February 13, 2003
Today is the day to collect box tops.
If you live in Chicago, pick up a copy of UR Chicago Magazine (in the orange boxes) and read page 34.
I'm always astounded that a man would walk up to a complete
stranger and ask her out. Not introduce himself, not strike up conversation,
but flat-out ask out. When this happens to me, I'm dumbfounded, to the point
of being incapable of just saying "no." Or even "No, thanks."
Or, "Not tonight." I also awkwardly appear to accept. Meanwhile,
however, I'm furiously constructing a fake identity and/or escape plan that
will ensure I will never have to interact with this person again. And that's
always the best way to go, isn't it?
I was standing outside my office building [solution: go back inside and work] when a young man approached me.
"Excuse me," he said, "Do I know you?"
At least that's what I thought he said.
"I'm sorry, no," I responded. This was the only time during this entire interaction where I said something that made sense.
"Damn," he said, shaking his head ruefully. "I can't get to know anybody."
As he walked off, I realized that he said not "Do I know you?" but "Can I know you?" I felt mild embarrassment at this simple misunderstanding, but shook it off. I also marveled at the vague and yet charmingly disarming pickup line.
I returned to my building and entered the closest available elevator. [solution: get some exercise and climb the stairs, lazybones.] And, to my surprise, my gentleman friend was also in my elevator. [solution: find reason to leave the elevator.] It appeared that he was a messenger delivery person.
This is where I turn into a stark raving idiot.
"I'm sorry," I volunteered to the chap. "I thought you said 'Do I know you,' not 'Can I know you?'"
[solution: don't say that.]
"Oh!" He responded. "So, can I know you?"
"I guess so."
[solution: "The answer is still 'no.'"]
I pressed the button for the third floor.
"Oh, is that where you work?" he said.
"Yes." [solution: answer 'No.' Make something up instead of telling him where you spend eight hours a day.]
He began speaking with me at length. However, there were several people standing in the elevator, and I felt rude to stand at my floor with the doors open, making them wait, so I rode up with him. [solution: simply leave the elevator without another word. While sprinting.]
I was wearing a turquoise ring on my left ring finger. "Are you married?" he asked.
"Me?" I squeaked. "Oh, no." [solution: "Yes, I am. And my husband will kick your ass if he knows you're talking to me. Well, it was nice knowing you. Goodbye."]
"Good," he leered. "So, what's your name?"
"Jamie," I responded. [solution: Give him a name that isn't the name of a co-worker. This left the door open to him entering my office, asking for a Jamie, and being presented with one possibly very annoyed Jamie who was not me.]
"Cool, I'm Joe. So, what's your nationality?" he asked.
"Polish," I said. [Solution: Well, this is the truth. But I could have said something much more interesting, like, oh, I don't know. Something better, though.]
"That's cool," he said. "I'm half Polish, half Puerto Rican. So, can I have your number?"
[Solution: "No, you may not. Good day." Or, tell him I was strictly forbidden from conversing with Puerto Ricans.]
"Sure," I said, and tried not to pause as I combined several random numbers together. Actually, I just combined the numbers of my cell, work, and home phones. I could have been more creative with that, too.
"This isn't a fake number, is it?"
"Why, no, it's not. Do you think I'd spend all this time talking to you if it was a fake number?"
[Solution: "Actually, yes it is. You see, I'm a moron. I don't really want to give you my number and I just wasted our time talking to you. But it is indeed a fake number."]
Thankfully, then the ride on the social rollercoaster from hell ended, as he exited to deliver his package.
"I'll give you a call sometime, then?"
[Final possible, yet ignored solution: "Actually, no. I thought you just wanted my phone number. I didn't know you were actually intending on using it."]
Perhaps the burden should be on behalf of these men.
Instead of verbally asking strangers out, they should present a form. "Will you date me, a complete stranger? Check: Yes or no."
Knowing me, though, I'd probably write down the wrong answer, scribble it out until I tore a hole in the paper, and have to construct a fake answer, once again.
[Solution: Save the opposite sex the time. Never go out in public again.]