Archive for September 15th, 2007

After I sent off an article this afternoon, I worked out at the rec center, then limped across the street to meet Trish at the local pasta joint. While I was waiting, a male neighbor came in with his female house guest and sat on the patio. From our table, we couldn’t see them, but I admit that both of us took a couple of strictly unnecessary trips to the washroom so we could watch what was happening (although it was true that I needed to wash after my workout, and those Gorgonzola chips were greasy to eat with my fingers). Our neighbor was hell-bent on seduction, and, cynically, we wanted to observe his plans going awry.

Admittedly, I never was an expert at seduction, and being an old-married has blunted whatever poor skills I once had (or so I assume; trying them out would be inadvisable, even if I wanted to). Yet even I could figure out that a restaurant more famous among university students for the price and size of its portions than the quality of its food is a poor start to an amorous evening. Naturally, too, the portions have more than a dash of garlic – and we all know how garlic makes you want to cozy up with someone new.

Then there was the fact that his guest was from a much warmer climate, and the temperature drops off sharply in the fall evenings in the temperate zone. If the house guest was interested in anything outside of dinner, it wasn’t the neighbor. From our brief glimpses, it was burrowing deeper into the ski jacket she had had the foresight to bring.

All in all, she looked massively unimpressed.

While she looked reservedly polite, our neighbor ploughed on. Each time we saw, he was leaning forward and talking with more animation. Each time, she was leaning back further in her chair, looking as though she was doing nothing except enduring until she could go and get warm.

That, I think, would be the worst part for anyone with powers of observation. She wasn’t being rude to him. Nor was she enough of a participant in events to suggest that they move to a table inside where she could at least enjoy her meal. She was humoring him – and nothing is worse for any ego, amorous or otherwise, than being humored. A person who responds to you can be enjoyable company, regardless of what happens, and one who reacts unfavorably can — at least in theory — be won around. But what can be more deflating than someone who doesn’t care enough to react one way or the other?

We left before they did, so I don’t know how the little drama ended. However, if my guess is anything like correct, I think I’ll avoid our neighbor for the next few days. He’s apt to be feeling a little surly.

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