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Men: Recover or Reinvent Your Mojo

we’d rather you speak to us than stare… really

The rose bouquet could be smelled from several feet away, where it waited for me ostentatiously on a desk in the front office.The two dozen roses of white, crimson, red, yellow, and blush pink crowded up from their cut glass decanter, each stem proudly proclaiming itself as the most magnificent in the vase, decorated all around with leaves and babies breath and wrapped with a thick velvet ribbon tied into a fancy, decorative bow, had been sent to me by a mysterious stranger.

That afternoon I was returning back to work, and the secretary who was holding the bouquet hurried to me and proclaimed that I had a “secret admirer.”

She explained that he had seen me at an event, asked about me, and found out my place of work, then called to get the address for the flower delivery. Although the flowers were beautiful, that really creeped me out.

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Did he not realize that if would feel creepy to have been watched from afar without being spoken to?

I sought out a card among the blooms and found it. There was a scrawled note, with a phone number and a name.

I never called the phone number.

I reasoned that if a man was watching me and decided that he liked me enough to send me roses, by asking others where I worked, calling the place to get the address, and paying for the roses, he could have just as easily have introduced himself to me.

Did he not realize that if would feel creepy to be watched from afar without being spoken to?

By not saying hello or sparking up a conversation with me, rather than going the curiously roundabout way of sending me flowers, he had communicated that although he had the right to decide what he liked, I didn’t get the same choice.

Would it have really been so hard to speak?

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I enjoyed the roses very much, but I wondered why the gentleman hadn’t spoken to me. I regretted not having the chance to meet someone who had been charming enough to send the roses.

However, sending roses without speaking to a person or allowing them to know who you are simply seemed too neurotic, a touch too Phantom of the Opera for my taste.

The note slipped under the bus stop bench

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One afternoon I was sitting on a bench waiting for the bus. A slip of paper, folded over, whizzed underneath the bench and hit the back of my shoe. I leaned down, and brought up the piece of paper from the sidewalk, looking around to see who had sent it. Behind me, there was the usual thronging crowd, with no discernible sender. The bus came, and I got onboard, holding the folded slip of paper. I unfolded the note, and read it. It said something about my feet being beautiful. There was a phone number.

Needless to say, I tossed the note without ever calling the number.

The moral of the story is: Notes and gifts to a total stranger are creepy. Don’t be creepy. Take the chance to introduce yourself in a positive, cheerful, and non-threatening way. Accept that there might be a rejection, yes, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s all about the way that you go about introducing yourself to someone you do not know. It’s not that you can’t, and shouldn’t, do it at all. Simply keep in mind that women are people, and consider how you would appreciate being spoken to if the scenario were reversed.

It also wouldn’t hurt to assume that the woman you wish to speak to has been hassled numerous times, and doesn’t speak to strangers under any circumstances. Be pleasant, so as to distance yourself from creeps she has had to put up with in the past, and make it clear that you are not of their ilk.

A healthy dose of humility for the intrusion is called for, along with the esprit de corps to politely thank them and make yourself scarce if the connection is not made, or your polite advance rebuffed.

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Waiting to get my chicken box

Pressing the touch screen, I placed my order for a chicken box. I would be receiving a drumstick, a breast, and a wing, along with a greasy order of fries and a small white bread roll.

It was a super-long work day, one that had started in the morning and would last until around 9:30 that evening. I slipped out around 5:00 p.m. to get something to take back to work to eat at my desk for dinner, and ended up at the chicken shack cum-convenience store, the sort affiliated with a gas station.

My dinner came with a soda, so I moved over to the self-serve soda fountain, and began filling my cup with Cherry Coke.

“I like your hair,” a deep voice from far above me intoned. I looked up to see a veritable giant of a man with a handsome face and a tank top revealing rippling, huge muscles. My eyes followed the muscles to his hand, which was filling his own fountain cup beside mine.

“Thank you,” I said.

“You smell good,” he said. I smiled, wondering how I could smell good when I’d been working for eight hours in a suit in a room that had no air conditioning.

He told me what he did. He was a pipe fitter.

“So, are you married?” he asked me, as we headed towards the cashier with our sodas.

“No,” I said, “But I have a boyfriend.”

“He’s a very lucky man,” the pipe fitter told me, before walking out of the building holding his soda. Apparently he was so self-possessed that he got his soda for free. And then, as if recalling the rules of the world in which he had been thrown, returned back, cutting the line to pay for his soda before making his final exit.

When I got back to work I told my coworker, “I just made a really big mistake.”

He said, “What’s that?”

“I just got propositioned by a guy at the chicken shack who had arms the size of tree stumps. I’m probably never going to see him again.”

In the case of the guy at the chicken shack, I appreciated that he hadn’t stared at me, then turned away when I noticed. Unlike the mystery man who sent the bouquet, chicken shack guy was self-confident enough to speak to me.

Staring at a woman and then turning away when they see you staring is creepy. Introducing yourself in a respectful, pleasant way is not creepy.

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The difference between scenario number one and scenario number two is that, in the second situation, if I hadn’t have had a boyfriend at the time, I would have definitely grabbed a coffee with the guy.

You can’t really grab a coffee with someone who’s too shy to talk to you and start a conversation. Do put yourself before the person and introduce yourself, rather than resort to staring, ordering flowers or passing a note.

Use your charm, your wit, your creativity, and your sense of humor. Don’t be offensive, but don’t believe that you can’t do it. Be ready to give up and walk away if you’re not what she’s looking for. If you were polite, respectful, kind, and funny, with a healthy dose of self-deprecation, you’re likely to get a regretful smile, or a pleasant “Have a nice day.”