Friday, November 25, 2011

Why so aloof? I'm just not attracted to you

This story is for a certain set of women.  The set of women who are convinced they can look at any guy and win him over.

The subject of this story is Olivia.  Name changed to protect the innocent, but I'm tired of using single letters.  Olivia worked the front desk at my first paid internship.  She sat in a both with two old ladies who we needed every time we had to fax anything or to make copies.  They also answered the non-direct line calls.

Olivia was the type of girl who dressed just to the tasteful side of too sexy.  Short skirts that didn't show anything when she bent over.  Tight shirts that didn't pinch.  Make-up that let you know she was on the make without appearing slutty.

Olivia had a nice figure.  Others thought she had a great figure.  I thought she was skinny and showed off more because she knew how to wear heels.  She was a little rough in the face, but, again, other people thought she was pretty.

As the paid intern in the downstairs office, I was the default youngest male in the building.  This is in a college town where women already outnumbered mean almost 3-to-1.  And we had a lot of gay guys and awkward foreigners (Arab and African kids who still blushed when they saw an ankle, no kidding).  So, if you were an eligible straight guy, the odds were in your favor.

The first time I realized Olivia liked me was when I went out front and she was leaning on the front window of the narrow front hallway, talking with the two old ladies.  To describe the pose, politely, it looked like she was presenting, in the Animal Planet sense of the term.  The old ladies started laughing their asses off.  Olivia didn't get it until I scooted by.  She then sort of bolted to the other side of the window and apologized, blushing.  And the old ladies laughed harder.

Olivia was never my type.  She gossiped with old ladies.  She smoked like a fuckin chimney.  Little too skinny.  Just not my type.

After a while, Olivia figured out my schedule and started plopping herself on the bench out front around the time I took lunch.  She'd sit there smoking and trying to slyly make eye contact, but not too much eye contact.  Every single day.  I swear it didn't rain that entire internship.

I remember one day a girl I knew, Sonya, came in to apply for a job in the upstairs office.  Sonya is the type of girl no woman wants to see talking to the guy she likes.  Sonya is tall, exotic-looking, mixed Asian and black.  She's very demur (not a trait I particularly like).

Oh, and Sonya and I were good friends.  Sonya liked me because I was the only person who didn't act inconvenienced when she couldn't get a baby sitter and had to bring her son to group work in the evenings.  Sonya basically spent all of college trying to orbit me in the hope of it turning into a serious relationship.  It got to the point where if I had a long day and I saw Sonya in public before she saw me, I'd try to get the fuck out of there before she waved me down.

Worse, Sonya was always very obvious.  Lots of smiling, lots of blushing, lots of quick eye contact that then turned submissive.

Sonya is a subject for another article, don't worry.

Sonya and I had a long conversation, probably 15 minutes, about what she was applying for and why and good luck and oh you work here et cetera.

When Sonya disappeared I happened to notice Olivia.  She was locked on Sonya walking up the steps and red-faced as could be.  The look on her face was one I know well -- it's a look of self-hatred women get when they realize they've fallen for guy who is not gonna work out for them.

The next day, during her bench time, I missed Olivia going out, but saw her coming back.  She was dressed to the nines.  She locked eyes on me from far away and kept them on me.  She waved.  I waved and looked away.  She stood up, threw her cigarette to the ground and stomped it hard.  She then walked away, ahead of me, stomping her feet hard and moving fast.  When I went past the front window in the office the old ladies shut up (which they never did) and Olivia sat there looking like she was going to throw up.

After that, she stopped doing the bench thing and did everything in her power to ignore me unless she was the only person at the front window.  The old ladies made a point of giving me dirty looks and treating me like shit after that.  They didn't like their vicarious excitement ruined, either.

My internship lasted a month longer.  They were going to offer me some permanent part-time stuff.  But, as you can imagine, being glared at every day didn't seem like a winning plan.  Plus, I kinda wanted the last couple weeks of my summer to myself.

Olivia's one of the girls who really bothered me.

There was never any spark there.  We didn't talk about anything besides "What's the fax number for so-and-so?"

Yes, I get that in a building full of old people, it would be nice if the only young person of the opposite sex showed some interest in you.  Summer in a college town sucks big time -- I know, I did three summer sessions!  But, he's not exactly obliged to hit on you just because you think the math's on your side.

And, yes, I get that other people wanted to fuck her brains out.  I listened to one of the single male editors in his 30s go on endlessly about that exact subject.  I didn't find her peculiarly attractive, especially with all the smoking thrown in.

I felt bad because it was obvious that she liked me.  And it was clear she had some type of stake in proving herself to the gabby old ladies who worked the front window.  It wasn't just that a guy didn't go for her.  It's that it was a marked and humiliating defeat in front of the only two people she really talked to all day.

Hallmark doesn't make a card for, "I never found you attractive, but I'm sorry you feel bad about it now that you know."  Sorry, Olivia.

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