Confess Manchild: on Chance Meetings

So, this post explores one of the themes of my life: being single… I once even had a blog about it called It still exists actually–I guess I’ll have to decide what to do about that?


Yesterday I went to a bar to do some writing (I only drink Kombucha though–booze isn’t great for the creative process despite common belief to the contrary), and as I’m walking in, two pretty girls–women–went in right before me. They walk straight past the bar to a table where three more pretty girls are already sitting down.

A word on why I’m calling them girls: they were all in their mid-20’s from what I could tell and I’m in my mid 30’s–so for one they’re quite a bit younger than me. Plus, I consider “girls” when referring to romantic interest, to be a colloquialism–just as we men are often referred to as “boys” in the same context.

In fact, short rant here: thinking too much about being politically correct fucking sucks. And as most of you know, I’m a really liberal person in favor of equal rights for everyone, with the recognition that almost every group aside from the one I belong to–white men–are not treated equally in the eyes of our society. I’m all for fixing that and addressing it, but when you have to worry too much about simply expressing yourself, that feels an awful lot like the oppression we’re trying to get rid of. I don’t know how to solve that problem, because language is important, but well, there it is.

Anyway, there are five of these ladies sitting together so I order my Kombu and sit at a table kitty corner next to the windows. For the first hour I just put on music, put my head down and write–actually a pretty cool piece¬†for my first collection of short stories: it’s an obituary, which I plan to have a series of–but then I have to get up to get another Kombu and go to the bathroom.

Long story short, I have a couple options for the next story I want to start, so I figure I’ll ask the girls which one they like better. It’s a great opener, and I should mention, before all this happens, I can kinda tell they’ve been talking about me–or at least my arrogant ego thinks so–and in the back of my head I’m thinking about how I can score a phone number. Maybe a date?

But in the end I didn’t, and that’s what I want to talk about.

(They liked the second story idea by the way: the one in which a young man wins the lottery but worries women will simply take advantage of him for his money, so he decides to rent a shitty apartment and pretend he’s poor in order to find a woman who really loves him for who he is…)

So as I’m talking and explaining the story ideas, I can tell there is some interest–that at least one or two of them thinks I’m cute, or at the very least appreciates my confidence–but in the end, like I said, nothing happens. I thank them for their thoughts, go back to writing, and in about a half hour they all take off.

A couple thoughts on the scenario: I wanted to be respectful of the fact they were obviously all friends and meeting each other, so I only spent a few minutes at their table and didn’t sit down; but what I wonder about–assuming I was right about the vibes–is how do we make a connection there? Arguably it’s no more random or impersonal than meeting on fucking Tinder, right?

Now, as the guy I get it: it’s kind of my responsibility to make the moves and initiate things–problem is, it would have been awkward to just outright ask for one of their numbers in front of the entire group, and they were sitting in a tightly clustered circle. I was kind of hoping one of them might come up and ask me more about my writing, but that didn’t happen either, and it also seems that approaching twice would have been a little overaggressive.

My conclusion is that after my initial approach, it was kind of up to the ladies. Yes, we can lament forever how so many men are wimps or lack game–both of which are true–but with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, men have to be more conscious and careful about how we approach women. And this is ultimately why I decided not to push it yesterday. They knew I was an interesting person, they had something they could’ve talked to me about–I didn’t put on my headphones on purpose–but they chose not to, and that’s how it goes.

So ladies, my advice would be that if you are interested–and maybe in this case that’s all it was: a lack of interest–be available. Hell, be willing to initiate a conversation, especially if the dude’s already given you something to go on.

At the very least, be approachable–if you want to have that chance meeting that is.

For example, if you’re in a closed circle with a group, the guy has no chance–there’s no opening. Just think about it this way: could someone come talk to me without being awkward? If the answer is no, then people–guys–aren’t going to approach you. Ever. And this encompasses all kinds of situations.

If you’re with your parents, it’s awkward. If you’re facing out the window, turned completely away from the restaurant or bar, it’s awkward. If you’re at a coffee shop and you have headphones on, it’s awkward.

I guess, conversely, if you don’t want to be hit on, make sure it’s an awkward approach.

The other realization I’ve come to is that if you want to have chance meetings, you have to be open to having them at any time. I did not expect to see a bunch of pretty girls at the bar at 4pm on a Monday–I expected to have a couple Kombu’s and write. However, I did at least make an attempt given that the opportunity was there. And this is the same for women. If 95% of the time you’re giving off the don’t talk to me vibe, or if you simply never go out, but instead go from work to store to home and hibernate on your couch every night watching Netflix, well, you’re not going to meet anyone in real life.

In other words, if you’re not open to having that chance meeting anytime you’re in public–honestly, if you’re not conscious of creating/allowing opportunities to have chance meetings–it’s not going to happen.

Better get swiping.

Today’s Nugget: Deliberate Worry

I’ve only done this for two days and I can already tell it’s fucking fantastic and going to work. It’s not my idea, but something I read on Medium–a strategy called deliberate worry.

Basically the idea is that you schedule a specific time to worry about stuff (I worry right after work), and then, because you’ve already done it, you don’t worry about that same stuff in bed, right before you go to sleep. It’s a sleep hack. And it’s amazing. Here’s the link.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author: Jay Scott


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