“I have a daughter who I think is around your age,” the old dude said to me last night. I’m not being rude -- he was old. With white hair and mentions of dead parents, I placed him somewhere around his late 50s.
“Mmm,” I nodded. I was there to watch a comedy show, not to converse with some chatty man old enough to be my dad who smelled like cheap white wine that’s been open without a cap in the fridge too long.
It continued like this for a dreadfully long time. He, a giant creep, was making unfunny conversation under the guise of “Fellow Comedian” and me, thoroughly grossed out, trying to communicate that I wanted him to leave me alone. The show was 30 minutes late to start.
We were the only two people at the "singles" table. I would have moved my seat, but it was front row and center for my all-time favorite comedian. I didn’t want this turd to win.
I swiveled in my seat to chug my beer. He thought I was giving him the side-eye because of his dumb laugh and apologized. Stop f*cking looking at me.
By the end of the two-hour set, I was ready to pay my check and get away from this man, only my bill never came.
When he got up to go to the bathroom (which he obviously announced to me, like I: A. give two f*cks; B. am his companion), I pulled over the waitress.
“Excuse me, when you have a moment I can pay the bill please.”
“Oh, I put it down during the show and the man immediately took it and paid it,” she replied, motioning to his empty chair.
“But I don’t know him,” I said, mildly horrified. I don’t need this stranger to do me any favors. Can’t a girl go out to a show on a Monday night by herself and be left to herself?
Why couldn’t I just do the borderline impolite move and ask him to stop talking to me, or at least tell him, “I’m here to see a show, and I’d like some time to myself.” Was I just being assuming or ridiculous (sometimes I can take it too far in my head)?
So many questions.
Despite knowing better, maybe, I thanked him for the drinks and went to walk home. He decided to accompany me to the avenue’s curb, of course. Then he gave me his business card (ew) and left, finally.
I still have the card in my jacket pocket this morning. I was going to Google him when I got home to make sure he wasn’t a total psycho, but I didn’t want to think about the old freak anymore. Every time he comes into mind, I am grossed out.
When I told my boyfriend the story (I was baiting him, bad), he was just as appalled and weirded out as me (also bad). When I told my mom the story, however, her response surprised me.
“Maybe he was just being nice? You know, like maybe he was just sad and lonely?”
I paused to contemplate this. Was it just nice? An old guy being friendly? Have I been trained to keep my guard up? To think a certain way about men, always assuming the worst?
I don’t know what the answer is. But I do know I have a right not to be made uncomfortable by anyone.
It doesn’t matter who is right, I will always be wary of too nice, too friendly men in New York City.
Regardless if I handled it correctly or not, today I scolded myself for tolerating this man’s company. I shouldn’t have been afraid of insulting this man when he’s the one invading my personal limitations.
It’s not being rude, it’s just being real.
Let’s embrace it, ladies.
1. I’m not being rude, I’m just being real.
2. I’m not dismissing you, I’m just not sharing personal information with a stranger.
3. I’m not uptight, I’m just feeling really uncomfortable by your invasive demeanor.
4. I’m not being impolite, I just don’t feel like talking right now.
5. I’m not a bitch, I just don’t trust people who willingly reveal too much about themselves.
6. I’m not disrespecting you, I just would prefer you kept your comments to yourself.
7. I’m not crabby, I just appreciate my alone time.
8. I’m not surly, I just want to watch my show without disruptions.
9. I’m not assuming, I just don’t like you so close to me.
10. I'm not cold, I'm just tired of being nice.
11. I'm not insensitive, I'm just tired of my kindness being taken advantage of.
12. I’m not boring, I just have nothing to say to you.
13. I'm not a c*nt, I just don't want to talk to you.
14. I'm not being unreasonable, I'm just freaked out by you.
15. I'm not guarded, I just don't like your hands near me.
16. I'm not giving you a hard time, I just won't back down without standing up for myself.
17. I'm not bullsh*tting, I just don't want to find you on Facebook later.
18. I'm not reserved, I just don't want this saved to your phone.
19. I'm not being difficult, I just don't want to be hit on right now.
20. I'm not stuck up, I'm just sticking to my values.
21. I'm not trying to hurt you, I just need to remove myself from this situation.
22. I'm not defensive, I'd just rather ignore you than be offensive.
23. I'm not insulting you, I just need space.
24. I'm not an assh*le, I just ask for what I want.
25. I'm not blunt, I'm just upfront with you.
26. I'm not mad, I just don't want to go where you're going.
27. I'm not angry, I'm just hungry.
28. I'm not upset, I just don't want to f*cking smile.