I would like to know what "And it won’t be weird with Hania? Coming on to you?" means in the following sentences:

You stopped and looked at me with a consolatory smile. ‘Don’t worry, this one is easy. You can ask Hania this weekend. At her house.’

A flash of opportunity raced through me. After that night, the restaurant, anything seemed possible. ‘Are you sure?’

You nodded. ‘She likes you. And I’m sure she can have some strings pulled for you. She and Maksio always had all the exam questions in advance, you know. That’s why I never needed to go to lectures. And at the camp neither of them lifted a finger.’

I looked at my shoes, my head racing. ‘And it won’t be weird with Hania? Coming on to you?

You smiled and shook your head lightly. ‘Did you see her tonight? She’s not desperate. Besides, she falls for guys so easily. She’s probably into you right now.’ You laughed again.

‘OK, then,’ I said, still anxious. ‘This weekend.’

In this novel which is set in the 1980's in Poland under the socialist regime, where homosexuality was socially unacceptable, the protagonist Ludwik (a university graduate) left Poland in 1981 to live in the United States of America. And he remembers what it was like back then in Poland, where he, after having finished his studies at university, applied for a doctorate. But his proposal was rejected because he lacked "contacts." So Ludwik asked his lover Janusz for advice. At this, Janusz suggested that Ludwik could ask a favour of Hania about the doctorate, who was in love with Janusz and was the daughter of some high Party officer (that was why Janusz was leading her on, trying to get what he wanted from this girl with power under this socialist regime). But Ludwik worried whether "it won’t be weird with Hania? Coming on to you?". At this, Janusz said that Hania was not in love with him desperately, and Ludwik could take a chance.

In this part, I wonder what this comment means. Is Ludwik worried that his relationship with Hania would become weird/awkward, because he asked a favour of Hania when she was really "coming on to (=flirting with/sexually interested in)" Janusz? Or is he worried that Hania would think weird of Ludwik, because he would ask a favour of her when the one she was interested in was Janusz?

And I wonder whether Janusz here was perhaps suggesting that Ludwik might try to forge a romantic relationship with Hania, and Ludwik was feeling awkward towards such a suggestion.

I am an English learner from South Korea, so thank you for your patience in advance as I may not know obvious things. I would very much appreciate your help. :)

1 Answer 1


Ludwik means that since Hania is romantically interested in Janusz, and since he and Janusz are lovers, it would be weird for him (Ludwik) to ask her for a favor. The weirdness is not a judgment of any one character. That is, Ludwik is not claiming Hania, Janusz, or he himself would be weird. He says the situation would be weird. He would be asking a favor of someone who does not know that he is actually the lover of the man she desires.

Janusz responds that Hania is not in earnest when she flirts with him. He says that she does not yearn for him, and that she actually moves on quite easily from one man to another. He jokingly says that Hania's roving eye has probably landed on Ludwik. He is not serious about this, saying it only to emphasize the point that Hania falls in and out of love pretty easily, and not in a way that would cause her any heartbreak.

It doesn't seem to be the case that Janusz is suggesting that Ludwik should try to get romantically involved with Hania. He is simply saying that the situation is not as awkward as Ludwik thinks, because if Ludwik understood Hania's general behavior around men, he would understand that matters between Janusz and Hania are not serious.

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