“When you have their full attention in your grip, their hearts and minds will follow.” (Rather: When you have them by the testicles, you have their heart and head) -Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
As the only single woman in town between the age of 18 and 56, I get hit on a lot. Because the phrase ‘Semper Fidelis’** is known only as the motto of the US Marine Corps and by 3 couples, this means that blatant pick-up lines don’t just come from the 4 single men in town but from nearly any front. Some are simple one-liners with a purely innocent or teasing note while others are more hopeful but still very subtle.
And then there is ‘Z’.
‘Z’ is 42 and about as subtle as a 2×4 upside the head and has just about as much tact as said 2×4. He is blatant, overt, tenacious, incessant, transparent and very, very public about his intentions and desires. In short, quite a plague on my sanity. Like any girl, I am totally flattered when a man makes a comment about how nice I look today or favorably compares my beauty to the gorgeous day we are having but there is a distinct line when honest flattery or straight out BS (really? You think I’m more pretty than the day? I call BS.) becomes completely unbelievable and nonsense.
One comment=flattery. Two comments=lovely. Three comments= Um, OK. Are you stopping now? Four comments= You are completely full of shite and wasting my time on earth.
‘Z’ never stops at 4. In fact, he generally doesnt stop at all and even ends the meeting with things like, “Ok, Marry you later” or “Love you too” or, my personal favorite, “See you in bed”. Everything is a double (or triple or quadruple or…) entendre with him and it only gets worse as the conversation goes on. Any other time and place I would play my favourite game of “Avoid the Jerk” but when there are only 55 people in town and he happens to live next door and I happen to work in a public office, well, lets just say that avoiding anyone is impossible unless I want to always be inside my house and while quite a solitary person, I am no hermit. Crabby sometimes, but no hermit 🙂
‘Z’ recently came back into town after spending a few months elsewhere and one of the first things that he did was come to visit me at work. I had been telling M for days that I wasn’t looking forward to him coming back (his mother was positive that I wanted to know this and would be at the airport to greet him. I stayed far, far away.) and had told her too about the come-ons. She thought I was exaggerating until that afternoon when ‘Z’ stopped by and opened fire.
For almost 20 minutes she sat in the lobby (I made her go out first) and watched while I stood behind a recliner (to have something to dig my nails into as I was unfailingly polite) and deflected his innuendos, insinuations and allusions to an extremely intimate relationship between us that he wanted to create. M was filled with nervous laughter and finally saw that I wasnt joking or exaggerating. While outwardly I was professional, inwardly I was screaming things like, “Do you have any idea how UN-attractive this makes you?”, “Oh HELL No”, and “Please go away, you are embarrassing yourself”. In the past I have had chances to tell a person that I was finding their comments toward me extremely unwanted and unwelcome but a small town is not the place to do it again. Being the outsider myself and him being direct family to 10 other people (and indirect to the others) would strongly sway public opinion. Well, this and the fact that he was with my boss for roughly 2 years and that there are still strong feelings flying. All of these things made me bite my tongue and bide my time. I am a strong believer in the adage about giving a man enough rope and he will hang himself***, so I just let ‘Z’ keep going and waited for the drop. He didn’t fail me.
By the end of the encounter, because such a thing can hardly be called a conversation, I was tired, annoyed and ready for him to go. Through it all, I had thought of lots of good one liners that I WISH I had thought of just a few seconds earlier so that I could have been spared blushes. He wasn’t getting my not-so-subtle comments that I wasnt interested in doing anything, from going on a snowmobile to having multiple children, with him. I was ready for a quick killing thrust, preferably from me, to end it all. Just before he left, he asked about my training and offered to be a guinea pig. “Any time you need a patient, I would be happy to play doctor with you”, complete with raised eyebrows, winks and nods. M said that the only thing that I needed to practice was sutures but we would both be happier if he didn’t need any. “Sure, I would be happy to let you play with me. (Entendre totally obvious) I’d let you cut off my arm and sew it back on if you want to.”
“Oh Z,” I purred, smiling while walking out from behind the chair to stand before him with my arms crossed, “there is only one part of your anatomy that I am interested in cutting off and it’s about 3 feet below your arm.”
It took him a little while to get it. I couldnt look at M, who was trying hard not to die laughing, while holding the same quiet smile always on my lips because I knew if I looked at her I would lose it too. He laughed a little, bade us good bye and left with the parting shot of “Love you later” directed at me but without its usual zeal.
It didnt matter that he had the last word, I had uttered the single best come-back in my life. Final score of the match, decided in the last seconds of the game? Z=0, SG=Everything. A very sweet victory indeed.
BTW: ‘Z’ isn’t his letter and is, in fact, at the other end of the spectrum.
*My favourite phrases are: “Fac et Excusa” (do and then justify) and “Nil Illegitimo caborundum” (Don’t let the bastards grind you down). This latter being another that I first encountered via Discworld and both have been thought of for tattoo #2. I’m leaning more towards the latter. Its more of a mantra than anything and is quite fitting.
***Did you know, grammatically, people are not ‘hung’ but are ‘hanged’? This always sounded a bit odd to me but as my conversations in polite company nor my writings focus on the macabre or ways of putting people to death, it rarely enters my mind. Except now.