An encounter with the male undergrad ego
Lunch break: sitting outside, reading a book, enjoying some fresh air in peace and quiet.
Student comes up from behind and stops in front of me. He is wearing reflective sunglasses so I can’t even see his eyes.
Student: “Excuse me. Did you just check… did I just see you checking me out?”
Seeing as how he walked up from behind me, I’m not sure how he arrived at that conclusion. At this point, I’m half-hoping that he’s trying to raise money for some student organization, or getting people to sign a petition, or anything that would allow the conversation to be as succinct as possible. I’m not in the mood to be the object of some undergrad’s lame attempt to prove to himself that he has game. So, I’m just kind of eyeing him, waiting to see what he’ll do next.
He asks me what my name is and proceeds to sit down next to me. Shoot. He’s not leaving. Normally in situations like this, my MO is to be friendly. If a stranger is feeling chatty, I’m usually happy to accommodate them.
Student: “So, how are you doing?”
Me: “Well… I’m feeling a little invaded right now…”
Student: “Invaded, huh? Interesting. You know, I was just walking here and saw you checking me out and that made me feel invaded too.”
Me: “Okay. Whatever strokes your ego.”
Student: “Strokes my ego, huh? I like you!”
Student: [seeing the book in my lap] “So, what are you reading?”
Me: “It’s an autobiography about Julia Child.”
Student: “Julia Child… that’s cool…” [pause] “…No idea who that is.”
Me: “…” [not in the mood to be nice, or informative] “…Well, minus points for you.”
Student: “Minus points, huh? That’s interesting you’re using points, because I’m not playing your game.”
Is this his idea of witty banter?
Me: “Okay, well, I’m not playing your game either.”
I return my attention to my book and start ignoring him.
At this point, the student reaches out and pats me on the shoulder, says, “It was nice meeting you,” and gets up and walks away.
I still am not entirely sure what just happened.
If I had gotten the impression that this guy was actually interested in treating me like a real person rather than a means to an end, then maybe I would have been friendlier. But his approach, tone, and demeanor all suggested that he thought he was quite the catch and was, in fact, doing me a favor.
Perhaps the conversation might have gone differently if he hadn’t started with the assertion that I was checking him out when, in fact, I don’t believe that I was the one who was doing the looking.