About a month ago I met a guy. As always I was thinking about the possibility of friendship, nothing more. That’s not going to work out.
It was a very hot and humid evening. I had just been to a few stores downtown and had decided to sit down by one of the many fountains for a while, read from a book, have a snack, wait for the temperature to go down a little before going home to my non-air conditioned apartment. A few minutes later I looked up and saw that a guy had decided to join me. He started talking to me.
Basically he started out the conversation criticizing something I was doing and telling me how and why I was wrong. He did it in a light-hearted jokey manner. He was telling me that there was no need for me to lock up my bicycle when I was sitting near it.
Okay this is not something I like and not something that I usually tolerate from strangers.
But it is usually my automatic response to start defending my choices. I stopped myself in mid-sentence and said this is what I do, I don’t tell someone else what to do, but this is what I do. I was really proud of myself.
He said bikes don’t get stolen down here. Which I know is untrue, they do. I’ve read about it in the local paper and even heard people talk about it happening. I wasn’t going to argue the merits of safety and crime to him. It is my choice and I can make any choice that I want to about my bike being locked, even when it is right next to me.
His next conversational gambit was to tell me, you’re sad. My response was, you seem to be assuming that there is something wrong with being sad, or allowing yourself to be feeling sad, or perhaps even some other emotions. I don’t agree. It made me feel as though he saw me as more vulnerable and that being an opening for him. I didn’t think that I was feeling more sad than anyone else that evening. I was actually having a lovely time by myself. I was really enjoying my evening.
We talked for a bit and what I really wanted was for him to go away and leave me alone so I could eat my snack in peace and privacy and read my book. He didn’t. I think that next time I will just take out my book and start reading and not care if someone considers me rude.
He was originally from another country and seemed amazed that I knew where his country was on his continent. Gasp! A woman who loves geography. He praised me as one would a five year old. It was kind of funny.
He made several comments about me that made me think he was interested in me, in a way that I was not interested in him. I made that abundantly clear, but I don’t think he wanted to believe me. I’ve interacted with guys like that in the past. It has never gone good.
He suggested that I was pretty and therefore should date. I told him he was young enough to be my son and I was not interested in dating someone young enough to be my son.
He tried to convince me that I should have children. I tried to explain the facts of life to him, but he seemed to refuse to believe in reality. I tried to explain to him that a woman is born with only so many eggs and when those are gone, you don’t make anymore. He seemed satisfied that I would consider adopting older children, if I did ever marry.
We went on to talk politics at length. He approved of my depth of knowledge and understanding. He said that Obama was going to drop bombs on Syria. I said no, don’t count on it, not going to happen. He said oh yeah in a couple of days. I said no it won’t happen soon, if at all, wait and see and you can say I was right. Yeah, that was about a month ago and I was right.
He said several times, you are a good person. Yes. I know that. Telling me the obvious is not a compliment as far as I am concerned. Acting as though I don’t have a good grasp of that is underestimating me, who I am, and how far I have come. Really it’s kind of condescending, to us, we found it grating on the nerves rather than disarming or complimentary.
He wanted my phone number. I told him I don’t give that out, but he could give me his. He didn’t like that. He didn’t know what his schedule was going to be like so told me what day to call him to see about meeting for coffee. I called with my number blocked, but he didn’t know what day he would be off. I called two other evenings, and he didn’t pick up the phone.
Thinking over all of this for the last month, I see lots of reasons not to try to see him. I don’t like someone who just assumes it is okay to sit near me and start talking, especially a guy. He could have started talking to me while he was still standing and see if I was receptive to a conversation, rather than inviting himself into my space, even if it was a public space, it was still my space. I don’t like being told what to do and what not to do. That will immediately piss me off. I don’t like having to defend myself or being teased. I don’t like people assuming that because I am from America I am not knowledgeable about international current events, international issues and international politics. I don’t like people insisting, implying, or judging that my personal choices of being alone and childless are not valid and appropriate to my life situation, and my business and no one else’s. I don’t like being evaluated as a potential mate, especially when I am clear from the start that I am not interested in that with that person. I’ve never been able to make one of them into a friend.
So I met a guy. But he wasn’t the right kind of guy. Not even the right kind of guy to make into a friend. A potential friend has to show me respect, exhibit proper boundaries, honor women, have a sense of humor, make me smile and laugh, share of his self and his life, love the exchange of ideas and words, and so much more. None of which he exhibited.