Gawker has obtained a series of emails supposedly from Julian Assange to a 19-year-old girl he met in a bar in Melbourne back in 2004, when he was 33. If these are to be believed as true, even then, prior to the foundation of WikiLeaks, he had a singular flair for getting at whatever undisclosed information he wanted (in this case, the girl’s phone number).
While Gawker calls him creepy, and we won’t deny that charge altogether, we see him most immediately guilty of one very common rookie mistake: Trying too hard. And not being able to just stop with the emails. (We are not innocent of this, ourselves.)
After a walk home that includes a goodnight kiss with Assange, the girl, “Elizabeth,” starts getting emails from him. They’re okay at first, if formal — some guys are like that — telling her that her company and kisses were “appealing,” and that he’d like to see her again. When she doesn’t respond within a day, he somehow gets her number and calls, which freaks her out. (Lesson: Don’t jump from one method of interaction to the next without building the appropriate foundation in the first form.)
Then — and this is where things really go wrong — he emails again to express his sadness over how she reacted on the phone. (Lesson: Never express your disappointment in a girl for not being that into you.)
The thing is, she replies (Lesson: Don’t do this!), if coolly, which leads him to continue to email wistfully, and then call again. She pretends to be someone else (See above!). This goes on and on, with more complicated emails and games and, sheesh, it’s exhausting.
At the end of the day, while Assange’s emails, poetic and lengthy and odd, are not the sort we would immediately hope for from a love interest, it has to be said that if a girl truly is not interested in a boy, she should, after saying simply but clearly, I AM NOT INTERESTED IN YOU, stop responding to his efforts. No need for games, or pretending to be someone else when he calls, or liking the attention enough to respond for a bit and then send the emails to Gawker a few years later once you hear your once-suitor is kind of a big deal. Just stop responding.
Boys should do this to girls, too, only not in caps. Because the one time that persistence pays off, we’re all like rats getting our reward in the little Skinner Box experiment of life. We will do it again and again if there’s even the slightest hint at getting our way. And we can all make fun of Assange’s emails, but really — is anyone not guilty of sending embarrassing emails at one time or another to someone?
One girl’s weird, creepy stalker may well be — probably is — another girl’s dreamy totally romantic boyfriend. If these emails are true (and the sexual molestation allegations are not), we think Assange would be a great catch for someone who’s a little bit nerdy, a little bit mathematical, a little bit needy, and way into poetical musings.
From his goodbye email: “You pulled a tiny petal off my world just when I thought you were to add one but all around is the meadow, where I shall again dance and skip and sing till some fool girl should brush my wing.”
Fool girls, get in line. Combined with his OKCupid profile, these emails, while clumsy and overwrought, certainly show a committed interest in love. And knowing what you want is the first step to getting it! Right? Plus, he’s, like, famous now.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 16, 2010