Dear Cheryl: I really appreciated your recent column in which you said women who dress well naturally attract attention from men. So many people blame the woman simply because a man is paying attention to her. They say things like, "If she couldn't put him in his place right quick, she isn't worth a darn."
This ignores the fact that to some men, any effort a woman makes to "put him in his place" just fans the flames. I really appreciated it when you said that if a woman isn't doing or saying anything she wouldn't in front of her husband, then it isn't her fault.
Now, I have a question. Do you have any suggestions for brushing men off politely but effectively? My friend's live-in boyfriend, Steve, has started chasing me. I want him to stop, but I still want to maintain his friendship, since he's living with my friend.
I was recently at a political/social event, and he was there without his girlfriend. He physically chased me around the room trying to monopolize my attention. In desperation, I said, "It's been nice talking to you, but I have to run." I turned on my heel and bolted out of the building. He ran after me and caught up to me in the parking lot, walked beside me to my car and then stood in front of the door, making it difficult for me to get in.
The next day, I put it out of my mind, figuring it was just one crazy incident. Then, just yesterday, I got a friendly email from him, telling me about all the good things he's doing for the club we all belong to. I responded with an equally friendly note. I got an immediate flirt message back, and I thought, "Uh-oh!"
I haven't done anything around him that I wouldn't do if my husband were standing right there. Any suggestions on how I should handle this? I have no intentions of responding to any more of his emails, but I don't know if that will be enough to stop him, and I know I'll have to see him again fairly often. His girlfriend is my friend. She's madly in love with him, and I know she would automatically believe anything he told her.
Why do men who have a wonderful girlfriend still act like such womanizers? — Irresistible
Dear Irresistible: Your last question is easy. Brad Pitt cheated on Jennifer Aniston. Billy Joel cheated on Christy Brinkley. Bill Clinton cheated on Hillary. If a guy's a cheater, he's going to cheat. It doesn't matter who he's dating, living with or married to.
Now, as for what to do, that's a little more difficult because there's a chance that if you do or say anything, he's going to twist it and tell your friend you've been coming on to him. That's a chance you have to take. As for maintaining his friendship, he's made that impossible.
Do as you said; ignore his emails, no matter what they're about. Don't take his calls if he starts pestering you. If that doesn't work, the next time you see him and he does anything out of line, tell him — in a voice that means business — that he needs to stop immediately. Don't threaten you'll tell his girlfriend. Let it be implied.
Got a problem? Send them along with your questions and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not.