The University's serial dater
Mystery man pursues at least six undergraduate women in four days
During the brief spell of warm, sunny days in mid-March, students flocked to the Lawn and amphitheater for sunbathing and outdoor merriment. Students and Charlottesvillians alike were too busy slack-lining, frisbee-throwing, tanning and picnicking to notice an outsider of dubious origins lurking in our midst.
In the following days, at least six undergraduate women — myself included — reported being hit on, asked out on a spontaneous date, or having their number asked for by the same man (who, we later learned, claimed to be from Malaysia, New Zealand and Colorado).
The story we have in common goes something like this.
A University woman would be sitting, lying down or leisurely walking through Central Grounds when, to her surprise, she was approached by a short — but not too short — student-aged hipster. He would say something like, “Hey, I saw you walking and thought you were really pretty, so I had to come over here and tell you.”
Usually flattered, she would say thanks and he would introduce himself as Josh. No last name was ever given, to my knowledge. After some small talk, he would ask what she was doing right then and invite her on a low-key coffee date.
The women he went after, as best we can tell, were short, of a generally cheery disposition, and alone. We can only speculate how many women were really affected.
I agreed to get coffee with him for a variety of reasons, the most prominent being that I enjoy talking to people, especially ones who have just called me pretty. Others — perhaps wisely — took more convincing, though. My friend Vic, whom the chivalrous Josh took to Alderman for their date before course-correcting to In The Nood, wasn’t going to do it at all until she realized she could write about it for The Cavalier Daily. Another friend, Madeline, didn’t let the flirtation leave the Lawn, but used her people skills to keep the situation under control.
In asking the girls on dates, Josh used a similar line of reasoning, lauding the virtues of spontaneity and chance-taking. He said to Vic, “This is how you grow: by stepping out of your comfort zone.” And she went with it.
You think it would take a über-confident person to pull off something of this magnitude, but I’d like to question that assumption. After having coffee with Josh, I realized he was more shy than I initially thought — really just a regular guy. I found out from Madeline he was only in Charlottesville for his Spring Break. We concluded this serial-dating business was likely something he decided to do only because he was in a totally anonymous environment. As he told me when I ran into him with yet another girl, “Well, I thought I’d never see you again!”
I could have been offended, but more than anything, I was impressed with the guts it took to put this risk-taking ideology into action so many times. The benefit of rolling with it far outweighed anything I might have lost. Heck, I got free coffee and a column out of it!
His statement that stuck with me the most had nothing to do with how pretty he thought I was or how exciting America is. When I asked him what actually gave him the courage to come over and ask me out, he said, “Sometimes you can’t think about these things too much. You just have to realize what you want and then do it.”
Well said, maybe-Malaysian Josh.
Kristen’s column runs biweekly Wendesdays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.