Now, since he works at the gym, of course he knows my real name. He called it out after me - several times - so I stopped. Courtship Tip Number One: Trotting after a woman you don't really know calling out her name in a public place = bad manners.
"Yes?" I said coolly.
"Uh, yeah, I kinda wanted to talk to you. Um, you know - about your ad."
Okay, let's be clear – I don't think Gym Guy is a bad person. But this is very, very bad form. Do not chase me down at my gym, or the supermarket, or my dry cleaners, and ask me about my ad. If you know I have an ad, then just call the bloody number in said ad. That is proper procedure.
I raised one eyebrow. "My ad?"
"Yeah, uh, you know." Gym Guy is very muscular. He's not exactly eloquent, though. I was short on time, so I cut to the chase.
"My ad as Mistress Matisse."
He nods. "Yeah." And then he just sort of stares at me.
Christ, this is just like one of my phone calls. "Okay – first of all, what's your name?" Courtship Tip Number Two: Introducing yourself to a woman you're hitting on is also considered basic good manners.
He tells me his name, and I hold out my hand and say, "Nice to meet you." We shake hands. I believe in forcing people to observe the social niceties, it's part of living in a (soi-disant) civilized society.
"Okay, what do you want to know?" I say in (I hope) a patient voice.
"Oh, uh, I don't know, like – what's it all about?"
There's no way I'm going to give an SM 101 lecture to this guy while we're standing in the public corridor. So I give the phone rap:
ImakeappointmentsMondaythroughFridayfromaroundnoontoaroundeightpm, It'stwohundredandfiftydollarsforaonehoursession, andI'mgeneallybookedabouttwodaysinadvance.Gym Guy looks confused.
"Have you seen a professional dominant before?"
"No, uh, I wasn't really thinking about that so much, you know, just, you know, general stuff."
This is one of the least well-organized attempts to hit on me that I've ever experienced. General stuff? What the hell does that mean? He wants to talk about John Vines?
"Well, if you're looking for basic information about the Seattle BDSM community, I have some links on my website, the URL's in my ad."
He shakes his head. "No, I'm computer-illiterate."
Thank god for small mercies. At least I know he isn't reading this.
"I was just thinking, you know, that you'd be cool to hang out with."
Okay, so in spite of the fact that he began the conversation by asking me about my ad, he's actually looking for a social encounter, not a professional one. Wow, zero points for this whole attempt, my friend, you pretty much screwed up from the get-go.
And what's this hang out with stuff? Friends hang out - but I'm quite certain Gym Guy didn't chase me down the hall because he's looking for a platonic friendship with me. Courtship Tip Number Three: If you're asking someone out on a date, have the courage of your convictions and say so. Don't pussyfoot around with vague terms like hang out. I have been know to hang out with my mom. Saying hang out when you mean go on a date is candy-assed. Use your words, people.
When I related the "you'd be cool to hang out with" line to Max, he laughed and said, "You shoulda said 'You're right!'"
Of course, I didn't. What I did was give Gym Guy a small, closed-lip smile and Polite Brush-Off Number Eleven. "Well, that's very sweet of you, but I'm actually quite busy. It was nice meeting you. Goodbye." And walked away.
Not that I think that's the end of it. Roman's opinion is that he'll try at least twice more. "Guys are dumb, it takes us a couple of thwacks before we stop hitting our heads on walls."
Interesting: he didn't mention the column at all, just the ad. Has Gym Guy not actually noticed that I write the column? But if he hasn't, is he then not aware that I'm poly? I am paraphrasing the conversation, but he also made no mention whatsoever of Max, although he's seen me with him more often than not. Odd.
Let me head off some of the well-intentioned comments: I do not think that Gym Guy is in any way dangerous. He was hitting on me. That's what guys do. Granted, it was a wildly clumsy hit and I'm indulging in some eye-rolling, oh-what-you-could-have-said about it. But I have no sense that he presents any threat to me or he's going to act seriously inappropriate about my refusal. And I predict that I'll actually be less tense around him now that that I know I wasn't incorrect in my assessment of his behavior.