Will You Shut Up, Man?

Maybe try *not* saying a thing first, before saying it.

He seems cool. He’s got a blue collar day job and he went to art school; that’s a combination I respect. He lived in Europe for a while, so there are some things about me he’ll probably get. He does good chat, he says good morning and good night. He tells me I’m funny. I’m hilarious, but I like being told.

Still, there’s something bugging me. There’s a vague air of negging, maybe it’s intentional, maybe he thinks he’s being clever. I get this low key vibe like he’s trying to lock me down even though we haven’t met yet. He tells me he hopes we’ll hit it off and asks if I feel the same.

“I’ve learned to hold off all expectations until there’s eye contact in person, you know?” I remember how Ten told me he loved me on our fourth date.

“Take the lesson,” a friend told me when I gave him the recap of that situation. I think about that a lot. “Take the lesson” is ace advice.

I ask another friend for a gut check on this new thing.

“You’re really good with the written word,” my friend says. “Not everyone is as good as you are. Plus, times are weird and people are keyed up, maybe give him a little room. Maybe he’s nervous and not expressing himself well.”

I decide to give it another shot. It’s going fine. I ask him what he’d be doing this weekend were we still in The Before Time.

“You. 😆”

I stare at my phone for a while.

“It’s a joke,” he says.

I stare at my phone some more. I walk the dog. I pick up my phone.

“Good comedy is all about timing,” I say. “You know, it’s surpising to me how many guys blow it by making a sexual remark too soon,” I reply.

“You seem to have some gender biases.”

“Now THAT’S funny,” I reply.

I call my bestie while mixing myself a drink.

“You’re slutty,” I say. “No shame, but your goals and mine on the dating apps are different. I’m not a prude, I’m not against the sexy talk, but there’s a time and a place and this is not it, right?”

“Yep,” my BFF says.

“What about… I’d ask you to meet me at your favorite taco place. That would have been better, right?”

“You’re so much smarter than all these guys. And really, no, it’s not okay.”

I spent way too much time thinking about Jeffrey Toobin. How he couldn’t turn off the web cam and walk down the hall to the shower or his bedroom. He couldn’t wait until the meeting was over to have a wank. He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it, and he didn’t give a second’s thought to the situation.

I considered responding to this guy one more time, explaining how his making a sexual reference too soon made me feel unsafe. How we live in a time when boundaries, communication, and respect are issues of public health. How not only would he not be doing me this weekend, he would not be doing me ever.

I thought about Joe Biden saying “Will you shut up, man?” to the “president” during the debates.

I have a hard time shutting up; I’m a person with a lot to say. Saying something inappropriate to someone I’m hoping to get to know?

I’ve managed to avoid that.