The front of my house is on a busy street. The back of my house is on an alley. Not too much privacy. But since purchasing this little fixer home, I’ve been dutifully working on the yard. . Last year with the help of a friend I put down a flagstone patio. I built a fire pit by myself. I put up a split rail fence. This year the plan is to plant something that would give us a sense of privacy. But on this day, I was simply moving buckets of rock mulch from one part of the yard to another.
It was a beautiful day. I was dressed in jeans, T-shirt, baseball cap, work boots, no make-up, glasses on but the lenses had transitioned to dark (so maybe I looked like I had on sunglasses). I wasn’t a beauty queen, wasn’t trying to be.
A man walked by, probably on his way to a nearby bus stop or train. Asked me if I needed help with my landscaping, said he really only does it as a side job, he’s in school right now. No, I say, I usually do it myself. (I was doing it myself, thank you very much.) He said he wouldn’t charge much, that he could plant and mulch for me. Again I say — I do it myself. Of course, I told him if I need him I’ll let him know. (I gotta stop doing that). He asked me if I lived alone, asked me if I was married, if I had a boyfriend, if I was looking. He offered, and I allowed him to, carry my bags of top soil from my car into my yard. Again, a woman doing exterior work, SCREAMS single to men. See The Snowman
Now, if you’ve read my previous posts you know that I am trying to open myself up to meeting new men. But does that mean ANY new man? Must I be indiscriminate?
He spoke fairly well and had all his teeth. (Could my bar BE any lower? Chandler Bing style) He wanted us to hang out, nothing big, maybe dinner or a movie. I said, “Can I think about it?” He wanted a way to contact me. Instead of offering my number, I asked for his number to put into my phone. He said he doesn’t have a cell phone right now, he dropped it in concrete. (This man was exhibiting the classic I don’t have a job giveaways — “I’m in school” “I don’t have a phone right now” and he appeared not to have a car in this suburban area.) Plus, though he spoke well and had a nice smile, he was sweaty, had a scarf on his head, had on a white tee and sweatpants. Since I don’t need a suit guy, his casual appearance is not a deal breaker . . . but his overall mojo was not working for me. Still, I gave him my number.
When he called the next day, he did not identify himself. (Poor phone manners, bad)
“Hey, are you busy?“
“Kinda, who is this?“
“Darren.” He said he wanted to talk, wanted to set up a time when we could get together and get to know each other.
I explained, truthfully, that I was in a store, and had a meeting that afternoon. Also, since I knew I’d be busy with the kids’ concert that night I asked if he could call tomorrow. Plus, I’d just found out that my Ex-husband is getting married again, in a horrible way and I didn’t feel like small talk right then and there with random alley walking landscaper guy. He said he’d call me tomorrow, but wanted to know whether he should call or just come by. (Dude, a call is sufficient.)
“Okay,” I said, “Nice talking to you, good . . . ” – click. He didn’t say goodbye or allow me to finish. (Poor phone manners, again.)
Bottom line: I don’t feel like talking to this guy. Is it because I’m justifiably not feeling him or it is because I’m still avoiding getting out there? Or is it because I was having a weird day, finding out about my Ex’s remarriage and all.
So, here are the red flags for me from Random-Landscaper-Guy-Wanna-Be. Everybody’s flags are different.
1. He lives in my neighborhood. Frankly it’s not the best neighborhood, not the worst either, depends on the block and the house. He didn’t tell me which house he lives in. Still, he may know people I know or who know my ex’s family, some of whom live nearby, and I’m kinda turned off by going out with random dude. [Stranger Danger! Stranger Danger! — as my kids would say] Plus, what if I do go out with him and it’s not good — I may not want to see him walking behind my house routinely (I had a stalking incident at one time, so I’m a little gun-shy).
2. He had no phone. Okay, so like most people I’ve lost/broken my cell phone before and had to go without for a couple of days, it happens — but it doesn’t happen for a long period of time. He offered no house phone number. I know, not everyone has one. But he offered no date or time frame in which he’d be getting his cell replaced. The last time I was “phone-less” I told everyone I’m getting my phone on [insert date].
3. When he called, it came up number WITHHELD. ‘Nuf said.
4. When he called, he left no message, just called repeatedly. Again, ‘Nuf said.
5. “Should I call or just come by.” And again, ‘Nuf said.
I am seriously regretting giving this guy my number.
But since I don’t really want to go out with anyone anyway, is there anything this guy could have done?
YES!!!!!! If he actually lives “down the street” from me, there was no need for him to close the deal on the phone number right then and there. He could accidentally on purpose run into me later. Like later, when he has a phone. Like later, when he is not so sweaty, like later, when he hasn’t just asked me for work. The point is, it was not a classic Craigslist missed connections kind of thing. He knows where I live and reportedly, lives nearby. Moreover, he could have engaged me in conversation to see if we had anything in common, other than “I look good for five kids” (a pet peeve of mine, though I know it’s meant as a compliment) and “I look too good not to have a boyfriend.” As if not having a man to mulch for me was some sort of enigma he couldn’t comprehend. Again, I know it was meant as a compliment, but it’s all in the delivery. If he’d offered these “compliments,” wished me a nice day and walked away, only to see me another day, marveling how we keep running into each other, well, that would have been better. Still, even with the red flags, I was trying to have a conversation with this guy. I was trying to be open. And trust me, this is not the cabana boy – – romance novel- -six pack having- -strong muscular arms — looking man I could simply enjoy watching mulch in my yard. No sir, no ma’am.
Ugh . . . . . . I’m SO not feeling it now.
So, what to do if he calls? (To be continued, because . . . he did call again).
Just Me With . . . number WITHHELD and possibly on my way to Home Depot to buy some privacy plantings.