The Pick-up Artist

I’ve never been good at picking up guys.  I’m pretty shy, really.  The only time I attract men is on the dance floor.  I used to think I must be a pretty good dancer, but my friends pointed out that no, I’m just a really funny dancer.  But anyway, I was worried about finding a Mr. Illinois since I’ve never met a guy in a coffee shop.  Well, not without previously arranging it.

The guy I had hoped would be my Mr. Illinois cancelled the day I planned to meet him.  In his defense, he’d said it might not work out, but since he hadn’t definitively said it wouldn’t, I thought that meant he was in unless I heard differently.  Nope.  And I couldn’t find a replacement date on such short notice, so I went to a coffee shop to try to find a new Mr. Illinois.  This was my first attempt at picking up a date on the spot.  My first thirty dates had been previously arranged.

There are a couple of techniques I’ve read about over the years that are supposed to help you attract men, but they haven’t really worked for me.  One is the Bend & Snap.  If you’ve seen Legally Blonde, you know this one.  You “drop” something on the floor, bend at the waist rather than the knees to pick it up, and then snap back up, flipping the hair for good measure.  It’s a little too obvious for my tastes.  When I saw Wicked in New York City, I learned another move from Glenda.  It basically involves tossing back your hair and waving it a little.  Since my hair doesn’t even touch my shoulders, though, I just look odd trying to do it.  My favorite attention-getting method is “The Look.”  You catch someone’s eye, then look away.  You look at them again with your head tilted down, kind of through your eye lashes, all flirty like.  And then you look a third time and hold eye contact.  I’m told, though, by friends I’ve shown it to, that it’s more creepy than attractive.  I tried it on the meat counter guy at Safeway once and it totally worked.  Or maybe he was just hoping I’d buy steaks.  I’m not sure.

So there I was, in a coffee shop in Illinois, waiting for an attractive man to come in so I could pounce.  Walking down the street, looking for a coffee shop, I’d seen mostly white-haired old men, so I was a little bit worried about my chances of finding a guy in the right age range in this town.  I ordered a hot chocolate (I sometimes think I’m the only grown-up in the world who doesn’t like coffee or tea) and found a place to sit.  There was a really comfy looking couch in the back with a strange John Lennon-posing-as-a-saint kind of picture lurking over it, but I figured my chances would be better if I placed myself closer to the flow of traffic.

After half an hour, a guy finally came in.  He was wearing a yellow Fedora, which normally would disqualify him on the spot, but he was the first man to enter the place, so I overlooked it.  Unfortunately, he never looked my way.  He ordered his coffee, looked at the pastries while he waited, got his drink, and walked out.  Um, excuse me?  How can I give you my three “looks” if you won’t even make eye contact once?

It took nearly an hour for another guy to come in.  Geez.  Dating here had to suck.  This one was wearing a huge basketball jersey with equally huge shorts.  Every visible bit of skin was covered by tattoos.  He had five earrings in the one ear I could see.  I sighed.  Hello, Mr. Illinois.

I smiled at him as he walked to the counter.  It hurt a little.  After he ordered a drink, he looked at the artwork on the walls, then pronounced the art to be awesome.  I turned around and looked.  They were a series of drawings of women.  Most of them were naked.  Some had long hair partially covering them, but yeah, mostly naked.  I nodded back at him.

“I’m an artist, too,” he said.

“That’s great,” I said, trying to feign interest in someone I was completely uninterested in.

“A professional tattoo artist,” he elaborated.

“Oh,” I said, motioning towards his arms.  “Nice.”

“Illinois just passed a law that you can’t discriminate against people because of their tattoos.”

I nodded again.  Man, I sucked at this.  “That’s great.”

His name was called and he got his drink.  I had to try to keep him there.  Who knew when another guy was going to come in?

“Do you want to join me?” I asked. 

He looked at me kind of funny.  I’m sure it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t his type.  And I may have been about ten years older than him.

“I’ve got to get back to the shop,” he said. 

“Okay,” I said.  Man, getting shot down sucks, even when you're not actually interested.  “Have a good day.”

And a nice life.

Ah, Illinois. 

I tried. 

It counts.

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