Need guy advice
September 7, 2013 6:03 AM   Subscribe

How to put the moves on a sensible, reserved guy, who may not have any romantic interest in me, and is leaving the country in two weeks?

I met the guy, "Paul," about a month an a half ago. He and a friend are here as visiting academics from another country. I hit it off with Paul and his friend right away and we made plans right away to hang out again. Since then I've seen him at least once or twice per week. We've had tons of adventures this summer, always in groups with either his friend or my friends.

The first time I met Paul, and the next few times we hung out after that, it seemed really obvious that he was interested in me. He actually followed me around, always stood really close to me, and always grabbed a seat right next to me.

But after that, something weird happened. Paul "cooled off" a bit (still very friendly but not following me around), and his FRIEND was suddenly in my orbit all the time. His friend was also much more forward, putting his arm around me a few times. I moved away when he did that. I was disappointed and confused because I was not interested in the friend at all.

The friend left and went back to their home country early, so he's gone now. Paul is still here for another two weeks. I saw him a few days ago, and he still seemed like he was just really platonic. We held hands a couple times, as he was helping me across something with shaky footing, but I didn't really pick up on any big interest or flirting.

Paul is also very sensible, practical, and somewhat reserved. I have no idea if he would make a move if he were interested in someone. But maybe I'm just telling myself that he wouldn't make a move because that's what I want to think.

Paul also has a very "old fashioned gentlemanly" way of acting.. not pulling out chairs and things, just being really pleasant, polite, and proper with everyone, not acting like best friends with people he doesn't know, having respectful boundaries with other people, always speaking in a thought out and respectable way, and things like that. He's not a stick in the mud, he jokes and he's fun, but he's also gentlemanly.

I already know that he doesn't want to have a long-distance relationship, since when we first met he told me about a girl who lives only an hour away from him at home, who told him she liked him, but he wasn't sure if he wanted to start a relationship with her because of how far away she was.


I'm infatuated with him. I think I would regret it if I never said anything to him. I don't want to let him go back to his country without kissing him. What should I do? And what should I say?
posted by galenka to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Tell him that you'd like to kiss him, and be cool if he doesn't reciprocate. Don't just unilaterally decide that he is going to be kissed - ask him first.

Also, decide what you want versus what you can actually have. At the most, you have 2 weeks together. If you're both OK with having a lot of sex (or whatever) in that time, and then he leaves and you don't see each other again, then go for it. If you're not going to be OK with him leaving at the end of the fortnight, then don't enmesh yourself any further. Be clear with yourself, then be clear with him.
posted by Solomon at 6:10 AM on September 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

What's the point? He's leaving, so what can you accomplish by pursuing him that will have any value and benefit to you? It sounds like the only thing you might get is heartache.
posted by Dansaman at 6:23 AM on September 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

But after that, something weird happened.

What happened there most likely was that Paul's friend was attracted to you, and he and Paul made a gentlemen's agreement to not compete with each other over you. Paul backed off, Paul's friend made his move, you weren't interested so that didn't go anywhere, and now Paul is still backed off even though friend is gone.

Even without that indication of Paul's... "ambivalence" may be too strong a word, but, at least a willingness to back off from you... I'm not sure I'd want to try starting a relationship with a built in two week expiration date. But if you're determined then what the heck; worst case if it all goes totally wrong there's a built in two week expiration date on any awkwardness.
posted by ook at 6:25 AM on September 7, 2013 [6 favorites]

It doesn't sound like this guy sees you in that way, perhaps because he's a visitor. However, if you can be really truely okay with two weeks (during which he may be busy with wrapping up and planning and packing) then you should ask him out on a date . I am just thinking you want to save yourself from "what might have been...!" syndrome.

You know he is leaving. You know he doesn't do long distance. These two things will not change. Are you sure you can handle that, even if he's interested in two weeks?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:39 AM on September 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Eye contact, smile, compliment. Sit close. Hand on shoulder.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:47 AM on September 7, 2013

he already mentioned that he isn't into long-distance relationships. so strike that.

That leaves the possibility of a casual, closed-ended physical relationship. But, he may not be into that, either. Some dudes would be happy to get it on with a gall a few times then shove off to another country, never to be seen or heard from again.

Some guys just aren't like that, preferring to stay "friends" rather than getting involved in something short term and casual.

i'd simply ask. communicate. with words!
posted by Salvatorparadise at 8:16 AM on September 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

alternatively, a few days before he leaves, go to his house. go in the other room, disrobe completely and walk out.
posted by Salvatorparadise at 8:16 AM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

alternatively, a few days before he leaves, go to his house. go in the other room, disrobe completely and walk out.

I know this will mark me down as 'not manly enough", but if someone I was not involved with did that, whether or not I harbored feelings towards them, I'd freak out, and not in a good way.

As to what happened this summer? Sounds like Paul didn't get the message you where interested and so his friend asked 'hey can I give it a try?' and he said sure.

If he is not interested in a long distance relationship what are you hoping to achieve at this point? Honestly at this point I may advise just concentrate on enjoying your remaining time together and let him know if he comes back you'd like to see him. Alternately, ask him if he wants to fool around for the next few weeks, but be prepared that it might make things pretty awkward if he doesn't want to.
posted by edgeways at 8:38 AM on September 7, 2013 [7 favorites]

If all you want to do is kiss him, then I think you can just say "I know you're leaving, but I'm infatuated with you. I think I would regret it if I never said anything to you. I don't want to let you go back to his country without kissing you. What do you think?" or something like that.

I have to say I think the chances are probably not good. It doesn't sound like he liked you "enough" before and it doesn't seem like he likes you "enough" now.
posted by sm1tten at 9:08 AM on September 7, 2013 [6 favorites]

This is tricky. As a guy who's had some last minute flings and found them satisfying, I say go for it, as long as you're willing to accept that he might not be game, which is fine.

But, yeah, how to go about it is tricky. The truth is it'll be hard to do in a group without feeling awkward or overly vulnerable. Do you guys hang out alone? If so, I think it's actually pretty simple. Invite him out for a drink and sit at the bar. Enjoy yourself and enjoy him. Look him in the eyes. When you're both feeling comfortable, be honest in a gentle, open way. Do be afraid to frame it, by saying something like, "Can I ask you something? I know you're leaving in two weeks but..." and then be honest.

One caveat: I'd avoid using the word "infatuated" only because it could be misinterpreted. But are you curious about what it would feel like to kiss him? Then tell him. As long as you're sincere, open, and (relatively) calm, he'll respect you for being honest about your desires.

At least that's my take. Good luck. And of course it it goes well, don't hold back from letting us know!
posted by vecchio at 10:14 AM on September 7, 2013

Sit close. "I'm going to miss you." Look in eyes, smile. So far so good? Put your hand on his leg or arm/hand. If he recoils, you're done. He should get the hint to kiss you if he's remotely interested. Good luck! I don't see the problem in creating a happy memory before he leaves, as long as you're both ok with that.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:52 AM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

alternatively, a few days before he leaves, go to his house. go in the other room, disrobe completely and walk out.

This is rather astonishing. OP, please do not force nudity on anyone as a way to signal your interest. (this is my advice to everyone) I have no idea where you are, but I imagine most places have the criminal concept of "indecent exposure".

OP, you want to have a two-week fling. The issue is whether he is interested in such a thing. Unless the "gentlemanly" behavior is a ruse, he probably isn't. As far as how to proceed, I think sm1tten has it - that script works as well as any could. You have little time to beat around the bush.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:11 PM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

How to put the moves on a sensible, reserved guy, who may not have any romantic interest in me [?]
alternatively, a few days before he leaves, go to his house. go in the other room, disrobe completely and walk out.
Sweet jesus, do not do this.
posted by blueberry at 2:57 PM on September 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Don't want to pile on, but the "naked in the other room" idea is just not good. Not that I think you'd follow it, but when you translate that concept of a guy doing that to a girl, imagine someone offering that advice.

There are ways to show your interest, and sm1tten's is likely the best approach - direct, but not too forward to be off-putting. Give it a try, and make a promise to yourself that you won't dwell on the response either way. For better or worse, this doesn't have a great end game. If you get turned down, you might feel hurt and rejected. If you do have a little fling with him, you might make it into a bigger thing in your head and pine for a gentleman who is now overseas.

I think you'll regret it if you don't put yourself out there in some way. So do that, but don't push all your chips in emotionally for this guy. Have fun!
posted by shinynewnick at 3:51 PM on September 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wat ook says. To make this into a thing that exclusively has to do with you two, tell him in any manner deemd fit that you like him. That. Much.
posted by Namlit at 4:50 PM on September 7, 2013

I assumed the naked in the room was a joke. Seemed sarcastic. Am I wrong?

Just tell this guy you want to take him out before he leaves and see what happens. Assuming you go out, just flirt it up with him and see if he gives you a cue to move forward with something more physical
posted by superfille at 6:38 PM on September 7, 2013

It sounds to me like he maybe kinda likes you, but not so much that he's willing to do a daft thing like get involved just before he leaves, so he's very deliberately cooled things off. Sensible guy. Be sensible too, and back off.
posted by Decani at 10:05 AM on September 8, 2013

I am a little surprised that nobody has asked the one question which is very relevant to how you handle this: what country is he from? Yes, it does matter: culture is the lens through which we see our relationships. You may be underestimating his interest; you may also have misinterpreted his apparent interest from before. Whatever the case, if you assume that he sees the world the way you do, it won't necessarily end in laughter. The trouble with culture is that we're blind to the ways in which we're shaped by our own.

Start by finding out a bit more about his to get a better idea how best to approach things.
posted by rhombus at 1:04 PM on September 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Not sure how many people are still reading by now, but Paul is from Stuttgart, Germany.
posted by galenka at 5:28 AM on September 9, 2013

A German, eh? My bet is he "gentlemanly" stepped aside on his own steam, after understanding that his friend was the pushier type.
Now here's the thing: many (most?) Germans are direct, or at least, can handle directness pretty well. Just tell him you like him. Anything can be re-negotiated, even a dude's ideas about long distance relationships, but only if you try.
posted by Namlit at 3:51 AM on September 10, 2013

Ah! Then maybe he does like you :)

Germans in general are indeed direct (sometimes very!). If you don't say what you are really thinking and what you want, you're not going to get very far. But at the same time, German men also have a reputation (among the German women I know) for being passive, perhaps a bit easily overwhelmed, although anybody who is willing to leave home to study has got more of a sense of adventure than your average bear.

And Stuttgarters tend to be a peculiar combination. Fastidious -- pity the fool who does anything half-assed, there's a reason not one but two of Germany's most famous auto brands come from here -- yet also congenial. It's not Italy, but it's still "southern." Is he tidy?

So, you'll need measured directness: tell it like it is, but give him some breathing room. Keep it light, don't be afraid to be playfully affectionate. Think fun! And above all, don't take it too seriously. With time running short and his obvious lack of interest in a long-distance relationship, you shouldn't expect much anyway.

But you could still have a good time, and you never know.
posted by rhombus at 12:40 PM on September 10, 2013

Response by poster: Rhombus: yes, he is very tidy!

So, I wasn't brave enough to tell him directly yet, but I asked him to have dinner with me, just the two of us, in the hopes that I could get a better read before just blurting out something potentially embarrassing.

He agreed, and we had a great dinner, and then he invited me to come back to his place to meet his roommate and see a bunch of his trip photos. That sounded really promising...

We ended up just standing in his roommate's doorway and talking to her for a LONG time.

Then, he had us sit on the couch to look at the photos, and he squeezed right up next to me, extremely close. But the couch was right in front of his roommate's open door, 10 feet from where she was puttering around, and walking in and out the whole time.

I tried to move things into his room, and asked if I could see some things in there. He said sure. I went into his room to look at them... and he stayed on the couch in the living room.

Later we were looking at things on the laptop in his room. Only two places to sit. He sat down in the computer chair. I sat down on his bed. He could have joined me and sat on his bed, but didn't.

Eventually I ended up just going home...

Does this sound like obvious disinterest to you guys? I was thinking that I'm going to have to just telling him I like him directly. But if it sounds like obvious disinterest, I'm thinking it might be better to just leave it at friendship and not try to take it further.
posted by galenka at 11:45 PM on September 13, 2013

Sounds like me to me, actually. Some dudes take it rather slow...
posted by Namlit at 8:55 AM on September 14, 2013

...meaning, no it doesn't seem like disinterest but that he maybe thought that on that day, he had already pulled all the stops and didn't want to overdo it.
No way knowing it for sure w/o asking is what I say.
posted by Namlit at 8:57 AM on September 14, 2013

Try actually saying the words to him. You only have one week left, it seems? Better get a move on.
posted by Solomon at 10:34 AM on September 14, 2013

Tea leaves are a lot harder to read than USE YOUR WORDS
posted by ook at 11:43 AM on September 14, 2013

How'd it go, OP?
posted by Solomon at 2:43 PM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

« Older How to fix iPhone photos upside down in iPhoto   |   Discretion in job applications Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.