The other day, en route to my bank in 90210, a man teased me on the phone:
“You gotta write about the ways of V: all so tough at first, then turns into a pussycat!” (That kid had seen me in action: Years ago, I shot him down at his first approach. But the playa was persistent, courted me, and eventually managed to hit that; but I was never able to outlive the anecdote of my arrogant brush-off.)
On the phone, the mister began to hum, “Got a black magic woman / Got a black magic woman”; while on my end, a lightening of flashbacks from previous failed pick-ups snapped me out of the conversation.
“I do that!” I thought.
So many times, so many men have witnessed my Not in Your Lifetime expression, followed by the back of my head. Sometimes, I cushion the rejection with a lie:
“I have a man, thanks,” while I know there ain’t anyone waiting for me in my bed.
But there were also situations when my rebuff was much more brutal:
“You can’t afford me—I can tell by your shoes!”
Or, my overused favorite:
“Trust me: You can’t handle me!”
“Don’t turn your back on me, baby,” my comrade was now getting carried away on the phone, in a one-man show, being all cute ‘n’ shit. I hung up. But the idea lingered: Why do I shoot ‘em down so quickly?
I parked my wheels in a residential area and began walking. (I am not having my brand spanking new ride get scratched up in a clusterfuck of some lame Beverly Hills parking lot—at the privilege of two bucks a minute!) At every pedestrian crossing, I stared down at the stressed-out drivers inside their luxury rides just to make sure it was alright to get in their way that afternoon. Most of them raised their hands in surrender: “My bad. Didn’t see you.” Others rolled their eyes and jabbed their arms in a flabbergasted, passive-aggressive “Go already!” Life unfolds at its own pace when you coexist in this desired zip code—but no one said that pace would be gentle or charitable. Just navigating the last two blocks, I’ve lost track of my thoughts prior to all of this negotiation and attitude.
“Can you spare some change?” A toothless homeless man brought me back to reality.
Where he parked his actor’s chair was a money-making spot: At the only elevator of the biggest parking lot in this darn zip code which, at a minute interval, spat out and ate up every possible demographic visiting the world-famous Drive. So, this creature was working overtime: granting women compliments, chatting up the suits about stocks, guiding the tourists to the biggest attractions, and tipping off the razzi on the whereabouts of lunching celebrities.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen him here; and when I do, the main thing—is to not slow down. Sometimes, I am strong enough to just say, “No, sorry.” But most of the time, I fake an animated conversation on my cell phone in order to avoid being interrupted by this aggressive earner. That afternoon, however, he had already noticed me. So, I whipped out my retro flip phone and pretended to text ferociously.
“Can you spare a dollar?” The toothless regular was not buying my act. More over, he raised his price.
I raised my gaze, barely shook my head and resumed fake-texting.
“But I love you!”—the man was relentless. His confession was not unconditional, though; because when I ignored it and leapt off the curb to make a mad dash for the opposite side of the road, my new courtier got very upset.
“Fuckinnnn’”—(he wound up his tongue, then spat out)—“BITCH!”
I wish I could say here, “I couldn’t believe it!” my comrades; or, utterly appalled, break it down as: “Wait a minute: I was walking… minding my business…” But I’m afraid that my naïveté has recently been given some shock treatment, out of which it mostly likely will not be coming out—in this lifetime. So, I’ll confess: I was not as much as inspired to raise my eyebrow in a sliver of surprise or disappointment at this undeserved bit of violence; for I had seen better men lash out in rejection before.
Which must be why I prefer to pass up my courtiers’ initial offers: It tests a man’s character. The less aware and mature ones retract into becoming children, as if throwing fits inside a toy store during a Christmas sale. Others demand explanations; and sometimes, via self-deprecating humor, they may win me over—but I doubt it. The third category of men hears me out, accepts my “no” with dignity and proceeds to watch me walk away. It is that third type that tends be best-hung; and if I don’t come back to them to test my theory first-hand (about their balls), sometimes—just sometimes!—I end up regretting my passing them up.
My verdict, dear beings of the other gender: You must accept a woman’s choice. She knows what she wants. No matter how much it shrivels your balls or regresses you to being the son of your unloving mother, a woman’s “no”—is not up for a renegotiation. If she changes her mind after the initial rebuff—all the power to her! But it is not in the realm of your acceptable behavior to act as if you know better what’s good for her. So, why don’t we all just man up a little—while gratefully staring a her glorious vanishing ass—deal with the embarrassment on our own (or with the help of our shrinks) and wait for the next goddess to waltz into our vicinity who just may be game for our proposition?