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As the seasons change and the weather becomes nicer, Iʼm trying to prepare myself for all of the foolishness that spring and summer will certainly bring. I donʼt know what it is about the sunshine, but it seems to give men a boost of confidence, assertiveness and outright audacity that doesn’t always exist in winter months. Is it me, or are the pick-up lines and tactics that men use to gain the attention of women far more exuberant and bold when itʼs hot!? And not only are men more creative, they are far more persistent when the sunʼs out. Iʼm from Chicago, and winter is no joke. No man wants to stand in the bitter cold for long trying to convince you to take his number, but that same man will follow you down the block until he wears you down when he can leave that coat in the closet.

The sun is shining stronger and longer these days and you should expect men (and ladies too) to be on the prowl. A simple walk down the street can be exhausting when youʼre a woman. Street harassment is real people! You WILL hear “Aye yo, shawty!” Miss lady. Sweetheart. Lil mama, and all of the other phrases and terms by which men choose to refer to women. Sometimes a quick no thank you will do when trying to dissuade eager suitors, but there are some men who are tenacious and donʼt seem to take no for an answer. If youʼre like I once was, you donʼt want to hurt anyoneʼs feelings so you try to find ways to nicely nudge men in the opposite direction. But let me just tell you, itʼs never a good idea to tell a man anything that you donʼt mean. If you arenʼt interested, say that and keep it moving. You may end up in undesirable situations otherwise.

I find that some men have a comeback for every variation of no thank you that exists: You: “I have a boyfriend.” Suitor: “What your man doesnʼt know wonʼt hurt him.” You: “Iʼm sorry, but itʼs not a good time.” Suitor: “Well take my number until the right time rolls around.” And this charade could go on forever. It came to me one day that what most men today donʼt want to deal with is an overly religious, holier-than-thou kind of girl. Most men think this girl keeps her goodies to herself and they promptly walk—sometimes run—in the opposite direction. So I had the grand idea to talk excessively about Jesus when hyper-persistent men who I was not interested in approached me. That is until I met a man who halted this foolish habit with one action.

He seemed like a nice guy, but I simply wasnʼt interested. He wanted to buy me dinner and whenever I tried to nicely decline, heʼd try to be more convincing. So I decided to pull out my fool-proof deterrent: “You know, hereʼs the thing. Itʼs all about Jesus these days for me. Iʼm really working on my relationship with God. I just want to be closer to Him. I love Jesus.” In my mind, Iʼm thinking 5,4,3,2…gone. But surprisingly, he was still standing there, and he hit me with the following: “Yeah, my relationship with God is important to me too.” What!? It was apparent that this one had come to the field to play and hardball was obviously his game of choice. When he continued to not take no for an answer, I foolishly decided to kick it up a notch. I told the gentleman that I wasn’t giving him my number but, if he came to my church, I would have dinner with him. I told him the name of the small church I attended at the time and casually told him that it was on the corner of such and such. I knew I wouldnʼt see him again.

Fast forward. Itʼs a lovely, ordinary Sunday morning. Iʼm at church, where I always am on Sundays, teaching Sunday School, what I always do on Sundays. I end my class with the tots, grab my things and head to the sanctuary. A girlfriend, who happened to witness my exchange with persistent gentleman number one, meets me at the door. “Your friendʼs here,” she says. When I ask her who she’s talking about, she say’s again, “Your friend.”

Thatʼs right. Mister Man had taken me at my word and not only would he attend Sunday service, but he for some reason came to Sunday School! And I assure you he was hungry and ready for dinner when it was all over.

Do not, I repeat, do NOT tell a man anything you donʼt mean just to get him to leave you alone. Honesty really is the best policy, but you have to be nice and honest at the same time. As the weather gets warmer and warmer and men become as persistent and brazen as the summer sun, find a better way than the younger version of myself, and politely decline every suitor you are not interested in.

I know I may be in the minority when it comes to finding oneself in this particular situation, but certainly youʼve said some things you regret as well to get a guy off your back. Are there any times when you should have said no thank you and walked away, but you said something that came back to bite you in the behind instead?

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