I Had a Female Stalker
I teach at two public universities in Paris, and have plenty of work during semester. But in June the courses dry up for summer, and for the last two years I have resorted to teaching English at a language school to supplement my income.
The majority of students at this school are from China and Vietnam, for whom France is a surprisingly attractive location. Tuition fees are cheaper here than in English speaking countries, and university courses are offered in both English and French.
Upon arrival, however, these students generally speak neither language very well, and therefore require lessons from people like me before they begin their degrees. They tend not to be very motivated, given they are often living independently, or at least, abroad, for the first time in their lives.
I encountered some strange characters in these classes, including spies sent to keep an eye on their compatriots, and many who had been dumped in France and told not to come back until they'd obtained their degrees.
But one young lady stands out as being particularly odd.
I should mention that, while she was in my class, I barely noticed her, except for the fact that she was probably the weakest student and appeared a little lost much of the time. Other than that, she made no advances towards me, and I never gave her a second thought.
I should also say that this individual is back in China now (where Google and social media are blocked), which makes me feel I can broach this subject which went on for most of the last two years.
It started innocently:
Good morning, l am X l have a very important thing to do today, so can you allow me to ask for leave
We don’t have class today
Then the next one, to which I did not reply:
Hi Richard .I saw a man looking like you on the subway today. At first Ithought it was you, but you are younger than him
A week later I received this:
To be honest once I saddene for three day because your words.I was really confused with many of your behavior.Manybe you're pretty nice to all girls.You treated me a little better than the others, just to find the unlucky guy to get rid of your boredom.l know maybe I am not as good at school as they were.But I will be better than them after graduation.I still think you are a kind person,But I will not transfer my injury to others like you.And I'm sorry for being rude to you to day I will maintain enough respect for you in future classes
I have no idea what “words” she was referring to. My response was:
I treat everyone the same. Please only contact me for issues related to class.
I knew you'd say that ok l will
Then she persisted and I got a little irritated.
Hi Richard Today I see a person who looks like you very much , but younger than you and taller than you.I thought other people was you again hahaha……
You have no right to speak to anyone, but especially a teacher, in this manner. I will be forwarding this correspondence to [the administrator]
Is it because I said that the person is taller than you and younger than you, so are you angry? Sometimes I think you are like a little girl
I learned my lesson from this exchange and never replied to her again. But the emails did not stop. In fact, this is when they started to get weird.
Are you handsome in the west? I guess you must be a very good student in school. There are many girls who like you
A day later:
I have your class today，you known ，I often skipped your class last semester, because I don't want to see you often. I'm afraid I will like you.I won't skip your class again this semester, because I can only see you six times from now on
At this point I went to the administrator who intervened as follows:
I warned you once and you continued to send your messages to your teacher. I don't understand that attitude. You didn't answer my first message when I know you got it.
Starting today, you will be placed in a group other than Richard's, which will not accept you in class this afternoon. You're joining Y’s class. The next time you send Richard a message, it's exclusion from all classes.
I invite you to come and see me at the office.
She was out of my classes, but she returned to my inbox a few days later, this time with a bit of poetry:
Don't worry that you didn't hurt me. I can understand your feelings.Whenever I see the sunshine on your face, I know it's raining in your heart
Then back to scary:
I have a secret to tell you that I have never been in love before.Not because I'm an introverted, traditional person.I didn't understand until I met you that I was always running away from the people I love and the people who love me. Instead,play up to those who do not love me, hate me and ignore me.Now thesething might seem very sad and stupid .In the eyes of my classmates, friends and teachers in China, I am a talented and capable person, different from others.But the truth is I've had panic disorderfor more than five years.You were at my worst and powerless.To be honest,I have hated you, but only for a short time, because I we're strangers originally and l really know your mind even though I don't know your words.Richard I wanna tell you that someone certainly misunderstand you, but you should remember that you are never a bad person , and I'm going to start facing my , true self .I won't run away from the next guy
Then a string of emails before her trip back to China:
Richard what are you doing？
I just missed the plane. I can't go home today
To be honest, I know you're a loser and I want to take care of you
Not only did I miss the plane back to China yesterday, but my friend told me that my cat was missing.The cat has not come back yet
Did not lose it has been hiding in the bathroom corner
There was a one month gap, during which I thought it might be all over, until I received these in quick succession:
I've just arrived in Paris and I can't use gmail in China so l can’t send email for you
Imagine my relief.
I went to my best friend's wedding in high school, I was a bridesmaid. I spent the Mid-Autumn festival with my family.And I was taking my lasik-operation .That is all
Today I picked up the cat from my friend's house and signed up for an evening school to study French.But there's a slight error, so I have to go again tomorrow
I want to send an email to you and I don't know what to say
Hi kangaroo.I just got back from night school
A nickname. Great.
I'm sorry I shouldn't say you're a loser, I know you're not, you're a funny, warm-hearted guy
Good night 😘
Then some no context snakes for good measure.
Now back to crazy, in language form:
I don't want you. You can leave if you want.I can have many boyfriends enough to fill up a bus.But it's worthless,every girl can do it, as long as she's a girl.Really cool, like my mother only love once in a lifetime
When my mom met my dad, my dad had nothing, he never even invited my mom to a restaurant once,But they were very happy until now
I really miss you now
Then this, after receiving nothing from me since my blunt reply several months earlier:
I still don’t known why you suddenly ignore me
It's really confusing to me
I will start school the day after tomorrow.What are you doing?It's a bit cold today
I will start my internship next June,
I didn't take you as a teacher. I'm 26 years old and I'm an adult
In the beginning, I thought you were a very sunny and gentle guy, but later I found you were more and more strange.I thought you might have been a strange guy originally or maybe you had some problem lately.Oh！really pitiful guy.But now I think why I'm so stupid
I will go to school on Friday or next Tuesday.Maybe I can see you
Hmm let me check my diary.
Time for more poetry:
It is better to abandon others than to be abandoned, but I will never abandon you.I will never detest you.It doesn’t matter to me how good the other boys are.Because you make me feel safe.I know you’re disingenuous and short-tempered.There are bad experiences, but people are new every day just like the sun rises every day
Back to emojis:
This is the last email,thank you and best wish for you
Richard I'm finishing study soon.When are you free? Can I treat you to dinner ? I know a good Chinese restaurant 😋.
No, but why don't you send me some more weird emails.
It gets a little sad here.
Richard you know today is my birthday nobody say happy birthday with me.There nobody with me.Especially if you ignore me, I am so sad
Ok, we are strangers from today. Although people around me say that you are not reliable, I did not expect that you would be so despicable as to play with the feelings of a student.Mental disability is more terrible than physical disability,
sorry .I shouldn't have said that.you are young man and you are hard because every thing need to do by yourself.I don’t care you are poor or not.We can work by ourself and It’s easy to find job in China.Especially foreigners with high education.I used to be your student but I will graduate soon.My classmates' children are going to kindergarten so I think about it very seriously,I can't guarantee a good result.I don't want to miss it.If you don't contact me, I won't email you again.I am not white fever like some girl.I'm 27 and I'm going to work and start my life
Then, finally, the last one.
You accept me or not.It is all ok .But you can't go back to the people who hurt you.I can feel the wound in your heart.once, This wound brought out the beast in me.My mind was that I want stay in other relationship with someone else, not only you.This thought stayed with me for about 10 seconds, then I woke up suddenly, why would I have such a horrible, shameless mind.Like a shark with a bleeding wound, thrown into the sea, many sharks will tear him to pieces.Maybe you think someone who hasn't been in a relationship will cheat sooner or later.Maybe you think people who have many times relationships with man are trustworthy , I tell you clearly that the idea is absurd.Who in the world is least likely to kill someone?The murderer, of course.Who is least likely to steal from another,A thief who has stolen many times, of course.Because they knew it was an immoral thing, a shameful thing, they were punished and didn't have Interest it .I can't express it well in English, but I want to tell you honestly
Being the object of persistent, unreturned attention is a strange dichotomy. On one hand it is a kind of flattery. On the other it is a case of a person grossly overstepping the boundaries of social rules.
These communications, over time, gave me mild paranoia, but above all a sense of violation, of being drawn into something sentimental against my will, of someone forcing their way into the most private realm of my mind.
I also felt strangely culpable, like I had stoked a vulnerable person's instability and made myself a captive spectator to a well of loneliness and pain.
When I discussed the messages with friends at the time, it was usually a source of entertainment. This was important for me, a kind of release valve, and it made me feel above what was happening. But at other times the levity with which others reacted made me feel more alone, that my problems were nothing but material, a joke.
This in turn threw up bigger questions. How would people react if it were a male student harassing a female teacher? Is it the same when a woman does the harassing? And if not, is this fair, or do attitudes need to change? I don’t know the answer to these questions. All I can say is I’m glad this episode is over.