Monday, November 12, 2007

Maybe He Really DID Just Want to Chat About Pizza

I'm notoriously dense when it comes to flirtation. I'd say that 95 percent of the time when a guy hits on me, I don't even notice. The other five percent, I know I'm being hit on because my friends have clued me in.

Sample conversation from a few years back:
Me: That guy really liked my shoes. He spent 20 minutes asking me where to find Chuck Taylors with racing stripes.
Friend: Huh? Shannon, guys don't care about shoes.
Me: But he asked lots of questions! And then he bought me a drink because I had such cool shoes!
Friend: He was hitting on you. Guys have nothing intelligent to say about women's footwear.
Me (realization slowly dawning): Oh.

So take this natural obliviousness, and throw in the fact that I'm in a relationship. On the rare occasions that I do realize I'm being hit on, I have absolutely no idea how to react. When I was married, it was really easy. There was a Diamond-Encrusted Man Deflector on my left hand that I could flash as necessary.

Here's an example: Friday evening, I was walking to a birthday happy hour. There was a light drizzle, but nothing major. A well-dressed, seemingly nice guy offered to share his umbrella with me. I declined at first, then we walked on together for about a block and a half. We were headed to different bars, so he offered to send me a review of where he was going (Ella's Pizza). Being old and wise now, I realized he was hitting me up for my contact info. I politely declined and moved on.

Afterwards, this bothered me immensely. I hate being rude to perfectly nice guys who chivalrously share their umbrellas. That sort of behavior should be rewarded. (Now, if he'd been a hyperaggressive little troll, I would have put him in his place with much joy and merriment).

Maybe I should have said, "Well, my boyfriend would think it was odd if I started getting pizza reviews from strange men." Then he'd know it was nothing personal. Or, "Get away from me, you foul incubus!" Just so I could assert myself. But I think my "thanks, but no thanks" reaction was probably for the best.

But give me SOME credit here. Five years ago, I would have thought this guy and I merely shared a common interest in pizza-centric happy hours.


Jeff said...

Too funny. I think most women are oblivious to guys hitting on them...or at least the women I know tend to be oblivious. They think the guy is just being nice wanting to start a conversation. When in reality whatever he says is likely just a covert way of saying, "I think you are hot and I'd really like to get to know you better." Not that the woman is being naive...just a different way of looking at it. Guys (for the most part) don't converse just to converse like women tend to do. Nice women worry about hurting a guy’s feelings even when the guy is a stranger to them. FACT: We suck at subtlety! Guys appreciate honesty and it is a fact that unless you tell the guy like it really is he isn't likely to get it. Especially if he has a few drinks in him. If a woman is not interested...whether it is because she can't be interested or genuinely just isn't...just say so. There is nothing wrong with having a harmless conversation...even if it is a little bit flirty. But Ladies, draw the line with the guy early and honestly. If he doesn't just walk away and he still wants to talk...he's probably just being friendly. No need to walk in the rain when an umbrella is being offered. Although I would not offer to share it...I would offer it to her for her sole use and if she accepted it and then she offered to share it so be it.

Shannon said...

It's true - guys aren't much for purposeless chat. Conversations have objectives...and often that objective is a phone number!

But on the other hand, if I go around assuming that most guys are hitting on me, it makes me an egomaniac. It's more complicated than it should be, that's for sure!