I complain all the time–I mean only when it’s completely appropriate based on the current conversation, of course–about how strangers never hit on me. They never come up to me in bars and offer to buy me a drink. They don’t approach me on the street and ask me to grab a drink with them. They fail to spot me on the subway and check whether I have time for a drink. All my life, this has been the story: people I don’t know do not desire to consume liquids with me.
So you’d think when someone standing near me on the subway platform last night suddenly asked, “What’s that pattern on your pants? Pinstripe?” I would be swooning.
When I answered, “Yeah, I guess,” and he responded with, “Good choice,” you might imagine I asked him to marry me.
But I wasn’t. And I didn’t. Instead, I was a little creeped out and moved a little bit away from the edge of the platform. Why? Why this strange reaction to what should be a welcome compliment?
I could tell you, but instead I’ll let Jeff Wilser: “The only true difference between whether something is Creepy or Sexy is whether the recipient likes the guy.” Perfect timing that the article happened to be published yesterday, the day–the one day ever in my entire life and no I’m not exaggerating except okay maybe I am a teeny tiny bit–someone hit on me.
I thought the man who hit on me was creepy because I didn’t like him. It’s that simple. And as I thought more about the incident on my way home, I realized just how much this concept influences my behavior.
A few months ago, at the end of a first date, a guy (my date, in case it wasn’t clear) tried to make out with me in front of my apartment building. He succeeded, but I didn’t enjoy it. I felt he was being pushy, and moving too fast, and acting presumptuous to assume I would like him enough to show him off to anyone who happened to be out on their fire escape that evening. Then, a couple of months later, I was on a first date where the exact same thing happened, and I didn’t mind one bit.
It’s obvious when you put it like that; chemistry is a big deal. I almost wish I bothered taking it in high school. Fine, no I don’t, but it’s still pretty important, and I think I often forget just how important it is. When I’m just not feeling it, I’ll blame it on the fact that he works odd hours, or lives in New Jersey, or doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re, because these are all perfectly acceptable reasons a relationship may not work out. It’s easier to explain to my friends that he doesn’t drink than that he doesn’t make me laugh. Which is kind of silly. Why isn’t not being able to find that undefinable thing we’re all looking for in our interactions with other people a legitimate explanation for a relationship failing? Isn’t that the very best reason to not date someone–that it doesn’t feel right? And despite the ridiculous analysis I and many other women waste countless hours on, wondering whether this practically-invisible-it’s-so-small detail is the one that will spell eventual doom for a relationship, or predicting whether this particular character trait is conducive to lasting love, isn’t the very best reason to date someone/be in a relationship with someone/love someone/marry someone/grow old with someone simply because it feels more right than anything else?
Anyway. If you need any additional evidence that creepy and sexy behavior is often exactly the same, just imagine the actions of John Cusack in Say Anything played out by _________ (someone you think is disgusting or even just not quite as fantastic as John Cusack).