On Wednesday nights in the summer, I bowl in a trio league. I typically head to the alley bar about an hour before league starts simply because it doesn’t pay for me to me to make the hour commute home and back after work and there’s no place else I really want to kill time in between. The bartender grabs a glass and starts on my Grey Goose and tonic as soon as I walk in the door, and I settle into a game of Candy Crush or a book on my Kindle until my teammates show up. It’s a relaxing way to unwind after work. Until last night, the only person I’ve talked to during this unwind time is the bartender, and even that conversation typically dries up after brief pleasantries are exchanged. There’s a ball game on tv and aside from a few folks on the other end of the bar, it’s usually dead. Who wants to sit in a bowling alley bar on a weeknight in summer?
Last night as I was reading my Kindle, a young man with an empty pitcher of beer came in and sat right next to me. I found it curious, because the bar is huge with many available spots to sit, but I didn’t mind a few minutes of conversation while he waited to get his pitcher refilled. Early on he asked “where’s your date?” which struck me as a potential come on, but I didn’t think too much of it, especially after he exited the bar to return to the lanes with his pitcher of beer, leaving me to my book. Moments later, he reentered the bar and sat back down next to me, where he continued on talking to me as if we were old pals. I found his approach a little curious. It could be due to my “bitchy resting face”, but I don’t typically get approached in public. In fact, the last time was three and a half years ago when I met my ex. Fairly early into the conversation, this man grabbed my cell phone off the bar and said “I gotta do something” as he started pressing buttons. Then he shielded the phone from my view so I couldn’t see what he was up to. I hoped he was just entering his contact info into my phone in the event I’d want to call him. Nope, he was calling himself from my phone so now he’d have my phone number – without permission. In hindsight, I should have snatched the phone out of his paws the second he touched it, but I thought he would be prompted to enter my password (in fact I told him “You’ll probably need a password”). Unfortunately, I had minutes ago texted my bowling teammates to ask if they were coming (they can be flaky and it is a holiday week), so it was unlocked.
Although I felt violated, I figured the worst was that I didn’t like the guy and I would just never take his calls if I didn’t want to. I don’t know what it says about me that I didn’t completely write him off the moment he did this. Perhaps I need to work on better boundaries. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and probably put up with more crap than I should. I haven’t dated anyone besides my ex in years, although we’ve been broken up about 7 months now. At any rate, we continued to chat. I asked him where he lived and he told me, and then said “You should come over sometime.” “Do you cook or something? What’s the draw?” I replied. “You can watch me play Grand Theft Auto,” was his earnest response. Check, please! I humored him and shared that in my teenage/young adult years, I too played from time to time. At some point his mother came into the bar and he introduced me – he was there bowling with his family. I was increasingly uncomfortable with the situation but knew my friends would be there shortly (thankfully they had texted back to say they were coming). Once they arrived, I bid this would-be suitor adieu and hit the lanes.
What I didn’t expect was that now this guy will not leave me alone. He texted about a half hour into my game to thank me for our chat and to tell me “you’re so fine”. Ok, fair enough. I decided not to respond because I really wasn’t interested in the guy, although it went against my nature to not at least acknowledge his text. Then a half hour after that he texted “my mom saw me looking at my phone and asked if I was texting you.” This is a 30 year old grown man. Does he live with his mother? I nearly responded “am I Mom Approved?” before my friends talked sense into me. I decided to write this one off and ignored this text as well. Later when I got home for the night, he called. I didn’t answer. Hoping that this would finally send the message, I went to bed.
This morning he texted again, to ask if my team won. Now I was starting to feel creeped out a bit. I wondered if I should text him to say I enjoyed our chat but I don’t wish to continue speaking with him and to take care. A guy friend of mine told me that guys like this will feed off any response, so I should continue to ignore. Fine. Then this afternoon he texted AGAIN! But it must have been some sort of icon my phone cannot read so I don’t know what it was. I am really crossing my fingers that he stops after this. Dude knows where I work and what nights and where I bowl.
I know I can’t judge the entire pool of available men by this one character, but I have to say it’s been a pretty discouraging experience. I have a bit of a theory that meeting a guy in public who is a complete stranger is never going to lead to anything good. Sure, it’s a stereotype, but I tend to believe that any guy with the cajones to walk up to a random woman and engage her in conversation is either completely drunk (as I suspect this one was) or a practiced Lothario. Anyone I would find attractive likely wouldn’t approach a stranger in this manner. And since I’m not in the business of approaching strangers, it would seem I’m doomed to the single life. Oh well, it’s not so bad as long as my coworkers ease up on sending me “funny” gifs like the one of a herd of cats entering a doorway with the caption “We heard you are 40 and single.” SIGH