Today’s scene at Starbucks can be overlayed onto any social interaction.
I am furiously working to meet a Monday deadline. A middle-aged man who’s been outside on his phone for a few hours comes in to order a drink. He approaches me, excuses himself, and opens with the always-cryptic brag that he was watching me through the window.
Several paragraphs of soliloquy later he has stopped his story and asks if he can sit down in the seat across from me. I say No, as I am not here to meet strangers but instead have a lot of work to finish, and can he please just summarize in 1 sentence what he needs. In an awkwardly circuitous close to this dialogue (wherein he presumes I have recently applied to college & I explain that I applied to college approx. 14 years ago, and yes I am that old, thank you), he asks if I can read through his UMD application essay draft(s), provide comments, and talk through what he can expect in college.
Now, ladies and gents…. There is an actual 19-21 year old boy wearing a Testudo (UMD) basketball jersey sitting–literally–five feet away throughout this exchange, working on his own laptop unmolested. It goes without saying that he would have applied to college within the past couple years and possess infinitely more pertinent insight into the competitiveness of the current collegiate application process, but for some mystical reason that I can’t figure out, y’all, it didn’t occur to this man to ask the chubby Asian teen with a penis wearing Adidas flops and calf-length socks to peruse his college essay materials.
This transparent attempt at macking on strangers in public, if I’d allowed it to go on, would have demanded several hours of my afternoon. Mr. UMD would have finished his tasks and gone home long before I’d been allowed to get back to my own work.
Men are allowed to just be. Women are expected to finish our work while also acquiescing to the demands for our time by the men around us. And, icing on the cake: I was a rude bitch for declining to lose my critical afternoon to editing his work for him, even though I explained that my insight would have been irrelevant (because, yes, actually I am that old, I promise you, would you like to see my driver’s license?).