Does the word "persistent" in chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby mean "leech" or "obnoxious," and does "violent" mean "risky"?
There were three married couples and Jordan’s escort, a persistent undergraduate given to violent innuendo and obviously under the impression that sooner or later Jordan was going to yield him up her person to a greater or lesser degree.
The word “persistent” means closer to “obnoxious” here. Basically Jordan’s date is flinging himself on her. If he were leeching off of her, he would be there just to take advantage of the party. Although he knows she will sooner or later dump him for someone better, he does not let it bother him. The word “innuendo” means suggestion, and is part of his persistence. He is not afraid to make sexual suggestions to Jordan in front of the party, because he knows he is just a temporary fancy for her.
Jordan’s date can’t be that difficult, because the guests at Jordan’s table are described as staid and polite, with “dignified homogeneity” and after a half an hour she decides she’s had too much politeness. When Jordan says she is going to introduce Nick to Gatsby, the date just gives a knowing and cynical nod. Clearly he knows the party scene.