by Jack Waggon
My male coworkers are constantly asking me to join them after work and on weekends. One guy wants me on his softball team, another wants to take me golfing. Thursday night it's the movies together, Friday afternoon at 5:05 they're sitting in the bar across the street. There's the Grizz and Tigers games, Redbird games, and hey let's all head up to Nashville a catch the Titans, or we're all meeting at such and such to watch the playoffs. Then there's the never-ending saga of their Twitter and Facebook posts and their fantasy league picks and results.
These guys have been working together forever and they're all best buds in the most obnoxiously masculine way. Some are single, some dating, one is married, but they spend more time together than with their girlfriends/wives.
When I first started working here, I accepted their invitations in order to better merge with the team, but it got old quick. I'm just not that into sports or pretty much anything else that binds together their bro-hood. I have a couple of close friends and don't really want any new people in my life. I would rather go to a wine-tasting than Hooters. I prefer my own company or the company of an intelligent, beautiful woman to a bunch of 12-packs, high-fives, and booyahs.
The last time I did anything with them was the final Grizzlies home game. I finally started saying no. The other day, one of them jokingly (but not really) asked if I was gay. How can I let them know that, although I enjoy working together, I don't care to spend my free time with them, without coming off as an effete snob?
Bored with Men
Have you tried interesting them in what you enjoy? I know, I know guys like that are about as likely to understand the nuances of a particular wine as you are to enjoy the beauty of well-timed fart in a public place.
If you can show them where your interests lie, and thus that you and they have almost nothing in common, they might leave you alone. You don't even have to invite them along, just talk about what you're doing this weekend with as much enthusiasm as they do when discussing sports. The most important thing in your position is to maintain their respect without losing your self-respect. If you hide, dodge, and lie, you'll come across as embarrassed and ashamed of your "somewhat less-than-manly" extracurricular activities.
You can be a part of the team without having to go home with the players. That will be a new concept for them. You'll probably take a quite a bit of ribbing at first, but if you don't back down, hopefully they'll learn to accept and even value your differences.
Have you considered the possibility one or more of them is sweet on you?
Got a problem? Jack Waggon can set you straight: email@example.com