A story about the right way for a committed guy to act when in the company of sexually suggestive women:
So, I once dated a guy who, to put it nicely, was not a “good fit” for me. To put it a little less nicely, this guy was what some in my parents’ generation would call “a bad seed.” A heavy drinker and a heavy liar, this guy was the root source of so much unnecessary angst at a time when I should have been angst-free.
I chose to submerge myself in all his bad drama, though, so the precious time wasted was no one’s fault but my own.
Besides, I don’t really want to focus on all the yucky, gross things that happened. I want instead to focus on one very, very good thing that happened. Because, there was one good thing, and it was so good, it has helped to soften some rough edges, leaving me with a slightly better memory of him than I otherwise would have had.
That’s how good this one thing was.
Here’s the story:
So, this boyfriend had a sister who worked in an industry that put a lot of emphasis on a woman’s ability to sell her sexuality. That’s a figurative statement, by the way, lest anyone get the completely wrong idea here. Anyway, his sister was forever bringing home girlfriends who were schooled in the art of “being hot.” They were all perfectly tanned and perfectly toned and every single one of them seemed to know just the right way to cock their head so as to expose the jugular without sacrificing a very calculated doe-eyed gaze.
Being that I was in college at the time, I had grown accustomed to a uniform of pajama bottoms and ratty sweatshirts pulled from the boyfriend’s dirty laundry pile. I wore my hair in a sloppy knot of tangles, usually secured to the back of my head with a strategically maneuvered pencil (remember that trick?). I rarely wore make-up during the day, but I always wore my glasses, which did little to help my cause. Think less Lisa Loeb and more Ben Franklin. I know — yikes, right?
Because both the boyfriend and his sister still lived together at home, it was not unusual for the whole cast of us characters — me and the boyfriend, the boyfriend’s sister and her beautiful friends — to have to share space and interact more than I would have liked. I cannot tell you how many times I sat — in the sweatpants and the tangled pencil hair and the Ben Franklin spectacles — huddled under an afghan on the sofa watching Supermarket Sweep or some other nonsense, when the sister and her friends would walk in.
“Hey, sweetie!” the sister would chirp, presenting herself to everyone in the room.
Oh God, here we go.
“Oh, hey,” I’d respond hesitantly, working to rearrange the afghan in a more complimentary configuration.
“Hi” a chorus of even chirpier voices would call out from behind the sister.
I’d then look up again to acknowledge two or three cohorts with varying degrees of exposed cleavage.
Damn it, I’d think as I did a slow count of ten before casually turning my head to assess the boyfriend’s level of interest in the scene.
Please, please let him not be looking too long.
Often times, as far as I could tell, he did a pretty good job of pretending not to notice all the sex in his face. And for that, I was relieved.
But there was this one time he did me one better. There was this one time he did more than just pretend to ignore. And for that, I was truly grateful.
The boyfriend and I were in the kitchen fixing a feast of odds-and-ends garbage food. I’m pretty sure we were about to settle in for a Supermarket Sweep marathon, so of course, I was wearing the sad-sock uniform, Ben Franklins and all.
I vividly remember standing side-by-side — he, jostling a frying pan over high heat, I, separating slices of Velveeta Singles — when the sister walked in with a friend.
“Hey, guys, wat’cha doin’?”
The boyfriend and I turned around to greet his sister, who was standing next to her most vampiest of friends.
Oh, no….her? Great.
There this girl stood, in micro shorts and a deep V-neck top, her back perfectly arched to grant two enormous breasts center stage.
“Hey, y’all,” cooed the vampy friend, who I am completely convinced was always faking a slightly Southern accent.
Sensing she had made an effective entrance, this girl proceeded to prance — literally prance — past the sister to position herself in the middle of the room, the fluorescent-bulbed ceiling fixture now her makeshift spotlight.
And there she stood, just begging us all to bask in her glory as she drew her hands to her hips and twisted her core from side-to-side in a phony fidget. With each sway she seemed to be teasing, “Look at me…” swish “Look at me….” swoosh “Look at me….” swish.
The display was so ridiculous it would have been less jarring if she had just come out and asked the boyfriend if he wanted her outright.
I leaned my back against the counter and crossed my arms over my chest. I tried to make a point of maintaining eye contact with this girl — like an animal in the wild choosing fight over flight in the face of danger. My cheeks burned and my heart started to race, but I was gonna hold my ground.
So there we all were. All four of us in the kitchen amidst a very awkward moment of silence that begged the question: Now what?
And then, to my pleasant surprise, the boyfriend reached his arm out toward me and drew me close to his side, where he held me tight as if to answer, “Here’s what. I chose her (me). I don’t chose you (vamp).”
Then, wiping his eyes away from his would-be pursuer, he addressed only his sister, casually asking her where their mother kept the spices we’d need for our meal.
An undeniable slam — so hard, I think this girl could actually feel it.
It was played so well that it matched the exact scenario I would have whipped up in my head had I ever been asked how I’d want a guy to handle a situation like this one.
The vamp was forced to morph the swishy-swooshy movement into a playful half-dance over to the fridge, where she buried her head in an overly concentrated search for a beverage.
I secretly hoped she was waiting for the tears in her eyes to recede.
The boyfriend continued to engage his sister, further erasing the friend from the script. Within moments, both girls left the room, and then the house. The boyfriend and I went back to our feast making in silence.
This was not the only time I have been forced to go up against such a challenge. Every now and then, some girl will dare to tread where she doesn’t belong — beyond that unspoken boundary that separates friendly from too friendly. And men should know that it is their job to shut. it. down. And fast. There is nothing worse than letting another woman think she’s “got it” over the girlfriend or the wife.
I doubt too many guys read this blog, but to those who do, take a lesson: The worst guy I dated did this one thing right, and it was enough to make me remember him (somewhat) fondly.