The village idiot went to lunch

I remember the lung-shaking sigh of relief after replying to the final respondent from my online ad (I used my daily message quota to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to people who made more than a trifling effort to construct a whole sentence). I wrote the last one an ‘I’m overwhelmed and won’t be back in touch but thank you’ message, made my user account invisible, did a little jig and collapsed on the floor.

More than two months later he responded saying thank you for the thank you. Did I let things be? No, of course not. Only a well-adjusted, sensible person who can control her curiosity would do that.

He saw a sliver of light through the door and wedged his foot inside. I didn’t stomp on it.

I can’t kiss a man with a beard. Just can’t. Nor can I look a man in the eye who squints and winks after saying something risqué, as if I’m already a co-conspirator. I tried to imagine him naked, once, and couldn’t do it again.

I loathe my lack of forthrightness in trying to pay for my share of lunch. He waved my cash aside, with the oft-used lead-in for a second meeting by saying it was my turn next time. Sure, I said, regretting the word as soon as it sailed carelessly from my lips.

I have no issues asking for what I want, but I clam up when it’s time to state what I don’t want. I don’t want this sense of fucking obligation. I want those moments back so I can say thanks but no thanks and stop working out how I’m going to say it next time.

6 thoughts on “The village idiot went to lunch

  1. It’s hard, isn’t it? Saying ‘no’. I remind myself when I’m in that situation that if it were me on the other end (and that’s happened often enough…) I’d prefer a straightout ‘thanks but no thanks’.

    Perversely, if I’ve made up my mind half-way through the first drink that I’m not interested, I find it easier to be charming and flirty for the rest of the meal.

  2. It is hard, and afterwards I beat myself up for not adhering to the ‘do unto others’ philosophy. I think I was living your last sentence but with a ‘perhaps he’s doing the same thing and will run for the bloody hills as soon as we leave and I’ll still smell like roses’. Argh, smack me.

  3. But that would be a reward rather than punishment, and we couldn’t reward poor behaviour, could we?

    Could we???


  4. Been there, done that. Still doing that, actually. I wish I was more bitchy sometimes, just so I could say what needs to be said and be done with it. Instead, I drag my feet; not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings but also not in the least bit interested in seeing that person again. And I just can’t bring myself to say it, dammit! I wish there was an easier way to do it.

  5. Yep, and also beat ourselves up for thinking that direct communication could be construed as bitchiness, when it’s just direct communication.

    He sent an e-mail mentioning “red-hot chemistry”, which has made the task of ending communication a hell of a lot easier.

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