Somewhere in the midst of entering my thirties, I’ve unlearned how to be sexy. If men, the ever-present barometer of a woman’s attractiveness, are to be relied upon, I’ve still got the raw materials in place; the problem isn’t how juicy my butt looks in yoga pants (answer: the juiciest), but rather the extreme dumb bullshit that falls out of my mouth.
It’s a terrifying world for courtship, and I’m doing my part to perpetuate that. Here are times my shutdown game has been gold-medal strong, completely by accident.
I house/pet-sat for friends last weekend, left with just enough toilet paper in their home to survive the stay. When Kelly and David returned, she and I bundled against the driving wind and walked to the corner store (which I’d have visited sooner if I’d known how close it was) to replenish their supply.
We’re talking about her trip as we walk, a struggle given the wind, and it takes a minute to notice a car is creeping beside us, blocking traffic. Kelly stops to see what they want, and the driver leans past his passenger. “No, your friend in the grey.”
I’m in boots, grey yoga pants, and a long sweater under the world’s most threadbare hoodie stained with pen and hair dye. All he can see from his angle is my butt, leading to my conclusion about how great it looks. But now for better or worse he’s got my attention.
Man: Can I marry you?
Me: [stunned] No?
Man: You sure?
Me: I’m sure.
Man: How about a long-term affair?
Me: Still no.
Man: Well you gotta at least let me buy you a soda or something.
Persistent though he is, my suitor seems to be noticing my perplexed disinterest. Because I’m a creature of pure sensual fire, I replied to this last-ditch attempt to court my affections with, “We’re just here for toilet paper.”
While his come-ons were conducted at a whisper, presumably to entice me closer to his car, his laugh was a roar, and he wished me a good day and stopped blocking traffic.
Yesterday at a coffee shop a guy joke-hinted he wanted my number and I just laughed in his face like an oblivious shut-in, only to realize my gaffe four minutes later.
On my way out he called after me to ask if I was wearing JNCOs, which yes I was–the most tattered pants ever treasured through/long after college (observe my dedication to wearing things so long that they fall out of style and threaten to come back again). It’s worth noting that the quality of my butt doesn’t factor in here; JNCOs are so comically large it’s impossible to tell if I even have one, or am instead a family of rodeo clowns sharing a tent through a long, hard winter. I was also wearing my 2004 Arcadia Football hoodie, because what year is it anyway?
These are just incidents from the last week. Trouble is when I sat down and thought about it over a few beers, this behavior isn’t new. In my adult life when I should’ve known far better I’ve:
- Pointed and laughed at a guy’s pubic hair, not realizing he thought I was pointing and laughing at his junk. In my defense it was bright orange. I apologized for that one for ten years, long after we stopped sleeping together.
- Was on a good first date at a bar. Seeing signs that a kiss was imminent, I ignored that I really had to pee so I wouldn’t get up and ruin the moment. We kissed (success!) and I booked it for the bathroom, only realizing as I hit the door that he kissed me and I jumped up and left with no explanation. I apologized for that one until we stopped seeing each other.
- At a club, was approached in line for the restroom by a Brit on his last night in Philadelphia. He asked what I was drinking, so I waved my PBR like a douchey magic wand and ducked into the bathroom. Then I realized he might think I was drinking it because I consider it a good American beer, not because it was part of a City Special. I ran into him again and bought him something good, like I’m single-handedly responsible for representing America’s craft beer scene. He took that as more encouragement than I meant, telling me all about his boner and his condoms (it’s funnier in a British accent), and won’t I at least stay until we finish the round? I pounded my 6% IPA in three mighty swallows, and dropped it like a mic.
- At a concert having a nice conversation with a dude. He asked for my number and I gave it to him. Still sitting at my side, he calls so I’ll have his number. In my hands, in plain view for us to see, my phone remains resolutely black-screened and unresponsive. I accidentally gave him the wrong number, and had to clarify that I wasn’t ineptly trying to ditch him.
- Ran into a cute work customer at the bar when I was six buy-one-get-one Guinness pints into the night. He offered to buy me a seventh, and, feeling fly as fuck, I deferred to next time. When he responded that it was a one night only offer, I just waved and left.
- Cameron works at a hobby shop and I visited to buy Cards Against Humanity as a wedding gift for friends. I’m standing with my purchase in one hand and my morning coffee in the other, just chatting. A dude in a polo shirt sidles up and literally hits me with, “What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?” I stated the obvious. “Shopping.”
This doesn’t even cover the multitude of “I like your hair/Thanks, I made it myself” and “Sweet tats/Oh I just wear them” exchanges that repeat weekly–rote, intentional shutdowns for the grocery store/doctor’s office/gas station.
Upon polling friends for further incidents, Cameron offered, “Your masterful bitch face is tried and true. Little variance in the technique makes incidents all blend together.”
Aly added, “You have a really fantastic “fuck you” eyebrow. It sweeps majestically upward and then death rays shoot from your eyes. Really a magical thing to behold.”
Judging by these testimonials, my intentional rejections are worse than the accidental ones. Love is a battlefield and I am a landmine.