THE STRONGER SPECIES

 

Men fascinate me. They do. At different points in my life they might have fascinated me a bit too much but all those relationship books that deem men predictable, that divide them into categories, all that Venus and Mars business that is supposed to apply to everyone do not do men any justice. Sometimes, they genuinely surprise me. Their ability to rebound from disappointment and rejection, the courage they display when launching themselves into uncharted waters are forces to be reckoned with. Let’s face it. We gals are not that unselfconscious.

Take me a few days ago. Parking lot of a body shop where I was picking up my car that a valet parking attendant had the misfortune to crash a couple of weeks before. I have the worst luck with cars – accidents tend to happen to my vehicles when I am not anywhere near them. I swear. Anyway, I am thrilled to not have to drive the Chevy clunker I had to rent for 10 days (and they wonder why American car manufacturers are in trouble…), my car looks brand spanking new and I notice that not only was it washed – something I had neglected to do in two months – but some merciful soul even waxed it. While transferring all my girlie crap from the rental to my trunk,  I hear a voice behind me, complimenting my car. I look up from the mound of dirty chef’s whites I am carrying to see the voice being embodied by a short, bald and pretty old man carrying a file under his arm and I swiftly  assume he works for the body shop. Being careful to mind my manners, I start thanking this gentleman for the beautiful work that was done to my car – he smiles and tells me that no, he has nothing to do with car repairs, he is a Hollywood producer also waiting for his ride and proceeds to chat me up.

I keep on carrying my possessions from one trunk to another, mildly ignoring the man, but I still manage to learn that he is Brazilian, that he speaks Italian, his best friend is a NASA engineer from Naples all the while peppering this mindless information with a million personal questions. Unfortunately, I possess one of those annoying personalities who has a very difficult time saying no – I feel sorry for telemarketers, for beggars on their cellphones, for the deaf and dumb man trying to sell me plastic ducks (oh, honey we have to buy it, the poor man can’t speak and then proceeds to say “thank you” once I slip him $5 – I swear) so, even while I am backing away, I am unable to tell the Brazilian gentleman that, really, with Claudia Schiffer I only share a first name but, were I looking, I probably wouldn’t stop at a 70-year-old would be Hollywood producer and that he is single-handedly ruining my self-esteem in persisting in his endeavour to ask me out. He is undaunted. And at this point I am actually fascinated, even awed by his chutzpah, by his lack of interesting arguments and by his persistence.

Finally, I slide into my car and tell him I have to go. He looks slightly disappointed but takes it on the chin and wishes me a good day. And I wish I had been nicer because, even in these days of cougars and younger men cliches,  I would rather commit harakiri than approach a complete stranger, clearly out of my league, and bore him to death in the hope he will accept my dinner invitation. But do you know what? Hat off to him and to all the men we said no to during the course of our lifetimes  for being such good sports. I would have crumpled at the first refusal.

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