Katy’s Corner: That guy that just won’t stop

| Staff Columnist

Dear Katy,

Ever since I became a single woman again last year I’ve had a problem of attracting “peeps.” Peeps are a term I made up to define guys that are more invested in their relationship with me than I am with them. Usually, they have some sort of romantic interest in me that is not reciprocated. How do I keep these peeps from constantly blowing up my phone, asking to hang out and giving me hugs when I see them on campus? Also, how can I stop attracting peeps in the first place? I’m desperate.

—Perpetual Peeps

Dear PP,

You seem like a popular lady! To really get a better handle on your situation, I’d like to expand the “peep” term by turning it into an acronym: People Enamored and Endlessly Present. Now, let’s break it down.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 11.49.38 PMIllustration by Josh Zucker

These guys are enamored with you. They’ve shed their masculine aloofness, and they’ve now become vulnerable, naked, emotional babies pleading for you to fall in love with them. Here’s where things get tricky. Guys are told pretty much from the get-go that their feelings are not OK, appreciated or respected and they live in constant fear of that judgment. So, these dudes have decided that YOU are worthy of them, shedding their hard, crusty, outer shell for you to reveal their gooey insides. And you ARE worthy of that shedding, no doubt! But these guys see this display as their ultimate sacrifice, their grand gesture, giving their life up for yours, and they expect that sacrifice to be recognized. It’s my own opinion that it should be: Them dipping their toe into the waters of emotional awareness should be praised, but the object of their affection—you—shouldn’t be responsible for positive reinforcement. It should be that guy in a band—that mutual friend who found his emotions years ago in the depths of a James Blunt album, who tells your peeps “Yeah, bruh, I recognize you. I value you. Cry it out, man; cry it out,” while simultaneously telling Alexa to play Blunt’s latest album.

Once these dudes have accessed their vulnerability, they can exhibit some more childlike behaviors: the angsty messages and the private talks, devoted to the fact that somehow you’ve done something wrong by not automatically loving them once they claims to love you. Or, like, they really wanna get to know you better and, like, hang out more and, like, nothing too serious but, like, still do stuff and stuff.

Let’s get into how to shut the peeps down. The first problem is that these men are blowing up your phone. I would suggest getting two phones, one for the peeps and one for your people, buuuuut that’s probably not a realistic strategy outside of a rap song.

I get the feeling that you haven’t blocked these boys because of the instinct to not cause conflict in a man’s world. But I would assume there’s the other added benefit that these guys would do, and have done, anything for you, which is a nice, infinite resource to have.

But, girl, you gotta stop.

Free-food Fred, Uber-driver Drake, business-notes Bill: These boys are human beings! I know their biggest traits may appear to be their perks—and they probably should know by now that if they fetch you another Starbucks drink you’re not technically “getting coffee together” and that driving you to your dentist appointment is not “basically a first date,” but this is a slippery slope. The more you accept from them, the more they will bludgeon you when you reject them with words like “you led me on,” when really you just capitalized on an awesome business venture. You can be an opportunist, but you have to be comfortable with the confrontational end result. If you want them gone, or at least less whiny, you need to stop accepting their gifts of devotion.

For the unwanted hugs issue, I have a strategy for you. I’m assuming you’re not gonna fly with the option of shouting “NO. STOP.” in his face—so, let’s go down the fancy-footwork path. When you see one of your peeps approaching, arms outstretched, with his big golden retriever tongue lolling out beneath his puppy dog eyes, react accordingly. Take one step to the side, grab his shoulder, give it a squeeze and say, “Side hugs are best!” with a big goofy smile. I worked at a summer camp where “frontal hugs” were prohibited because of the possible sexual contact, so I had to whip this dance move out on the reg. It’ll make him feel like a small child but also give him some time to think about why accosting someone with a full-frontal hug could be problematic.

To stop attracting peeps—I don’t know, honey, you might need to become a recluse. Until guys stop assuming they deserve something from women, this will be a never-ending narrative. Good luck out there; may you always keep the peeps at bay.

Have a question for Katy? Email scene@studlife.com with “Advice” in the subject line, or submit via direct message to Student Life’s social media.