He’d walked up and interrupted my show-tune reverie at Sidetrack not too long ago. I had been singing along with a small group of friends who had randomly wandered off for drinks or bathroom breaks or laps around the bar to check out boys, leaving me momentarily alone … and giving this guy an opportunity to pounce.
Normally, I give major points to anyone who walks up and starts a conversation with me in a bar—because I still have weird little shyness issues that sometimes prevent me from doing it myself. So I have to respect anyone who is braver than I am on that front.
But he launched right into the why-does-someone-as-hot-as-you-not-have-a-boyfriend bullshit almost immediately. (I know, I know: Boo-hoo. Poor Jake has strangers telling him he’s hot. It’s supposed to be a compliment, you arrogant moron. Point duly noted. But the question puts you on the defensive—like you suddenly have to pull out a résumé and prove to a complete stranger that you’re not a total loser. There’s no right answer. And after you hear it for the 50th time, you start to think maybe there IS something wrong with you. So if you’re ever tempted to use this line on someone, just remember: It’s NOT a good way to make him feel comfortable around you. Or interested.)
To deflect Mousy Boy’s sycophantic praise, I turned the focus back on him by asking a standard bar question: What did you do tonight?
His answer killed any shred of interest I’d had in him to that point: He told me he was on a blind date with a guy. They’d had dinner. It was nice. They’d come here. He decided the blind date wasn’t worth his time. So he had just abandoned the guy across the bar to try to come pick me up.
Then he—without a whiff of subtlety—pointed out his blind date to me. The poor guy was standing, defeated, at the other end of the room, trying as hard as he could to look upbeat and nonchalant while stealing surreptitious glances our way to see what the heck was going on with his date. And he was MUCH cuter than the asshole who was so inelegantly ditching him.
And then Mousy Boy ramped up his aggressiveness, touching me repeatedly, bragging about his sexual prowess, and demanding to know when he and I could leave Sidetrack and “get busy.” (Who says “get busy”?)
And I—usually pretty skilled at saying no in a way that people’s feelings don’t get hurt (even when they’re being complete jerks)—was speechless.
“You’ve just proven to me—proudly—that you’re an immature, spineless, rude, socially inept asshole. Why on earth do you think I’d want to go home with you”? It was a little harsh for my style, but it would have been totally appropriate in this context. Unfortunately, those words didn’t occur to me. Neither did something simple like: “I’m sorry, but I don’t ‘get busy’ with people I just met
Instead, I just blinked at him, stunned. Like when Dubya gets asked a question at a press conference that wasn’t on the practice test.
But I finally mustered a polite no, thank you.
Unfortunately, stunned silence and an eventual no weren’t obvious enough clues for Mousy Boy, so he asked for my number. You know: “for later.”
And then the biggest Pussy Boy Of The Universe response popped out of my mouth: I told him that guys who ask for my number never call. I whined that I was tired of being treated rudely that way. Though this information was largely true—and constituted my biggest pet peeve about the men in Chicago—I basically destroyed my level-headed, morally superior upper hand in one stroke. I went from an object of desire to a whining, sniveling posterboy for perpetual bachelors everywhere.
And you know what? That still didn’t deter Mousy Boy. Instead, he got mad at me, poking his finger in my chest and accusing me of “playing games.”
Fortunately, at that point my friends started trickling back from their adventures around the bar. And I got to use the one line I swore I’d never use on another human being in a bar because it was so unbelievably rude and wounding even though it sounded completely friendly on the surface: “It was nice talking to you.” As in “I’m telling you to your face to get the hell away from me because you’re so beneath me and so not worth my time.”
And Mousy Boy reluctantly walked away. But not in the direction of his blind date.