I could never get picked up in a bar, or even a high school gymnasium.
Not that I tried that often. I’m not a bar-hopping, party-loving kind of girl.
But still, most women, teenagers to octogenarians, want to feel attractive and desirable.
But even back when I was 16, when I hoped to catch the eye of a cute guy or two, I couldn’t even catch an eyelash, particularly – especially – of the one I had a huge crush.
He was a tall drink of water in the small muddy pond of my junior year of high school.
He was Heathcliff, Captain Kirk, and Ricky Nelson, all rolled into one.
I’d attend the darkly lit gym dances monthly on Friday nights for half a year and moon after Skip, wishing I could be the one star in his sky.
He never looked past his nose, much less past the dusty dirty gym floor over to my secure spot in front of the bleachers.
The rejection hurt, even though I knew that I had set my sights too high.
Flash 14 years later.
I was newly single, mildly attractive (so my married friends told me), and ready to find a wild side. Could I possibly have one?
My brother and his long-time girlfriend insisted on taking me to a bar. I think they felt sorry for me, the “poor older sister who didn’t have a man” kind of thing.
They sat me down on a stool in a dark wood-paneled bar. My brother’s girlfriend whispered, “We’ll be at a table in the back corner so we don’t chase anyone away.”
So I sat, alone, drinking my Chardonnay, not catching one hooded eye, much less a man. I watched the other women nearby pull their heads back in wild arches, laughing uproariously at the witty words of their male companions. They dressed in tight t-shirts and tighter skirts, breasts half-exposed as if pearls at a jewelry display.
I felt like a cheap trinket until, miraculously, my glass half empty, a nice-looking man sidled up to a stool next to me.
“Is this seat taken?” he asked.
Before I could answer, a dark ominous male figure loomed over me and my brief companion.
“What’s your name?” the second man challenged.
“I’m just getting a drink,” the first man explained, defensively.
“Well, this is my sister. And I’ll be watching.”
The first man didn’t even order his drink. He slowly left his stool, walking backwards, keeping his eyes on my brother.
I laughed out loud, picked up my wine, and joined my brother and his girlfriend at their corner table.
Back to the bleachers for me.
(Sending a Happy Birthday to my bro, who always looks out for me.)