“Titles: In case you didn’t know, they are usually short.”
Last night, I met a man so uncharming that I couldn’t even muster the manners to pretend he wasn’t a jerk. To be fair, my girlfriends and I were a tough crowd (slightly tipsy, certainly silly, talking all at once), but he was the one who butted into our conversation, returning three additional times to try and get in on our fun time. That’s what he called it: “You ladies look like you’re having a fun time, and I think you should make me part of it. Your fun time, I mean.” I know my lips pursed, I know my cheeks failed to perk up when I smiled, I know I gave him the shut-down face. I know this was kind of mean, but there was something about him that got me the wrong way, like a backward-stroked cat.
Really, the guy was a non-stop, run-on sentence bad line. Everything he said was pushy, inappropriate, the wrong kind of joking or just rude. He told me I looked young for my age, then asked me how old I am, and when I arched a brow in response, he suggested, “You’ll have to pardon me, I guess manners are something that come with age, and as you can probably tell, I am still in my prime.” I wish I were kidding, nastily paraphrasing, or making this up. And, I wish that I hadn’t turned my back on him, at which point he cornered my friend, who had just admitted to being “that midnight kind of shit-faced at barely 8 p.m.”
She held her own though, perhaps because of the booze. Instead of leaving her defenceless against this reject, maybe all that beer made my friend the only person in the room with sufficiently rounded edges to deal with his lines. He worked his way through all the best conversation-killing topics: ranking women’s attractiveness, past dates and partners, money, politics and art. When he began reciting his screenplay, I nearly turned around to deck him, but my friend beat me to it, laying a verbal one-two on the guy he never saw coming, got blasted in the face before he even had time to think and duck.
“Wow,” my friend drawled, midnight drunk at barely eight o’clock, “that sure is a long title. It’s a lot of words, is all I’m saying. Because in case you didn’t know, usually titles? They’re short.”