A bit of intro:
When I read “Don’t you guys hate it when…” linked by Feministe last Tuesday, I couldn’t help imagining that lurking behind that really, really long sentence was the infamous Privilege Denying Dude himself. After all, the author seems to have decided to ignore not only reasonable standards of punctuation but also any notion of how his coffee-shop amour might feel about his advances (and subsequent retreat). In an effort not to be privilege-denying myself, let me say that I realize I’m not entirely qualified to be inside the head of this (or any) woman. The sketch I present here is a purely imaginative exercise– a fictional speculation as to what might have been going through the head of our French friend while she was being accosted.
Don’t you hate it when…
… for the umpteenth time, some random guy musters up the nerve to talk to you in the hipster coffee shop where you go to get in some relaxing reading time, because he thinks you’re “cute,” but not too “hot” to be off-limits to him and he starts talking to you and he seems remarkably willing to assume you want him to join you there despite the fact you’ve met only moments before, and you laugh uncomfortably, but at least he’s making a good-faith effort to look into your irises instead of down your blouse, and you can’t think of what to say so you mention you noticed him chuckling to himself earlier, which strikes you as sign that he’s either easily amused or possibly unstable, and when he shares what he was laughing about earlier, you realize he’s not crazy, just pompous and self-absorbed, and you laugh, too, because it would be rude to just get up and walk away, and he asks where you’re from and you tell him your family’s from Toulouse, and his blank look tells you he has no idea where that is so you explain that it’s in the south of France, and he asks if it’s near Monte Carlo, and before you can explain that isn’t really at all, he launches into a story, which means that now, for the thousandth, irritating time in your life, you have to listen to someone talk about the prince of Monaco, even though this is like telling a story about the time you saw Bill Clinton on the street in New York City to someone who lives in Toronto, but he seems to have already slid into it without a backward glance, awkwardly cramming it inside the conversation in a way that makes you realize he must be terrible in bed, since he seems much more interested in going through this performance than in whether you actually give a shit, so you giggle self-consciously and think “please shut up!” and look at him in that incredulous way, trying to remember if the story isn’t actually just the plot of the James Bond film you saw last week on late-night TV, until he finishes, and you can’t think of what to say so you tell him what an amazing story that was the same way you used to tell your ex what a mind-blowing orgasm you’d just faked, and he tells you “I know,” and then, with the end approaching closer now, you both start to get up to leave, and in your head you start anxiously worrying why he’s staring at you like an entomologist staring at a butterfly he’s about to collect and his cocksure manner is starting to get more than a little wearisome, and you’re thinking to yourself how wonderful it would be to meet someone who could see you for more than just an exotic romantic fantasy dreamgirl, some auburn-haired Audrey Tautou, since just because he knows you’re French doesn’t mean he knows anything about you at all, and why can’t you meet someone articulate, smart, interested in more than just your looks or your passport, but this guy you would hesitate to even take home to your apartment if things were ever to get that far with him (which deep down you know they won’t, and deeper down you worry that you’re going to have to find a new coffee shop), and then, after all this, as the conversation is going down in flames and you are staring into your now-tepid coffee, agonizing over each passing second, with only a few words separating you from the bidding him adieu and taking your interrupted book someplace else — after all this, you both stand up, and it turns out you’re 3 inches taller than him, and the look on his face, surprised and creeped-out, you look at the floor and even though he’s kind of an ass, you feel judged, and then you feel crummy for letting that bother you, and just because being shorter than a woman makes him feel insecure doesn’t mean you should let yourself feel like some kind of freak, but it’s hard not to when every guy you meet can’t imagine being seen in public without being able to put his arm around your shoulders, and you look back at each other (him up from your chest, you down at him), and you awkwardly, finally say that it was nice meeting him, and he smiles and agrees, but before he’s even done agreeing, you’re turning away and walking out of the coffee shop to finish your damn book in peace?
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