I was entering the gym last fall while having a somewhat intense conversation with my daughter about whether or not she could bring along her IPod. I was focused on the conversation so much that I almost ran into a man.
“Oh my gosh! Sorry!” I blurted out as I dodged him at the last minute.
“No problem! No problem!” he said assuredly. “How are you doing, anyways?”
“I’m fine,” I said, trying to figure out why he’s acting as if he knows me. “I guess you know me? I don’t think I know you.”
“No, I don’t know you, but I’ve seen you in here a lot. You’re in here more than me,” he said.
An awkward silence ensued.
“Well anyways, good luck with your workout. I mean… Um wait–you’re on your way out, so that means you already worked out…So, like, have a good day,” I stammered.
“Well, don’t work yourself too hard. You don’t even need to be here–you look good as it is,” he said.
I’m not accustomed to strangers flirting or whatever it is he was doing. I wasn’t even sure if that’s what he was doing, but I just remember saying, “oh that’s not true. I really DO need to be here,” and literally running away.
The story could have ended there. But it didn’t.
I saw him last November then at Panera Bread. He greeted me and said, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in awhile.”
It took me a minute to place him, but then I figured it out. “Oh yeah, you’re from the gym.” The gym creeper.
He went on to say that he was a firefighter who worked two jobs, and that he had actually stopped coming to the gym due to lack of time. The more we talked, the more I actually thought, “Hey this guy isn’t creepy… He’s nice, and is easy to talk to.”
As we were finishing up our conversation, he said, “So, maybe I could get your number, and we could continue the conversation?”
I think every single time a guy has asked me for my number, I have asked him to repeat himself. I don’t know if it’s because the guy is nervous and starts mumbling, or if it’s because I’m afraid I misunderstood him and am going to start calling out numbers, and he will say, “what are you doing, dumb a$$?” So I asked him to repeat the question. Two more times. At that point he was speaking slowly and loudly and so I stopped him mid-sentence.
“Yes, you can have my number.”
He starts texting me almost immediately. I didn’t respond because I was driving. Once I arrive home, I stop the barrage of texts by asking him to just call me. I don’t like barrage texting anyways.
“I suck at texting,” I stated. “I either write people messages that are way too long or I don’t respond in a timely fashion, or I misinterpret what you’re saying due to poor use of punctuation and context, so you might as well just call me.”
He called. As we were talking, I mentioned that I’m divorced. Then I asked him, “So have you been married?”
“Yes, I have, and actually I’m still married.”
“What? Did you say you were married?”
“Then why the heck are you talking to me?”
“Oh, you thought I was like interested in you? Like wanting to date you?”
“Um, yeah. Duh? Now this is SO awkward.”
“Why do you say it’s awkward. It’s not awkward. I’m just telling you I’m married.”
“So why the heck did you ask me for my number?”
“Because I thought we could, you know, chill–hang out. I think you’re really cool.”
“I don’t want to chill with you. I don’t need you to ‘chill in my life.’ This is really weird. Do you have like an open marriage or something?”
“Nevermind,” I said, and ended the conversation, thinking this dude isn’t even smart enough to talk to, regardless of whether or not he’s married.
I told this story to friends. They said, “Weren’t you just angry?”
I had to think. “No, not angry. Just annoyed. And disappointed.”
I was kind of weirded out more than anything by his response in saying, “oh, so you think I wanted to date you? No, I just want to chill.”
I wish I would have had a clever comeback, like, “Well go chill outside in the snow, you dumba$$.”
Truth is, maybe he did just want to be my friend. I don’t know. But the whole thing already was so awkward that I couldn’t even think about it. It was what I call a BAS–beyond awkward situation.
I feel like I get myself into these BAS situations more than the average human being because I ask loads of questions. I’ve been told by many people, in fact, that asking too many questions is my most annoying habit.
And when a BAS situation happens like the one above, I often have to take a moment and ask myself, “How did this happen? What led up to this? What did I do to cause this? And why is the other party involved acting like I AM THE CRAZY ONE, making this situation even MORE awkward?”
And I really don’t have an answer to that–other than that I think when I’m following my inner guidance system that causes me to spout out random questions, there is a reason for it. I’m seeking information, perhaps, because something “feels off” or just doesn’t “smell right” to me. But this pisses off two kinds of people:
1. People who are private, and don’t feel comfortable sharing intimate details with some cooky lady.
2. People who are hiding something.
And it’s often difficult to distinguish between the two, making the BAS even more A.
But I think I may just be too old to care. This is what happens when you’re almost forty.