When I was in Colorado, I took the opportunity to practice talking to women whenever I could, just to get in the habit of learning how to socialize with people in public. Being an introvert, this does not come naturally to me, and my dialogue is often stilted and forced when I’m out of my comfort zone. But I wanted to try anyway.
My first opportunity presented itself when I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up groceries for the cabin. I came across one girl working in the store, pretended like I was lost and that I was looking for the coffee blends section (which I had already passed twice.) She smiled this bright, yet shy smile, and off we went. We talked for about 20 minutes, about the weather, mountains, coffee, etc. and for a moment I felt like a natural extrovert. It’s how I in fact discovered the chocolate mint coffee blend that has now become a new favorite of mine.
At the end of the trip I was waiting for my flight and spotted another girl on her iPad (instant geek turn-on) sitting at the same gate. Modestly dressed too, like she had just gotten out of church (a traditional one, not the one where the congregation dresses like they’re going to a rave.) There was an empty seat next to her, as well as a free wall socket to plug my own gadgets in. I nodded at her before sitting down and proceeded to plug my iPad in for charging. Then made of show of frowning as if it it still wasn’t being charged (it was.)
“Excuse me, are you having any trouble charging your iPad?”
She looked at me for a moment, and without a word went right back to her iPad, surfing images on Pinterest.
Hmmmmmm, did she hear me? It is pretty loud in the terminal here…
Since we were both at the same gate it was apparent that we were taking the same flight to New York. So I tried again: “Are you visiting New York or returning? I’m just returning from a vacation here myself.”
She glanced over at me again, then STOOD UP, gathered up all her things… and walked right out of the terminal. She didn’t return again until the boarding started.
I’m amazed at the contrast between Airport Girl and Whole Foods Girl. Same approach, just trying to break the ice and make friendly conversation, with completely opposite results. In one sense I’m heartened by meeting a Whole Foods Girl type, but in another sense I get thoroughly depressed knowing there are a LOT more Airport Girls than there are Whole Foods Girls. You have to understand, it’s very difficult for me to talk to people in public, because I have to expend an enormous amount of energy to hear what they’re saying in order to engage in a constructive dialogue. By sheer math alone, I would encounter more Airport Girls than Whole Foods Girls, with the experiences leaving me so drained of energy and despondent that I wouldn’t have the resolve left to talk to anyone else, even if the very next girl I wind up talking to could be the Whole Foods one.
And you know what, I get it. Airport Girl probably had no desire to talk to anyone and just wanted to be left alone. I’m sure there are plenty of women who would like to be able to go out in public and do their thing without being badgered all day by men. What I don’t like is how some of them may go to their friends or write on their blogs, ‘This totally creepy guy approached me at the airport today. I’m so SICK of all these creepy guys bothering me every day. WHERE HAVE ALL THE NICE MEN GONE?”
Uh huh. I guess there’s this unspoken rule of conduct where men can only approach women in the proper setting, like bars, clubs, raves, etc.. You know, all those places that I avoid like God’s plague on earth because of the hook-up culture contained therein (and because of the jet engine level noises.) If I approach women in public, it’s not because I’m creepy, it’s because my opportunities for befriending women are severely limited.
And here’s another thing: these aren’t creepy guys that are approaching you in public. There are men YOU ARE NOT ATTRACTED TO approaching you. Because I can guarantee that if Airport Girl had found me immensely attractive, I would have been able to sit on her lap and cop a feel while she giggled uncontrollably with glee. All sins would have been forgiven.
Anyway, it seems like there are two things I could do: find a way to brush off the toxic encounters of Airport Girls, knowing that encounters with Whole Foods Girls are worth the aggravation, or, go Galt and simply withdraw from society altogether. I’m sorely tempted to do the later, but as long as I continue to believe Whole Foods Girls are still out there, I’ll probably keep trying. As long as they exist, they really are worth the aggravation.