I found myself caught in an unexpected moment of struggle commuting home Thursday evening.
With Frank Ocean’s “Sweet Life” blaring through my headphones after a hard day’s work, the following moments were less than fitting for the soundtrack. I heard a slight whisper saying “excuse me” multiple times in a heavy Asian accent.
As a Filipino woman, I automatically recognized that he was of ethnic kin by his voice and skin color. Turns out he noticed the same in me and used that as his opener. “Are you Filipina? I thought so because you caught my eye.”
I mentally sighed, smiled, gave thanks then feigned interest. I dislodged one earbud but kept both eyeballs on my phone, responding where a conversational gap required me to. In the nano-seconds that I did acknowledge his presence (and awkwardly shook his hand), I gave him a quick once-over. He looked like a well-rounded fellow who does what he’s told, the type who likes to rock a fitted and nice kicks only to dress it up for a family meeting post-Sunday service. Verdict: Not my family.
So I took the “compliment” in stride and proceeded to keep it moving. But brother from the homeland was persistent, asking me my hometown, what I was doing, my biography before asking me my name a second time (#fail). Apparently my sudden power strolling and aggressive screen-scrolling was not making the message clear enough. I had a sense where this was going by the third block he accompanied me. Before I could hit the mental panic button or scram, he posed the dreaded question. “Can I have your number?”
Within five seconds of meeting him, I knew that there was no semblance of a future. (We’ll save the reasons for another post). I immediately pulled the “How about you give me yours instead?” but there was no fooling him. He asked, while hovering over me, to text him on the spot as if to make sure my finger pads were pounding the glass. That’s when I came to the scary realization that I don’t know how to be mean to men!
Even when I was in elementary school, my entire class would tease me because the boy who few regarded as Prince Charming would fawn over me. This crush eventually went on for years. Why? Because I never let him know I wasn’t feeling him! Confrontation of romantic sorts was just never my forte.
Fast forward to the present and I now know that this is an ongoing dilemma most chicks still face. In an act of redemption for my weakling ways, I decided to conjure up three fool-proof strategies to assist the ladies in dodging these types of straggling bullets. Fellas, I extend the invitation to read but you can’t be mad at me if a woman consequently pulls one of these triggers on you.
If a creeper makes it his duty to walk you for more than 10 minutes or even approach you on the train to chitchat over a few stops–all the while asking your life story–best believe you need to eject him in the most honest way possible. I’ll admit I entertain these convos just to see what kind of verbal ammo dudes equip themselves with only. But to let them down in the nicest, most natural way possible, simply state you don’t give out contact info to strangers. And if homeboy counters with a “you never know unless you try” type of response, default to apologizing and saying you really need to make your such-and-such appointment then JET!
On a late night journey home during my high school years, I found a “rapper” trying to holler in the dark of night at a bus stop by the 21st Street Queensbridge station. He asked me my name at a time where I was just too tired to be me, so I said “Maria” without thinking and actually started speaking Spanish. Mind you, yours truly got a perfect score on her Español Regents, so I definitely didn’t sound like some Filipina-faking-chica. Of course, he got a good laugh from it but actually fell for the guise and tried to sign language me into punching his number in my phone. But I said “Lo siento (I’m sorry)” and hopped on the bus that happened to come just in the nick of time.
There was once a time in life where a phone was the only form of communication, and I mean land lines. Now that there’s an abundance of social media platforms to shamelessly plaster yourself on, why not use it for its intended purpose? Before Twitter was popping, I gave my name to a random trying to holla so he could add me on Facebook instead of writing my digits. The great thing about extending an online invite is that it requires an added step on their own time (not yours!) and automatically weeds out the instant gratification players from the go-hard persistents. Now if he does follow or add you on some online space, you can always keep the request wallowing in your inbox.