Monday, August 22, 2011

Hitting-On Situation, Part 2

Every once in a while, my subconscious gets very guilty about not posting and sends me a dream to kick myself in high gear. Last night I had a dream that someone had written a review of my blog, giving it good reviews, but telling people to skip the ones about work, particularly all the posts about my former coworker (whom I have never blogged about and will likely never blog about because he is simply a nice man with whom I have no beef.) SO FINE. FINE, BRAIN. I WILL WRITE A POST THAT IS NOT ABOUT WORK. HAPPY?!

I was hit on again this weekend. And it could not have been further from my previous experience the week before. Check it, check it:

I was dressed and ready for the gym: no makeup, falling apart Nikes, headband, ugly old baggy tshirt from that team-building exercise ' know. The kind of clothes I will inevitably be wearing when I run into all my ex-boyfriends.

There was an old man power-walking past the door right when I walked outside. Rut-roh, another "walkward" situation. But this was an old man. He was over 70 if he was a day, with his shoulders permanently hunched and his socks so high they were touching the bottom of his shorts. I figured I would easily pass him and move on.

"Hi." He said.
"Hello." I smiled, and start walking. But here's the thing: that was one fast, old, hunchbacked man. He was keeping up.
"I used to live in this apartment. I paid $60 a month for a studio."
"Heh" I said. Because I don't know if I've mentioned this, I AM AWKWARD. "It's...I pay for...that's not what it is now..." I mumble, trying to remember how to be a functioning person and figure out how long I now have to keep up this conversation.
"How much are you paying now?"
"Uh, about $600 for a studio. So, a little bit more."
"Ah. Well if you ever need a roommate!"

BRAIN PAUSE! WHAT?! Wait, was that a joke? Or were you being suggestive? Moving on, moving on, he's just a dirty old man, moving on.

"You walking to work?" he said.
"No, I'm going to the gym right up there."
"Oh! I'll walk with you! I'm just parked up in Rogers Park, I've been walking around. Just sold my business so now I have time to just walk and walk and I'm just up this way so I can walk over a block with you."
"O....kaaaaay...uuuuurrrrhhhh, what business did you own?"
"Taxis. I just sold a bunch of my taxis to some Ruski. Bah, he seemed like a fine man. Strong, big shoulders. He's bought my taxis so now I just walk around here, getting in shape."
At this point we'd walked a few blocks. My gym is really close, and we were waiting at the light.
"Ah, I used to go to that barber." He said, pointing across the street. "Don't any more though. You know those Italians, they just talk and talk and talk." I smiled.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"I'm Emily."
"Emily! Hi, I'm Art Johnson, nice to meet you." He bulldozed through this next part like a pro. "So Emily, whaddya say I get your number, I can call you up we can go out sometime, we could go to a nice meal?"
"Oh, that's okay. I already have a boyfriend." (BRAIN PAUSE: "That's okay"?? What did he, spill water on me? PULL IT TOGETHER, EMILY.)
"Ah well. All the good ones are taken, am I right? Well Emily, I'm going to go on this way. You take care."
"Bye, you too."

I was totally blown away. This was by far the fastest I had met someone and been asked out, and by a septuagenarian no less. And it was glorious. I mean, weird and awkward and "REALLY?! with Seth and Amy" but still glorious. Because here's the thing: this man is old. He's doesn't have time to mess around. He sees a pretty girl (shut up shut up) and he goes for it. No time to ponder the 50 year age difference. Twinkies have gone bad between our births but WHO CARES, amiright?

It was such a stark comparison to last week, with a guy saying things like "yes it is difficult for me to work long hours because it means I do not have a girlfriend," to go to the old man saying "Hey nice to meet you why don't we go out sometime?" With an ACTUAL question that I could ACTUALLY answer. And then taking that answer, accepting it, and walking the hell away. I don't know if this is a generational difference or an age difference--if these men have never minced words, or if they grow out of it once they realize they're out of time and they should make the most of the few years they have left with their original teeth.

Either way, guys our age are not like that. Just the other day, I was talking to some friends and we agreed that an art show or art museum is a good place for a first date. I was thinking because it automatically provides conversation without dominating the night. But one guy friend said, "yeah and you have an out so it doesn't have to actually be a date." I imitated in my 'dude' voice, "No, I just meant we could go as friends, JEEZ" and he laughed and said, "Exactly!" *SIGHHHHHHHHHH*

I mean, I can't fault young guys for doing this. I'm guilty of it myself. I actually asked Joe out on our first date, via text (UGH, I know. Those youngins and their technology and their Pepsi and their Ninja Turtles and their Walkmans *Shakes fist*) but I didn't really specify if it was a date. I just said we should get food. I mean really, looking back, I should have assumed it was a date. Joe sure did. And we'd been flirting for weeks so it's not like it would be a surprise. But I was scared that he thought it was just some friendly pizza, so I spent a day in a dither about what to wear. Was this date-sexy or friend-casual? And it was lunch. And it was pizza. So I didn't know what to do. In the end, I wore my sexiest hoodie (no bleach stains) because I'm the kind of girl who has hoodies at different levels of sexiness.

While on the date, it became clear that it was actually a date and not two pals palling around, so I got off free without having to actually ask one way or the other. So what I'm saying is, I understand that it can be complicated. And scary, and an ego blow. But can't we all learn from Old Man Art and say what we mean just a little more often? Or at least learn to ask a girl out within 3 blocks or not at all.


Jon Skulemowski said...

This is certainly a much nicer story than the previous encounter. Although, you simply cannot fault these fellows for being lured by your (seemingly inadvertent) feminine wiles. I agree with your conclusion, however. To add; I had a similar conversation with some interns in my office about meeting ladies. It seems like the good old "Hello, My name is ______. Are you single?" approach that worked for me in the past just isn't the preferred method anymore. The interns prefer to skirt the subject (no sexist pun intended) and play it safe, waiting for some kind of hint or other indicator. I see this as problematic and a hugely potential catch-22. Ladies, in my experience, dig confidence. How can one project confidence without acting confident?

Joe Campos said...

You'd be surprised. My own method has become something much closer to Art's than what seems to be the accepted method of 'Oh…um….gee whiz… *stares at the ground*… do you like… stuff?'

Emily said...

Jon, I agree with you. Just saying "are you single" might come across a little forward, but I would prefer that to skipping around the subject all night. You're right, it does show you're confident, and girls like that. I mean, I think everyone likes that. We all just want to be with someone who has faith in themself.