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By the fourth phone call, I already knew I was never going to call back. It was 8 a.m. when I woke up to the first message from Mr. Man From The Party Last Night. “Wassup,” it read. I still had no idea what his name was and it was too early to text anyone other than my parents, so I rolled back over to sleep. Naturally, during the course of dreaming and snoring, the text escaped my mind and before I knew it, it was 6 p.m. As I was about to start my work shift, I got a call from the same unsaved New York number. While I felt bad for forgetting to text him back, I had too much work and not enough time for a phone conversation. I’ll get back to him tomorrow… I thought to myself as I let the call go to voicemail. When I heard my ringtone three more times in the next three hours, annoyance started to kick in. Dude, obviously I’m unavailable tonight.

By the end of his spree, he’d left a message, and a creepy one at that. “After you give me such a good dance last night, so nice, so sweet, so s*xy, you don’t answer your phone. What kinda ting is that?” he mused in a thick Jamaican accent. “It’s meee. Call me back,” he finished after repeating his number and gushing three more times about the “amazing” dance I gave him (it was a party and reggae and Soca were playing, I promise it wasn’t anyone’s strip tease). At that point, my feelings of irritation turned to those of discomfort, and I swiftly saved him in my phone as “NO. Scary Jamaican Man” (Disclaimer: I’m Jamaican, too). This was well over two weeks ago, and as of now, I’m on call number 16, none of which has ever been answered nor returned. Is the hint really that hard to miss? Or does he think that I’m playing hard to get? Either way, Mr. Man has thoroughly turned me OFF. As a shy girl, I’m cool with the idea of guys approaching me and the whole pursuit — I know it would take more than a couple tequila sours for me to be the initiator if someone caught my eye — but there’s a fine line between persistence and insanity. He pole vaulted over it.

Now be clear, I usually never go the ignore route when it comes to phone contact. I’m a peacemaker at heart and will usually sacrifice my personal feelings to avoid hurting someone else’s. I’m also just terrible at saying “no.” Rejection is a sucky feeling. But this time, I’m happy I followed my gut instinct to ignore those first few calls. “Doing too much” is a tell-tale sign that something’s a bit off about a guy, and it foreshadows what could be an obsessive courtship. If you’ll hound a woman whose whole name you don’t even know and face you couldn’t even clearly see, what on earth would it be like to be in a relationship with you? Maybe he’s needy. Maybe he’s controlling. Maybe he’s desperate. Maybe he’s after a green card and wants to hurry to the point of nuptials to get them (it happens!). Who knows, but I know I don’t intend on finding out.

Admittedly, I should’ve seen it coming before the number exchange even happened. One of my top party pet peeves (besides folks shoving through through crowds without saying “excuse me.” Ugh!) is when guys get carried away with their hands. You don’t have to caress my arm or the small of my back to pass me by. Please don’t misinterpret a dub (or grind, twerk, wine, juke or whatever you call it) as an opportunity for a personal touchy-feely session. I didn’t ask for all that. Just keep your hands on my hands or stationary on my hips unless I direct you otherwise. Anyway, Mr. Man tried it for a hot second before I swiftly repositioned his hands. I didn’t make a big whoop out of it because aside from that, he seemed like a nice guy. I just brushed it off, ended the dance, told him I was leaving, gave him my number and went on about my night. Little did I know all the small talk and G-rated compliments would get tossed out the window the very next day after four creepily consistent phone calls. Chile, never again.

I always joke with my friends that the reason I’m single is because I never mix ‘n’ mingle and swap info at parties. Well, this experience has been even more of a deterrent. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I personally can’t deal with the potential crazies lurking on these dance floors. Fellas, just be cognizant of your aggression when trying to connect (and reconnect) with someone who you think might be worth your while. Yes, pursue her, but do it in a way that won’t leave you as the subject of a scared woman’s essay. Don’t be pushy, clingy or obsessive (the same goes for us, ladies). Hit her up in a respectful manner, at a respectable hour and a reasonable amount of times before you give up. And sometimes it’s cool to do just that, give up. In time, the right one will answer. Because I promise you, blowing up her phone won’t get you anywhere but on a blocked calls list.

Stacy-Ann Ellis is a New York-based writer and photographer whose work has been featured in VIBE Magazine, VIBE Vixen, Hearts Converse, The Root and The Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @stassi_x

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