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:
“Hold up, you married?” And the evening had been going so well, I lamented.
“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.