Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Another Species Entirely

Let's get one thing straight: I am no Carmen Electra. Nevertheless, every once in a while, some random dude takes a fancy to me for reasons unknown.

A few days ago, after visiting with a friend, and I decided to stop at The Garden of Earthly Desires, known to most of you as J. Crew. Five or six post-Christmas sale purchases later, I was weighed down with boxes and bags. I boarded the packed train, my face bearing the kind of weary expression that can only come from removing one's clothing repeatedly to try on half a dozen skirts that are too big in the waist and too tight in the thighs, and then trying to gauge whether the garment is worth $20-plus in alterations. It's Christmas all over again for the tailor!

I edged my way in and stood, balancing boxes between my tired feet. One of those non-spaces opened up, the kind where, if you sit on the edge of your seat, your buttcheeks only moderately rub up against the strangers sitting next to you. Random Dude looked up at me standing there and shifted, chivalrously, so that there was more room for me and I could sit down and get to know him a little better before de facto intimacy took place.

I sat, carefully balancing my bags so that the box of plastic wrap gifted upon me by my eccentric friend wouldn't spill out of my purse. Random Dude, sensing an opening, suggested various ways that I could store the bags on the train that would make me more comfortable.

Now, once upon a time, I was 22 and cute, if I do say so myself, and had the coltish, fresh-faced manner that should be so appealing to Random Dudes. And did they hit on me? A little, frankly, but not all that much. And never on the subway. Do you know the first time I was hit on in the subway? The day after I got engaged. I was wearing my engagement ring, the stone turned around, of course, so if anything, it looked like a wedding band. But did this guy think to check my ring finger, that barometer of availability? Noooooooo. That would make too much sense.

So, here I sat, about four years later, clutching the sweater I had purchased for my husband, and my new box of plastic wrap, and my shopping bag full of sensible clothing, and thinking about what I would make for dinner. My hair was disheveled, I wore no lipstick, my shoes were scuffed, and I had a maple syrup stain on my long coat from The Unfortunate French Toast Incident of '05. Apparently, there is nothing as appealing as a woman who simply isn't trying to impress.

A person would cough, I would turn my head to avoid inhaling the sputum, and Random Dude would look up to see if I was trying to make eye contact with him. I'd pretend I found the ads for Dental Technician School beyond fascinating, so I would look like I was concentrating and he wouldn't talk to me. Someone came on and sang for money, and I looked pissed because, well, I was pissed, but also because I was hoping he would think that I was a hard woman who lacked compassion and therefore wasn't worth his time. Oh, how I just wanted peace and quiet and to get home, take off my shoes, and read Food and Wine.

I wondered if my wedding and engagement rings, both of which were turned around and looked like wedding bands, were having some kind of reverse reaction. Perhaps I looked doubly-married, and therefore into polygamy or swinging. Random Dude didn't even look at them, though.

My stop arrived, and I stood and left. Random Dude looked up at me, perhaps wondering what Might Have Been, perhaps wondering why I'd callously rejected him, perhaps wondering who the buxom blonde was three feet behind me, perhaps wondering what he was going to make for dinner. I guess I'll never know. He really seemed sweet, and was nice-looking, and not at all scary. I hope he finds what he's looking for, and that all men do, and that, when they do, they take .0567 milliseconds from their day to GLANCE AT HER RING FINGER.

10 Comments:

Blogger Mignon said...

I love the fact that your first thought wasn't to be flattered, but annoyed. Right on!
I can see you being all, "Oh hell no!" with finger snaps and all.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Perhaps he could sense you were wearing a red demi bra under that syrupy coat.
They never seem to look at the ring finger and some just don't even care. I've had guys ask me, after I've told them I'm married, if I'm HAPPILY married. WTF?

11:47 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

"Perhaps I looked doubly-married, and therefore into polygamy or swinging." LOL! I love the way your mind works.

Aw, be flattered. He was just eyeing the artwork. He probably knew it wasn't up for sale. I don't blame him.

11:49 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

I love the way your mind works and your writing style.

I do not, however, love the subway. I loathe the subway. I do not miss the subway.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Why is it that the hitting on only occurs after you're engaged/married?

I only *once* had a guy check out my ring finger.

I once got hit on in the supermarket, no makeup, hair up in a knot, wearing a grungy T-shirt. Do you think maybe looking disheveled makes us approachable?

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

No one talks to me on the subway. I think it's the waves of anger and irritation rolling off of me.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

8:04 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

That's what's wrong with Texas. No mass transportation. Oh well...even if we had it, I can guarantee that the days of any guy looking at me (unless he's 55 or older) are LONG GONE for me.

8:10 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

A wedding ring unfortunately turns on many. Can't speak from experience just movies of the week. Lucky you. I just get Random Dudes asking me the time or for directions.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I love the way your mind works *and* your writign style *and* the way you take two (or three) words that have been strangers and introduce them, and they invariably hit it off:

"de facto intimacy"
"barometer of availability"
"doubly-married"

Yummy.

Wait; that still counts as "writing style," doesn't it? Dang.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Thanks, Tink, Mama Tulip, and Jessica! You make me all warm and fuzzy. :)

7:36 AM  

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