I have written about this guy three times before.
1. The Landscaper Guy — Not Digging Him — I meet a man.
2. The Landscaper Guy and the Female Chandler Bing — I give him a shot. (I shouldn’t have.)
3. The Landscaper Guy and A Phone Smarter Than Me — I shoot him down, and miss. I have to take better aim and shoot again.
Well, I ran into him today. Again. Seems he has a vehicle now, a vehicle that needed gas, as did mine.
He was, again, wearing white but topped it with a blue jacket. No head scarf this time.
I said a passing hello like I would to a stranger, a stranger who looked somewhat familiar. He said “Hi” back with a look that said, You don’t have anything else to say?
I smiled at him, being polite, but not starting any kind of conversation. It was, after all, 7:45am.
He followed up with a “Hellooo” drawing the word out, raising his eyebrows at me. It was that kind of ‘Hello’ that wasn’t a greeting but rather a complaint of some sort. It said, You got nothing else to say to me?
I gave the ‘I’m just being polite‘ smile and thought, “Shoot, I’m supposed to know this guy. I have no idea who he is.”
He said, reading my mind– or my face, “You don’t remember me, do you?”
“I’m sorry, no, I don’t. Are you a neighbor?”
“Yeah,” he humphed (Is that a word? Because that’s what he did. He humphed.). Then he said, “Yeah, a few houses down. You live on Maple Street, right?”
“Yes.” I was starting to remember, but not his name. “Um . . . Oh yes, we talked a couple of times.”
“What’s wrong with dinner? You didn’t want to go to dinner?”
“Um . . . ”
“You still feel that way?”
“Yes.” What the hell?
“Why?” WHY DOES THIS GUY ASK WHY? WHY WHY WHY????
“I’m just not going out much lately.” This was the response that had failed me previously. It was all I had at 7:45am.
“But dinner? What’s wrong with that?” And he let out a humph again, “Just you and your dog . . .” (I ask you — Why’d he have to bring my dog into this? Oh, my dog was in the car, looking at him, probably judging him, I hope. Woman’s best friend and all . . . )
“I mean, you’re single, right? ”
“Yes.” I refused to lie, and he refused to STFU. As discussed in Where Did I Put My Fake Boyfriend there are some aggressive men who only accept the reported presence of another guy as an acceptable reason to decline a date.
“Well, I don’t get it. What’s wrong with dinner? I’m not talking about a relationship or anything. Dinner,” and he wasn’t done.
He added, incredibly, “I mean a woman like you shouldn’t be alone — for years — like this.”
WTF? I cannot believe he said that to me.
“I’ll be alright,” I replied and offered a purposely fake smile, one that I hope really conveyed, ‘You, sir, are an asshole.‘
He laughed. “Well.”
“Well. You have a nice day, now,” I said. This is the way Northern US women say the Southern US women’s ‘Bless your heart‘ which really means, ‘I’m done talking to you. Kiss my ass.’
“Alright,” he replied, shaking his head, which probably meant, ‘Bitch’ and truthfully, I don’t give a shit.
Just Me With . . . a full tank of gas, next to an ass.
For other run-ins with the men in my neighborhood, see:
A while back I wrote a Bucket List of Men to Do. On it, I included an Too Old For Me Rich Guy saying, “At this point in life this is my only route if I want to be photographed as the pretty young thing on someone’s arm.”
This past weekend, I thought about checking that one off my list.
I had been invited to a graduation party of a former student. The student’s family is wealthy. Not surprisingly, it appeared that their friends are similarly well off. As per usual I attended alone. As per usual, it appeared as though I was the only woman attending alone, except, of course, for the widowed grandmothers. As per usual, I was the only woman of color, and as per usual I knew hardly anyone there. The point is, I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. Well, maybe not sore, more like a bare thumb, among French manicured pinkies. But these are really good people, we go back a long way, and I was happy to have been invited. Sometimes I just tire of going solo — all the time — but I digress . . .
I got my food and took an empty seat among strangers, though the host did eventually join us. He introduced me, explaining that I was his son’s music teacher.
Well, an older gentlemen seated across from me was simply fascinated, almost smitten. Now I don’t discuss the specifics of age but considering my wealth of life experience, a man significantly older than me has got to be pretty darn — experienced. Nay, old. But this man, by his dress, demeanor and comfort level led me to assume that he had means. I seriously doubt that this dude needed to check his balance before going grocery shopping.
I didn’t catch his name. But let’s call him Jack. Jack was quite complimentary, noting that he certainly would have stuck with his music lessons if he had a teacher who looked like me. “Wow,” he said, and inquired as to whether I had any openings . . . heh heh heh. “I don’t know how the boy could learn anything with you as his teacher.”
I tell you, I almost giggled. This flirtation from an older gentlemen of means made me — me, a grown-ass woman of feminist sensibilities — positively girlish! I’m not sure, but I think I may have flipped my hair.
I took the comments in kind and did not pursue the matter, but . . .
Let the record reflect that I object to the way younger women romantically involved with older rich men are maligned, called gold diggers and such. It’s offensive.
But hey, Gold Diggers, I get it now. (Shhhhhhh)
Just Me With . . . giggles. I really wanted him to buy me something shiny. I’m just saying . . .
I’ve written before about being a nosy neighbor, being hit on by Brian, the strange man who lives around the corner, and feeling uncomfortable (at first) about saying no. See, I Turned Down a Dinner Date With An Ex-Con.
Recently, I saw Brian again. I’ve seen him, on and off, of course, from time to time, but since I’d turned him down he hadn’t stopped to talk or come by to borrow things.
I have creepy neighbors, but I also have “normal neighbors.” The kids and I help normal neighbors with their new puppy, Bailey. And by “the kids and I” — I mean, usually, me. When I was walking Bailey the other day, I found myself walking in Brian’s direction.
It was a deer in headlights situation. I was walking toward him. He was walking toward me.
Brian’s appearance has changed — again. It’s Winter now so he doesn’t go shirtless anymore. He’s cut his hair, which is a good thing, because he seemed disheveled before. I’d seen him on crutches a couple of weeks ago, but now the crutches are gone — as are his glasses. He looks different without his glasses. I wonder what happened to his glasses? But I digress . . .
Bailey the puppy is a bit timid, but once a stranger speaks nicely to her, she gets very excited and friendly.
She was terrified of Brian.
He tried to be nice to her. He did what you’re supposed to do — offered his closed fist, fingers down, for the pup to sniff, but Bailey was still afraid. She started to run (on the extendable leash) and when I pulled her back she was visibly shaking.
It begs the question: What does this dog sense about this man?
“Hello, Roxanne, I got your name right this time!”
“Yes, yes, you did.”
Brian has found at least two other names that sort of rhyme with Roxanne that he’s used. But on this particular day he got it right.
We exchanged the “How are you, blah blah blahs.”
“I saw your daughter the other day,” Brian added, “and I thought she was you. That just tells me how young you look. But you won’t tell me how old you are.”
“No, I won’t.” (Dude, will you please STOP asking how old I am. That is so not cool.)
A dog can be a nice distraction, and as I turned to calm the puppy and explained she wasn’t mine, Brian placed his hand on my back and slowly and deliberately caressed me with his thumb.
What the hell?
It was a move too “familiar” to be casual.
Why is he touching me?
I backed away, continuing the small talk, and making my excuses to leave. But then he put his arms out to hug me.
“Well, it’s good to see you,” he said.
It was a reflex really, but I allowed a hug. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. I DON’T KNOW WHY!
I immediately felt the “ick” and could smell the cigarettes.
Ah, maybe that’s why Bailey the puppy was so upset. Different smells bother dogs, and Bailey’s owners (normal neighbors) don’t smoke. Maybe that’s all it was. I hoped.
Feeling uncomfortable I said,
“Well, I gotta go,” and started to walk.
I was seconds from a (not completely) clean get-away when Brian asked,
“So when are we gonna get together?”
“Uh, I don’t know,” I said, while shaking my head no, and looking at the ground. I thought I was being dismissive.
“Still thinking about it, huh?” This was Brian’s response to my non-answer.
And in typical Roxanne fashion, I replied, “Yeah, I guess so.”
The voices in my head screamed, What are you saying? Shut up!
What Brian said next gave me the “ick” — again:
“Well, we live close to each other at least, so it would make it easy.”
It would make WHAT easy? The voices in my head screamed.
“Yeah, I guess.” I mumbled, this time, with an accompanying awkward laugh. “Okay, bye.”
Me to me, in my mind: Will you please just SHUT UP! NOW!!
Brian walked toward his house. I continued in the opposite direction until it was safe, then doubled back and went home.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just say, “Sorry not interested” when I need to? It’s a problem. There’s a pattern. And why did Brian touch me, why did he touch me like he was my boyfriend? Why did he hug me and why did I allow it? And most importantly, What does the dog instinctively know?
I’m never leaving the house again. Never.
Okay, I have to walk to the dog, and there’s my kids, and life . . . but shit . . .
Just Me With . . . a case of the “ICK”
Other posts when I couldn’t just say “NO!”:
There’s this new show on The Lifetime Channel, called “7 Days of Sex. ” I admit that I’ve never seen the show, but the commercials suggest that the show is about married couples making daily or nightly sex a priority in their relationship to “save the marriage. ” You know, bring back the romance. Or, as Justin Timberlake set out to do, they are bringing sexy back.
The whole thing reminds me of a conversation I had with a co-worker at the law firm where I once worked. The man was a very bright, affable, verbose fellow who was a gifted orator. I’ll call him Barney. I call him Barney because his manner of speaking reminds me of Barney in the television show “How I Met Your Mother,” which I recently discovered on Netflix and use to stave off my bouts with the blues. Unlike the TV Barney, however, Law Firm Barney wasn’t a womanizer. To the contrary, he was happily married. A devout Catholic, he was already on baby number four. He was hired laterally from another firm, was a bit older than us, and I think we believed he was wiser. He was the sweetheart of the senior male partners, and very good with clients. During that time we all “suited up” but Barney was impeccably dressed at all times.
Like the TV Barney on “How I Met Your Mother” Law Firm Barney would often espouse pearls of wisdom upon us younger and less experienced attorneys. His teachings were not always about the law.
One day, as we sat in the firm’s cafeteria, he explained to us that he would never cheat on his wife because,
“The fucking you get ain’t worth the fucking you get.”
Okay Barney. That one pretty much speaks for itself.
Another bit of knowledge he dropped on us went like this:
Barney: “You know what men really want? “
The rest of us: “Tell us, Barney.”
Barney: “Wait for it . . .” Well actually, he didn’t say that, but the tone was the same.
What he did say with the same type of authority was,
“All men really want is: Sex On Demand.”
He continued, “That’s it. That’s all. If a man has that, he’s happy. We’re very simple creatures.” (True story.)
Well, I gave this serious thought. I think I only had one child at the time. But since well before I had become a mother I worried how motherhood would affect my figure, career, marriage, finances, sex life and general mojo. I wanted children, but I didn’t want to be “the mom” and all that that apparently implies. (Think of commercial moms hawking toilet paper and the dreaded mom jeans.) Obviously I had developed my own Madonna/Whore issues. I blame magazines and talk shows and pamphlets in the doctor’s offices. In an effort to gain readers and possibly drop some knowledge they, in my humble opinion, perpetuate the Madonna/Whore syndrome — or hell, they almost teach it.
I had already made a vow to myself that my husband and I would not be one of those couples who forgo physical intimacy for long periods of time because we had become parents.
So the knowledge that Law Firm Barney had dropped on us in the cafeteria was intriguing to me. I had been playing the role of trying to make my brooding husband happy for years. At the very least I tried not to make him mad. If, I thought, I adopted Barney’s philosophy, I would have a happy husband. Could it be that easy? Would it be that hard? (No pun intended, that’s another story altogether.) See My Cheating Husband Was Packing Viagra.
And for me? Well, if I did this, this Sex On Demand thing, I would be more than a mother. I could be available in non-maternal ways. Willing. Always. (insert purring noises)
So I made another vow to myself, without telling my husband. I vowed to provide “Sex On Demand.”
And I did. I stuck to my vow for a long time. A hell of a lot longer than a mere seven days, those wusses. (I got a respite when my doctor said I couldn’t do it because of pregnancy complications and birth — I actually requested a note, but I digress . . .)
My husband and I were “intimate” right up to the day he left me. Actually, we were intimate on that day . . . but I shamefully digress . . .
Now I’m about to drop some knowledge on all of you. Contrary to popular belief,
“A man who strays does not necessarily do so because he’s not getting any at home. Au contraire. A man could be getting it plenty at home and still get it elsewhere.”
Just Me With . . . Sex on Demand — a stupid idea for questionable yet good intentioned reasons that went very, very wrong.
I’m not married anymore. I’m not in a relationship right now. So the 7 Days of Sex show is not relevant to me at this time in my life. I don’t think I’ll watch. But whenever I’m next in a committed, serious, physical relationship, I will treat my body as my own. That’s bringing sexy back.
This was years and years ago. I was a college student. My parents had “sent me away” to live with my older sister for the Summer, I think to keep me away from my boyfriend. They didn’t send me far away or for long enough. They should have put me in a time machine and sent me to the future, just to get a glimpse as to how things might turn out if I stayed with that boyfriend. Now he’s my ex-husband, but I digress.
I was lured to my sister’s city with the promise of getting a Summer camp counseling job with my brother-in-law, who headed a Summer program for inner-city youth. Once I arrived, however, it became clear that there was no such job. So, stuck in a city where I knew no one but my sister, who was married and ten years older than me, and while I was still stuck in a relationship where I was not “allowed” to drink or even go out, really, I decided to take whatever job I could get just to pass the time.
The job I got was at a downtown fast food restaurant, Burger King. The kind folks at Burger King issued me a hideous brown? orange? yellow? UGLY polyester uniform with a matching hat. The manager placed me “up front” as a cashier, taking orders. The people who were already working “in the back” making burgers were not thrilled about this, suggesting (well, actually saying) that I thought I was better than they were because I was from the north and a college girl. We were in the deep south, you see. Whatever. I went where I was told.
It was busy downtown eatery, during the lunch rush there were often lines at the register and a wait for food. And there I was, standing behind the register, with my fitted polyester uniform (I vaguely remember getting it a size too small so I could at least show my figure) along with my matching hat, with one hand on the microphone and the other on the counter waiting for the next customer.
A young man who had been patiently waiting his turn sauntered up to the counter, looked me up and down with bedroom eyes, expertly executed the mack daddy chin rub before he leaned on the counter, gave me the “up” nod and asked, simply,
“So . . . do you work here?”
I lost it. That cracked me the hell up! It was the best laugh I’d had in a long time. I almost gave him my number right then and there, boyfriend be damned.
Looking back now, I wish I had.
Just Me With . . . the best pick up line . . . ever.
What’s your favorite pick up line?
Bad pick up attempts: The Landscaper Guy
It’s sad but true, women will put up with a lot of crap. But it seems like one thing is very universally unacceptable — when an adult man lives with his mother.
Remember in Sex and The City when Carrie discovered that her latest guy shared a beautiful apartment with his parents?
Samantha: He lives with his parents?
Carrie: It’s their apartment.
Samantha: So not sexy honey. Dump him immediately. Here — use my cell phone.
Season Three, Episode 15.
Carrie didn’t dump him immediately, because she liked him, his parents were friendly and brought them food and he was a struggling business owner.
Once she realized, however, that Power Lad was still a child in the household, governed by his parents’ rules, and that he was not saving money but actually spending it on really good pot, well it eventually ended.
I haven’t had one of these, but this guy is just out of school, has his first real job or is looking for one. He’s recently discovered, “Dude, they want first and last month’s rent and security before I move in? That’s a lot of money.” Yeah dude, better get a bank account.
Acceptable: If he is saving for his own place.
Unacceptable : If his Mom still does all his laundry, cooks all his meals, he drives her car and he routinely buys rounds for everybody at the local bar.
2. Break Up Guy
So the marriage/relationship didn’t work and he moved out of the home, leaving the kids (if any) with their mother. Suddenly he’s homeless. You can’t sleep on somebody’s couch forever and his married buddies are not taking him in long-term . . . so . . . he moves in with his mom.
Acceptable: If he is providing financial support to his kids, someone has filed for divorce, and he is actively looking for his own place.
Unacceptable: If he visits the kids at the marital home “overnight.”
3. Norman? Older guy taking care of his elderly or sick mother.
This guy still lives in his home town, and may even have a good job and his own place. But his mother is getting older, or has taken ill. Maybe she’s widowed or divorced, either way she’s alone and probably should not live that way. So he, like a champ, gives up, sublets, or keeps his place — but he moves in with this mother. He is probably a good guy, but depending on his mother’s condition, this could go on indefinitely.
Acceptable: If the mom is really sick.
Unacceptable: If the mom goes out more often than he does.
4. Ethnic/Large family/family business guy or filthy rich blue blood guy
This guy works in his family business. So does everybody else. They all live in the large family home. If you were to marry him, you might live there too for a bit. Ironically, this also happens in blue blood very rich families or royalty, “Chad” will move back to the main house while interning for “Daddy’s” company. Except in that case Chad’s bedroom could probably accommodate most of the ethnic guy’s family and their business.
Acceptable: If he wants to have his own family one day.
Unacceptable: If he buys a dog. (There’s no way he’s thinking about leaving if he’s recently acquired a dog.)
5. Grad school student guy. This is a guy getting an advanced degree, perhaps a professional degree. He studies all the time. He lives with his parents because he can’t justify paying rent only to be conscious there a couple of hours a day. He reasons, “Why pay for a city apartment just to study and occasionally sleep there?” — especially true for medical students or interns. This arrangement is almost always temporary, and, frankly, worth the investment. One day he’ll graduate — and probably get a damn good job.
Acceptable: If he is actually in school.
Unacceptable: If he is merely planning to get back to school. Look for that acceptance letter.
You see, a guy living with his momma should be given an opportunity to explain. It should not be a deal breaker– at least not until you know the underlying reasons and can access the likely duration of the living “arrangement.”
But here are the red flags I don’t believe anyone should ignore:
1. He has a basement “room” completely set up where he pursues his personal interests — music, computers, lifting weights. Yeah, this dude has set up house. He ain’t going nowhere.
2. He works from home, yet there is no home office, desk, or computer and he has no cell phone.
3. He’s mentioned that he hopes to inherit the house.
4. He has never actually said he plans to move. Pay attention to the silences. The silences are very important.
Just Me With . . . no momma dwellers at the moment: one is estranged, “If I’d Married My Stalker,” the other is a very special friend, “We Thought You Were Dead, Mommy — Almost F*cked to Death”
I have an admirer. Let’s call him Rocky. There’s a reason why I’ll rename him Rocky here. First, I want to protect his privacy. And, second, he’s an ex-boxer. These days I think he works as a bouncer. Yes folks, my admirer is a bruiser with a heart of gold.
We met years ago when I was still married and working as a contract attorney for my former neighbor, see Riding With My Boss. My boss was representing Rocky and his union in some kind of complicated dispute. I was doing background legal research in a back room. One day when Rocky had to come by the office my boss introduced us. As I recall he complimented me, my smile. Thereafter, when Rocky stopped by he always had a smile and compliment for me. He also gave me his card, which I stashed in my wallet and never used. I must have given him my contact information as well, though I don’t remember doing so.
Rocky’s case went nowhere. Consequently, there was no reason for him to come to the office anymore. In fact, most of the work disappeared for my boss also and I didn’t have a reason to come to the office anymore either.
For years since then, Rocky has sent me a text on or near my birthday and about every other month saying things like, “I was just thinking of you, lovely lady.” He’s my age or probably younger, but he is always so polite, referring to me as “young lady.”
After I became separated and sought to test my new status, I tried to call in some favors. Specifically, I developed a list of guys I already knew who might go out with me. I was on a mission. See The Best Advice I Never Took. I figured Rocky must like me and I’ve got to go out with somebody so — I called Rocky. He seemed to pleased to hear from me. I invited him to come to one of my gigs. As he always works at night he could only make it if he came early and he wouldn’t be able to stay long. This was good, since I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. Plus, this was good because I had scheduled another guy come to see me for the second shift of my one day dating frenzy. Yeah, I was a player, and I was on a mission.
So Rocky was date one for the night. At that time I hadn’t seen him in person for a couple of years.
He still looked good, bigger than I remembered, a burly Teddy bear of a guy, soft-spoken and so sweet. I found out that evening that although he is such a tough guy, he spends his free time writing poetry and songs. Who knew?
It was as close as we got to a date. We hugged good-bye and I haven’t laid eyes on him since.
By the way my second date of the evening was with the man who would become my stalker. I should have stuck with the boxer . . . but I digress . . . If I’d Married My Stalker
Since that early evening “date,” I’ve received semi-regular texts from Rocky. This has gone on for years. He tells me I’m beautiful, refers to me as a friend or wishes me and my family well. I don’t get them often enough to feel like I’m being stalked or harassed but I get them often enough to know I’m still thought of. These texts never request a date or phone call, they are just — complimentary. Recently he sent a picture of himself — just his face, and it was NOT, I repeat, NOT taken in the bathroom. He asked me to send one in return, which I did not — yet. Oh snap, what if his memory of my appearance is better than my actual looks in real life? Wait, what am I saying? Clearly, this could not be possible. heh heh heh
Last month Rocky’s text said:
“You made a positive impression on me from the time I met you. That helped me survive some very tough times. Thank u. :p lol”
I’m not really sure how the “lol” works with the rest, so I’ll just ignore that part. And I don’t know what “tough times” I helped him through, so I’ll just accept that part. All in all, it was a nice message. Sometimes we help people without even knowing how.
Just today I woke up to a text from Rocky which said,
“Good Morning to a very special young lady who is so very sweet. In case no one told u this morning. You r very unique. :p Have a great day.”
Awww. Is it strange? Maybe. Weird? Perhaps. Whatever. I don’t care. It’s nice to have an admirer. And currently there is no one to wake me up by telling me I’m very sweet, so Rocky was right on time. I’ll take it. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know someone who could and would kick somebody’s ass for me. Just sayin’ . . .)
Just Me With . . . an admirer, via text. Absolutely.
See also, “Another Text From My Admirer”
I’ve known many different types of people in my life. But having been in a committed (ha!) relationship for most of my life, I was constrained from “knowing” in the biblical or romantic sense many different types of men. Still, in my now single state I think about men a lot and wonder what I missed, and whether I could still sow a few oats.
So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is my —
Bucket List of Men To Do:
1. Rich Guy — You know on those movies and sitcoms and women meet those guys who buy them a designer dress and fly them to Italy for dinner and crap. Yeah, that would be nice.
2. Too Young for Me Guy —
Let me first say this. I am not a pedophile. The boy-man must be legal and look like a man. That said, a boyish cutie pie would be nice. I just want a hint of immortality. I young man will never forget his first quality real grown-ass woman. Plus they have good music and not a lot to do.
3. Celebrity —
a. Actor— Preferably a screen actor so when a movie is rebroadcast on television or a TV show is put in syndication I can casually walk by the TV and say, smugly, “Yeah, I hit that.”
b. Musician– I am a musician. I would like to be able to hang out in a larger-than-life musician’s home studio and jam. I want to ride in the limo to concerts, and listen from backstage. I want him to play/sing, only for me a song that has made millions of other women swoon. And I want to play for him. And, Prince, if you are reading this, DM me.
4. Really smart guy — A scary smart guy. All he’ll have to do is talk to me or debate with others and I’ll be putty.
5. Country Guy— Okay, I cannot explain this. I’m black and not a southern woman. I don’t keep livestock or even go horseback riding. I don’t own a gun or a truck. I have a toy dog. But a good old boy would be fun for a minute. He must not call me ma’am, though.
6. A delivery guy. (I don’t know. I just don’t know.)
7. A man who does not speak English. I’m American. I only know a wee bit of French — wait, excuse me, un peu bit of French. I want to be required to communicate in other ways. I bet I could become bi- and tri-lingual given the right teacher. I’m a fast learner. Maybe it’s this WordPress Views by Country that has me on this.
8. Too Old For Me Rich Guy – At this point in life this is my only route if I want to be photographed as the pretty young thing on someone’s arm. I mean Dick Van Dyke (86) just married a 40-year-old. That’s all I have to say about that –except that I love Dick Van Dyke, so I ain’t mad at her, or him.
9. The Dangerous Guy — “Sir, he drove off the building.” I don’t have a death or prison wish, I just like the Bourne movies. I could live off the grid for a while, with my five kids, and my minivan . . .
Anyway, I reserve the right to edit the above list. I also reserve the right to tick some of them off as — done!!
Oh,I forgot the most important one of all —
10. Really Nice Guy (Perhaps one day I’ll be able to insert his picture here.)
Just Me With . . . things to do.
I recently took The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman: Going Out Alone. I had attended a jam session/fundraising event by myself. Something happened on my out, though, that I could have handled differently.
The jam session was nearing the end. People had come and gone throughout the evening, but the night was almost over. When a group of guys left I decided to walk out with them so I wouldn’t have to navigate out of the creepy building and out into the night alone. I waved goodbye to the host, who was busy playing keyboards. He gave me the “call me” sign as I followed the others out. The others were father and son guitar players and an Up and Coming Rapper (Question: Why do so many Rappers call themselves Up and Coming?)and his Manager. Together we figured out where to take the stairs down (no one knew how to work the freight elevator), and we walked out together making small talk on the way out.
The Up and Coming Rapper and his Manager’s conversation was spiced with curse words about how tired they were because they had come from another industry event. I tried to pin them down about where they were coming from (they were late arrivals at the jam session, just there for some face time I think), but the Manager was vague. Exiting the building, the father and son disappeared, leaving me with the Up and Coming Rapper and his Manager.
The Manager, who was lighting up a cigarette, called to me:
“No” I responded, because I’m not married anymore, I have not been legally married for five months (but who’s counting).
I kept walking. He followed.
“You single, you got a boyfriend?”
“Yes, I’m single.”
“So you single?”
“Yes.” Because I am. I am so damn single.
“You got kids?”
“Five. I’m divorced.” (With so many kids, sometimes I feel the need to explain that I was once married.)
“Yeah, I’m divorced, too.” He said. “Well, can I give you my number?”
“I’m not into hanging out with anybody right now.” My stock answer.
“Neither am I, you know we can just . . . (he ran through a littany of over the top activities I have no interest in, then other tamer activities, I have no interest in sharing with him.) ” Then he said some other stuff. But I wasn’t listening. I just wanted to get in my car and go home.
“So can I give you my number?” He was persistent, and my stock rejection line hadn’t worked.
“Uh, sure.” Why? Why? Why? Because I’m an idiot. See The Landscaper Guy and The Female Chandler Bing.
Have I mentioned that I’m not really used to being single?
As I started to put his number in my phone and hoped for a sudden attack of dyslexia, he said, “Let me see,” and actually leaned over to look at my phone to make sure I was really entering his number! Geesh.
Then I said, “Well, I gotta go. Nice to meet you.” He made some other small talk I can’t remember —- or I just wasn’t listening.
As he started to walk away he turned and said,
“So are you gonna call?” Ohhhh. I was just minutes from a clean get away (like Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment).
“We’ll see.” I said in what I thought a nice voice. I am so freakin’ bad at this crap.
“We’ll see,” he parroted back, mimicking my nice voice, in a not-so-nice way, and he jogged up the block to join the Up and Coming Rapper, who was waiting for him, smoking.
*shudder* I got in my car as quickly as possible.
Obviously, I just was not feeling this guy. I did not like his approach. I did not care for his manner of speaking. I’m not a smoker. I wasn’t impressed with his industry talk. I didn’t even enjoy his client’s music. Just — ick. It occurred to me later that the whole exchange could have been avoided had I just said, “I’m seeing someone.” After all, his questions about my relationship status seem to suggest that having another man in the picture was a deal-breaker for him. Why didn’t I just comply and pull out the fake boyfriend?
The Fabricated Boyfriend can be very convenient. Single women have been using him for years,
I think he dates back to the Stone Age.
My answer: Because I thought I was supposed to be embracing my new single status.
In my tortured thinking, since I had been someone’s girlfriend or wife for many, many years, I thought that I was supposed to say loud and proud — I’m single, unattached, free. WRONG!!! Isn’t it the prerogative of a true single lady to lie when necessary and expedient? For safety? To save time or someone’s dignity? C’mon — the ole “I’m not feeling well” or “I’m not ready yet” or “It’s not you, it’s me” ? It’s married people who can’t lie. If you are married, you’d better ‘fess up to your status. If you are single, you can be creatively coupled when necessary, in my after-the-fact humble opinion.
The bottom line is, I knew I was never going to call this guy. And that’s okay. Being single doesn’t mean that I have to entertain every offer of male companionship I receive, I’ve learned. See Landscaper Dude and a Phone Smarter Than Me. That said, I was standing on the street alone with Rapper Manager and was in a situation where I had to reject him and provide a valid explanation which would end the exchange yet not piss him off. I had to say something. I should have lied.
So what have I learned from this? Okay, yes, I am Single. Not married. No boyfriend. But not every person in every situation needs to know this. Being single doesn’t mean I that I have to be so damn honest about it. Had I lied immediately and said I have a boyfriend, Rapper’s Manager guy could have walked away with his dignity, I could have walked away without fear of retaliation or passive aggressive nastiness.
Going forward with my new single status, I reserve the right to pull out the fake boyfriend as the situation demands. I realize now that it is not a sign of weakness, especially when going out alone, nor is it a sad attempt to cling to my previous “couple” status. Some guys just need to go away by any means necessary and I will concoct an imaginary boyfriend when I need to, damn it.
Just Me With . . . a boyfriend . . . in my pocket.
For a rejection without use of a fake boyfriend, see “I Turned Down A Dinner Date With An Ex-Con.”
I had just pulled into my spot at the back of my yard after running errands. I had three gallons of milk in the back and it was hot outside. Out of the corner of my eye, I see white — a walking big white tee-shirt with a matching designed white scarf on his head.
Since my last post on the Landscaper Guy, I’d had some major emotional (fall out from the Ex’s pending remarriage) and minor medical issues (son’s surgery to repair a fractured thumb) keeping me busy. The Landscaper Guy was not occupying my mind.
I do think he, as promised, called. But I also got a new phone in the interim as well. My old phone would register his call as “WITHHELD” whereas my new phone says something like “REJECTED” when it is an unreadable number. Me thinks my new phone is truly a smart phone, perhaps smarter than me, as it seemed to know that this dude should be and should have been REJECTED all along.
I did not answer any rejected calls and he never left a message and I let it go.
But today, there he was. Ambling down the alley behind my house. I was still with no makeup but I had on a fitted Victoria’s Secret Pink Tee and skinny jeans which seemed to empower me, somehow. He had on his signature tee-shirt and, of course, the sweat.
My choices were:
1. Slowly get out of the car and deal with him, or
2. Try to make a run for it.
Guess what I chose? But, I didn’t make it. Damn, I need some privacy plantings. As I walked briskly to my back door looking straight ahead (leaving the milk in the car), he called out my name. Damn.
So, I ambled back down my walk and went to talk to him, hopefully for the last time.
Now that I got a better look at him, or maybe I felt a little better about myself, maybe it was my purple PINK tee, I don’t know which, and maybe you are not supposed to say this, but, I’m out of his league. Sorry. Me with five kids, no make-up, emotional problems up the ying yang, yes, I’m saying it’s not gonna happen, not even to help me practice date.
We exchanged pleasantries. Then,
Him: “You been thinking about me?”
Me: “Not really.”
Him, shaking his head, “No, huh.”
Him: “So that means we can’t go on a date?”
Really? Is this guy serious?
Now, here’s where I wonder. Why ask why? It is what it is. Just make your exit, dude.
Then I repeated the supposedly magic words that I was told to say by a single relative of mine. Well, she’s my niece. I’m taking dating advice from my niece, the daughter of my sister!!!! (Channeling Marisa Tomei’s Oscar Winning performance in My Cousin Vinny. If you don’t know the reference, watch the movie. It is hilarious.)
Anyway, she said this would work, and I said:
“I’m just not into hanging out right now. I’m flattered, though.”
Game over — or should be, right?
Him: No, you’re not. (flattered, he meant)
Me: Yes, I am. (changing subject) So, are you on your way downtown?
Him: Yeah. (Proceeds to give me the date when he’s done school for the Summer).
And then he asked, remarkably: “So you want to give me a ride to the train?”
OMG — HE REALLY ASKED TO GET IN MY CAR WHEN I HAVE JUST TOLD HIM I DON’T WANT TO DATE HIM!!!!!
Me: You know what, I just got home, so . . . no.
We exchange pleasantries, much more awkwardly this time, and he went on his way.
The thing is, I’ll probably see him again. What are the chances he’ll just keep walking? I certainly hope he does.
I do feel good about saying, no, though.
Just Me With . . . a smart phone much smarter than me.