"Would you forgive me, love, if I boiled your rabbit?"
Yes, I had a friend in high school who once modified some Alanis Morissette lyrics. It was all part of a general conversation regarding the difference between courting and stalking.
It started after a viewing of Say Anything. There was a heated debate about Lloyd Dobler's boom-box move: sketchy, or sexy?
This seems like an easy question to answer, but we never actually reached a conclusion. Let's be honest. Pet death and property destruction aside, it can sometimes be a tough call. After all, one woman's deranged psycho is another woman's hot emo vampire.
My own perspective: I admire a certain amount of persistence in the pursuit of romance. This should be obvious, given my choice of reading/writing material. If there's not an obstacle, it's not interesting! Imbalance of interest/commitment makes for good conflict.
And yet sometimes, I get a little whiplash from my beloved romance novels. The "persistent" hero seems like a stalker. Or the "over-protective" hero seems controlling and emotionally abusive. But I've yet to come up with a good list of tricks/traits that definitively tip the scales.
I put it to you, dear reader: what squicks you out in a hero? I'm looking for the stuff that makes you say, "Wow. If that happened in real life, I'd probably call the cops." All the better if you can give us examples from novels, TV, and/or movies!