Your Heart

@Ladies: Chivalry Isn’t Dead. We Just Think Everything Men Do Is Creepy

By February 9, 2016 2
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It’s not them, it’s us.

Yesterday I was headed down to my building garage when I passed a gentleman near the elevator bank.

“Hi Candace”, he said cheerfully.

“Oh hey! how are you?” I defaulted back, unable to sift through my mental database of faces quickly enough to place him.

I have approximately 10 default responses that I give out to people whose names or faces I can’t immediately recall. My responses are dictated by either the:

a) Situation: am I just passing by, or do I have to fake this convo for longer than 5 seconds?

b) Location: are we somewhere public where I G2G because there’s an invisible someone waiting for me over anywhere-but-here?

c) Cell Phone Reception: because I’d love to chat longer, really I would, but (looks aggravatingly at blackberry) it’s my mother calling.

Fortunately, this one fell within the easy-breezy letter (A) department, and within 2 seconds I was safe inside of my car, absent a care or second thought as to who that gentleman, who had just called me by my first name, could have possibly been.

I returned home shortly thereafter, and in a fantastic mood I should mention because not only was it Friday, but my I-Tunes had done a surprise shuffle to 90’s Britney Spears, and had me feeling all, baby, baby one more time. Ya’ dig?

As I approached my front door—(note: MY front door. The one and only entry to my safe haven. The gateway to my sanctuary. The guardian to my house cat. The steel barrier between myself and the evil of today’s world)—I saw it.

Yes, sticking out from the side of my trusty 10 foot drawing bridge was a scrawny, white piece of paper folded in half:

Unknown

There it was: my very first home invasion-ish, complete with a smiley face at the bottom.

I grabbed the note that had been scribbled by this, this, — CREEP, and hurried on inside, realizing for the first time ever that my apartment was not equipped with a deadbolt.

And so my mind immediately went to the half-eaten pint of Coldstone I’d left in the freezer. 

And so my mind immediately went to the unopened bottle of Ketel One in the cabinet.

And so my mind immediately went to my cat. My sweet, innocent kitten who depends on me. The one whom I had bravely sworn to protect until my dying day; regardless of the Humane Society, who told me that such a declaration was unnecessary, and that if I called them again they’d have me arrested.

Holy shit, Is my cat okay?!”  I thought, terrified of what the answer may be.

I walked through the entry way of my home slowly, like a seasoned murder detective, prepared to locate the inevitable. In the pit of my stomach I knew the outcome and I nearly lost my breakfast as I turned toward the living room.

To my absolute horror, I discovered her, in just the manner I had seen portrayed in all of those Law & Order episodes; my cat’s small body, sprawled upside down and motionless, a blemish against my beige living room couch.

Yes, she was fast asleep, which I determined to be an obvious sign of trauma. It was she after all that that had likely heard the menacing pitter patter of his foot steps in the hallway as he tip-toed like a ninja to deliver his papered assault. It was clear she had grown exhausted from her immeasurable sufferings.

Realizing how close I had come to losing her, I gently stroked her furry little head and mouthed a thank you to everyone I never knew, from Jesus, all the way through to the Dalai Lama. Yes, it was they who had spared us this tragedy, and their mercy would not soon be forgotten. I made a mental note to go to both temple and church on Sunday, and made the difficult decision to allow her to carry on sleeping.

There was little time for family reunion because now, Mama Bear had to get down to business. Because this “Mike” character not only knew my name, he had not only shocked my cat-daughter-thing into an unwilled coma, but he apparently also knew which apartment I lived in, and that was definitively not information I gave out to strangers, ever.

In fact just last week I hesitated when Amazon.com insisted to me via a check-out error, that they would “need” an apartment number to process my order, and I was like, “I don’t know you like that Amazon”

—but anyways, back to Mike.

Armed with my knowledge from all of the Taylor-Swift-Property-Trespassing articles on TMZ, I knew exactly what sort of situation I was had on my hands here:

I am famous. Mike is my stalker. There was no other logical explanation.

I knew before I called the cops that they would ask me all sorts of questions about my previous encounters with him. Had he done anything like this in the past? Was I sure I didn’t remember him from any of my sold-out world tours? I honestly couldn’t be sure until I revisited my mental database of faces, and this time, I would approach the task with a renewed sense of focus and vigor.

Absent a wheelchair, I sat down on my couch and closed my eyes just as the late, great Professor Xavier would have wanted. I filtered through the images of every single person I had ever come across in my 26 years of living, but I was coming up empty with this guy.

Just when I thought it was useless—Just when I was convinced my arch nemesis would escape due to the infamous Magneto helmet—it came to me, like a vision from the higher realms.

Indeed. I remember this predator. 

I was in the elevator one day carrying my mail up from the lobby, when my soon-to-be stalker stepped inside. In the 15 second ride up to his floor, he asked me some basic questions.

Had I lived here long? No.

Did I like the building? Yes?

His name was Mike by the way, what was mine? Candace.

And finally, as our vessel arrived to it’s destination, he stammered through a sentence that I had initially concluded to be a brain fart.

“Well. I live in apartment 1002. Feel free to stop by if you want”.

What?

I mean, seriously, what the fuck was that? Was I to just knock on this perfect stranger’s door and be like “hey, it’s me. Elevator-girl. Stoppin’ by like you asked.”? His suggestion was flat-out offensive. No, it was worse than offensive. It was CREEPY.

I rubbed my temples as I exited my recall and arrived back into the present moment.

This entire predicament was insane. A stranger had mentally made a note of both my name, and the floor that I had pushed in the elevator that day, and weeks later, he’d done a little detective work (for which, the doorman would certainly be receiving no Christmas bonus for) and worked up the courage to leave me a note.

This note.

This awful, ripped out from a perfectly good day-planner, scribbled in a sharpie, note with it’s unforgivable smiley signature. I would be seeing that smiley face in my nightmares, of that I was certain. And as if matters couldn’t get any creepier, he had written in all caps locks.

Yes, he was SCREAMING at me. From the very top of his black-sharpied lungs.

I began mentally practicing my distress call to the police when suddenly, a disturbing question began to rush in from the back of mind. You where I’m talking about ladies—from the WAY back: where that little slither of rationality calls home.

I asked myself, “Why is it that everything that men do, short of issuing an emotionless, automated-response, considered to be creepy?”.

He comes up and tries to talk to you in public? Creepy.

He calls your phone, instead of texting? Creepy.

He texts you too much? Creepy.

He looks you in the eye? Creepy.

He goes through great lengths to get your apartment number because he thinks you are attractive, and leaves you a handwritten note hoping you might give him a chance? Creepy.

We women tend to sit in circles and detail every gesture a man has ever made toward us. We convict the kind ones of being “weird”. We mock them behind closed doors as if our personal stock rises with each every denial we hand out. Conversely, we award the assholes. We tend to gift the ones that ignore us with our undivided attention, and are shattered when we determine, after a series of gut-wrenching circumstances, that yes, he is in fact an asshole . We’re the same women that whine and complain about how chivalry is dead. About how men just don’t make much of an effort anymore. About how hard it is to find the Prince Charmings that Walt Disney so irresponsibly shoved to the center of our universes growing up.

And we blame the times we live in. We condemn the age of digital media altogether:

Because he sent you a Facebook message and although you’re glad he’s interested, it would have been sweeter if he’d done it in person.

Because he’ll snapchat and text you here and there, but he never picks up the phone to ask how your day was.

Because he looks at a lot of things, but has never taken a moment to look you in the eye, and share a real moment.

I am not going to call Mike, but I certainly hope that some woman somewhere does, because what Mike did took a certain amount of courage. He is, in fact, a part of a dying breed.

Men become assholes because of women like me. Women who laugh and call a guy creepy because he took a chance. Women who he hopes to hear from, and yet with each rolling minute spent glancing over at his phone, he loses confidence that he will ever will. And because it takes only so many pretty girls in elevators to never respond, before his courage will eventually dissipate; before it’s  replaced with something else.

Something less romantic.

Something less vulnerable.

Introducing Mike,

The Asshole.

 

 

Comments

  • Jesse James

    Yup. You nailed it gorgeous. That “Mike” was me. A long, long, long time ago I was that guy. I’m really tall, but back then I was in fantastic shape. However, the “creepy thing” about me back then was not how fit I was, how big my organ was ( I don’t need to brag), or anything like looks or what not. There were two “small organs” on me. One, I had a small wallet. And two, I did not have the bad boy with worldly experience persona. Now I have them, and also I am older. That said, I have come to the realization that you did. But my stock is different. Yours was on the rise starting at 17, and towards 25. Then the switch happens. We toughen up, and figure it during our college years, and then we go from “ugly duckling” to “screaming eagle.” Then we leave the nest, and become the “asshole” who dates younger women.
    Part of it is biology too. It makes senses, and has always made sense, for a woman to date older, more experienced and wealthy. Yet now you have had the feminist revolution selling you a full load of garbage on top of that biology. Men have started to figure it out. Can’t say I’m sorry. But good for you for figuring it out. Hope it works out.

  • MovieBuff

    This was….quite beautiful