By patti dawn swansson
So, I’m walking the sidewalks of downtown Victoria on a lovely afternoon in autumn. The sun is warm and welcoming, and an ever-so-gentle breeze is flirting with my long, red and streaked-blonde locks. It’s a good day to be a free spirit.
Or so I thought.
While in rapture, I turn left off Broad Street onto Johnson and I hear a voice to my right.
“Are you single?”
I look over my shoulder and there walking toward me is a fiftysomething man with a crooked, creepy grin and a hairpiece that looks like the pelt from a dead skunk.
“Excuse me?” I say.
“Are you single?”
Eeeeuw. El creepo.
I hasten my pace. So does he, all the while nattering about my hair and wondering if I’m single.
It isn’t until I escape into a Best Western hotel that I shed myself of Mr. Skunk Head, leaving me to wonder this: When exactly did the street become a pick-up joint? Did I miss the memo?
I mean, it’s one thing for some guy to chat you up in a bar. That’s what they do. Only they’re worse at it in a bar because booze comes into play and they’re not nearly as good looking as they think they are. And their pick-up lines take a nose dive when they’ve got the vodka goggles on (more about that later).
But a complete stranger hitting on you on the street?
I wish I could report that this recent bit of male mookery was a one-off, but I’m afraid not. It’s happened on a number of occasions, and I don’t include those incidents involving frat boys who bray like jackasses as they drive past while you wait for the street light to change. No, I’m talking about the guys who walk up to you on the street and dispense some horrid pick-up line and expect you to be flattered.
I recall the first such occasion, at which time I was a ditzy blonde. Again, I was strolling along Broad Street when a chap intercepted me at Yates and Broad.
“Do you wanna to go for coffee?” was his opening gambit.
“Pardon me?” I replied, quite startled.
“Do you wanna go for coffee?”
“My goodness, I don’t even know you. I’ve never seen you before in my life. Why would I want to join you for coffee?”
“So you can get to know me.”
I wanted to say something real cheeky. Something like, “I don’t think my girlfriend would like that,” because men are uncomfortable when they discover the girl they’re hitting on would prefer to bed another girl. That’s just something they can’t wrap around their macho minds.
At any rate, I said nothing more to this fellow. I just toddled off.
I must say, though, that these street-walking episodes are not as clumsy (for the fellow) as what often transpires in a bar.
One evening at Paparazzi Nightclub, two trolls hit on me in a span of two minutes.
I guess my “stay away from me creep” vibe wasn’t working, because I was sitting on my own about 9 o’clock when this young Asian fellow plopped himself down on the stool next to mine. He didn’t have the good manners to ask if he could join me, which clued me in to his insensitivities, and he promptly delivered the absolute worst pickup line since Adam said to Eve, “Nice tits, blondie.”
“Are you drunk?” he said.
“Excuse me?” I replied.
“Are you drunk?”
“Not drunk enough to make you good looking or interesting, sonny boy, so you can move along any time.”
He hadn’t even disappeared when another yahoo was at my side.
“My friend wants to know if you’d like to join us,” he said.
“Where’s your friend?” I asked.
“He’s over there in that area.”
“Which one is he?”
“You can’t see him.”
“Oh, you have an invisible friend. That’s cute. But most of us get past the invisible friend stage when we’re about five years old.”
Here’s a clue for you, guys. If you want to chat up a girl (and we all know you want to), don’t hit her with a pathetic pick-up line that’s been used for the past 200 years. Here’s the best pick-up line of all, boys: “Hello. How are you?” No girl I know is offended or threatened by a polite, sincere greeting. Chances are she won’t think you’re Ted Bundy. She might even invite you to join her.
And one more thing: If, in the end, you discover she’s a lesbian, don’t take it personal. After all, the way most of you boys act, it’s a wonder all girls aren’t lesbians.