Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm alright... Why can't you just let me be?

As a rule, I am wary of middle-aged suburbanite men. For (I think) obvious reasons. However, lately I have been feeling much more at peace with a lot of things, and along with that peace my knee begins jerking into a more open-minded direction. I've started engaging in conversations that before I wouldn't have, and started actually listening to what people with whom I seemingly have nothing in common with have to say.

Tonight I worked at a tasting for a client until about 7:30, and after I left decided to stop into another client's restaurant bar where I've become good friends with the head bartender. It's a great little neighborhood place, where you can be totally comfortable grabbing dinner alone at the bar, and I love talking to the employees. Perfect, huh?

So there I am, minding my own business. I chatted with Meredith, the bartender, during her down times and read a magazine in the meantime. Soon, the middle-aged gentleman sitting two empty seats down starts chatting. Against my better judgement, I entered into what started out as a relatively pleasant conversation. But soon...

"So... so, Erin, let me ask you this," it began. "Here you are, past the... well... well into the marrying age... very attractive, nice figure (at this I immediately start to tense up), how come you're not married yet?"

Where to begin?

I won't bore you with the details of the rest of the conversation, where somehow I was forced to defend my life to a complete stranger (who, incidentally, also decided to give me unsolicited advice on saving for retirement a few minutes later). I'll fast forward to when he finally left, and Meredith approached.

"Ugh, what did he want?"

"You know, the conversation actually wasn't that bad until he started in with the 'Why aren't you married yet?' crap."

"You are shitting me? What is wrong with people?"

"Thank you! I wanted to be like 'I actually don't ever think about it until people like you bring it up out of the blue.' I mean, seriously. I came here tonight to get a quiet dinner, catch up with you, and read my magazine. Why is it impossible for a woman to do that without having some nosy stranger bother her? See, now I'm perturbed."

"He sucks."

"You know, I try to give people a chance, but now I remember why I hate people of his demographic."

"You're telling me. I talk to people like that all night."

"Ugh. You must've been really glad to see me when I came in, huh?"

"Girl, you have no idea," she grinned. "More wine?"

"Need you ask?"

That's it. Open door policy is shut. Turns out I was right - middle aged suburban men have nothing to offer - even in the way of innocent chit-chat. I'm going back to being aloof.


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