed. I once thought a service provider of mine might make a good partner, and when I asked her out, I gave her an easy pathway of avoidance via "unless you have a policy against that" and she responded that she did have a policy, but that it didn't apply to me. So no harm in giving it a go, in a nice way that he can gracefully ignore if inappropriate (which you did.)
posted by davejay at 1:58 AM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: I would be charmed to my boots, mebbe he is shy. Follow your invite up but avoid becoming a bunny boiler.
posted by BenPens at 3:34 AM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: Don't say another thing about it.
1. He may have been too busy to see it. If so, he'll follow up at you next lesson.
2. He may have seen it but not be interested. If so, he'll say nothing or make some kind of disclaimer at the next lesson.

If you cannot feel certain either way, wait at least a month before any other move on your part. No harm however it works out.
posted by mightshould at 3:58 AM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: It wasn't a weird thing to do, it was nice.
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 6:35 AM on May 28, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Very even keeled and practical advice. No response yet, but I feel oddly glad that I did it even though it feels like it might not pan out. At least the whole thing will be laid to rest either way and it makes me feel kind of tough and strong in a Beyonce music video way. Don't worry, I won't make any Fatal Attraction overtures. The thought of approaching him with, "So??? Well??? How about that coffee??" is a little too horrific to be likely to happen. I think the next move is probably to awkwardly pretend it didn't happen. Will let Metafilter know if it happens to go the other way and we fall in love and end up happily ever after.
posted by mermily at 7:57 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes, sending an email invitation to a cute grad student you like is a reasonable thing to do. It's hard not to feel awkward about it, because asking people out is awkward, but I think you did a great thing. Congratulations on taking action!

Not responding to an email that he's not sure what to do about is also a very reasonable thing for him to do. It's not optimal, but it's human, especially if he is favorably disposed toward you but not actively crushing on you. (on one hand he'd say "no, they tell us not to socialize with people we're teaching lessons to" and on the other he'd have given it some thought already and be ready with an answer "I'd love to but I can't because dissertation/girlfriend/teacher-rules" or "yes, let's") It's possible he's freaked out by getting an email from a cute student and can't even compose a "too bad, I didn't see your email till late" excuse. Poor guy. Let's take pity on him and assume that his brain locked up and he couldn't find the keyboard.

Now, your next lesson is coming up. I'd be inclined to not mention the email, just smile and be friendly, "how's your week?" but no specific "what did you end up doing on Monday?". You made your bold Beyonce music video move and asked him out, and now you can relax and be unexpectedly gracious and nonthreatening if he needs to pretend it never happened. Unfortunately, that means you can't worry that maybe he never saw your email, and you can't ask him again, but yes, you made a good first move.
posted by aimedwander at 10:06 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hmm. Quick follow up and possible request for further advice. He ended up sending what sounds like a pretty tepid yes. He said he didn't get it till late last night and we can do that (phrased as "but yes, we can do that" versus "that would be great!" etc.) It's pretty formal. He is a pretty formal person, but based on what I know about how he is, I am thinking maybe he's not sure how to say no and is being polite? And suddenly the thought of going and doing something together feels like it will be dreadfully awkward, but I am not sure how to get out of it now that it's sort of required to acknowledge that I asked in the first place. It's feels super awkward because if I follow up and say, "So, what about so-and-so time?" I feel like I'm roping him into something he doesn't want to do particularly and which the context will make awkward for both of us, but then if I pretend I didn't say that in the first place (which I'd prefer), then it looks like I'm waiting for him to do something and playing funny games. Then if I say, "Can we pretend I didn't say that?" or "You really don't have to" which is what I really wish I could say, it makes it look like I'm being coy.

Seemed like such a good idea! I guess I really, really didn't think through this. Sorry for all of the silly hand-wringing.
posted by mermily at 4:24 PM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: He'd say no if he didn't want to do it. Text is a notoriously hard medium to catch nuances through. Treat text as exactly what it says! Go out and have a good time.
posted by Addlepated at 6:26 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Reverse the genders and tone the language down a bit and I think this nugget from Shit My Dad Says applies here:

"Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."

Go to coffee and see how it goes and if it's super awkward then it probably wasn't a good match anyway.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

As long as he's not your teacher through the school - i.e. you're not taking piano lessons as a subject at school. If so, that's why he's tepid. If not, good luck!
posted by blu_stocking at 8:53 PM on May 28, 2013

He could be tepid because you're his student and thus a part of his livelihood, and he might not want that messed up if dating doesn't go well. Just a thought there.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:53 AM on May 29, 2013

Best answer: Dude, if the guy wanted to say no, he would have.

Just suggest a date and time, or ask him when would work for him.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:18 PM on May 29, 2013

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