Recruit to Deny Guy

Today’s post comes from Wendell Willkie High School’s perennial sophomore, Bubby Spamden.

Hey Mr. C.,

I admit I’ve been a pest when it comes to passing notes in class to ask girls if they want to go out with me. Usually (always) the answer is “no”, because … well, it just is.

But that’s OK. My feelings don’t get hurt too much ’cause I’ve been in 10th grade for about 20 years and a guy just gets used to things over that much time. Pretty much I just do it out of habit.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why some of the girls say (behind my back) that I’m creepy. On account of I’m old enough to be boyhood friends with their fathers.

Anyway, we just had a meeting today with Mr. Norton, the guidance counselor, and he told us about an amazing thing colleges are doing that I think is so inspiring, I’m going to start using it in my personal life because it might help me stop feeling like such a loser.

It’s called “recruit to deny”, which describes the practice of sending letters and e-mails and texts to students who the schools know are probably not going to get admitted, hoping to draw an application so they can say “no” and look more selective, meaning “better”.

Like I say – really cool idea.

So here’s what I’m thinking – I’ll change the notes I’m writing to these girls in my class from “Hey, do you want to go out with me sometime?” to something that’s more closer to a college recruiting letter, like “Hey, I’m inviting you to ask me to go out with you. Lots of really super girls have asked me already, and the ones I went out with thought it was one of the greatest educational experiences of their lives! It’ll cost a bunch ’cause of course I’ll want you to buy, but sometimes it takes a few bucks to learn important things about the world.”

I realize not very many will take me up on this offer, but I don’t get many “yeses” as it is. Even if I got just two to ask me out, I could say “yes” to one and “no” to the other. Then I would both have a date AND feel kinda selective and special!

And I wouldn’t feel sorry for the girl I turn down either, because she be the real winner. For obvious reasons!

What do you think?
Your pal,

I told Bubby I found his latest note disturbing on a number of levels. As the oldest high school sophomore in history, it is totally inappropriate for him to be asking classmates out on dates. I’m relieved to hear that no one has taken him up on it. His latest idea to send out insincere invitations and mimic the callous strategy of some colleges to seem more “selective” is simply ludicrous, and I doubt it will bring him anything but sorrow.

On the other hand, it does feel wonderful to be wanted and unobtainable, so I get where he’s coming from.

When has turning down an offer made you feel good?

35 thoughts on “Recruit to Deny Guy”

    1. Dale, are you now recruiting commenters you don’t want, just so you can delete them and the rest of the Baboons can feel like really good writers because this is such an exclusive blog?

      Liked by 4 people

  1. I’ve turned down some job offers that I am really happy about. These were jobs I thought I really, really wanted and needed, but the interview process showed me that my time and talents would be better utilized elsewhere.

    I would like to assure them that I have had good luck in my alternative future endeavors.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. More often than not, I’ve accepted jobs that I really wish I hadn’t–a certain large corporation in St. Paul and a very small library in the south metro area are at the top of that particular list. Usually, even if I didn’t like a job, I could find something about it that was useful–meeting good people, learning that I can do something I didn’t think I could, getting an employee discount on books and DVDs (hey, you take what you can get…), but those two jobs were purely “this is what you don’t want”. Useful in it’s own way, perhaps, but not fun to experience.

    When I was applying to colleges, I got accepted by both Macalester and the College of St. Catherine. I was prouder of getting into Mac, but then I visited St. Kate’s campus and got one of my gut feelings, so I abruptly changed my mind. It turned out to be a good decision. Late in my program I took a creative writing class at Mac, and found that they had a more competitive atmosphere (and less of a sense of humor), which would not have been good for me. My writing got a solid boost in quality and I learned how to read publicly, but perhaps the most important thing Jonis taught us was how to critique well, something that has served me excellently in both my writing group and working on the magazine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sense of humor. Sooooo important. I think this is why I cannot work in cororate America for very long. I cannot take it seriously enough.


    2. I’ve always been impressed by your writing, CG. You write with a calm clarity that is rare and remarkable. And your comments on these pages are so correct I have wondered how much you proof them before posting. My conclusion is that you don’t work on them that much. You must have an orderly mind and natural precision. (Unlike some of us!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning. I didn’t agree to help any of those guys who told me I would become rich if I gave them some money they needed to free up a massive amount of funds that they would share with me. I think they might have been lying. However, I think a guy like Bubby, who hasn’t managed to make it out of the 10th grade, would probably also think those people were lying. By turning down those offers, I can only take credit for not being totally stupid. I will have to think of some other offers I turned down to give an example of a case where I felt really good about turning down an offer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never did pay for the “Get Rich Quick” Real Estate seminars. $500.00 for a three-day dry conference. I should have charged the presenters $250.00 to NOT post my reviews.


  4. It is easier to think of offers I should have rejected than offers I was wise enough to decline. Dale probably understands how desirable a regular job with a reliable paycheck can seem after one has been a freelancer for years. I once turned down a “real” job in spite of my lust for a reliable income. The job was entirely wrong for someone with my values, and I surely would have done it badly. (One of the ironies is that I declined it partly because I valued my marriage and the job would not have been kind on that relationship.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember, at one of my early temp jobs in San Francisco, being offered the opportunity to accompany the boss on a business trip to Hawaii as his companion. After I picked up my jaw from the floor, I politely declined and got the hell out of there.


  6. I applied to five colleges and got accepted to six. I have had a way of making that sort of offer happen.
    My senior year in college I did an early application for a teaching job to one school and then started the process to others, but the first school called me for an interview on a Saturday morning in March. I was offered the job that day and accepted. The next year in February we had an odd Monday off. We went up to Duluth to visit my parents for the weekend. On Monday I drove up to Two Harbors to visit a one of my ex-teachers. I met the principal. We talked for three hours, at the end of which he offered me a job. I was there for 23 years.
    Years later I did one and then a second pulpit supply at a little church in Castle Danger. At then end of of the second service they asked me to be their licensed lay pastor. (But I knew about half of the church members to some degree, four key ones I knew well, had taught their children.) It was a complicated process to get that job, with rigid specific requirements. But I fully met all the requirements. A neighboring pastor, whose children I had taught and who had a close connection with the country church, pushed the issue through at the synod. I was there 14 years.
    The year after my daughter graduated I was all burned out as a teacher, particularly correcting student writing. I was an unwilling participant in a three-day regional workshop one mile from my house. I had a slight relationship with the lead presenter. At noon of the third day he and the new supt.–who had long been a principal and whom I respected and for whom I had campaigned to get the job–offered me a blended job working in development in the district and working for the regional coop. I was not going to take the job. The Supt. and I had a conversation about the job and issues in the district–he did not know I was going to say no. He was telling me why this was going to be good for the district. Among reasons he gave to me was that much would be gained and that the district was not giving up one of their best teachers to do this (meaning me). It stunned me that he thought that of me. In the end I accepted, in part because of what he had said.
    A year later the presenter who hired me that day to work with him said we needed to start a company to get around an agreement among regional coops. We walked into a bank in Virginia to start a sort of dummy non-profit. The president said we could not do that. Same story at a second bank. At the third bank all the top people were on vacation or sick. The woman who was in charge helped us do it, (and we were not supposed to be able to do it). A month later the president came back from a surgery recovery. He called us in. He said we could not do that. We showed him the letter from the state saying we had been approved. He could not really object, but did not like it. Six months later we were suddenly a real company and we were moving it to Mankato (and another bank).


      1. Yes, I taught school and was a pastor for 14 years By our agreement I did not do any of the church leadership issues or money management or admin. things. I did all the Sunday and special services, like Lent and Thanksgiving. I did all the funerals, which somehow always fit around teaching days. I did confirmation, which was done only every 2-3 years with only 2-4 students. I did all the visitation and hospital visits, which somehow fit around teaching as well. More than once I taught with only 2-4 hours sleep because of middle of the night or long emergency hospital visits. But I was not tired those days. I found those moments powerful and uplifting. It is visitation and dying support and extreme illness support that I miss because they were a key part of the close relationship I had with the members. I once was with a woman, by then a dear friend, and her family for her last moment and then 30 minutes later was teaching. And once went straight from teaching to the same experience. They were uplifting moments which made both teaching and pastoring more meaningful. My principal and my supt. bent the rules slightly here and there to make it work. My being a pastor was never an issue for kids or parents, even thought teaching A.P. English meant I had to do some teaching about religions. How can you understand Scarlet Letter without teaching about Catholicism and Puritanism? But it worked fine.
        CASTLE DANGER: there is much dispute about this. The MN Hist. folks say the answer is unknown. My old members who grew up in Castle Danger and who were born from 1888-1925 or so almost all agree, see below.
        It was not named for a ship. No ship named Castle is recorded to have ever sailed the lake. No one named Castle lived there.
        The Historical experts say this can not be proven, but all the old residents but one agree that it is named for a red limestone rock formation resembling a castle which eroded away in the 1920’s. (Many features have disappeared like that; one famous one at Shovel Point 2-3 years ago.)
        There is a shallow and not well defined bay at Castle Danger out of which many families fished. In the middle of that bay is a reef, still there, which, depending on lake levels, can be only two feet below the surface. The early fisherman used the Castle to line up with another mark on the opposite shore to avoid the DANGER of the reef. Two women who grew up in Norway say that a poetic name like that is common for small landmarks in Norway.

        Liked by 4 people

  7. The summer after wasband1 left, he was planning a trip to his family’s cottage in Ontario with the woman he “had NOT been having an affair with”, our boys and her children.
    One day he invited me for a mysterious visit to his apartment. It turns out that she decided to go back to her husband and hence wouldn’t be joining him in Canada. He wanted to know if I would accompany him and the boys instead.
    He said it would be completely platonic and that this was not an attempt to get back together.
    He didn’t say it but it was clear that he was nervous about taking the boys by himself and needed childcare help (6 and 4)

    I have never regretted turning down his “offer” and he and the lads survived their trip to Canada quite nicely.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. When the Danish family for whom I initially worked in Moscow were sent home after I had been there only three weeks, they asked me to go back to Denmark with them. Their stay in Denmark would be for only three months, after which they’d be returning to Moscow. Mr. E told me that he’d rent a summer cottage at the beach, and that it would be an easy job and a lovely time.

    The trouble was that during those first three weeks with the family I had already experienced significant conflict with his wife. I had been hired to take care of their three boys, and help with the household chores; if I would cook the occasional meal, that would be wonderful. Turned out, she expected me to do all the cleaning, shopping, cooking, and laundry (in the bathtub). In other words, she had me working twelve hour days, eating alone in the kitchen, and waiting on the family whenever she rang her silver bell. I declined his offer, and told him that in Moscow I had to tolerate the way she treated me, but that in Denmark I wouldn’t stand for it. He said he understood, and we left it at that. One of the easier decisions I ever made, and one of the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The story here seems to be inviting a literal response from me. l recall my brother’s first crush in elementary school (l think) with a pretty young girl named “Shelleny”. He bought her a cheap little necklace with a charm on it to win her heart. ln my memory, l followed him to Shelleny’s house and watched from a distance as she opened the door. He offered his gift to her and she threw it back in his face. Needless to say, l found this utterly heartbreaking (as did he, l’m sure).


  10. Bubby’s pic looks like very early Ricky Nelson, except for the chipped tooth. Anyway, you’re right. It IS creepy that Bubby is still in high school while pushing 40. Nevertheless, he’s just a bit of fun fiction, so it’s probably OK.

    We do live in a time, however, when such types are under suspicion. Maybe he needs to take the GED and move on to community college.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I believe there are probably lots of people out here who are regretting taking offers on all sorts of things related to the oil boom now that prices are falling. It was Saudi Arabia that initiated the last oil bust here. It will be very interesting to see what the next couple of months bring.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I keep getting the calls from people offering to help me fix a problem with my Windows operating system. Once I kept them on the line long enough to report the web address to the US CERT. Usually, though, i just want to get off the phone as soon as possible. The last time, which was, oddly enough, on Thanksgiving morning, I asked the caller, “Do you know enough English to be familiar with the term ‘bulls**t’?” and was rewarded with an immediate and satisfying click.

    Liked by 4 people

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