So, I'm leaving the subway this morning and stopping off for my typical breakfast pickup at the cafe across the street from my office, when I run into a co-worker who's been making googly eyes at me for some time. She mouthed the word "hello" as our eyes met, and then proceeded into the establishment with me following behind. Shit, I think. I need to get in and out of this place and make sure I don't get cornered into a conversation! Which I manage to do, pick up my order, and hightail it out and to my desk on the 6th floor in record time.
Later, as I go to refill my 1-liter water bottle at the office break room, I run into her again. Ugh! I always run into her there. And it's always awkward. She gives me this smile, and looks at me expectantly as if waiting for me to say something. And I never do. I'm actually rather brusque with our interactions, to be honest. Moreso than I need to be, perhaps. In other words: more standoffish than is normal even for me. Which, if you know me, is pretty damn harsh.
Here's the deal with this person: I don't know her from Jane. She works in the same office as me, sure, but we're from completely different departments and, therefore, have zero business-related interaction with one another. I also get the impression that she's not the one to usually make googly eyes at anybody, and keeps to only a small circle of her own colleagues. Just as I do. So it's actually pretty interesting that she seems to have zeroed in on me. I do absolutely NOTHING to warrant this attention, mind you. I don't flirt, I don't ogle, and I barely say more than a few words in greeting (enough to be polite).
Oh, I guess you should know one other piece of this equation that should be fairly obvious by now if you've been paying attention: I'm not interested in her. Not just because of recent personal circumstance (which is a pretty big reason all of its own, no doubt), but also because ...
I'm just not attracted to her. At all!
Which is not to say she's hideous to the eyes or anything. She's actually not bad looking. True, we also don't come from similar backgrounds at all, but since when has that ever bothered me? No, quite simply put: I just have zero physical attraction to her. Which is a shame (for her), because it's become fairly obvious that she is interested in me. And I continue to puzzle her, I'm sure. She keeps leaving openings for me to "do the guy thing" and flirt and/or otherwise come on to her, but I never play along. I know full well what she wants from me, but I refuse to be baited.
And, again, it's all about the attraction thing. Because if it was there--that chemistry--I probably would have tried being more chatty. Haha! But instead, I'm the opposite. Not just staying neutral, but actively NOT engaging in more friendly conversation with this woman. I know what you're saying: "Why can't you just be nice and at least introduce yourself, or engage in small talk?"
But --- ah-ha-HA! I say. Not so fast! That right there is the downfall of many people, especially women. Let's face it, this scenario is usually the other way around; the nice single girl having to fight off all the aggressive, twitchy, douche-y men sniffing her out on a daily basis. Most women know to stay clear of any suggestive language or actions around these types, but some of you "try to be nice" and will at least engage in small talk with these ass clowns. And then--boom! You've now got a stalker on your hands.
No thanks, ma'am. Not for me. I simply don't even bother engaging. It looks weird to others, sure. Especially this young lady in question. She came into the kitchenette smiling and saying "hello" once more. I said hi back. Then I continued to fill my water bottle as she went about making a cup of coffee. During this time we stood no more than six inches apart, and the tension was thick with expectation for one of us to say something. Most likely she expected that someone to be me. But I simply topped off my bottle and abruptly left the room. Just like that.
I think by now she's gotten the point. I sincerely hope she doesn't think I'm simply too shy, or playing hard to get. I hope she realizes that if a guy really liked her he would have said something long before now. Even a shy guy.
Most importantly, I just wish she stopped wasting her time. How can I convey to her that, even if I wanted to (which I don't!), I have no interest in dating right now? That what I just went through was so HUGELY devastating, that I'm still picking up the broken pieces of my heart even 8 months after the fact? It's rather hard to convey all that in a non-committal: "hey, see you around, okay?" when you don't want random strangers all up in your biz.
So I just simply not engage. I can't even be friends with her, for fear of sending the wrong message. No, better to keep things clean and perfunctory between us. Seems like the best plan, no?
On a somewhat connected aside: I think I now know why women end up with jerks. Bear with me here, for it is related to the lesson at hand . . .
See, if I were your typical male (which, let's just agree that I am not), I would pounce on the chance to "get some" right about now. If you're female and reading this, I probably am not revealing any major state's secrets or anything with what I'm about to reveal. Then again, perhaps I am. Look, men will do anything to "get some." Even if it means being with a girl they're not terribly attracted to. Or even remotely attracted to, for that matter.
The secret to the average guy (emphasis on "average") is this: They need their egos stroked. And need it stroked constantly! Now, a woman that they might not necessarily have chemistry with is still a woman nonetheless. And most guys are hard-wired by nature to take whatever opportunity they can get to be with a woman, whenever and however it comes. Now when a guy is out on the prowl for his next victim ... er, date, he's not going to waste his time going after the ones he perceives himself as having no chemistry with. It's a losing proposition as far as he's concerned. All of the risk with not much of the reward, you see?
But, now, should that woman he is not physically attracted to suddenly show an interest in HIM, it sends his ego quivering. Even if she engages in just the bare minimal effort of social interaction (a smile, a hello, a "how about this weather?"), it's enough to pique the average guy's libido. And if she takes it even further, and starts exhibiting beyond the normal social niceties when meeting a complete stranger in public--say accepting a drink, laughing at a joke, or touching of an arm--this sends all the blood to rushing inside that average guy's head. No, that other head. He's thinking he has a guaranteed score. Never mind that she wasn't exactly who he's had his eye on all night at the club or bar ... if she shows even the slightest interest in who he is, that guy's going to be thinking: "Easy lay, baby!"
Yes, this is the secret to men. The majority of them think like this. I know because I've been acquaintances with these guys all my life. I went to school with them. Hung out with them in the proverbial locker room. Heard them say the things they say when women aren't around. And almost resoundingly the message is: you gotta get it where you can!
Yes, you know all that male bravado and bluster that's been mythicized about us in popular culture? Well, it's just a cover-up for some fairly flimsy low self-esteem! And not just some men, but the majority of us. Throw a bone to most guys and, like dogs, they will snatch it up.
But do you know what else? The minute a guy gets that bone, he's no longer interested in you. And why should he be? Remember, he was never attracted to you in the first place! See, most women make the mistake of equating sex with love. They think if a guy wanted to sleep with them, then that guy must really see something worthy deep down inside them. That he sees them as a person, a human being. Someone to potentially build a relationship and fall in love with.
Bullshit. For most men, it really is just a conquest. An ego boost. They don't have to like you, they just want to jump you (in bed). Men are all about that ego. And so, ladies, when you are left wondering what happened to that great guy you met at the bar and brought home with you--why did your prince charming suddenly turned into a toad--it's because of this reason:
He wasn't really all that into you in the first place!
Not really. You might have thought he was, but shame on you. You might have been totally into him, sure, but your mistake was assuming that the guy shared the same level of attraction as you did for him. It's not your fault, though. I mean, how were you supposed to know? To all outward appearance, the guy was charming, gentlemanly, witty, and engaging with you. But of course he was! That's what we do! Take it from another guy: we can turn it way the hell on when we want something.
Except, in most scenarios, the guy only wants the one thing. And ladies, it's NOT your heart.
So if you're a gal who feels like you only seem to land the jerks out there, time after time ... you might want to look more closely at the men you're choosing to engage with. Does he really seem interested? I mean, did he take an interest in you only AFTER you said something to him first? Or did he initiate it? Think hard: was most of the pursuit your own doing? Did you have to run a marathon just to get that guy to notice you?
No, it's not him being aloof and mysterious. He really was never that interested in you. For reals!
And this is what I refuse to be. That guy. I respect women far too much to play the cad. And so, if I'm not feeling anything toward someone, I'm not going to lead her on and toy with her expectations. I'll nip it in the bud before it can even start.
True, I didn't always know to do this. I used to be quite clueless to male-female interactions. But now I'm older and more observant, and I also know better what I want. More importantly, what I don't want. And what I don't want is a woman whom I feel only lukewarm toward, but who loves me back with enough zeal for the both of us. No, love will not come eventually. It never does. Not truly. That is what's called "settling," folks. And I've made it my new lease in life to never settle.
That means, for now, I just fill my water bottle and return back to my work. There will be no dipping into the company ink for this lonely boy!
As always, comment below as you see fit.