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“I have already made up my mind about him. The decision was simple, made the minute I saw him. But he doesn’t need to know that now, does he?” A short story.
“You look lovely, by the way. The profile picture doesn’t do you any justice, you know.” He says.
Ah, the hopeful look in his puppy dog eyes tells me that I need to return the compliment. I scrutinise him hard, I mean, there must be something I could compliment him on.
He is big, muscular. Clearly he works out, a lot. His beard stands out in a disarray of tiny hair that just could not decide what direction to take. His hair is gelled; gelled to the point that each spike reminds me of a mini Eiffel tower.
He is wearing a white V-neck t-shirt covered with a grey woollen blazer; a blood red silk handkerchief stuffing down his breast pocket.
What is it that the fashionistas call them? I think. Ah yes, a pocket square.
“That’s a nice pocket square.” I say. Smiling brilliantly, a smile I was sure did not reach my eyes, hell; I don’t even think it reached my cheekbones.
“Well thanks, darling. I am glad you noticed.” He returns my smile and speaks in a low baritone that is meant to indicate sophistication and class. He probably expects my knees to wobble, my heart to flutter like a humming bird, my body to surge with electric energy and me to melt.
But all he gets is a smirk followed by a burp.
I should’ve known that a starter of deep fried calamaris, was a recipe for burps and farts. Already my stomach complains at the onslaught of that sea dwelling urchin and I know I will have to pay a visit to washroom.
What is it that those elitists call it? I think. Ah yes, the powder room.
“Looks like the hors d’oeuvre did not agree with you, my love.” He is amused by the burp and the shock on my face thereafter.
“Looks like you are right.” I say. I am too classy to ask him what the hell does hors d’oeuvre means; but not that classy, because I decide that I will be saving his number on my phone as ‘The French Wannabe’.
“You know, I look at you, and I see a beautiful, intelligent woman who has reached where she is now, the hard way.” He starts again, as I adjust myself to allow some space between my butt cheeks. I smile at him in encouragement.
“I think you and I can be wonderful together. We have both seen the world, we have both achieved a lot and we have both suffered doing it.” He continues, as I let out a silent burst of gas into the fancy, shmancy restaurant ambience and hope to God that they have sprayed enough room freshener to mask the smell of pasta, tiramisu and the inside of my butt.
“Okay.” I say. Because of course why would I waste my energy in words, when he already believes me to me intelligent and wise? I wonder what could have indicated my intellectual prowess; was it the plunging neckline or the short hemline of my dress?
Maybe my lack of response gets him thinking that I am not just intelligent and wise; I am also open to unconventional relationships.
Because then he goes, “I mean, you know. I think you might want to get into a committed relationship, because well you look like an old fashioned, classy lady. But times are changing and people my age are going for more and more ‘friends with benefits’ kind of thing.” He says ‘friends with benefits’ using air quotes.
I am not sure whether to be amused or offended. In the last ten minutes this twenty something boy had indicated that my thirty-five years of life experience; which included not just a climb up the corporate ladder, but two failed relationships, a failed marriage and two children, is the same as his twenty-seven years of bachelor life. Yet, I am not the same as him, because I am ‘old fashioned’ and needed convincing to get slutty.
“So, I was saying, that I am extremely attracted to you, you are obviously not just smart, but also beautiful.” He says that eyeing my cleavage. Of course, why wouldn’t he? A woman’s brains do exist in her boobs.
“So, think about it. Would you like to take this forward and see where this goes? I mean we start with ‘no strings attached’ and allow nature to take its own course.” He continues again with ‘no strings attached’ in air quotes.
I think my complete lack of response is making him nervous, and that in turn is making him blabber.
I enjoy watching him blabber, this gym pumping, muscle toting, self-assured twenty-seven year old who graduated from a B-school two years ago, already heading an entire business unit, voice like silk that melts panties. Ranting nervously in front of an overworked mother, a corporate slave whose only claim to fame is a failed marriage.
I have already made up my mind about him. The decision was simple, made the minute I saw him. But he doesn’t need to know that now, does he?
Without a word, I get up from my chair. He looks shocked and scared.
“Where are you going?” He asks, alarmed.
“Please call for the check”, I say, “I will be back in a jiffy and settle it.”
“Check?! Are you sure?” He asks. I bet he is running the entire conversation in his head, wondering where he went wrong. His discomfort somehow makes me smile.
“I am positive. You will call for the check and wait for me to come back.” I command and walk away without waiting for an answer. Because I know he is transfixed on his chair, hypnotized by my swaying behind.
The ‘powder room’ is a big relief, because I spend quarter of an hour pooping. I then walk back to the table.
I see he has already cleared the check and is waiting for me.
Before I even take the seat, he starts, “I am sorry if I have offended you, but please give me one more chance. I am sure I can interest you, surprise you, charm you.”
I stare at him, skepticism marring my face.
“…and…and those are really not my views, it is something my friends keep talking about, you know. I have always been very committed and a stable guy. You can always trust me, you know. I respect you a lot.”
Oh God, this mewling is getting pathetic. I think. Time to let him know my decision.
I put both my hands on the table. My ring finger looks hauntingly empty where there used to be a diamond shining for ten years.
“Here is the deal.” I say. “We will go back to my place, we will do it. And as soon as we are done, you will leave.”
“What…what? You mean…” I see that he is about to begin his rant. I shush him and start spelling it out for him. Gosh, you would not expect an MBA from a premier institute to be that dense.
“Yes, we will have sex, you will try very, very hard not to disappoint me and then leave. You will not call or even text me, only I will, if I want to.” I say. My eyes bore into his as his age and inexperience shine through them like Alice in wonderland.
“Okay.” He says.
Not a man of many words now, are we? I think.
“Come on now, time to go.” I walk away allowing my latest little pet to follow me, fervently hoping he keeps his mouth shut the rest of the night.
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Published here earlier.
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Writer. Artist. Dreamer...and a Coach.
Hi, I am Lakshmi Priya, but I respond better
This is a harsh story, yet brilliantly told -about how the tables have turned!! That being said, it is still a sad tale that reminds one of that same over bearing arrogance that has probably led the dimmer of our male counterparts, to their doom today…struggling to find trust and true love. The wiser men, like the wiser women find gentler paths for the journey.
Thank you Sonia for your feedback. I agree, we live in such a tremulous existence where the values we have grown up with and the path being pushed upon us are complete opposites. When I wrote this piece, I imagined the protagonist angry and bitter at having to start dating again at 35, after ten years of being married. Hence, the internal monologue filled with sarcasm and bitter amusement.
I agree with you Sonia. This story is superbly crafted, but it makes me sad and your comments reflect my thoughts too. ELL P I will check out your writing on litlatte as well.
I get where the protagonist is coming from… but…it’s too close to where several doppelganger male protagonists come from and that as we have found out is a dangerous, debilitating space of ignorance and foolhardiness masquerading as arrogance, power and entitlement. By the way, I read some of your work on litlatte and you are a wonderful writer. “The family outing” was so poignantly beautiful and well crafted!!
Thank you…thank you much Sonia. And yes I get now, about those men.
Ell P, I absolutely loved your bold and cynical style of writing. Much like the cougar´s hot young date, as a reader, I had my mouth gaped wide open at the protagonist´s approach at the end. It was akin to watching one of those sexy soap operas like say, ´The Bold and the Beautiful´. As a reader, you kept me engrossed, shocked, amused and reflective. Looking towards more stories from you.
Thank you… Thank you for your words Tina. I’m glad you liked the story.
This story is well written. But the title and then the end makes me think that so-called modern society thinks that a successful 35+ divorced woman who is powerful and confident of herself, probably fits this stereotype. Sad. Leaves me wondering why the protagonist isn’t a 35+ married housewife? She could very well be on Tinder too.
Thank you for the feedback Vedhaanshi. Yes, a married housewife can be on Tinder as well. So can a married man. However, where do you draw the line?
I’ll tell you where I draw the line, when it comes to relationships. Perhaps that will help explain my POV.
I’m okay with being married and on Tinder, as long as I’m in mind, body and soul separate from my husband. As long as he is aware that we are not together as a couple and I’m seeing other people. As long as we have sorted these things out, made peace with our differences and learned to live as two friends in the same home.
Because when I pretend to be happily married and in love with my husband, yet seek hook ups on Tinder, I’m no better than your regular definition of a cheating husband.
As for her being a housewife, the possibility did not exist in my mind while I was writing. However, you do bring a good point here. Perhaps another article.
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