Was leaving the library recently when I heard a sudden wrap-wrap-wrap on my car window. I turned, expecting to see a good Samaritan returning something inadvertently dropped, but it was a young Denzel slowly dragging his bedroom gaze all over me.
Things were swirling around in my head my mouth wouldn’t say, like:
- Are you legal?
- Where is your father?
- Am I being Punk’d?
- How do the cubs keep finding me?
He was on a mission and didn’t budge, so I took a deep breath and obeyed his roll-down-the-window hand motion. He introduced himself, poured on compliments and asked me status.
“Involved,” I lied. Better than pointing out that he was in diapers when I was changing them.
He didn’t blink, so I did and told him to have a nice day.
“Women who don’t look freakishly young pray for this kind of attention,” a girlfriend complained later, which was the same thing she said about my aversion to clingy men. “Better bodies, hair, energy – what’s wrong with you?”
No, just no. Five years plus or minus is okay, but if we can’t spend a rainy day doing 80’s hits singalongs, share mature sensibilities and milestones then what’s the point?
Saw The Cub again about a week later at an Indian grocery shop and he looked even younger.
Again, with the bedroom eyes. Again, with the silky flattery. Again, I smelled nice cologne and lust, but had chicken curry on the brain, and why didn’t he have a shopping basket? This time when asked for my number, I told him I was taking a break. Different from the first time, but he didn’t catch the slip until I mentioned we’d met the week before.
Worse than a cub chase is a man who thinks I’m forgettable. With this hair? Come on.
It should have ended there with me plunking basil, bok choy and curry leaves into my basket and brushing past him to the coconut milk. He followed and lingered. Even with strain in his smile, I still felt appraisal and nerve.
So, you’re really not going to give me your number.
Can you take mine?
No, because I’m not going to call you.
Well, how come you’re smiling?
This is funny.
His laughter circled around mine, though we were amused for different reasons.
How old are you?
Almost forty he offered, trying to throw age he didn’t have on the table. After a leveling stare, he confessed to thirty-five with his chest puffed forward.
My daughter was an eighty’s baby too, I sighed. His jaw dropped. I watched him do silent math, and then, unbelievably, lick his lips.
To his age is just a number comeback, I shook my head firmly, and he pouted. Making my point that age is also a skill set. Grown folks manage rejection with internal grumbling, acceptance, and alcohol. Not pouting.
Right or wrong, I had an urge to inquire about his father, uncles, or eligible friends born in my generation, but didn’t want to risk more sulking.