Dear Mystery Meat Man,
It is possible that you don’t remember me (though you really should…) but I am the young woman whom you tried (and failed – rather epically too, I must say) to loosely hit on in Fruit & Veg. last year, around mid-November.
Ring any bells yet? No? Hmm… I didn’t think it would.
Okay, so how about this then: I’m the girl, who was shopping with her dad (he gave you the ‘dark Daddy eye’… or didn’t you notice that? I did and I was merely standing behind him…), that you saw in the pretty blue dress and you decided to rather inappropriately make a very poor attempt at ‘getting my attention’ by asking us what a pack of diced red meat* could possibly be used for?
* (It was diced red meat, dude! What did you freaking think it was for? Chicken kebabs or sushi, perhaps?)
I apologise for not rising to that… but hey, take consolation in the fact that at least you caught me on a good day when I was looking and feeling rather nice. Any other day and I would have probably given you the death stare… #JustSaying.
I didn’t really even look at you though – beyond momentarily lifting my eyebrows and silently asking you, disbelief registering on every contour of my face, “Are you seriously trying to hit on me in Fruit & Veg. in front of my father? What the hell?” – so that should have been your first tip that I was not interested.
Anyway, isn’t there some ‘guy manual’ out there that tells you to never, ever and I mean EVER hit on, compliment, flirt with or try to touch a girl when she is anywhere near her protective Papa Bear?
That was a serious face-palm moment… and as it so happens, I was secretly imagining hundreds of guys across the world laughing at your foolishness (I’m sorry to say it but inwardly, so was I).
And do you know how I knew what you were up to even before you did? Well, let me tell you.
It’s not because you were watching me like a hawk, as we walked up first this aisle, then that, it’s not because I was feeling kinda pretty in my favourite, ‘fancy’ blue dress and strap-over denim heels and there’s all that nonsense about how women magically look better when they feel good inside (it’s actually true but whatever).
In fact, it’s not even because you sounded nervous when you asked us the following: “Um, excuse me, I know this is probably a strange question, but do you by any chance know what you use these for? I really have no clue…”, looked like you were visibly squirming inside or because of that random guy laugh you gave just as you spoke that always – and I mean always – let’s the more intuitive females among the fairer sex know that your strange male species is trying to do something to us. (Though what precisely that may be, I’m not entirely sure.)
No, you see, it was actually this: it was the fact that, rather than posing the question to my father and making eye contact with him – especially when he was the one who supplied your answer, whilst I just pointedly stood behind him and looked at you as if I thought you were crazy -, you looked at me. The whole damn time.
And if my own suspicions weren’t enough, my father’s suspicion afterwards certainly was. You see, when we walked away (after he had somewhat bemusedly explained to you that people do, in fact, usually use those for stews and the like… it is cubed meat, after all) and I commented on your strange query, my dad sounded most distrustful and perplexed… Like he knew you were up to something but didn’t like to acknowledge that it may, in all likelihood, have concerned his youngest child and sole daughter.
Okay, sweetheart, now here’s the part where I tell you how, if you really wanted me to remember you and replay your smile over in my head for the next five minutes straight as I walked away from you – as oppose to using our first (and hopefully last) encounter in the Mother City as a light mockery and teasing column piece – or something similar, you should have gone about getting me to notice you back.
(Hint: It does not involve my dad being anywhere immediately close to you – a total stranger approaching his daughter – unless you have a serious, insatiable death wish…)
You could have simply smiled at me as we passed by (you weren’t bad or ‘dodgy’ looking and I am not a cold-hearted woman who showers all men in her disdain…
(I only do that when I’m really pissed off because you’re a) undressing me with your eyes and no, that is not in any way a turn on or b) hollering and whistling at me from across the street like a moronic ape and I am considering reporting you to the police for public, verbal harassment) or you could have given me ‘The Look’.*
* (Accompanied by angels singing)
Maybe you don’t know ‘The Look’ but every time a reasonably attractive or decent-looking man on the street – or virtually any public space – gives me ‘The Look’, I really hope he will walk up to me and politely give me his name and number because yes, I want to know you after that and yeah, you just got my attention there, darling!
It’s the look that makes women foolishly believe that, at least in that moment, we are the best thing you have laid eyes on and we kinda feel like maybe we could have dropped out of Heaven after all because you are staring at us as though we are angelic beings of breath-stealing wonder.
Okay, so it’s a split second look and I know as well as you do that you’ll probably forget me as soon as you round the next street corner, but I won’t forget you just yet… and I’ll probably think and wonder about you for a few minutes afterwards. Surely that counts for something?
I am sorry to say, however, that you, like so many of your male counterparts, did not try either of those fairly fail-proof tactics… and that is why you will always be the ‘mystery meat man’ who I will laugh at and tell my female friends about in the days to come…
[Date written: 11/05/15; Column piece submission]