There was no make up on my face, my bangs were frizzy and un-straightened. My over-sized shirt had a “hang loose” sign on the pocket, almost touching my knees. My legs clad in yoga pants, covering my heels and tucked into my flats, ballet style.
Re-usable bags from Urban Outfitters and that Bob Dylan concert I went to last week in my hand; I am going to the grocery store.
I live right around the corner from my local supermarket, so I walk every time with my headphones on.
Grocery shopping is a relaxing experience for me. I love to be surrounded by fresh veggies and fruits, a bakery, running through the cold section, my music filling my head with lyrical goodness—it’s a meditative time. I have my music playing until the very end, when I take my headphones off and bag everything.
This time, as I am walking out the door, a very cute guy—mid twenties I would say, with a red beard and knobby knees—waited for me and held open the door. I flashed him a smile, said thank you, and he gave me a smile back, and said you’re welcome, and there at the door we had a moment.
The smiles lasted just a tad too long, the eye contact just a little more than the polite gesture anointed, and this made him nervous. He choked out a, “Have a good day” and I encouraged him with another smile, and a “Yeah, you too.” That was his moment. I was stopped. I was prepared to say, “Sure, (insert name here) coffee sounds great!”
But instead, we walked in our respective ways, and I very well might never see him again.
These are the moments that I don’t understand. What a great beginning to the modern day fairytale.
She leaves the store, in her natural state, hair undone, no make up on, and he still holds the door for her, smiles for too long, and works up the courage to ask her out. She is surprised, especially by the romantic gesture despite her appearance, that he asks. What a great smile, she thinks. They have a first date, and a second, and a third, five years go by, they get married, and live happily ever after, happy that they went to the grocery store on the exact day that their soulmate did. How romantic?
Instead, I am left with dates that I make on Tinder. As a twenty something who started college late in a new city, I don’t really meet people my age at school, and I don’t drink, so a casual drink at the bar isn’t really an option either. I’m looking for Prince Charming; I am ready for him to show up, so I really just have a few questions for that man at the grocery store.
That extra moment, the extra few seconds we stood there, I was waiting for you to initiate. Why didn’t you? Maybe you have a girlfriend. Maybe you have a wife. If so, why linger at the door of your local Kroger with stars in your eyes? Homey, you had me at “you’re welcome” with that smile and your clear interest in me, without a care about my disheveled state.
What was stopping you? You could have helped me with my bags. I had just bought a new coffee maker (RIP Keurig), and though it wasn’t heavy, it was pretty bulky, I guess.
Had I given you the idea that I wasn’t interested? I mean, I was blocking traffic. Manual doors with shopping carts really aren’t a place to stop in front of to smile at an attractive male who is smiling back at me.
Maybe I don’t have as many questions for the smile I saw at the supermarket as I do reasonable words about problems I have in the way we, as humans in the technology age, interact with one another.
Don’t ignore the reality around you. Take out your headphones every once in a while at the coffee shop and listen to the people around you. If somebody looks lost, ask if they need directions.
If you see an elderly person with a ton of groceries, ask them if they would like some help (this is basically a crap shoot, they either really appreciate you or they look offended, but that’s their problem if they take offense to random acts of kindness).
Talk to the person next to you in class, talk to the bus driver. When somebody asks you how you are in passing, just for the etiquette, give a genuine answer and ask the same. Communication skills are such a valuable asset.
Lastly, if you see a cute girl and she smiles, and you smile back, talk to her. Confidence is so hot. The worst that could happen is you get rejected. She has a boyfriend. She has a husband. If she smiled at you, the least of your worries is whether or not she is interested.
We are all human, we all have emotions, we are all equal. I’m not asking you to go buy a dozen roses and give them out at the park. I’m just hoping that if a child in a stroller smiles and waves at you, you smile and wave back.
If I ever see you again, freckle face, I will make the first move, but you’ll have to make the second.
Author: Jazz Unruh
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Tony Alter